2012 Xavier Vins, Châteauneuf-du-Papa, Cuvée Anonym, $60
Winery info: Xavier Vignon is an oenologist and a negociant in the Rhône Valley and has consulted for a number of Châteauneuf-du-Pape domains, including Usseglio, La Nerthe, and Roger Perrin. He began producing his own wines beginning with the 2007 vintage, buying small quantities (often just a single barrel) from different producers, in order to create a blend that express the entire appellation, rather than a single producer or a specific terroir. Anonym is his flagship wine.
Grapes: A blend of hundred-year-old Grenache, very old Vaccarèse, Counoise, Mourvèdre, Cinsault, Black Terret, Muscardin, and even the white grapes Clairette and Picpoul.
Vineyard: A number of carefully (but anonymously, hence “Anonym”) selected sources in Châteauneuf-du-Pape with extremely limited yields—up to three feet of vines per bottle!
Flavor Profile: It is beautifiully textured with ripe dark fruit flavors, earthy garrigue notes, and a long, spicy finish.
Availability: There is still some of this wine available
Drinkability: Enjoyable young, especially with decanting. It should continue to evolve up to 2022.
Food Pairing: Classic meat dishes, such as prime rib, wild game, or duck, or with cassoulet.
2012 Philippe Foreau, Domaine du Clos Naudin, Vouvray, $39.75
Winery info: Philippe Foreau represents the third generation of his family to produce Vouvray, in the Touraine district of the central Loire Valley. He took over the direction of their highly-regarded estate in 1983 upon his father’s retirement. Today he has just over 11 hectares of Chenin Blanc, which he farms organically.
Grapes: 100% Chenin Blanc
Vineyard: Their vineyards average around 45 years in age and are located in the northeast corner of Vouvray, on slopes with mostly southern exposures.
Flavor Profile: The wine’s lovely texture is backed by pure, vibrant acidity. It has refreshing notes of citrus, a touch of nuttiness, and excellent minerality. A very elegant and inviting wine.
Availability: The distributor is nearly out of this wine.
Drinkability: Drink over the next several years, up to 2020.
Food Pairing: Shellfish, such as razor clams, or with scallops or sushi.