off the beaten path

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Joseph Grassa
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off the beaten path

#1 Post by Joseph Grassa »

looking for unique wines, either by region, varietal, viticulture, vinification... There are so many interesting wines with near unlimited varietals, it is hard to know where to look outside of the more well known stuff.

I recently had Chateau Musar's 2018 Jeune Red from Lebanon's Bekaa Valley (50% Cinsault, 30% Syrah, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon). Very good QPR. I will likely buy a few more.

2015 Montresor Re Teodorico Recioto della Valpolicella. If you like Port and/or Amarone, Recioto della Valpolicellas are worth a try. Had this last Christmas and decided to make a new tradition of opening a Recioto each Christmas day. This year will be 2015 Tommaso Bussola Recioto della Valpolicella Classico

Currently I am looking for Picolit wines from Friuli-Venezia Giulia, but have yet to try.

What are some of the more unique wines anyone has tried and would recommend? Hopefully this is useful to others out there exploring as well, but thank you in advance for any recs.

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Re: off the beaten path

#2 Post by Mich@el Ch@ng »

There are a lot of threads on this topic. May want to do a search. I don’t find musar particularly off the beaten path either.

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Re: off the beaten path

#3 Post by Tomás Costa »

Can someone call Otto Forsberg?
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Re: off the beaten path

#4 Post by Markus S »

Oh boy, where do we begin? Finding offbeat wines takes perseverance. Much depends on what is imported, what market you live in, and what stores you shop and buy at. Just start searching. One thing though, you won't find many picolits around.
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Re: off the beaten path

#5 Post by AD Northup »

Mich@el Ch@ng wrote: December 9th, 2020, 7:30 am There are a lot of threads on this topic. May want to do a search. I don’t find musar particularly off the beaten path either.
On this board and in common circles it certainly is not, but for the broader wine drinking public (especially in the US), Musar (and other Bekaa wines) are very far off the beaten path, though so would probably be certain other regions (Friuli as stated by OP for example) that board members don't find off the beaten path.

A few suggestions that are similarly places as the OP's example: Western Slovenia (Brda) white wines, a fun comparison to the Friuli whites (as well as wines from Croatia, Montenegro, etc.), or Isreali/Turkish red wines (if you can source them).
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Re: off the beaten path

#6 Post by Otto Forsberg »

Tomás Costa wrote: December 9th, 2020, 8:04 am Can someone call Otto Forsberg?
*Emerges out of nowhere*

Well now, this looks like my kind of thread.

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Re: off the beaten path

#7 Post by Mich@el Ch@ng »

AD Northup wrote: December 9th, 2020, 8:13 am
Mich@el Ch@ng wrote: December 9th, 2020, 7:30 am There are a lot of threads on this topic. May want to do a search. I don’t find musar particularly off the beaten path either.
On this board and in common circles it certainly is not, but for the broader wine drinking public (especially in the US), Musar (and other Bekaa wines) are very far off the beaten path, though so would probably be certain other regions (Friuli as stated by OP for example) that board members don't find off the beaten path.

A few suggestions that are similarly places as the OP's example: Western Slovenia (Brda) white wines, a fun comparison to the Friuli whites (as well as wines from Croatia, Montenegro, etc.), or Isreali/Turkish red wines (if you can source them).
Musar makes 60k cases a year. I saw it on the wine list at Hillstone. How is that off the beaten path?

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Re: off the beaten path

#8 Post by AD Northup »

Mich@el Ch@ng wrote: December 9th, 2020, 9:36 am
AD Northup wrote: December 9th, 2020, 8:13 am
Mich@el Ch@ng wrote: December 9th, 2020, 7:30 am There are a lot of threads on this topic. May want to do a search. I don’t find musar particularly off the beaten path either.
On this board and in common circles it certainly is not, but for the broader wine drinking public (especially in the US), Musar (and other Bekaa wines) are very far off the beaten path, though so would probably be certain other regions (Friuli as stated by OP for example) that board members don't find off the beaten path.

A few suggestions that are similarly places as the OP's example: Western Slovenia (Brda) white wines, a fun comparison to the Friuli whites (as well as wines from Croatia, Montenegro, etc.), or Isreali/Turkish red wines (if you can source them).
Musar makes 60k cases a year. I saw it on the wine list at Hillstone. How is that off the beaten path?
Off the beaten path can mean “not widely known”...ask the average wine drinker in the US if they know about Chateau Musar and you’ll get blank stares
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Re: off the beaten path

#9 Post by D@ve D y r 0 f f »

Using AD's definition of off the beaten path - that is, wines that go beyond the half-dozen major categories one learns about when starting out but aren't uber-rare micro-wines that only 12 people and a goat have ever heard of - and in addition to those already mentioned - I'd suggest mencia-based wines from Bierzo and Ribeira Sacra in Spain and mondeuse-based wines from the Savoie in France. Delicious and relatively available these days.

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Re: off the beaten path

#10 Post by AD Northup »

D@ve D y r 0 f f wrote: December 9th, 2020, 9:51 am Using AD's definition of off the beaten path - that is, wines that go beyond the half-dozen major categories one learns about when starting out but aren't uber-rare micro-wines that only 12 people and a goat have ever heard of - and in addition to those already mentioned - I'd suggest mencia-based wines from Bierzo and Ribeira Sacra in Spain and mondeuse-based wines from the Savoie in France. Delicious and relatively available these days.
+1 on Ribeira Sacra, good call
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Re: off the beaten path

#11 Post by Brent C l a y t o n »

Ruche was mentioned in the bargain Nebbiolo thread. That's a good one.
Have you explored much from Campania, Marche, Calabria and Puglia?

