February 08, 2009

Spakling rose and a stop at Bar Avignon

Last night we sampled a bottle of 2002 Domaine de Cray Cremant de Loire Rose, which is absolutely delicious and yet another terrific value in sparkling wine. Where can you get vintage rose sparkling wine made from pinot noir that's this good for only around $13? Better yet, locals should be able to get it a bit cheaper still as the distributor has put it on post off. I'm going to load up.

The wine is a gorgeous salmon color, with a nice berry aroma that's fruity but not overly so. There's also nice yeasty, buiscuit notes that give depth to the perfume. In the mouth, it's again strikingly berry fruited but not sweet, minerally and maybe even chalky with yeast notes. The package is bright and fresh, yet round and integrated, all at once. This is high quality wine from a great Loire Valley vintage, and versatile enough to go with lots of different food. I'm impressed. I don't know how long it will last in the cellar, but I'm guessing a few years won't hurt anything.

A nice touch is the wine's clear glass bottle, which I'm saving for use as a water bottle on the dinner table. The label soaked off really easily. You see, I love water with meals, and certainly with drinking any kind of alcohol, but I'm terrible about remembering it at home. It just so happened that before getting this Cray wine, I stopped by the excellent Bar Avignon in SE Portland to pick up a gift certificate for a friend who's been a great help and support for my homemade wine. Sitting at the bar while they rang up my purchase, a server poured me cold tap water from a clear glass wine bottle. They keep a bunch of them in the fridge and pour liberally, into really nice and simple but not too narrow, not too tall glasses. I thought to myself -- I need to do that. Now, with one empty bottle of Cray Cremant Rose and several more to come, I'm excited for delicious, refreshing water. Come on over.

Finally, it just so happened that I stopped by Bar Avignon while Jay Somers from J. Christopher winery was pouring a few current releases. All four were delicious and interesting. First, a 2007 Maresh Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, very crisp, fresh, and varietal. Nice restrained fruit flavors and persistent acidity. Then the 2007 Le Pavillon Chardonnay, again varietal and minerally, showing its no oak, no malolactic elevage. Very nice.

Jay mentioned that he won't bottle any single vineyard / reserve type red wines from 2007, for economic reasons, not vintage quality. Judging from the basic 2007 Zoot Allures Pinot Noir bottling, quality indeed isn't the issue. This is really nice, bright and pure pinot noir without any herbal or green qualities. Very impressive sub $20 Oregon pinot noir from this vintage. Finally, the 2006 Sandra Adele Pinot Noir, very rich, maybe even heavy in texture but woodsy and floral amid the strong berry flavors. Very 2006, but also very good. Thanks for the samples Jay.

10 comments:

Michael Alberty said...

Turns out the Cray has a splash of Pinot d'Aunis in it.

Michael Alberty said...

Or for the old schoolers out there, Pineau d'Aunis.

Vincent Fritzsche said...

Thanks for correcting yourself so I didn't have to. Heh heh heh.

Steve M said...

On his recommendation, Melissa and I picked up a few of these from Michael the other day. We had one Friday night and enjoyed it as much as you did.

Vincent Fritzsche said...

Isn't that good? I was skeptical when I saw it on the shelf. Might be good...but it might not. I don't need a great wine every time out, but I do like finding really good things that are cheap. Here's one. Storyteller wine company strikes again.

Marshall Manning said...

Honestly, all of this talk about Cray is more than I can stand. I wonder why you're acting this way about a cheap sparkler that's still around at every grocery store in town, even the one right next door. I'm going to laugh out loud if I hear any more about this wine, can't we get some new blood here? Don't you even care about the 7 or 8 Elevage readers? I wonder.

Vincent Fritzsche said...

Fair enough. I'm out of the supermarket loop apparently. Cray is new (again) to me. This stuff is good. I don't have a problem with excessive positivity. It's the grinding geek negativity that gets me down. Don't tell me there's too much dosage in this one, please.

Marshall Manning said...

I think you need to brush up on your Cray (Robert)!

Vincent Fritzsche said...

You're a Bad Influence. If it's a Showdown you're looking for, be advised I'm a Strong Persuader. Don't Be Afraid of the Dark. You and your False Accusations. You Was Warned.

Bob Cray said...

Hey guys, thanks for all the love. I want you to know that I drink Cray Brute Rose. It's even in my concert riders. It was even the inspiration for Night patrol as I used to cruise Seattle grocery stores looking for my next bottle.Now I may not know Pinot d'Aunis from glazed doughnuts, but I know what I like.