This week’s wine of the week is something as out-of-character as a wine named after a bird, from Languedoc, made by a Swiss architect, in a winery established as late as 1999. Hard to believe that such a mix could beat out anything, but in this case it certainly did.
What the 2007 L´Orphée Pic Saint Loup has in common with previous “winners” is personality, a sense of terroir, and standing out from the crowd. A hand-crafted wine, it is made from 50/50 Syrah and Grenache, from 19 year old vines in a south-facing vineyard, aged 12-15 months in concrete vats.
The Swiss, Pierre Jequier, names all his cuvees for species of local birds, the L’Orphée being named after the Orphean Warbler, a migratory bird from Africa, which crosses the Mediterranean.
Although a red, there’s a certain aroma of the Mediterranean that you would expect from a white to it. Mineral, and black fruits, predominantly blackcurrant. Precise, juicy, fresh, and clean (not sure if that is a “wine” word, but what the heck). The winery’s website says the wine softens with age, and if that is true, the wine should only get better 4-5 years from now. Antonio Galloni, of Wine Advocate fame, likens the minerality to a Burgundy. I’ll go as far as to say that the precision has a burgundesq or piemontese touch to it, but we both agree that this is a great value wine. And honors as the wine of the week.
We’ll even throw in some runners up this week. The reason being that these are both some of the better values around, and they should be widely available. There’s a tad too much oak aromas and flavors in both of them to be my preferred cup of tea, eh, glass of wine, but as a touch of toast and vanilla makes a wine for many out there, they should both fit the bill. An honorable mention to the 06 Villa Pillo Borgoforte, from 60% Sangiovese, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon 40%, and 10% Merlot, aged 12 months in french oak. And the 09 Le Busche, by Umani Ronchi. Made from Verdicchio 50% and Chardonnay 50% from the Busche vineyard, ageing some 6-8 months in french oak.