I represent some of these but:
Vestini Campagnano Terre del Volturno--in the northern hills of Campania, wines are focused on the ancient varieties of Pallagrello Nero, Casavecchia & Pallagrello Bianco
Lacrima di Morro di Alba (grape) I represent Lucchetti, and I used to sell Velenosi. Also look for the region's unique dessert wine Vini Viscole, made with a local variety of tart cherries added to the Lacrima.
Statti Gaglioppo or any Ciro from Calabria
Puglia-Negroamaro, Susumaniello (varieties) I represent a winery called Schola Sarmenti. Primitivo is a little more common in the region.
Sicily-Perricone (red) Grillo & Cataratto (white)

As others mentioned, the wines you discussed in your OP aren't necessarily considered 'off the beaten path' for most...
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Re: off the beaten path

#12 Post by Mich@el Ch@ng »

AD Northup wrote: December 9th, 2020, 9:43 am
Mich@el Ch@ng wrote: December 9th, 2020, 9:36 am
AD Northup wrote: December 9th, 2020, 8:13 am

On this board and in common circles it certainly is not, but for the broader wine drinking public (especially in the US), Musar (and other Bekaa wines) are very far off the beaten path, though so would probably be certain other regions (Friuli as stated by OP for example) that board members don't find off the beaten path.

A few suggestions that are similarly places as the OP's example: Western Slovenia (Brda) white wines, a fun comparison to the Friuli whites (as well as wines from Croatia, Montenegro, etc.), or Isreali/Turkish red wines (if you can source them).
Musar makes 60k cases a year. I saw it on the wine list at Hillstone. How is that off the beaten path?
Off the beaten path can mean “not widely known”...ask the average wine drinker in the US if they know about Chateau Musar and you’ll get blank stares
By that definition you could call almost anything that isn’t Cabernet, Malbec, merlot, Pinot, sauvignon bland, or Chardonnay off the beaten path.

The OP is on a wine forum; I don’t think we should apply that standard.

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Re: off the beaten path

#13 Post by D@ve D y r 0 f f »

Probably best to follow the OP's guidance on what he means by the term for purposes of this thread. Since he gave Musar, Friuli, and Recioto as examples of what he means, we should probably go with that. I think the wines mentioned in the responses are in that vein, even if not in the "even Otto and Tom Hill have never tried this" vein.

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Re: off the beaten path

#14 Post by Markus S »

Mich@el Ch@ng wrote: December 9th, 2020, 9:36 am ... I saw it on the wine list at Hillstone. How is that off the beaten path?
Is this like a McDonald's or Olive Garden? If not, sounds like an offbeat restaurant. pepsi
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Re: off the beaten path

#15 Post by Joseph Grassa »

Thanks for the responses. I just want to clarify something before this goes further. I think we can all agree that off the beaten path is different for different people. I am hoping we can focus on what wines we each find unique and interesting rather than debating whether a wine or region qualifies as if it is an objective scientifically defined phrase.

I agree that Chateau Musar is not the most unknown producer, but I find a wine that is 50% Cinsault to be unique from my personal experience and I have only had several bottles from Lebanon in my life in general.

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Re: off the beaten path

#16 Post by Joseph Grassa »

D@ve D y r 0 f f wrote: December 9th, 2020, 9:51 am Using AD's definition of off the beaten path - that is, wines that go beyond the half-dozen major categories one learns about when starting out but aren't uber-rare micro-wines that only 12 people and a goat have ever heard of - and in addition to those already mentioned - I'd suggest mencia-based wines from Bierzo and Ribeira Sacra in Spain and mondeuse-based wines from the Savoie in France. Delicious and relatively available these days.
Great call. About 2.1% of my collection is actually Mencia from Bierzo and I drink them regularly. Just to add to my point in the last comment. I have a family member who has been drinking far longer than I and has a fairly large collection, but he can't recall ever having a bottle of Mencia so I just bought him a few this past weekend. IMO Mencia is very under appreciated

Don't think I have had anything from Ribeira Sacra, but will definitely be on the hunt now!

Thank you.

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Re: off the beaten path

#17 Post by Joseph Grassa »

Brent C l a y t o n wrote: December 9th, 2020, 9:53 am Ruche was mentioned in the bargain Nebbiolo thread. That's a good one.
Have you explored much from Campania, Marche, Calabria and Puglia?

I represent some of these but:
Vestini Campagnano Terre del Volturno--in the northern hills of Campania, wines are focused on the ancient varieties of Pallagrello Nero, Casavecchia & Pallagrello Bianco
Lacrima di Morro di Alba (grape) I represent Lucchetti, and I used to sell Velenosi. Also look for the region's unique dessert wine Vini Viscole, made with a local variety of tart cherries added to the Lacrima.
Statti Gaglioppo or any Ciro from Calabria
Puglia-Negroamaro, Susumaniello (varieties) I represent a winery called Schola Sarmenti. Primitivo is a little more common in the region.
Sicily-Perricone (red) Grillo & Cataratto (white)

As others mentioned, the wines you discussed in your OP aren't necessarily considered 'off the beaten path' for most...
I'm a huge fan of Negroamaro. 1.8% of my collection is Negroamaro from Puglia about probably about 4% of what I drink due to the price point.

