Thursday, October 20, 2005

Terroir Treat
The White Wine of Olivier Jullien

His reds are the most elegant of the Languedoc. They age with grace, gathering complexity like a fall wind. But his white wine had remained a mystery up until last week. I had tried a number of different millisèmes, liked them, but they were simply just good, not the majestic elixir as was advertised. Again, that was until last week.

Vin de Pays de L’Hérault 2000, Mas Jullien ($30..importation)
Composed of a veritable salad of indigenous (and bio-dynamically grown) grapes including Grenache Blanc, Viogner, Chenin, Terret Bourret and possibly even some Gros Manseng, this is big wine with a lot of stuff going on. Apparently his buddy Didier Dagneau of Pur Sang Pouilly fame helps Jullien with the vinification. My first two attempts were foiled simply by a lack of patience on my part. One could sense the grandeur but the combination of too much oak and bracing acidity put it out of balance.

One year later, the mystery is no longer. It had a beautiful floral nose with browning apples, peach and vanilla accents. It reminded me of spring. What followed was one of the creamiest and most complex whites that I have tasted in a while. Terret brings the apples, Grenache a hint of oxidized nuttiness, Viogner that allusion to sweet honeysuckle on the finish. The whole package was framed by a wonderful freshness that apparently comes from the Manseng. Drunk alongside Will and Sara’s inch high pork chops and served with an apple-tomatillo salsa, we shook are heads a number of times at how good the whole thing worked.

Who needs Chardonnay when this stuff exists?

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