Clos Roche Blanche makes my favourite wine of the year (at 3 BYO's)

And meals at three worthwhile corkage-free restaurants in New York help prove it!!

Around this time last year, I picked an excellent wine and called it my favourite of the year. Now that the first week of 2007 has already gone by, this post seems a little late. (Almost all of my time blogging has been spent migrating to the new version of Blogger. Though I actually threw the switch for Blogger 2.0 at the end of December, tweaking my new template and labeling 219 blog posts has been a time sink -- I spent the entire first weekend of 2007 on it and will still likely be playing with it for some time to come).

favorite favourite wine 2006 clos roche blanche's sauvgnon blanc touraine 2005Though my brain is currently rather fried, I have notes in front of me taken from clearer-headed days -- days when I uncorked one of the many bottles of 2005 Clos Roche Blanche Touraine Sauvignon that I've been enjoying this year (and buying without a moment's hesitation). Without further ado then is my explanation of why this is a wine of the year, i.e. a wine I could picture drinking virtually every day of the year.

There are three main reasons really, and they apply to last year's winner too. One: it's very affordable so I could actually afford 365 bottles of it. Two is that it has classic lines, and therefore something I wouldn't soon get sick of, whether served as a refreshment or as a complement to food -- though eliminating red meat completely from my diet might be in order should that come to pass. And finally, the third thing is that it is simply delicious. A citrusy, star-anise attack. Herbal and zesty elegance in a bottle. Not only is it a lovely expression of Sauvignon Blanc, but as wine is it is a triumph with nice echoes on the finish and a bouquet of flowers, lemon peel and spice.

Just during my vacation in the second half of December, I opened three bottles of this stuff. I was in New York so I elected to take them to some of the city's great restaurant establishments that charge no corkage fee. Here's how that went down.


Organic and vegan fare in the East Village (Second Avenue and East 12th Street) with a great ambience and an earnest staff, who kindly open bottles with a smile. Every time I've gone the roomy dining area is tee totaling by a strong majority but that's because people flock there for the sui-generis cooking: intelligent with local ingredients and a keen sense of flavour and balance, and very modern. In this food context (the scrumptious Greek lasagna with "soy" dairy, for instance), a Sauvignon like the Clos Roche Blanche is a natural. If it's lunch, skip over to Ninth Street Espresso (between Avenues B and C) for coffee and a treat.


In the heart of the Theatre District dining strip (Ninth Avenue and West 50th Street), a very narrow room serves Afghan cuisine. (Another location does the same cross-town from Hell's Kitchen). In this restaurant, Sauvignon, or in fact any white wine is not exactly wise planning. I brought it anyway I love this juice so much. I order a shrimp kebab, carefully taken off the spit for you, and a simple salad and was happy with that. But bread and appetizers are quite large and indelicate affairs calling out for big reds. Yet some, like the Boulanee, are deep-fried and a smart Sauvignon cuts through the grease nicely.

MÉLI MÉLO (en route to lunch in Greenwich Village Connecticut)

The bright and colourful Méli Mélo at 362 Greenwich Avenue, a block west of the train station in downtown Greenwich (that's the state of Connecticut, not the Village), is just 45 minutes door to door from Grand Central along the New Haven line. This is a wonderfully French crêperie with great coffee and friendly service and despite the cramped conditions (its dining room is even narrower than the Kebab House's). Pre-drinking is definitely in order since there are no reservations and it's a wee spot that's quite popular. Queues form outside. So though we drank Clos Roche Blanche at our Greenwich host's house before setting out for the little resto, it would've fit perfectly on the menu should any Sauvignon have remained by the time they let us in.

C. Roussel & D. Barrouillet, Mareuil-sur-Cher, Loire, France. 13%.


Joe said...

I was fortunate to move over to the beta version before I had too many posts, which saved me a ton of grief. Where did you find this wine? How much? I get to NYC regularly, so I will try to look for it. Here's my only Touraine experience.

Marcus g58 said...

It does not appear to be available in Canada. I got my bottles for $13 at Astor Wines (and also at the Chelsea Wine Vault but I they said they had sold out by the time I left). You should try PJ Wines since it's only $11 there but it's quite the trek up Broadway to 207th Street (and I thought where I was staying by Columbia campus was far uptown). Go to wine-searcher.com for more. I appended more details to my post -- thanks for asking.

(That Touraine you mention looks good. The Caveman mentioned it before on his blog. It is worth the $25 pricetag, yes?)

Joe said...

I have been to Astor before, but a few years ago. Will stop by the next time I am in NYC.
As for the price on the Cendrillon, I am not a Sauvignon Blanc expert, but it was the best I ever had. Maybe wait for the 10% sale?
FYI - the Spectator "Wine of the Week" is a NZ Sauvignon Blanc, the Babich 2006 (90 points). SAQ carries it for $19.05, lots in stock.

Marcus g58 said...

Astor's moved a block down from Astor Place to E 4th and Lafayette sometime last year. Their new digs are nice.

I've enjoyed the 04 and 05 Babich but haven't tried the 06. I tend to buy them when I'm staying with family in Niagara since they're a bit cheaper at the LCBO. I think the last time I had one in Montreal was at an Art de Vivre "Midi conseil" downtown. Did you ever go to those?

brooklynguy said...

Hey Dok,

I really like this wine too. It's so elegant and interesting, food friendly too, and it's only $12 at chambers Street Wines in NYC! They have cases of the stuff, usually - they have a great relationship with the producer. I included this wine in the obligatory Thanksgiving wine post: http://brooklynguyloveswine.blogspot.com/2006/11/some-thanksgiving-wines.html

Take it easy,

Marcus g58 said...

Hello Brooklyn,

There's lots of posts on your blog that I seemed to have missed. Great depth of writing you offer. I'll have to add you to my bookmarks.

Thanks for this link on Clos Roche Blanche at Thanksgiving. Useful piece. The strange thing I noticed was that my bottle of it was 13% alcohol (and I remember thinking that it seemed high).

And thanks for mentioning that Chambers stocks it.

Joe said...

LCBO is smarter move, for sure. I went to one or two "Midi conseils" in October. A buddy recommended it, and it was fun to try unusual stuff. I heard there is no schedule yet - did they cancel those?

brooklynguy said...

Hi Dok,

Thanks so much for adding me to your bookmarks, and for your compliment about my writing - that means a lot to me.

Could be different alcohol levels in different vintages? Or maybe I just got it wrong. I take a look next time I see the wine.

take it easy,

Marcus g58 said...

Joe: I just picked up a schedule from the store last week. I think there is a pdf version on the SAQ site too. Rhone is the theme for the next couple of tastings. I'd like to go but the timing is not the best for me.

Neil: I just checked my 2005 Clos Roche Blanche Sauvignon and it says 13%. Maybe the 2004 was lighter in alcohol? I've only had the fortune of coming across the current vintage.

Joe said...

Thanks - Rhone North and South the next two weeks. My schedule is not bad, so I will probably check those out.

James said...

Marc. I am enjoying this wine right now - thanks for leaving some in the fridge! I agree. It is absolutely great. One of my favourites too. I will be definitely buying this - and only 20 blocks away! Thanks!