Never had a few others you mentioned. Any Perricone, or Vini Viscole you could recommend?

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Re: off the beaten path

#18 Post by Kevin Porter »

It looks like your focus is old world but if you're open to CA i suggest that you check the Sabelli-Frisch offer in Commerce Corner. The Mission is a fascinating history lesson and a really nice sip!

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Re: off the beaten path

#19 Post by Joseph Grassa »

    Kevin Porter wrote: December 9th, 2020, 11:22 am It looks like your focus is old world but if you're open to CA i suggest that you check the Sabelli-Frisch offer in Commerce Corner. The Mission is a fascinating history lesson and a really nice sip!
    always looking to support smaller businesses when I can. just purchased a 3 pack. Thanks!

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    Re: off the beaten path

    #20 Post by Otto Forsberg »

    D@ve D y r 0 f f wrote: December 9th, 2020, 10:19 amin the "even Otto and Tom Hill have never tried this" vein.
    Are there such wines?

    Just joking. [wink.gif]

    Anyhoo, I guess I could contribute with some stuff I've tasted off the beaten path.

    2017 Artemis Karamolegos Assyrtiko Mystirio/21 - I suppose Santorini Assyrtiko isn't off the beaten path to anyone. How about one fermented on the skins for 21 days? One would think that a grape known for piercing acidity, aggressive minerality and rather noticeable phenolics wouldn't make a good skin-contact white. Well, surprisingly enough, they make. Rather austere, but very fine-tuned, delicate and cellarworthy. Probably not everybody's cup of tea, but definitely a positive surprise for a style that didn't exist 5 years ago.

    2009 Benoît Lahaye Champagne Grand Cru Brut Nature Le Jardin de la Grosse Pierre - I guess everybody has tasted Champagne made from the 3 key varieties. Some have tasted wines made from the other 4 permitted varieties. However, this Champagne is composed of 9 different varieties, and it doesn't even have all the 7 permitted varieties in the blend! A spectacular bubbly.

    2014 Bire Grk - or any Grk for that matter. Probably the greatest white variety in Croatia. Unctuous like a Viognier, but shows more structure and remarkable depth. The difficulty in growing Grk is that the vines have only female flowers, so the vines won't cross-pollinate themselves. You have to rely on bees and other insects and keep your fingers crossed. That's why there is so little Grk to go around.

    1994 Girolamo Dorigo Colli Pignolo di Buttrio - This would be Friuli's answer to Langhe's Barolo/Barbaresco, Tuscany's Brunello, Campania's Taurasi and Umbria's Sagrantino - only if anybody would've heard of it. Outrageously structured with remarkable power, acidity and tannins. Since the wines are rather forbidding in their youth (just like Nebbiolo, Aglianico and Sagrantino), most producers have ceased to farm Pignolo and most of the remaining producers tend to make their Pignolos now in this soft and sweet semi-appassimento style that tries to compete with the Amarone wines from the neighboring Veneto. Great Pignolos are very difficult to come by nowadays.

    NV Jacques Lassaigne Champagne Le Flacon De L'Incertitude - an orange Champagne. I guess that says enough. Terrific stuff.

    NV Jean Bourdy Galant des Abbesses - Technically not a wine, but instead probably the most extraordinary mistelle in the world. The base wine is unfermented Savagnin from Château-Chalon, which is cooked for one whole day with 25 different spices, letting the juice concentrate and infuse it with the spice flavors. After the cooking the juice is fortified with Marc de Franche-Comté, resulting in a Macvin that is 2/3 juice and 1/3 Marc. Then it is aged for a minimum of 5 years in oak barrels. You just simply lack the words to describe the smell of this "wine", let alone its taste.

    2018 Pheasant's Tears Chinuri-Danakharuli - This is Pheasant's Tears' own Georgian take on rosé. Instead of making a rosé wine, they've co-fermented white Chinuri with the nigh-extinct Danakharuli (there are only a few hectares in the world). The grapes have went with skins and stems into a kvevri, macerated with the skins for two weeks and then left to finish the fermentation and clarify itself naturally. Feels like a very weird countryside cousin of the already rustic Spanish Clarete style of wine.

    1931 Viuva José Gomes da Silva & Filhos Colares Reserva Tinto - These Colares wines are astounding. They seem to develop for 30-40 years and then they just stop it right there. I arranged a tasting of Colares 2010-1931 and from the bottles from the 70's, 60's, 50's, 40's and 30's it was impossible to tell which wines were older and which younger. As long as the cork holds, these wines don't seem to go anywhere.

    1992 Weingut Raabe-Schönhof Spätburgunder Beerenauslese Trocken - So, this is not a Trockenbeerenauslese, but a Beerenauslese Trocken. So, somebody in 1992 had a great idea to make a Beerenauslese wine from botrytized Spätburgunder grapes - and then ferment the wine dry. 16,5% alcohol. Unique? Definitely! Good? Heck no.

    And then of course: 2012 Château Elomaa Rondo Aiswine - the only ice wine ever made in Finland. Total production: two half bottles. This was poured to me blind, I thought it was a good-quality red Beerenauslese from Austria. Shows that it is possible to make wines of distinction even here in Finland, but I guess making it actually profitable with production numbers like these is still a work in progress.

