Pretty Little Pyrazines
Domaine Les Pins Cuvée Les Rochettes 2014
How’d your “Dry January” go? Me? I don’t believe in it.
What I do believe in is healthy eating, a few days off a week, and taking advantage of the amazing high quality, low priced wines the LCBO releases this time of year.
Yep, while so many people are busy abstaining from booze and telling you all about it, you could’ve spent the first month of the year restocking your cellar with killer wines at coocoo prices.
Take this little Loire lover. We’ve talked about how much I enjoy Loire reds before, and this buddy fit right in with my expectations.
It’s 100% Cab Franc, as are all wines labelled Bourgueil, and it’s brimming with typicity, complexity, and flavour. It’s light and refreshing, but keeps your mind and nose interested with each sip.
It’s also a great lesson in pyrazines.
There are a bunch of chemical compounds that give wines their distinctive notes and make them smell like everything from strawberries to starfruit. Pyrazines are one of these compounds and they have a green note. They often smell like bell pepper and herbs.
Now, this can go so wrong (ever had a Sauvignon Blanc that smelled like cat pee or boiled asparagus?). But, when it goes right it lends wines this lovely complexity and savouriness that evokes olives, vegetables, herbs, and even mint. Winemakers can control for these aromas with various techniques in the vineyard and the winery, but they are ultimately effected by climate (they thrive when it’s cool) and the grape variety.
Cabernet Franc is distinctive in its greenness. I believe I told you about my teacher who likened it to ashtrays? Well, when done well – as it is in this bottle – the pyrazines comingle with flowers and berries to create a beautifully perfumed wine that’s as pretty as it is refreshing.
So give it a try. At this price, you really can’t go wrong. And if anything, you’ll have a fun new wine nerd term to show off to all your pals.
Nose: Violets and tarragon and berries, oh my! So pretty on the nose. I even detected a bit of peony dancing around in black currant bushes (do black currants grow on bushes?) with a mint twist. It’s super complex, spicy and peppery but herbal like a garden in summer.
Palate: Light and bright, the wine dances over your tongue. Each sip reveals another rich layer. Is that graphite and black berries? Is it sage and strawberries? Red fruits, dark fruits, violets and herbs and currants, all bolstered by refreshing acidity and light tannins. It was crunchy and green but in a very good way and tasted distinctly of summer in France. This is no easy drinking sipper (even though it goes down a treat); it’s got something to say and I’m pretty sure you’ll like what you hear.