The Wine Drinker

This is the Dead Letter Office of my wine writing. These stories ended up not fitting on our company's Facebook page (Piedmont Wine Imports) or website,, for reasons that I think are clear once you scroll through a few posts. Less professional musings, impressions that ultimately never got past the rough prototype stage. Um... enjoy!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The 2007 Vintage - I Still Like Les Chemins de Bassac

Isabelle and Remi met in Paris, where they taught history. In 1987, when Isabelle's family wanted to sell the property, the couple decided to take over the estate. The winery has been family-owned since the beginning of the 19th century. Today the Ducelliers organically farm 15 hectares. I met the couple in Paris in the winter of 2004. I was poking around a salon of independently owned French wine estates. To be honest I sought out Isabelle and Remi. Early in my wine selling life I fell into the habit of drinking their affordable red by the case load. In the intervening years their wines had gotten better, less oaky, more real. In Bordeaux we met again, this time at an organic trade show in the summer of 2007. The Ducelliers are people one naturally gravitates toward. They have a weathered, fit, attractive look of a couple that works outdoors on a sun-baked farm. I really liked them. They give off an aura of earnestness, have a good sense of humor, seem primarily concerned with wine and the how to correctly farm it. I think they enjoy drinking wine as well. Not everyone in the wine industry does. . . .

The Cotes de Thongue is a promising sub region of the Languedoc, close to the city of Beziers. As years pass, the current spirit of exploration of terroir, dedication to unprecedented high levels of quality and vigorous experimentation will erase the memory of this region as a source of inexpensive plonk. As AOCs are slowly carved out of the larger Coteaux du Languedoc, the Cotes de Thongue becomes a likely candidate for promotion from its current vin de pays status.

Viognier and Roussanne are the grapes harvested for Isa Blanc. Approximately 15,000 bottles of the wine are made each year, from low-yielding (40 hl/ha) vines. The wine is thirst-quenching, sunny, easy to enjoy. Isa is relatively light in texture for a southern French white, with acidity that is so correct for its weigh that you don’t much notice it. Not oily or heavy, certainly not sharp. I see this perfect balance is a sign the Ducelliers have a mastery of their craft.


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