I got to my local wine shop, The Fine Wine Source in Livonia, Michigan almost at the tail end of the month. Considering all that my Bride and I have been going through, I am glad that we got there. The good news is that they still knew who I was, and had been keeping up, so they understood about my absence. I had to get some basic wines as well, as my Bride had kept taking wine with her for the past month to keep everyone mellow, and that is a lot to ask from wine. As I have said in the past, I think that this is one of the most affordable and quality-driven clubs that we have ever belonged to. There are two bottles each month, one Old World and one New World.
The wine representing the Old World was Joseph Mellot Destinea Sauvignon Blanc Val de Loire IGP 2021. Joseph Mellot is a wine producer in the central Loire region of Sancerre with a portfolio of labels and domaines covering a huge swath of real estate in the region. The estate was established in 1969, but the Mellot family name goes back to the 16th Century. Since 1513 Pierre -Etienne Mellot established his domaine and began his winemaking dynasty. Cesar Mellot acted as a wine advisor to King Louis XIV. In the 1920’s they were the first Sancerre winemaker to showcase their wines at the Foire de Paris. Unfortunately, there was an inheritance split and one brother began Joseph Mellot. By far, Sauvignon Blanc is the grape of choice for the estate from one-hundred-hectares of vineyards in the Loire; and each plot is harvested and vinified separately. Val de Loire IGP basically covers the entire Loire Valley, encompassing fourteen departments and in terms of area, is one of the largest in France. It basically follows the Loire River for about 350 miles. The designation was established in 2009 from its prior Vin de Pays, or its proper and more floral Vin de Pays du Jardin de la France. The grapes are destemmed, then pressed. A short maceration period and a short fermentation period of ten to fifteen days and then aged for a short period on the lees before bottling to maintain the fresh fruit finish. The wine is described as pale gold in color with notes of florals and orange and passion fruit. On the palate the fruit is fresh with tones of lime and lemon, and well balanced with a “zippy” acidity and ends with an aromatic finish. The Sauvignon Blancs of France are usually classified as Green and flinty, to differentiate the wine as it can be found especially in New Zealand and Australia.
The wine for the New World this month is Cline Family Cellars Ancient Vines Carignane 2018. Cline Cellars is a producer based in Carneros and known for Zinfandel and Rhone varieties and established in 1982 in Oakley. Fred Cline is one of the original Rhone Rangers of California. Farming is sustainable and the wines are vegan-friendly. Contra Costa County AVA is directly east of San Francisco Bay and is home to some century-old plantings of Zinfandel, Mourvedre and Carignan (English is Carignane). The fruit for this wine is from four separate plots in Oakley, where the newest vineyard was planted in 1940, the rest around 1900. The fruit is hand-harvested, because the vines are too gnarly, then the fruit is destemmed with gentle crushing. The fermentation was done in Stainless Steel with indigenous yeasts and then aged for fifteen months in French Oak. The accompanying notes for the wines say the wine offered notes of berry, spices and plum. On the palate it offers tones of dark fruit, spice and pepper with structured tannins and bright acidity and a strong finish.