Monday, January 7, 2008

Chinon les Morinieres Joseph Mellot, 2004

"Beuvez toujours, vous ne mourrez jamais." That motto--attributed to Rabelais--is roughly translated as "drink constantly, never die." And Rabelais loved Chinon.

Jacqueline Friedrich, author of Wine and Food Guide to the Loire, calls Chinon a "buoyant wine, ...a cross between a juicy Beaujolais and a young claret." And she says, "With rare exception, every single Chinon could--could and should--be better." The reason is that the winemakers there are so darn sociable. "More than anything, the Chinonais vigneron makes wine for his buddies, for endless afternoons that melt into late nights in the bowels of cellars."

So imagine, if you will, as you drink this wine that you are with the winemaker and his or her buddies, standing around in the dank cellar, clad in boots and overalls, drinking glass after glass of Chinon (with an ancient bottle or two of Vouvray waiting for later in the session). There is a rough table in the center holding numerous half-consumed bottles plus cold cuts. And around the circle of drinkers is an outer circle of faithful, beloved dogs, waiting for scraps and kind words.

Chinon les Morinieres is everything one could expect, and glasses are raised to salute the vigneron. Deep bluish, almost purple robe. The nose is very fruity--mashed cherries, crushed raspberries and a tiny bite of dust that's typical of Loire Cabernet Franc. Ripe, ripe flavors followed by a dusty finish that gives it structure. With this wine in your glass, it's very easy to drink, and you feel as if you will live forever. Salut!

I bought this wine for $13.99 at D&W Fresh Markets in southwest Michigan.

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