Sunday, February 3, 2008

Domaine de Valmoissine Pinot Noir des Coteaux du Verdon, Louis Latour, 2005

This is a companion piece for the Louis Latour Ardeche Chardonnays I reported on earlier--an authentic taste of Pinot Noir with a Burgundian flair from vines outside of Burgundy. At $12.99 or less a bottle (at D&W Fresh Markets in southwest Michigan), it is my pick for the best value in Pinot Noir.

The 2005 is a very light (but also very bright) crimson color, and the delicacy carries over to the aroma and flavors. This wine never knocks you over but, if you pay attention, it will give you a taste of true elegance. The scents are classic Pinot Noir--dark cherries, pomegranates, fresh flowers. The flavors are just ripe enough to glide across the palate, coating it with pleasure. There's really no reason to age this wine, although, according to Louis Latour's web site, the 1997 is still drinking nicely.

As the Latour folks point out, the wine is made in a "vin vermeil" style that was popular at the end of the 18th century: "elegance and finesse packed with fruit, and a vivid 'vermeil' or bright red color." Grapes come from the site of an ancient monastery and university at Valmoissine--high ground with a cool climate but sunny and protected from spring frosts. Grapes are hand picked, fermented in stainless steel, then matured in old oak casks from the Latour cooperage to allow the flavors and aromas to develop naturally. As with the Ardeche Chardonnays, there is good use of oak to highlight rather than overwhelm the fruit. This is my style of wine. At the price, it's an excellent choice for every day drinking, but I would not hesitate to serve it for nearly any occasion.

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