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    Re: off the beaten path

    #21 Post by Jayson Cohen »

    Otto, re: Lahaye Champagne Grand Cru Brut Nature Le Jardin de la Grosse Pierre. I don’t know how long he has been making it. But the Aubrys have been making their blends from a multitude of grape varieties for at least a couple decades including using a lot of Arbanne, Petit Meslier, and Pinot Blanc. They used to use all 7 allowed varieties in a single wine in the ‘90s but it’s not clear to me they still do.

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    Re: off the beaten path

    #22 Post by Jay Miller »

    Jayson Cohen wrote: December 9th, 2020, 12:10 pm Otto, re: Lahaye Champagne Grand Cru Brut Nature Le Jardin de la Grosse Pierre. I don’t know how long he has been making it. But the Aubrys have been making their blends from a multitude of grape varieties for at least a couple decades including using a lot of Arbanne, Petit Meslier, and Pinot Blanc. They used to use all 7 allowed varieties in a single wine in the ‘90s but it’s not clear to me they still do.
    Yes, but the LJdlGP has Arbanne, Chardonnay, Chasselas, Gros Plant, Petite Meslier, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir, and Teinturier
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    Re: off the beaten path

    #23 Post by Jason T »

    I have no issue with someone new-ish to the board considering Musar 'off the beaten path'. Lots of people (probably most) who aren't as geeky as us haven't heard of it.

    Not 'off the beaten path' in terms of location, but certainly a unique style of wine are Lopez de Heredia's whites. Made in an oxidative style, these are quite different from other whites, even many other Spanish whites.
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    Re: off the beaten path

    #24 Post by Otto Forsberg »

    Jayson Cohen wrote: December 9th, 2020, 12:10 pm Otto, re: Lahaye Champagne Grand Cru Brut Nature Le Jardin de la Grosse Pierre. I don’t know how long he has been making it. But the Aubrys have been making their blends from a multitude of grape varieties for at least a couple decades including using a lot of Arbanne, Petit Meslier, and Pinot Blanc. They used to use all 7 allowed varieties in a single wine in the ‘90s but it’s not clear to me they still do.
    Yes, there are several of those, for example Laherte's Les 7 as well. And Drappier's Quattuor Blanc de Quatre Blancs is made with all the four white permitted varieties. I've also had numerous micro-cuvée Champagnes made from the four lesser permitted varieties, including monovarietal Champagnes from all the four different varieties.

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    Re: off the beaten path

    #25 Post by D@ve D y r 0 f f »

    Otto Forsberg wrote: December 9th, 2020, 11:42 am
    D@ve D y r 0 f f wrote: December 9th, 2020, 10:19 amin the "even Otto and Tom Hill have never tried this" vein.
    Are there such wines?

    Just joking. [wink.gif]

    NV Jean Bourdy Galant des Abbesses - Technically not a wine, but instead probably the most extraordinary mistelle in the world. The base wine is unfermented Savagnin from Château-Chalon, which is cooked for one whole day with 25 different spices, letting the juice concentrate and infuse it with the spice flavors. After the cooking the juice is fortified with Marc de Franche-Comté, resulting in a Macvin that is 2/3 juice and 1/3 Marc. Then it is aged for a minimum of 5 years in oak barrels. You just simply lack the words to describe the smell of this "wine", let alone its taste.
    I actually have a bottle of this, being attracted to things off the beaten path, but I only bought one and I've been a bit at a loss on how to approach it. But since you're here -

    Does this age like a dessert wine or is this more like a liquor that isn't going to change much (for better or worse) in the bottle?

    Is this something best drunk by itself or with a savory course (if so, what?) or a sweet course (if so, what?)?

    How large would a "pour" of this be? More similar to the size of a pour/glass of table wine, dessert wine, or marc/grappa/brandy?

    Thanks for any guidance!

    Cheers,

    Dave

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    Re: off the beaten path

    #26 Post by AD Northup »

    D@ve D y r 0 f f wrote: December 9th, 2020, 10:19 am Probably best to follow the OP's guidance on what he means by the term for purposes of this thread. Since he gave Musar, Friuli, and Recioto as examples of what he means, we should probably go with that. I think the wines mentioned in the responses are in that vein, even if not in the "even Otto and Tom Hill have never tried this" vein.
    The only wine in my collection that might be new to Otto and Tom:
    unnamed.jpg
    Certainly should qualify as "off the beaten path", though not sure if I could recommend...
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    Re: off the beaten path

    #27 Post by D@ve D y r 0 f f »

    AD Northup wrote: December 9th, 2020, 12:26 pm
    Certainly should qualify as "off the beaten path", though not sure if I could recommend...
    What part of "finest" do you not understand? [wink.gif]

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    Re: off the beaten path

    #28 Post by AD Northup »

    D@ve D y r 0 f f wrote: December 9th, 2020, 12:31 pm
    AD Northup wrote: December 9th, 2020, 12:26 pm
    Certainly should qualify as "off the beaten path", though not sure if I could recommend...
    What part of "finest" do you not understand? [wink.gif]
    Leaned into the "unique" side instead [cheers.gif]
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    Re: off the beaten path

    #29 Post by Jayson Cohen »

    Some more from Champagne:

    Rosé de Riceys still wines. Like from Olivier Horiot.

    Coteaux Champenois Blanc. Like from Bereche.
    —————————
    A lot of wines from Clos Roche Blanche and successors also fit. L’Arpent Rouge from Pineau D’Aunis and the old vines Cot being among the best from back in the day.

