30 Second Wine Advisor: Offbeat grape: Gros Manseng 30 Second Wine Advisor: Offbeat grape: Gros Manseng

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Offbeat grape: Gros Manseng

Have I ever mentioned how much I enjoy discovering the vast variety of grapes and wines? Yeah, I thought I had.

I was one of the first members of the Wine Century Club, and I'm a big promoter of Century Club founders Steve and Deborah De Long's lovable Wine Grape Varietal Table.

Even after building my "life list" of varieties tasted up to several multiples of the Century - I lost count somewhere after 400 or so - I'm still almost certain to grab a bottle without asking too many questions if I spot a variety that I haven't tried.

This attitude was well rewarded the other night when I noticed a lone bottle of Maison Legrand 2012 Côtes de Gascogne Gros Manseng. At 10 bucks or so, it was an easy choice, and when I got it home and gently chilled, I was mighty glad that I had taken the risk. Light and fresh, with fresh-fruit aromas of apple and pear followed by textured, aromatic peach and mango flavors; crisp acidity and light 12% alcohol made it a good choice as an aperitif or table partner with spicy ethnic cuisine.

Gros Manseng thrives in Southwestern France - this one came from Gascogne (Gascony, the home of Three Musketeers hero D''Artagnan.) To pronounce it, say "Grow Mon-song" in American English and you'll be close enough for folk music. Add a little French gargle to the "r" and a nasal "n" to end both syllables of "Manseng" and you'll sound as French as Maurice Chevalier. Or maybe not.

"Gros" means "large," and apparently this light-skinned grape gets this name for its large size and thick skin. It's often used in blends, typically with its sibling Petit Manseng or Sauvignon Blanc, but this single-varietal model is mighty persuasive. Some experts liken it to Viognier, but I'm not seeing it in this model. Your mileage may vary, and if so, I hope you'll let me know what you think, in a comment on the WineLovers Discussion Group or our recently updated WineLovers Facebook Page.

Speaking of which ...


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Richard Fadeley's sparkly summer

"We talk regularly about Champagne and how it can define a moment, or even create one, but the same applies to most any sparkling wine," Richard Fadeley writes in his WebWineMan column. He asks, "why not look at the 'second stringers' of sparkling wine? They are not too shabby in their own right." Here's his report.


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California Wine ClubFor 24 years The California Wine Club has been exploring the dusty back roads of California's wine country, seeking out award-winning, limited-production wines from artisan wineries. They then share their best discoveries with club members across the United States.
Learn more about The California Wine Club

Along the way, these small family wineries have shared their time-honored family recipes.

Each season, The California Wine Club shares a new collection of recipes through their publication "Winemaker's Kitchen." The summer issue is now available.

What's inside…
• 10 Delicious summer recipes
• Grilling and Wine Chart
• Cool wine tips for hot days

Download Winemaker's Kitchen Now.

www.cawineclub.com 1-800-777-4443


Today's Tasting Report

Maison Legrand 2012 Côtes de Gascogne Gros Manseng ($9.99)

Maison Legrand

Transparent pale gold. Hints of apples and pears on the nose. Rather rich in texture, with flavor aromatics reminiscent of mango and peach. Dry and freshly acidic to back it up, with light, food-friendly 12% alcohol. Interesting wine from an offbeat variety, Gros Manseng, that doesn't immediately spark comparison with more familiar whites. U.S. importer: Cutting Edge Selections Inc., Claremont, Ohio. (July 11, 2014)

FOOD MATCH: Fine as a summer aperitif, its fresh aromatics and light alcohol also suggested an affinity for spicy ethnic fare, and indeed, it was very good with a stir-fry of fresh garden green beans, just-picked San Marzano tomato, onions, ginger and garlic with firm tofu and Sichuan-style spice.

WHEN TO DRINK: Light, fresh and aromatic, and sealed with a sturdy modern metal screw cap to keep it that way, it should hold for two or three years in cool storage, but I see no reason not to enjoy it soon.

VALUE: For a penny under $10 in today's market, it's a no-brainer. Load up.

FIND THIS WINE ONLINE:
Unfortunately, Wine-Searcher.com lists only a single U.S. vendor for Maison Legrand Gascogne Gros Manseng. However, try this Wine-Searcher link for Gros Manseng from many other producers. Or, try this link to contact importer Cutting Edge Selections.


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