Sunday, May 4, 2008

Far from the Eye Vin de Pays

Our friends down at Salem Wine Imports had a disaster in the shop last week. The thermostat malfunctioned and the entire stock was cooked. Eric says that he was coming off of a record sales week when the disaster happened. He has tried 70 labels, each one destroyed. He has lost 2000 bottles of wine, all are being sent to be demolished.

It was a rainy, dreary day so we decided to get out and drive down to see how he was coming along. Eric has been working hard all week and has just reopened. To help Taster B and I learn about flawed wine, he opened a few for us. Some of these wines we have had before. It was heart breaking to see the Uvaggio sitting there waiting to go to the dump. One must be brave in times like these.

Cooked wine (in this case temperatures hovered around 90 degrees Fahrenheit for an extended period) is not salvageable. The effects are easier to detect in red wines. The wine generally has a good nose, and the initial taste is fine, however it goes bitter in the mid palate and the finish dies off leaving the bitter taste. The whites we tried had a good nose and did better on the palate, but again, the finish dies off. The bitterness was not as evident. Wisely, every bottle that was in the store during the disaster will be destroyed.

Many of Salem Wine Import wines are unique and in limited supply. Tragically, some of our favorites are no longer available. Happily, there are some new wines on his shelves. One of these wines is a really interesting white varietal. Loin de l’Œil (Far from the Eye); so named because the bunch of grapes has a long stem taking it far from the bud or 'eye.' The brand, “Les Rials” Vin de Pays de Côtes du Tarn is from Domain de la Chanade.

Click to enlarge. (c)SmellsLikeGrape Loin de l'Oeil
Domain de la Chanade

Vintage: 2007
Growing region: Côtes du Tarn
Alcohol: 12.0%
Price: $8.99

Color: Straw yellow
Intensity: Medium
Aromas: Citrus, tropical fruit, hay, almond and honey
Flavors: Lemon, lime, green apple, pear, melon, passion fruit, stone, almond with a touch of honey.
Body: medium
Acidity: Crisp
Sweetness: Off dry
Finish: Moderate

Summary: The nose is very reminiscent of citrus blossoms and tropical fruit. The taste is fruit forward with Granny Smith, lemon, lime and tropical flavors. The stone and mineral with a bit of nuttiness arrive on the long finish.

This is not a very common varietal. In true Salem Wine Imports fashion, this wine is out of the ordinary and you will not find this in many shops. Eric has several cases on hand, newly arrived after the disaster. Tonight, Taster B made fresh Atlantic wild caught salmon purchased 10 yards from Gloucester Harbor, baby spinach salad and sautéed potatoes.

Is this wine any good? Well, I started off with a two ounce evaluation pour; a glass with dinner, and a glass after dinner. (Just so I can keep it fresh in my mind while I post, thank you very much!) Yeah, I’ve been nipping on is since we got home.

My advice; (especially to my friend Allison) scamper over and pick up a bottle or six. Serve it chilled for an easy everyday summertime favorite. Salem Wine Imports is up and running. Eric expects that he will be 90% restocked by this Friday.


Richard A. said...

I have very much enjoyed the prior vintages of this wine though have not had the 2007 yet. For a wine less than $10, this is a great value.

Wilf G.K said...

Sad but true. Its all about the right temperature. On a trip to Honolulu, I stopped in at a local wine shop and was horrified to find the temperature inside the store even warmer than it was outside. Needless to say I did not buy any wine there. That night I went to a local restaurant and ordered a bottle of wine. It was gone and the waiter brought out a new bottle. Same thing. A little embarrassing turning back two bottles. When I asked where they kept their wines, I was told it was an area just of the side of the kitchen. Not to cool. I opted for a nice cold beer. Neither of these two establishments seemed to care. Sounds like your friends at Salem Imports do.