Every bottle has a story

I am not a wine expert, but with each bottle I try and share with friends, I learn more. Wine is an exceptional social drink; it is the marijuana of alcoholic beverages because it must be shared. I seek to share with you my thoughts and experiences as I drink the wine in my closet, as well as my enthusiasm for the finds that come my way and the excellent values that I find. I'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences too, so please share!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Young, big and delicious

Recently I went out to dinner at erwin in Chicago with friends Curt and Todd. The special for the night was a French country style chicken, which both Curt and I ordered. Todd ordered the sautéed calf’s liver served with turnips. Both entrees had very flavorful sauces. The chicken thighs also were served atop a bed of green and ripe olives with other herbs, and came with a delicious leek soup.

I was delegated the wine choice, and considering our dinners, I identified three choices, noting I leaned heavily toward a Gigondas I saw on the list. My guidance was followed and we had the Elegantia 2009 Gigondas.

A southern Rhône appellation, Gigondas is like a value Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Normally not as big as a Châteauneuf, Gigondas nonetheless can have great depth and character, and the better ones age rather well too. Better still, you can find some really outstanding Gigondas for $25 or less, while a similarly stellar Châteauneuf-du-Pape will cost you a minimum of $50, mostly like closer to $100 or more. While this was a bit pricy on the menu, the Elegantia retails for under $20.

The Elegantia is not a well-known wine. The label shows no information regarding a house or vintner, which likely means the wine is made through a cooperative. That might indicate to some people lower quality, but I assure you it does not. This wine turned out to be a superb accompaniment for both entrees.

It has a beautiful light and delicate color, almost like a Pinot Noir. The taste is light with subtle mineral and a deliciously long chocolate finish. There’s even a hint of chocolate on the nose with light berry. It was juicy, but not jammy. And the cassis fruit was so delicate it really gave it a fine focus and depth.

I give this a 9 using my scale at the left.

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