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    Re: off the beaten path

    #30 Post by AD Northup »

    Otto Forsberg wrote: December 9th, 2020, 11:42 am
    D@ve D y r 0 f f wrote: December 9th, 2020, 10:19 amin the "even Otto and Tom Hill have never tried this" vein.
    NV Jacques Lassaigne Champagne Le Flacon De L'Incertitude - an orange Champagne. I guess that says enough. Terrific stuff.
    Going to look for this one, thanks for the recommendation.
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    Re: off the beaten path

    #31 Post by Otto Forsberg »

    D@ve D y r 0 f f wrote: December 9th, 2020, 12:25 pm
    I actually have a bottle of this, being attracted to things off the beaten path, but I only bought one and I've been a bit at a loss on how to approach it. But since you're here -

    Does this age like a dessert wine or is this more like a liquor that isn't going to change much (for better or worse) in the bottle?

    Is this something best drunk by itself or with a savory course (if so, what?) or a sweet course (if so, what?)?

    How large would a "pour" of this be? More similar to the size of a pour/glass of table wine, dessert wine, or marc/grappa/brandy?

    Thanks for any guidance!

    Dave
    Omg wow! That is definitely going to be a unique experience! Not sure if you're gonna like it, since it is so different to anything else. However, I loved every drop of it.

    It is basically a Vermouth of sorts, since it is wine infused with herbs and whatnot. However, it drinks like a Madeira or Tawny Port or some other fortified wine. It is closest to Macvin of Jura, or Pineau des Charentes or Floc de Gascogne - only a super premium version.

    I guess the best way to consume a bottle would be sharing it with open-minded wine aficionados. If having a meal, it would be probably a digestive after the desserts. While technically the wine could perform as a dessert wine, it is so crazy it will most likely overwhelm anything you'd try to pair it with. Dessert wine pours.

    I guess the best way to explain how the wine is like is to just copypaste my TN here:

    NV Jean Bourdy Galant des Abbesses - France, Jura, Côtes du Jura (4.2.2014)
    Orange, somewhat coppery clear color. The first sniff of this wine makes me just burst out laughing and my first note about the aroma in my notebook is "I have no idea what this smells of :D". I mean, the nose is completely insane in its complexity and it smells unlike anything remotely related to wine. It is incredibly alien, yet so very attractive with its intermingling, constantly evolving nuances. I can pick up vague hints of orange peel, coriander seed, clove, honey, chinotto (think of Campari), cinnamon, pet shop, saw dust, mulled wine... and then there are a plethora of aromas that I just can't pick out. It's like smelling a magical concotion that is best described as bottled spirit of Christmas from some fantasy land. And no matter how ridiculous the nose is in its complexity, the palate follows it verbatim. Writing a tasting note on this wine is like translating a language you have never heard of before. I'm just dumbfounded. The wine is very rich, sweet and full-bodied on the mouth, with still good freshness and bright acidity, probably thanks to Savagnin. There are infinitely complex flavors that include, but are not limited to maple syrup, heather honey, aromatic root vegetables, beeswax, thyme, blood orange marmalade, licorice and clove. The sweetness of the wine feels remarkably well-balanced with the spices and the acidity. The finish is as complex as the midpalate, but it feels completely different with less sweet flavors of bitter orange peel, steely minerality, roasted nuts, mulled wine, raisins, honey, wild flowers, some bitter spices, a little lemon juice and a hint of vegetal greenness. The aftertaste is infinitely long, sweet, refreshing and almost kaleidoscopic how it changes all the time.

    This is probably the most difficult wine I have ever tried to write a tasting note of - every once in a while you realize how limited your vocabulary is when trying to convey tastes and aromas. Furthermore, you really have to concentrate on writing the tasting notes, because otherwise this "wine" gets you carried away completely, in an instant. This is one of the most captivating alcoholic beverages I have ever tasted and it is best described as a magical elixir from an imagined fantasy world. I'm not sure if this wine can surprise me as profoundly as it did now if I ever will taste it again, as I now know what to expect. However, because this was so unique and so memorable an experience, I have no qualms about awarding the wine full 100 points. For the fans of sweet and fortified wines, this is truly a bottle worth seeking out. As the user "tooch" put so well, "the hype is real".

    Ex-cellar price is 23€, but most often the wine is found at 3-4 times the price.
    (100 pts.)
    Posted from CellarTracker

    AD Northup wrote: December 9th, 2020, 12:26 pm The only wine in my collection that might be new to Otto and Tom:

    unnamed.jpg

    Certainly should qualify as "off the beaten path", though not sure if I could recommend...
    Qualifies at least from my part - although I've had sweet red wine from Uganda.

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    Re: off the beaten path

    #32 Post by Joseph Grassa »

    Otto Forsberg wrote: December 9th, 2020, 11:42 am
    D@ve D y r 0 f f wrote: December 9th, 2020, 10:19 amin the "even Otto and Tom Hill have never tried this" vein.
    ...
    1994 Girolamo Dorigo Colli Pignolo di Buttrio - This would be Friuli's answer to Langhe's Barolo/Barbaresco, Tuscany's Brunello, Campania's Taurasi and Umbria's Sagrantino - only if anybody would've heard of it. Outrageously structured with remarkable power, acidity and tannins. Since the wines are rather forbidding in their youth (just like Nebbiolo, Aglianico and Sagrantino), most producers have ceased to farm Pignolo and most of the remaining producers tend to make their Pignolos now in this soft and sweet semi-appassimento style that tries to compete with the Amarone wines from the neighboring Veneto. Great Pignolos are very difficult to come by nowadays...
    great info. I was actually trying to find a good Pignolo a few months ago and could not determine what to buy. Anything even somewhat accessible that you would recommend?

