Domaine Aime 2010 Minervois
One of the wines Naked Wines included in the mixed case Judy recently bought was totally new to me. But the grapes that are permitted — even mandated by the French — to be blended into any wine labelled Minervois — thrive in parts of California’s North Coast. Unfortunately, they’re almost always (with one exception — Syrah) hidden in blended wines. That’s because customers have little idea what they’d be getting.
Well, what we’d be getting is fabulous! The nose is fruity, the flavor is an intense, concentrated fruit bowl, and the structure and balance of elements are wonderful. A sip leads to a gulp, Miss Manners be darned. The acids are as fearless as I am — though not as frightening. This wine will go with anything — although I’m writing right now before having it with any food. I couldn’t wait to tell the world!
In Languedoc, the Minervois appellation is permitted to have as much as 40 percent Carignan (here we bone-gnawing hairshirts call it Carignane). That variety sometimes is bottled all by itself; much more often, it’s found in lots of red blends. The vines produce huge quantities of fruit. Pure Carignane goes great with all kinds of peasant food.
Minervois can include Syrah, another variety that grows, and is bottled, prolifically here in northern California. Other varieties can be Grenache, Mourvedre, and Liedoner Pelut. Wikipedia informs me that in Languedoc any of those wines — or a blend including more than 40 percent Carignan — would be sold as Vin de Pays. I’m sure you’ll find it hard to wait to see if you can find anyone who cares about anything in this paragraph. I do, so you’re reading it. Power of the pen.
What I have in mind to drink this with includes kielbasa, grilled with a southern barbecue sauce and a horseradish-infused grainy mustard. I’m reheating a creamy risotto left over from last night, adding a strong dose of blue cheese and . . . yeah, I’m fearless . . . a glob of red-chili prepared nacho sauce. To continue the fearless nature of the meal, the salad is small broccoli florets, small canned black beans, and corn cooked on the cob, then stripped into kernels. Light mayonnaise, some rice and balsamic vinegars and several fresh basil leaves finish the salad.
We’ll see how this goes. If it’s as I expect, this is all you’ll learn about it. If it doesn’t please us, I’ll let you know. Okay? Bob Cramer, The Fearless Taster.