October 06, 2008

More Dressner wines in Oregon

I'd heard some weeks back that Triage Wines was rumored to be taking on Oregon distribution of all Louis/Dressner Selections. Looks like that was true, and judging by just one listing in the latest Liner & Elsen wine shop newsletter, Oregon wine fans should be pleased.

Triage, a Seattle-based distributor with arguably the best book of French producers in Oregon, was long constrained in the variety of Louis/Dressner selections it could represent locally. In Washington, Triage had everything in the LDM book. But the Oregon operation had to split things with at least one other distributor, the result being that some Dressner wines simply didn't make it to our local market.

Triage is apparently changing that. Take Domaine Filliatreau from the Samur-Champigny region of France's Loire valley. For a few years, I noticed I could find these wines across the border in the otherwise wine desert of Clark County, the southwest Washington region that's part of the Portland metro area and home to The Couv. That's Vancouver, WA, not BC. It's essentially the 909, or maybe the OC before it allegedly became hip. The point is, you don't have to cross the river to try to find these wines. We now have them and others right here in the friendly confines of Portland.

If you're interested, Filliatreau makes terrific and well-priced cabernet franc-based red wines. Now, these wine are available in Oregon. Liner & Elsen has the basic Samur from 2006 Filliatreau's Chateau Fouquet label featured this month for $15. I haven't found time to try this one, but judging by all of my past experiences with this producer, you won't be sorry.

Otherwise, in these value oriented times, check out the Dressner portfolio. I pulled out two not so recent purchases from the "cellar" recently and neither dissapointed. The first I knew well. The second I bought only because of the importer's label. If you see "Louis/Dressner" on the back label and you're curious, buy it.

First, the 2004 Jean Paul Brun "Terres Dorees" Beaujolais Vieilles Vignes. Forget about Beaujolais not aging. It does. But did you know that the Wine Advocate gave 90 points to the latest release of this wine, the 2007? What's next, Parker and his acolytes will praise Valtellina?

This 2004 from Brun is maturing, with a hint of orange on the rim and a gorgeous gamay fragrance of cherries and wet earth. The wine is light bodied but deceptively flavorful, with bottle sweet flavors that are akin to caramelization in cooking, fresh and mature at once, carried by tart, juicy acidity. This might not be sipping wine for most folks, but I love it. With dinner, it's almost great.

Then the 2003 Mouthes le Bihan Vieillefont from the Cotes des Duras of the Lot-et-Garonne region southeast of Bordeaux. The grapes are merlot, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, and malbec. The wine is purple ruby in color, with a berry aroma and flavor that's savory and sweet at once. I've seen reports of brett in this wine, and there might be a little activity from that "spoilage yeast" here, evident in its animal or band aid character. But this bottle was delicious, mostly clean with a nice balance of rich fruit and savory herbs, without excess tannin I find in some wines from the hot 2003 vintage. Again, for not a lot of money, this is characterful French wine that I want to drink more of. You should too.

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