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    Re: off the beaten path

    #33 Post by D@ve D y r 0 f f »

    Otto Forsberg wrote: December 9th, 2020, 12:43 pm However, because this was so unique and so memorable an experience, I have no qualms about awarding the wine full 100 points. For the fans of sweet and fortified wines, this is truly a bottle worth seeking out. As the user "tooch" put so well, "the hype is real".
    Wow - what a note! Thanks for that. If Garagiste had used your TN instead of the usual JR hype in the offering e-mail a few years ago when I bought this, I'd have gone for a case instead of one bottle!

    Last question - what do you recommend for serving temperature?

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    Re: off the beaten path

    #34 Post by Joseph Grassa »

    Jason T wrote: December 9th, 2020, 12:23 pm I have no issue with someone new-ish to the board considering Musar 'off the beaten path'. Lots of people (probably most) who aren't as geeky as us haven't heard of it.

    Not 'off the beaten path' in terms of location, but certainly a unique style of wine are Lopez de Heredia's whites. Made in an oxidative style, these are quite different from other whites, even many other Spanish whites.
    Interesting. I love their reds, never had their whites. Outside of Sauternes/ Barsac I drink very little white, but I'm looking to keep experimenting. Thanks for the tip!

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    Re: off the beaten path

    #35 Post by Otto Forsberg »

    Joseph Grassa wrote: December 9th, 2020, 12:49 pm great info. I was actually trying to find a good Pignolo a few months ago and could not determine what to buy. Anything even somewhat accessible that you would recommend?
    Not really. From what I've tasted Pignolo's point is to be anything but accessible (just like its brother in arms, Tazzelenghe - another tough an tannic variety from Friuli). I loathe the soft, jammy, "accessible" style they make nowadays. I guess there must still be some old-school producers making traditionalist Pignolo, but haven't come across with any.
    D@ve D y r 0 f f wrote: December 9th, 2020, 12:50 pm
    Otto Forsberg wrote: December 9th, 2020, 12:43 pm However, because this was so unique and so memorable an experience, I have no qualms about awarding the wine full 100 points. For the fans of sweet and fortified wines, this is truly a bottle worth seeking out. As the user "tooch" put so well, "the hype is real".
    Wow - what a note! Thanks for that. If Garagiste had used your TN instead of the usual JR hype in the offering e-mail a few years ago when I bought this, I'd have gone for a case instead of one bottle!

    Last question - what do you recommend for serving temperature?
    Basically same with every wine (that don't need to be served straight from the fridge); cellar temp or slightly cooler. Most wines really don't need to be cooler than that, and if the wine needs to be warmer - or if you prefer wines warmer - you can always let it wait for a bit. It'll get there. Especially since smaller dessert wine pours warm up faster than full pours.

    I remember the tasting even where I tasted that particular wine. It seemed half the people just didn't "get" the wine at all and half the people went just nuts after tasting it. I suppose you can guess to which camp I belonged to? :D

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    Re: off the beaten path

    #36 Post by Joseph Grassa »

    Otto Forsberg wrote: December 9th, 2020, 1:20 pm
    Joseph Grassa wrote: December 9th, 2020, 12:49 pm great info. I was actually trying to find a good Pignolo a few months ago and could not determine what to buy. Anything even somewhat accessible that you would recommend?
    Not really. From what I've tasted Pignolo's point is to be anything but accessible (just like its brother in arms, Tazzelenghe - another tough an tannic variety from Friuli). I loathe the soft, jammy, "accessible" style they make nowadays. I guess there must still be some old-school producers making traditionalist Pignolo, but haven't come across with any.
    No problem with that. I actually mean accessible as in something I could get a hold of. Should I be looking for anything before some cutoff? Thanks again.

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    Re: off the beaten path

    #37 Post by Brent C l a y t o n »

    Joseph Grassa wrote: December 9th, 2020, 10:58 am
    Brent C l a y t o n wrote: December 9th, 2020, 9:53 am Ruche was mentioned in the bargain Nebbiolo thread. That's a good one.
    Have you explored much from Campania, Marche, Calabria and Puglia?

    I represent some of these but:
    Vestini Campagnano Terre del Volturno--in the northern hills of Campania, wines are focused on the ancient varieties of Pallagrello Nero, Casavecchia & Pallagrello Bianco
    Lacrima di Morro di Alba (grape) I represent Lucchetti, and I used to sell Velenosi. Also look for the region's unique dessert wine Vini Viscole, made with a local variety of tart cherries added to the Lacrima.
    Statti Gaglioppo or any Ciro from Calabria
    Puglia-Negroamaro, Susumaniello (varieties) I represent a winery called Schola Sarmenti. Primitivo is a little more common in the region.
    Sicily-Perricone (red) Grillo & Cataratto (white)

    As others mentioned, the wines you discussed in your OP aren't necessarily considered 'off the beaten path' for most...
    I'm a huge fan of Negroamaro. 1.8% of my collection is Negroamaro from Puglia about probably about 4% of what I drink due to the price point.

    Never had a few others you mentioned. Any Perricone, or Vini Viscole you could recommend?
    Joseph,

    Vini Viscole is specific to the Marche so start with the producers I mentioned, Velenosi and Lucchetti. Lucchetti has a couple of different tiers of Lacrima if you are intersted in the dry table wines.

