With the 2006 in distribution and the 2007 releasing, stumbling across the 2005 Chateau Pesquie Terrasses at a local New Hampshire State Liquor store last week was a pleasant surprise. I grabbed the remaining 4 bottles on sale at $10.99, ignoring the half dozen 04s and asked for more 05. With the New Hampshire State Commission selling the 04, 05, 06, and soon releasing 07 all at once and state stores unable to reorder centrally with vintage specificity, a case of 05s was not available through traditional restocking and a friendly manager purposely pulled together a dozen for me, coordinating piecemeal bottle arrivals from stores around the state. With the case assembly process underway, I reasserted to myself that these are value wines drinking like serious cuvees worth buying by the caseload and New Hampshire operates best without reliance on a central nervous system to control the actions of its limbs and digits.
Cotes du Ventoux: The wine’s name is rooted in the Latin “terras” referring to lump of earth. The hills and valleys of the Provencal countryside that is home to Pesquie, which is situated between Mont Ventoux and Avignon, reflect vineyard terracing that tamed the topography for winegrowers. There is evidence of wine being made here since 30BC and in the early 1970’s this region was officially designated its current status of AOC Ventoux.
This terroir shows itself in each bottle of 2005 Pesquie which upon release received 92 points from the Wine Advocate and wide critical acclaim. The wine has a translucent, medium-dark garnet color far beyond the edges of the glass. In color and mouthfeel, the 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah blend reflects characeristics that are closely associated with Pinot Noir. With black cherry and brightness on the nose, there is accompanying dry earthiness with emerging sage, thyme, and rosemary aromas. In direct contrast to so many overly ripe regional value blends like this, the wine has a silky and almost elegant mouthfeel accompanied by a medium length and highly satisfying finish. I can not recommend this wine enough. Even if you can’t find the 2005 (but try), it is certainly something to look for in the heralded 2007 vintage where the wine will hopefully continue to skirt growing conditions that could lean towards over ripeness in some wines.
New Hampshire: Since 1992 I have celebrated northeastern summers in New Hampshire on a timeless idyllic lake called Wentworth. New Hampshire is a mosaic of idiosyncratic fragments of life that lacks defining culture. Instead, the State embodies a “Live Free or Die” attitude expressed on tags bolted to gun rack adorned pick-ups, sparkling bass boats, vintage sports cars, broken down Chevys, Harleys, horse vans and myriad other distinctive vehicles that grace well maintained state byways. New Hampshire confounds me. During my life, I have carried keys to front doors of homes in five different places (if you count Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Long Island as three different places) and with each new relocation the comforting predictability and culture of streets crossing with avenues and Jews, Italians, and Irish kids playing stickball and school yard basketball together back in Brooklyn became more obfuscated, reaching new heights in New Hampshire. Getting a case of two year old wine organized up all across the state in just two days because the central warehouse can not be counted on to refill specific vintages is just another thing that left me scratching my head and shrugging my shoulders.
Yet on this one particular evening, in a “life is good moment”, we sat lakeside among wonderful friends and neighbors enjoying the pleasures of the Cotes du Ventoux’s terraced vineyards and the gifts of New Hampshire’s glimmering water and stars. We relished the conversation and fresh caught crappie that were boated, filleted, and encrusted only hours earlier with porcini powder and then layered over garlic sauteed escarole and sun dried tomatoes. With New Hampshire welcoming to all and Pesquie widely available for less than $15, all you need is that really fine porcini encrusted crappie recipe.