Here's my note on the 2012 Clos Solène La Rosé
Getting to Know Richard Jennings
The man behind RJonWine
Snooth: What wine do you just not seem to like? Why?
RJ: I can’t really enjoy wines that are flabby—i.e., lacking a minimum level of natural acidity. Other than that, I find something to like about wines made from virtually every variety, and blend, if they are well made. I have to admit it took me awhile to find Pinotages and Cinsaults I could admire, but I ultimately found some good examples of those too.
Oh, and industrially made, generic red blends, of the sort I had to taste through several flights of as a judge for the California State Fair in Sacramento this year, definitely make me question why I would ever volunteer for judging duty again. Life is too short! (Okay, so there is the camaraderie of one’s fellow judges, usually longtime winemakers, wine publicists and fellow writers. Tasting cheap, industrially produced generic red wines is a grueling chore though.)
Snooth: Recommend three wines, a red, a white, and a rose that will tell our audience the most about your palate, your likes, and your dislikes and please share a few of those likes and dislikes.
RJ: The wines that excite me most are those that are distinctive and characterful. This can manifest in various ways—including beguiling textures and complex, haunting flavors that somehow take one back to various life experiences. These are the wines that draw one in to conversation with them. I plan to increasingly focus on which wines those are on my blog in the coming years, so as to draw even more attention to these beauties, and what makes them that way.
My dislikes are mainly mass production wines, of the kind most typically found on supermarket shelves. Please stop buying wine in supermarkets, dear Readers! Specialty wine stores exist to hand select interesting wines and to help consumers identify those that should particularly suit their needs. That’s where you’ll find wines that will commence, or deepen, your love affair with wine.
It’s very tough to have to offer only three wines that illustrate my palate (I’d like to think it’s nearly as complex as the wines I most enjoy). Nonetheless, I can happily offer the following three:
Rosé – I believe I’ve written before for Snooth about my yearly go-to rosé, the magnificent and delicate blend of equal parts Pinot Noir and Grolleau made by Loire great Francois Chidaine, his Touraine Rosé. So I won’t repeat that here. Instead, a California rosé from Paso Robles, of all places, made by a French winemaker, struck me for its resemblance to some of the more delicate and flavorful rosés of the Loire and Provence. Clos Solène is a project of Guillaume Fabre and his lovely wife, Solène. Guillaume comes from a Languedoc winemaking family. He's also assistant winemaker for Paso's L'Aventure. I wrote about the Guillaume and Clos Solène here:
Here's my note on the 2012 Clos Solène La Rosé
Bright light pink color with 1.5 millimeter clear meniscus; very appealing, tart strawberry, very light berry nose; tasty, juicy, light, bright, tart cranberry, mineral palate with good acidity; medium-plus finish (saignee bleed off each variety then co-fermented in stainless steel for 2 months; 14.5% alcohol) 93 points
White – How about an unusual grape, from a region not associated with the grape, from one of Austria's most creative winemakers, the flamboyant Heidi Schröck? You put that all together and, since it's Heidi, you have a wine of character. It's her 2012 Furmint. Here's my note:
Light yellow color; aromatic, sweet green herb, tart green fruit nose; lightly oily textured, lime, almond oil palate with character; long finish 92+ points
Red – For this category, I'm going to give you a wine of character, grown in volcanic soils in Southern Italy, that's also a pretty extraordinary value at about $30 given its complexity and ability to carry on a conversation. I wrote about it and similar characterful wines in the Oliver McCrum portfolio here
2008 Grifalco di Lucania Aglianico del Vulture Damaschito – Italy, Basilicata, Aglianico del Vulture
Very dark red violet color; evocative, mineral, dried berry, iron, tar nose; tasty, characterful, tight, dried berry, tar, licorice, anise palate; could use 2-3 years; long finish (extraordinary value at $30) 94 points
Richard Jennings is ever in search of reasonably priced wines of character.
His blog is RJonWine.com, and he's a finalist for best wine blog post at this year's upcoming Wine Blog Awards. He also writes regularly for Huffington Post, and is the most prolific tasting note writer on CellarTracker.com.