    I represent Caruso e Minini, located in Marsala. they have a natural/organic line that includes Cataratto and Grillo for white and Perricone and Nero d'Avola for red.
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    Re: off the beaten path

    #38 Post by Dennis Borczon »

    Ok Otto, dazzle me with your knowledge of Terra Madre Plavac Mali....

    Seriously Croatia is a great hunting ground for really inexpensive and delicious wines. Only one major improter here in the US, but the whites with seafood are delicious, and cheap!

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    Re: off the beaten path

    #39 Post by Brent C l a y t o n »

    I don't know enough about it but there is a bunch of quality Eastern European stuff currently available on the east coast if you snoop around.
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    Re: off the beaten path

    #40 Post by Tomás Costa »

    Any thoughts on Armenian wines? I heard a positive report from a critic I know some time ago.
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    Re: off the beaten path

    #41 Post by Otto Forsberg »

    Joseph Grassa wrote: December 9th, 2020, 3:16 pm No problem with that. I actually mean accessible as in something I could get a hold of. Should I be looking for anything before some cutoff? Thanks again.
    Oh, right. Don't know, since I live in Finland - I have no idea what you can get a hold of. I suggest you do like me and just try things out. See if there is anything available to you and start diggin'.
    Dennis Borczon wrote: December 9th, 2020, 3:54 pm Ok Otto, dazzle me with your knowledge of Terra Madre Plavac Mali....
    All right, here we go.

    Nothing.

    I've never had that wine.
    Tomás Costa wrote: December 9th, 2020, 5:01 pm Any thoughts on Armenian wines? I heard a positive report from a critic I know some time ago.
    I've had couple of them and while they've been pretty good, they've been nothing particularly memorable. Enjoyable but quite inoffensive. However, I can't say nothing for the country's wine as a whole, since my experience on them is so limited at the moment.

    Here's my note on one that is (was?) available here in Finland:
    • 2015 Armenia Wine Company Yerevan Areni Karmrahyut - Armenia, Aragatsotn Region, Sasunik Village (3.11.2017)
      A classic blend of Areni and Karmrahyut. 12% alcohol, 1 g/l residual sugar, 4,6 g/l acidity.

      Quite translucent, Pinot-Noirish medium-deep ruby color with a subtly purplish youthful hue. The nose feels a bit restrained and vague, yet distinctively aromatic with fruit-forward notes of fresh dark berries, some sour cherries, a little bit of plummy fruits, light smoky or rubbery character, hints of Oolong tea and a sweeter touch of boysenberries. The wine feels moderately light-to-medium-bodied with modest-to-medium acidity and no tannins to speak of. There are pretty straightforward and fruity flavors of boysenberries, brambly blackberries and ripe cranberries along with a tart and crunchy hint of blackcurrants. The modest acidity could make the wine come across as sweeter than it actually were, but the moderate mineral bitterness and a sanguine hint of iron keep the wine nicely dry and savory. The finish is dry, subtly bitter and a bit spicy with flavors of tart and fresh blackcurrants and lingonberries, sweeter blackberries, some inky tones and a hint of sour cherry bitterness. The fruit flavors fade out quite quickly, but the moderate spicy bitterness persists for some while.

      Somewhat like a simple Pinot Noir or an entry-level Gamay from Beaujolais. This is nice, fresh and straightforward effort, but if there is some distinctive character to Areni or Karmrahyut, they really didn't show - were this wine served blind, I'd never guess it was an Armenian one seeing it shows very little to none unique qualities. It's a nice, juicy and balanced entry-level wine, but also a very linear and simple one. An easy-drinking everyday wine that is nothing special to write home about. Perhaps a bit on the pricier end at 14,31€, but nothing too expensive for the quality. (87 pts.)
    Posted from CellarTracker

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    Re: off the beaten path

    #42 Post by Joseph Grassa »

    Otto Forsberg wrote: December 9th, 2020, 11:13 pm
    Joseph Grassa wrote: December 9th, 2020, 3:16 pm No problem with that. I actually mean accessible as in something I could get a hold of. Should I be looking for anything before some cutoff? Thanks again.
    Oh, right. Don't know, since I live in Finland - I have no idea what you can get a hold of. I suggest you do like me and just try things out. See if there is anything available to you and start diggin'.

    sounds good. Thank you.

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    Re: off the beaten path

    #43 Post by Joseph Grassa »

    Brent C l a y t o n wrote: December 9th, 2020, 3:53 pm
    Joseph Grassa wrote: December 9th, 2020, 10:58 am
    Brent C l a y t o n wrote: December 9th, 2020, 9:53 am Ruche was mentioned in the bargain Nebbiolo thread. That's a good one.
    Have you explored much from Campania, Marche, Calabria and Puglia?

    I represent some of these but:
    Vestini Campagnano Terre del Volturno--in the northern hills of Campania, wines are focused on the ancient varieties of Pallagrello Nero, Casavecchia & Pallagrello Bianco
    Lacrima di Morro di Alba (grape) I represent Lucchetti, and I used to sell Velenosi. Also look for the region's unique dessert wine Vini Viscole, made with a local variety of tart cherries added to the Lacrima.
    Statti Gaglioppo or any Ciro from Calabria
    Puglia-Negroamaro, Susumaniello (varieties) I represent a winery called Schola Sarmenti. Primitivo is a little more common in the region.
    Sicily-Perricone (red) Grillo & Cataratto (white)

    As others mentioned, the wines you discussed in your OP aren't necessarily considered 'off the beaten path' for most...
    I'm a huge fan of Negroamaro. 1.8% of my collection is Negroamaro from Puglia about probably about 4% of what I drink due to the price point.

