Sipping this tasty red blend last night over a steaming bowl of homemade pasta and savory tuna ragu, I had a very clear picture of what I would imagine happening if a more risk-adverse drinker picked up a bottle and tried it:
“It’s… hm. It’s fruity I guess, and it’s kind of acidic. I guess it’s fine, but it’s nothing remarkable — kind of flat even at the end. What’s the fuss?”
That reaction would be understandable. But I’d also be quick to point out that the hypothetical drinker in question isn’t enjoying this wine properly.
Touraine Ambroise is a little-known appellation (at least in the U.S.) in the Loire Valley that is situated outside the city of Tours, about 180 kilometers West from Sancerre. The soil there is conducive to flinty, mineral, age-worthy white wines. Knowing Loire reds well, I was working on a hunch when I picked up this wine. My guess was that it was light, acidic and going to show strong cherry-currant notes — kind of like Jura Poulsard without the higher elevation. As such, I also assumed it would take a light chill well, and even more than that, benefit from such a lower temperature.
Such a “risky move” paid off. Corlie and Damien Delecheneau’s wine offers up an inviting aroma of fresh mint, purple basil and strawberry-rhubarb pie. The slight chill allows the acidity and light, vaguely floral flavors to shine through, and they linger on the palate. Cherry, vanilla, paraffin and mountain herbs dominate, then give way to rose petals and lychee. I’ve written previously about how chilling certain red wines can actually enhance one’s enjoyment of them, but it’s rare to see such a dramatic and visible improvement.
MSRP (July 2012): $17.99
Wine Lines Rating: 90 — Lightly Chilled