2006 Apremont: Speaking of Purity

2006 Le Cellier du Palais Vin de Savoie Apremont
White Wine; other white varietal; Other France;
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This week I’m combining two themes from recent emails: purity/focus and high quality/price ratio. The Meursault from last week was a refreshing wake up call for me. It reinvigorated my relationship with white Burgundy and reminded me of the joys of transparency and minerality in wine. That said, the fact that it is over $50 is a deal breaker for many. I can understand that. I can’t remember the last time I bought myself clothes. If it wasn’t for my wife, I’d be wearing rags … but drinking really nice wine. Since my wine budget has become our wine budget, I’m always looking for what I desire in a glass at more humane prices. And this Apremont does just that.

The mountain wines of the Savoie region are some of the most distinctly interesting yet bafflingly well-priced wines produced today. This Apremont is made from Jacquere, a variety grown mainly in these alpine towns near the Swiss border in France. As far as known Apremont, there is basically one producer who has any sort of American presence due to his large production. You might know it, and that wine is fine, but there are a few boutique minded folk making Apremont in small numbers. Le Cellier du Palais is one (3,750 cases total!), and for circa $10 wine this is the good stuff. I can only assume that the cost of living is much lower out there. If you liked what you heard about the Meursault in terms of precision and clarity and the way it cures the doldrums of overwrought, palate-bruising wines, but balked at the price, then this is the answer. Take a moment and consider the average white wine that you can get for $10. I wouldn’t be surprised if soft drink companies start cornering this part of the market. It wouldn’t be such a stretch since most wines at this price point already have too much sugar and too many ingredients. Lucky for us there are devoted people in different corners of the world sticking to their guns.

If ever a wine were to capture the essence of high altitude exhilaration, this is it. At $10.98 a bottle it’s a wine to keep on hand. To those who prize tautness in wine, who want a wine to refresh, who love the acid/mineral play of Loire whites or Champagne: you will all find pleasure in this wine. In fact Champagne is a good comparison for the fruit character of this wine. Obviously there is no yeast autolysis here, no mousse, and there is certainly no barrel aging, but the elegant presentation of the fruit is similar. Nothing is blatant, it’s all about poise. It’s the quiet member of the conversation who waits until everyone is done and in two sentences makes the most interesting remarks of the evening versus the one who shuns any sort of self-regulating and speaks continuously, seemingly without breathing, it can be too much, but you’re glad they’re there to avoid any awkward silences. Both have a place in a social setting, and some people prefer one or the other. I like a conversation with all sorts of people, but I must say I prefer restraint in wine. – Ben Jordan

2006 Le Cellier du Palais Vin de Savoie Apremont
White Wine; other white varietal; Other France;
  Add to Cart
Tasting Notes
This wine is a theoretical hybrid between Roussanne and Muscadet tending towards the Loire with Chablis as a distant cousin. It has the floral, Rhone-like quality to the aromatics, while the fruit is pristine and stony and cleaner than almost any wine anywhere. The floral quality is hinting. This is the opposite of the spectrum from Viognier in terms of florality. Where Viognier’s perfume can be loose and overwhelming, this is slight and teasing. Kind of like the way you’re supposed to wear perfume: just enough so that your lover can smell it during an embrace.On the palate, it is deliciously mineral. If you could translate into flavor white stones from a mountain river, that might describe it. The wine is lively, similar in cut to a classic vintage of Muscadet, Sancerre, or Chablis. It is bottled with a slight (slight) touch of its natural CO2, giving it an extra dimension of freshness. Many of my notes on this wine may venture into whimsy, because I am trying to capture the spirit of the experience. While other wines seek strength of palate impression and delineated, sanctioned flavors, this dashes about leaving the cinnamon, butter, and chocolate for the candies. It’s March now, and as we’re anticipating spring, a case of wine like this is needed to wake from the red wine hibernation of winter. As the days get longer, this is perfect way to set the sun and settle into your evening meal.

My email is ben.winehouse@sbcglobal.net if you would like to contact me with questions or comments. If you would like to place an order, please email winehouse@sbcglobal.net.


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