Derrick over at An Obsession with Food is hosting this month's Wine Blogging Wednesday. For #16, he chose the theme Judge a Bottle By Its Cover and was instructing us to, ideally, choose a wine with a pretty label, preferably one that we didn’t already know.
With that in mind, I skipped the wine shops altogether and searched our small but well stocked cellar and found a bottle perfect for the occasion, a wine I've been very looking forward to taste since the day I was first introduced to it by Arnie Millan, a local sommelier and guru on all things wine here in Seattle.
About the label:
As much as I enjoy a floral or minimalist-styled label (black an white is a favorite) on a bottle of wine I really did not pick my Domaine de la Sansonnière Rosé d'un Jour (2004) just for looks. Afterall, the Rosé bears a pretty straightforward sticker with barely a design--there is only a small white unicorn on the silver and purple shield.
What struck me about this wine's label was less decorative and more abstract. I found it a very gutsy and different label, perhaps even the most outspoken, in your face wine label I've ever encountered so far.
The producer of this wine is none other than French viticulturist Mark Angéli, who importer Joe Dressner has called a passionate biodynamiste whose relentless pursuit of quality in Biodynamic farming practices have establish him as one of the heroes of the movement, of this school of wine growing and wine making.
You see, I've been more and more interested in learning about this aspect of viticulture and had been looking forward to trying this wine.
These bio-dynamic wine growers are making the wine in the vineyards. They are tending the vines, pruning, harvesting and blending the grapes themselves, using a combination of strict terroir elements, old country lore, science and nature principles (guided by the phases of the moon, using organic methods of fertilizing, playing music to the vines, talking to the plants, etc.) to create a superior, organic wine that is conceived in a sustainable manner.
To this mix of pseudo religion, philosophy and granted, a bit of hocus pocus, traditional wine producers have not only balked and scoffed at the concept but laughed at some of the efforts (the Rosé was "declined the AOC a few years ago for being atypical", Dressner added.
So instead of sucking up to the AOC, Mark Angéli had decided to play with their heads not only using botrytized grapes in the blend but by calling his wine a table wine, naming it Rosé D'Un Jour, all the while attacking his detractors in a hilarious indictment right on the bottle's label (I laughed out loud when I read the snippy "take that" message on the side of the bottle. It takes chutzpah put that on a label!).
Another thing about the label that gave me a chuckle was the note at the bottom of the sticker that detailed the composition of the wine as grapes and sulfur dioxide and how the winemaker calls himself a paysan, a countryman of Thouarcé (Pays de la Loire region).
Now, on to the tasting:
Tonight, paired with a Pork Tenderloin with caramelized onions and a Lillet-Apple Cider reduction (served with a sweet potato, red potato and apple purée) we opened this baby up and sipped it both as aperitif and dessert wine.
We both loved it.
The wine, pure nectar, a blend of 60% Grillo, 20% Gamay, 20% Cabernet Franc, had a gorgeous apricot color, with mouthwatering and intoxicating--albeit focused and full of finesse--botrytized aromas, concentrated orange peel, honey and white peach.
A bit of a herbal character, expansive palate, full of ripe fruit and acidity. Creamy, with a powerful and lasting finish.
Do not be confused by the Rosé labeling, This is not an ordinary Rosé. Angéli's wine far more refined, and a lot more precious. Rather than being just a casual, dry and unremarkable summer quaffer to be enjoyed on a terrace while waiting for a steak on the grill, this is a wine to linger with, to sip and allow it to show you all its got, to surprise you even.
This is a beautiful wine that was not only enjoyed with our food but also did pretty well sipped on its own after dinner. Next time I'll pair it with a chunk of Point Reyes, sliced Comice pear and a few unsalted pistachios, perfect for a dessert course.
The Rosé D'Un Jour is proof positive that bio-dynamic wines are not just hocus pocus and that Angéli is a master at what he does. And being that Rosé D'Un Jour is now considered one of the best examples of wines in this particular appellation, Angeli is the one having the last laugh.
*More on Domaine de la Sansonnière Rosé d'un Jour (2004) at 67 Wine & Liquor. In Seattle, the Rosé is distributed (limited quantities) by Triage Wines (707 S. Lander St. Suite 111 Seattle, WA 98134 206-883-0543). My bottle was purchased at Esquin Wine Merchants for $21.99.
Rosé D'Un Jour is Demeter certified. Demeter International is the largest certification organization for Bio-dynamic agriculture.