Sunday, January 9, 2011

2009 Colombelle White Cotes de Gascogne

A white wine from Cotes de Gascogne (a region of Southwestern France) can be a wonderful thing, and often a spectacular value. Generally made from a blend of Colombard and Ugni Blanc (the grape that much Cognac is made from), white Cotes de Gascogne generally has vibrant green apple and citrus flavors.

The most popular example sold in the US is Domaine de Pouy, which has long been imported by Berkeley's Robert Kacher and is well known in the industry as a great deal and a perfect match for oysters or straight-from-the-sea grilled fish, usually selling for $9 or less.

Unfortunately, the 2009 Colombelle ($9,
imported by Winesellers, Ltd.) doesn't quite match the magic of that classic Cotes de Gascogne. Finished under a screwcap (which I often prefer to cork), it displays musky, reductive sulfur aromas along with sweet white flower aromas. Reductive aromas can be amplified or worsened by screwcaps, but also can be avoided by good winemaking.

The wine is reminiscent of a young, blonde dance student after a rehearsal: feisty, furtive, pungent, and somewhat shallow. After determining that this white wine was unlikely to blow me, I became decidedly disinterested.

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