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21 Sep 2019 | Samantha Dugan

And Now, Something Completely Different

“It’s easy to walk into a room and tell right away who the most attractive person is, the same cannot be said about the most interesting”

One of the lines I use often during my classes or tastings in an effort to explain the merit and intrigue of wines that require a little more investigation beyond, “Oh yummy” Wines that unfold slowly in the glass, have a little more edge and sort of slow you into the glass with their exoticism and layering.

Don’t get me wrong, nothing wrong with simple pleasure and delights but there is a hedonistic, tingle, when things play with your mind as much as the more simply satisfied of our senses. Plus, drinking the same wine every night is like eating the same meal every night, dull. Wine ought to be bringing us pleasure, history, the flavor of places far and wide. It should thrill as well as please and at times there can be found very tangible excitement just beneath a cork that contains a wine that speaks or growls in a different language.

Wriggle out of those sweat or yoga pants, slip into something a little less comfortable, strap in and enjoy the ride.


2018 Domaine Courbet Trousseau, Jura

This domaine was founded in 1869 and at one time grew not only grapes but grains as well as raising livestock. They are now committed to producing wines that are certified organic and biodynamic. Trousseau is little known here in the United States, (though there are some plantings here) but wildly planted in its home, the Jura region of France. This is a light bodied red full of tart red berries, wild mushroom, craisins and warm spice, Very graceful on the palate with a light body and deliberate tang on the fresh finish. Light enough for fish or chicken but with enough spice to make it great with pork or sausages.

$26.99 per bottle

2017 Domaine Courbet Cotes du Jura Chardonnay De La Vallee

I’m always a little worried when the winemakers in France’s Jura put Chardonnay on the label. It’s not that the wine is not made from Chardonnay, just doesn’t taste like most the Chardonnay people are accustom to, French or domestic. Nicely weighted on the palate with pears, quince, spices that remind me of Italian breakfast bread studded with dried fruits and nuts. Assertive on the palate with not a lick of detectable oak or any sort of butter. Just piercing fruit and acidity that begs for fattier white fish, chicken and pork. Amazing layers that keep evolving in the glass.

$23.99 per bottle

2016 Domaine Courbet Cotes du Jura Tradition Blanc

This wild little number full of spiced dried pears, cooked apples, roasted nuts and tangerine like aromas is a fairly traditional blend of Chardonnay and Savignan, a grape almost exclusive to the Jura region in France. Quite rich with savory, nutty flavors along with a fresh herbal a green skinned pear. There is a classic oxidized flavor that might remind you of dry sherry, but it’s the lift of vibrating acidity that keeps your mouth watering and lusting for another bit of flavor discovery. Cool stuff.

$22.99 per bottle

2012 Joseph Dorbon “Cuvee Des Moyne,” Arbois, Jura

Joseph Dorbon has been making wine here for over 40 and while now practicing sustainable farming he is on his way to full organic conversion. Believing healthy soils are not only responsible but make the purest and most expressive of fruit. The Chardonnay and Savignan for this blend come from vine 40-70 years old, are fermented together and then aged 30 months sous voile, (Or under veil, a traditional practice in the Jura, and when making Sherry, where the barrel is not topped off and a gap left intentionally to form a cap that adds tremendous unique and wild aromatics and flavors) giving the wine a remarkable intensity. Dark golden, nearly orange color, profoundly nutty and full of dark roasted peaches and a touch of brininess. On the power there is fully loaded power! Expansive, palate coating with all those cooked fruits, salt and roasted nuts. Flavors go on and on and leave you with a bone dry, sherried finish. Think salty cured meats, strong cheeses, gamey fowl dishes with lots of cream.

$30.99 per bottle


Two Biodynamic Wines from Gaillac

The region of Gaillac is located in the south west of France and is known for being, well, not that well known.  Most of the wines, including these wines from Causse Marines, are sold within France, in the case of this dynamic domaine, 70% of the wines never leave France.

Organic since the early nineties and now fully biodynamic, this estate is run by a wily character and it most assuredly shows in the character of his wines, and a little inside joke on the back label. Check the back label and you will see a badger inside a circle with a line going through it, “No Badgers” which in France is a slang something like, “No lemmings” or “Only open minded or free thinkers need apply” in an effort to alert people, (those in the know) that his wines are anything but mainstream, and meant to be that way.

2018 Domaine Causse Marines Gaillac Rouge

This playful little red made from a blend of, Syrah, Duras and Braucol is full of nose taunting aromatics. Goes from green to juicy, from saline to something like dried maple. A dry red with supple fruit on the palate and flirty bits of cranberry and pepper on the finish.

$25.99 per bottle

2017 Domaine Causse Marines, Gaillac Les Greilles Blanc

This incredibly intriguing white blend is made from Mauzac, (often used in sparkling wines from Southern France) Loin de l’Oeil, Ondenc and Muscadelle and has a rollercoaster ride full of aromas. Fennel, basil, dried peaches and lemon verbena! On the palate those same notes come through on the slightly curvy texture. Would be amazing with curry dishes!

$25.99 per bottle

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