E Wine of the Week

By Bruce Cochran
Hello Everyone,
Let’s begin the new year with a wine region known for big reds from a great grape. It’s also a region less famous than most, which usually means a good deal. And, if you’re pursuing the noble goal of trying wines from 100 different grape varieties, this one might help you achieve your goal.
If you’re in Little Rock on Wednesday, we’ll have another “After Work Wine Tasting” at Salut! in Little Rock’s Heights neighborhood. Salut ! is on the first floor of the Prospect Building. Take Grant Street one block south from Cantrell Road. We’ll enjoy four California wines from Vina Robles, with a variety of pizzas. No reservations needed, just drop by from 5 p.m. until 7:30. The cost is $20 per person and includes three ounces of four wines (that’s half a bottle), lots of pizza, tax and the tip. Salut! will have some great wine specials for those who want to stay longer..
Try a new wine this week!

Domaine de Crampilh’s Cuvee L’Originel
Southwest France borders Spain, separated by the Pyrenees Mountains. In the foothills, south of the much more famous wine region of Bordeaux, is a place called Madiran. Like most of southwest France, it’s very sunny and very rocky, with a climate influenced by both the warm Mediterranean Sea to the east and chilly, 10,000+ft. mountain peaks to the south.
Madiran is red wine country, and its main grape is the indigenous Tannat. Tannat is known for deeply colored, powerfully tannic reds, and in recent years has become something of a “cult wine.” It’s said to be one of—if not the—most heart-healthy wines.
Tannat is grown in a few other places around the world, mostly in warm, sunny areas. I’ve had some very good, very dense and powerful Tannat from Argentina, and a couple of rustic examples from Uruguay, where it’s very popular. It’s also being grown along California’s Central Coast.
But for a combination of depth and complexity, I’m still a fan of the French originals from Madiran. The interaction of fruit, minerals and a bit of oak combine there for wines that are both big and balanced.
There’s a Madiran available locally from an estate named Domaine de Crampilh. Their “Cuvee L’Originel” is made primarily from Tannat grapes, with a small percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon added. Cabernet is also from southwest France, in the Bordeaux region. This Madiran from Domaine du Crampilh is a good introduction to the Tannat grape. The price is $18 to $20

Categories: Legacy Archive