Domaine Courbis St. Joseph Blanc France. 2004 $21 Andrea Robinson Wine Club. 12% alcohol.
I don't know. Is it right to post a tasting note on corked wines? Janet's opinion: "This is terrible. Pour it out." I saw a beautiful golden color, little flecks of light, lots of cardboard, a little bit of pineapple. Romance, of course. The lovely sound of the "pop". I'm sorry ... somehow this was a real downer tonight. So I followed Janet's advice, and moved on.
Normally I wouldn't bother to post, especially with a $21 wine -- after all, what did the winemaker do wrong? Or the distributor? Or the retailer? Nothing really, risk of the game. My fault really for liking wine.
But, this is the eighth wine from my test two month subscription to Andrea Robinson's Wine Club. Have to post a summary soon. So, here's what Andrea thought I might find:
And now for something completely different. If you have never heard of the French Rhone region called St. Joseph don't fret. It's so tiny that few people know it, and since it is mainly devoted to reds from the Syrah grape, the whites are true rarities. Boy, are they yummy! Rhone-style wine devotees love the combination of Chardonnay-like richness, and Riesling-like aromatic exotic-ness (I know it is not word, but it should be). Sommeliers love them for their food affinity; the great acid makes them easy to match in general, and the floral-spicy profile creates all kinds of fun possibilities with traditionally tough-to-pair cuisines like Indian and Thai.
The producer name is pronounced Domaine coor-BEE, and Francophiles pronounce the region name San Jo-SEFF. The wine is a blend of 95% Marsanne and 5% Roussane, both of which are known for their exotic pineapple fruit and Jasmine/Lily of the Valley floral scents. The wine is fermented two-thirds in stainless tanks for freshness, and one-third in new barrels that give a rich and creamy quality. There is a racy lemon-lime acidity that gives the wine a beautiful lift and keeps it from seeming too heavy. The complexity is amazing for the price.
One of the things I have learned from my friend and cheese expert Laura Werlin (check out her great books and website at http://www.laurawerlin.com) is the wonderful affinity of this style of wine with cheeses. My recipe for this month was inspired by some of her teachings. It is a simple tartine (in plain English, an open-face grilled cheese sandwich) based on a fabulous cheese called Ewephoria. As the name would imply, it is a sheep's milk cheese, made in the style of an aged Gouda. The long aging gives it an incredible buttery-toffee-caramel flavor that, with the wine, is as decadent and satisfying as a dessert, without the sugar. The acidity in the wine makes the cheese taste even richer, and the honey-Dijon mustard harmonizes perfectly with the wine's zingy fruit.
Ewephoria-Onion Tartine Serves 4
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 large sweet onions, such as Vidalia, sliced thin
Salt and pepper
Honey-Dijon mustard to taste
4 large bread slices (preferably from a round country loaf)
2-3 ounces Ewephoria cheese (or other aged Gouda), grated
In a heavy skillet on medium heat, melt the butter, add the onions and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover the pan and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until very soft and caramelized. Remove the lid, increase the heat to medium and cook, stirring, 2-3 minutes if needed to evaporate any excess liquid in the onions. Toast the bread slices lightly and spread with honey-Dijon mustard. Spread the onions over the toast slices and sprinkle with the cheese. Toast under the broiler just until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
Doesn't that sound splendid?