    Never had a few others you mentioned. Any Perricone, or Vini Viscole you could recommend?
    Joseph,

    Vini Viscole is specific to the Marche so start with the producers I mentioned, Velenosi and Lucchetti. Lucchetti has a couple of different tiers of Lacrima if you are intersted in the dry table wines.

    I represent Caruso e Minini, located in Marsala. they have a natural/organic line that includes Cataratto and Grillo for white and Perricone and Nero d'Avola for red.
    sounds good. Thanks you.

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    Re: off the beaten path

    #44 Post by Kirk.Grant »

    Here are a few of the more unique or under the radar wines I've found to be palate broadening for me:

    Bressan Pignol
    Dr. Konstantin Frank Saperavi
    Alois Lageder Kalterersee Classico Römigberg (Schiavia grape)
    GD Vajra Freisa
    Donabaum Neuburger Federspiel
    Cambas Moschofilero
    Anselmet Petit Rouge
    DiFilippo Sagrantino di Montefalco
    Laible Weissburgunder
    Adelsheim Auxerrois
    Caligiore Bonarda Reserve
    Marco Martin Fumin Valle d'Aosta Lo Triolet
    Foradori Teroldego
    Domaine des Ardoisières Argile Blanc
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    Re: off the beaten path

    #45 Post by Dennis Borczon »

    [winner.gif]
    Kirk.Grant wrote: December 12th, 2020, 8:25 am Here are a few of the more unique or under the radar wines I've found to be palate broadening for me:

    Bressan Pignol
    Dr. Konstantin Frank Saperavi
    Alois Lageder Kalterersee Classico Römigberg (Schiavia grape)
    GD Vajra Freisa
    Donabaum Neuburger Federspiel
    Cambas Moschofilero
    Anselmet Petit Rouge
    DiFilippo Sagrantino di Montefalco
    Laible Weissburgunder
    Adelsheim Auxerrois
    Caligiore Bonarda Reserve
    Marco Martin Fumin Valle d'Aosta Lo Triolet
    Foradori Teroldego
    Domaine des Ardoisières Argile Blanc
    Now this is someone who has an adventurous palate. They must have some pretty eclectic wine shops in Maine

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    Re: off the beaten path

    #46 Post by Kirk.Grant »

    Dennis Borczon wrote: December 12th, 2020, 10:50 am [winner.gif]
    Now this is someone who has an adventurous palate. They must have some pretty eclectic wine shops in Maine
    We are lucky to have some really great distributors in our state that work to really find unique & interesting wines. I've also often sought out anything that is obscure or unique as I find that I tend to really like some of these smaller or more obscure wines.
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    Re: off the beaten path

    #47 Post by Michael P P »

    Would also recommend some white grape varietals from Spain, such as:
    - Godello
    - Verdejo
    - Albarino

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    Re: off the beaten path

    #48 Post by JBrochu »

    Not sure if these qualify, but two wines from the Jura have caught my attention and I plan to try them soon:

    Vin Jaune: Vin Jaune represents the highest level of oxidative Savagnin from the Jura. The wine spends more than six years under the veil, over which time a third of the volume evaporates, and the wine transforms into something intense, rich, and complex. Look for a dizzying array of flavors and aromas — walnuts, hazelnuts, caramel, curry, coffee, toast, butter, cocoa, citrus zest, and more.

    Trousseau: Trousseau is darker than rosé, but not by much — there’s low tannin and pleasant wild cherry fruit. If the Jura is Burgundy’s wilder, rugged cousin, then Trousseau perfectly represents its region: similarly delicate, but less sophisticated, more rugged, and a bit wilder.

    *Italicized text are notes from the importer
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    Re: off the beaten path

    #49 Post by Otto Forsberg »

    JBrochu wrote: December 12th, 2020, 2:30 pm Not sure if these qualify, but two wines from the Jura have caught my attention and I plan to try them soon:

    Vin Jaune: Vin Jaune represents the highest level of oxidative Savagnin from the Jura. The wine spends more than six years under the veil, over which time a third of the volume evaporates, and the wine transforms into something intense, rich, and complex. Look for a dizzying array of flavors and aromas — walnuts, hazelnuts, caramel, curry, coffee, toast, butter, cocoa, citrus zest, and more.

    Trousseau: Trousseau is darker than rosé, but not by much — there’s low tannin and pleasant wild cherry fruit. If the Jura is Burgundy’s wilder, rugged cousin, then Trousseau perfectly represents its region: similarly delicate, but less sophisticated, more rugged, and a bit wilder.

    *Italicized text are notes from the importer
    Well, depends on which producers' Vins Jaunes and Trousseaus you are talking about. There are lots of cheap, insipid wines made by large co-ops and negociants, but also thrilling examples that often tend to be much harder to acquire.

    It's also noteworthy that Trousseau is the darkest and most tannic red variety grown in Jura. Some can be quite light, but there are also lots of tough, dark wines made of Trousseau as well. If you want light, delicate red wines that look like dark rosés, keep an eye on wines made from Poulsard.

    JBrochu
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    Re: off the beaten path

    #50 Post by JBrochu »

    The producer I have access to is Domain Ligier. The importer also imports a Poulsard from this producer. Do you know anything about Ligier?
    J@hn

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