Misfits I

Hello friends. We’re rolling out a new offering today, and if it’s successful, you can expect to see it become a recurring monthly feature.

It’s called Misfits, and it will feature wines that don’t quite make it into their own offering, but that are too compelling not to write about. These will mostly be wines that are a little outside the mainstream, but wines where those of us who like them *really* like them.

Unlike a regular Full Pull offering, which drills into deep detail on one or two or three wines, a Misfits offering will have much shorter blurbs (a paragraph or maybe two) on a greater number of wines.

Now it wouldn’t be a new Full Pull feature without a new map. Since we’re going to be zooming all over Europe today, here is a map with a key to all the locations we’ll be visiting.

Happy Friday, fellow wine nerds. Let’s fly the geek flags high today!

2012 Tasari Sicilia IGT Catarratto

A lot of Sicilian imports that make it into Seattle are of the dirty-stinky-belching-volcano variety. This bottle is the opposite: a clean-as-a-whistle Catarratto. Catarratto is the second-most planted white grape in Italy, and much of it goes into their vast Marsala production. But it can also make a lovely, dry, unfortified wine. This one drinks a little like Semillon, with its mix of fig and melon. I like the palate weight here, the juicy acidity, and the herb-inflected fruit. Classy texture, good complexity, and clean drinking from southernmost Italy.

2011 Olivier Morin Chitry Blanc

I sampled this at a recent tasting, and it was so good it sent me down the research rabbit hole to figure out why. Let’s start with this map. As you can see, Chitry is about as close to Chablis as you can get, yet up until 1993, any bottle from this area carried the generic Bourgogne appellation. In ’93, Chitry producers were granted the right to put Chitry on the bottle, but this still remains a very obscure part of Burgundy. Pity for them, bully for us, because this drinks exactly like a nice Chablis, but at an obscurity discount.

The soils in Chitry are the same kimmeridgian chalky series as Chablis. If you like your Chardonnay flinty, minerally, with no new oak, this is the bottle for you. A killer example of cold-climate Chardonnay, all steely white fruits and tree fruits and rippin’ acid. The value-for-price ratio is tremendous, and the only downside is that very little made it into Seattle (very little of any Chitry makes it into the entire United States for that matter), so this is unlikely to be available for reorder.

2011 Eric Texier Cotes-du-Rhone

Eric Texier is one of the most exciting vignerons working in the Rhone Valley today. His wines are imported into the US by the terrific Louis/Dressner (a stamp of approval for natural/geeky/delicious wines). This bottling is unlike any other you’ll taste from the one-size-fits-all Cotes-du-Rhone category. Eric starts with 80% Grenache (normal enough), but the remainder is all white grapes, a mix of Grenache Blanc, Clairette, and Bourboulenc. The result is a wine with soaring aromatics: white flowers, fresh summer strawberries, ripe red brambly raspberries. I could smell it all day long. The palate is light (12.5% listed alc), juicy, refreshing, and above all, balanced. It’s CdR as a vin de soif, and it should be on our Thanksgiving tables without question. A singular Cotes-du-Rhone from a special producer.

2012 Domaine Aime Vin de Pays d’Oc Cabernet Franc

A 100% Cabernet Franc from the Languedoc. I’m not used to this kind of palate-staining character at this tariff. “Rich and deep for cheap” my note says. Look for black fruit, mole poblano, sweet pepper, and minty topnotes. We’re worlds apart from the cool-climate Cab Franc of the Loire Valley (Chinon, Bourgeuil, Saumur). Instead look for the warmth and generosity of the Languedoc, the value garden of sunny southern France.

2011 Cantina del Bovale di Sardegna Monica

A Sardinian red, from the grape Monica (possibly indigenous, possibly from Spain), this is a delightful curiosity from that Mediterranean island. A nose of red cherry, sagebrush, mint, and bay leaf gives way to a juicy, fresh-herb-inflected mouthful, with subtle stoniness and a real wild/sauvage character to the mountain berry fruit. Not quite like anything I’ve tasted recently.

2010 Domaine du Cros Marcillac Vieilles Vignes

Marcillac is an almost-forgotten wine region in Southwest France, but there is a long history of winemaking here, and the dominant grape is Fer Servadou. Geek alert! The “fer” (iron) in Fer Servadou is thought to refer to one or both of a) the iron-hard wood of this particular vine; and b) the iron-rich, red-clay, “rougiers” soils.

Domaine du Cros is about as good as it gets in Marcillac, and this VV bottling comes from vines that are all more than 80 years old (80!!). It’s only the obscurity that keeps the price low here; the quality is spectacular. Aged in large barrels of both oak and chestnut, it starts with a nose of earth, rose petals, and stemmy red fruit. The palate has raspberry fruit, blood-orange acids, cherry-tea tannins, but this is above all an earthy, earthy wine. If you like tasting a specific piece of terroir, this is a wine to cherish.

First come first served on all of these, with no upper limits. All the wines should arrive within the next few weeks, at which point they will be available for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.

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