Last week Doug and I made the journey over state lines to attend a tasting at Potomac Selection’s warehouse in Maryland. Rather than the hours-long dog and pony show these tastings usually entail, Eric and Ryne opened about 25 interesting bottles, set them on a table, and let us all go to town. They made themselves available to answer questions and set some bread and cheese on a pile of boxes in the corner, and that was about it.
Other than the cold toes I always get in a warehouse that’s kept at the right temperature, this couldn’t have been a more perfect way to revisit what’s currently on our shelves from the portfolio and taste new things. Usually industry tastings are either in a stuffy banquet hall/convention center and you have to elbow people out of the way to get to a spit bucket, or they’re sit-down affairs that end up being about an hour longer than you wanted to spend, with no way to make a tactful escape.
There were many highlights of this tasting – I finally got to taste a Freisa after having been cruelly denied in the Piedmont (none of the producers brought one out – it’s almost as if they know it’s a weird grape no one cares about…) and we were reminded just how much we love Domaine Labbe’s Savoie.
Two discoveries made it onto our shelves immediately after we tasted them. One was Moutard’s 6 Cepages 2005, a blend of all six allowed Champagne varietals: Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, Arlane, and Pinot Meslier. Just to further up the geek factor, it undergoes its secondary fermentation under a traditional cork reinforced by metal brackets rather than the crown cap that’s used in most Champagne production. Thought provoking and deeply savory, but not lacking in fun, its $54.99 price tag is positively cheap when compared to other vintage Champagnes of this caliber.
We also got acquainted with Dom Jean Royer’s Chateauneuf-du-Papes. These are not made in the big, glossy style that makes the cover of Wine Spectator. These are traditional, food-friendly, and not so tannic and extracted they need years in bottle to unwind. Doug enjoyed a bottle of the Tradition at home this past Friday and was so enthusiastic his description used language too colorful to post here. If that’s not a ringing endorsement, I don’t know what is!