Sunday, December 20, 2009

What's the HoseMaster Drinking?

Clos Rougeard 2005 Saumur Champigny

True confession time. There are countless things I've never done that I feel destined to do. Maybe we all feel that way. For example, I've never played Juliet in "Romeo and Juliet." I've never faced a little chin music from Nolan Ryan. I've never wiped that smirk off Alex Trebek's face. I never married a Walloon. Oh, there's still time yet for me to do all of these things, maybe even memorize the Bible in Pig Latin ("Et-lay ere-thay E-bay ight-lay"), but what's really fun is to finally discover something you didn't even know existed, have the curtain rise on your ignorance and the extinguished lamp on your porch finally turn on. Like the first time you heard Portugese Fado music, or smelled your own toejam. I was unfamiliar with Clos Rougeard until just the other night when I opened a bottle My Gorgeous Samantha had sent me for some special occasion or other, probably Be Kind to Animals Week. Clos Rougeard, it turns out, is one of, if not the, greatest red wine producers of the Loire Valley. How come I'd never heard of it before, much less tasted it? This was a gigantic hole in my wine knowledge, and, believe me, it takes one to know one. Clos Rougeard is one of the great Cabernet Francs in the world, and up until a day or two ago I knew nothing about it. Sort of like being an astronaut and never tasting Tang. On the basis of this one bottle, I'm now a huge fan. It was intriguing and seductive from the first sniff. In many ways it really reminded me of Burgundy, ethereal and earthy, I kept smelling truffles, and slow to reveal itself. But once it started opening up it was quite complex and intriguing. Like most great wines it showed elegance and restraint and purity. I wanted to let it open up even more, but I couldn't stop picking up my glass and tasting it. Tart cherries, truffles, a pinch of spice and a long, long finish. It was addicting, in the way of Burgundy, enchanting and powerful at the same time. It cast a spell on me. And this is Clos Rougeard's least expensive, youngest vines bottling! Holy crap. I need to try their "Les Poyeux" and "Le Bourg!" Thank you, Samantha, I have a whole new outlook on Cabernet Franc and Saumur Champigny. And my own ignorance, which is an appellation to rival the Upper Mississippi River Valley AVA in size.

The HoseMaster Score: 845,299

Disclaimer: HoseMaster of Wine is taped before a live studio audience, and yet still needs canned laughter.


Samantha Dugan said...

Dude I lit up when I saw the Rougeard label, it was like getting a gift! I was wondering if you were ever going to taste that wine and it was one of the ones I was most wanting your take on. I love love love those wines, when people turn up their nose at Cab Franc I beg them to try Clos Rougeard. I cannot tell you how happy I am that you liked it and yes, the others are even better...kinda makes my toes curl just thinking about them.

You made my day Ron, I really am thrilled that you dug it.

Jack said...

Dude, Us in the Know like to keep knowledge about CR very quiet. The price is skyrocketing (the 05 Bourg is now more than $100).

Again, SHHHH!

Samantha Dugan said...

I sold my precious 6 bottles of Le Bourg for $96, they were gone in less than 3 hours after putting them on the website. I must admit to getting a tad giddy when I saw your comment as I meet so few people that even know Clos few people down here in SoCal even know what Saumur Champigny is, let alone something as rare as Rougeard. Just curious, you have any feeling on the Breze?

Ron Washam, HMW said...

My Gorgeous Samantha,

Well, I was just shooting the Breze the other day...


vickibarkley said...

I love Clos Rougeard too, thanks to our Darling Samantha! I have to admit, I haven't had the higher level bottles, only our entrancing little "starter" wine! Truly delicious, and yes, I had a similar "aha" moment when I first tasted it.

Happy Holidays! I hope Santa is good to you this year, as you have been good to us all, in spite of your protestations!

Samantha Dugan said...

I still love you though.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Happy Holidays, Vicki,

Thanks for chiming in. It's starting to sound like I'm the last one to know about Clos Rougeard.

I hear there's this Sauterne called Chateau d'Yquem that's supposed to be pretty good too.

And did you know they make phones you can carry with you anywhere that actually work!?

Please come back often, Vicki! I hope to meet you when I finally visit Samantha--what's the temperature in hell? Somebody call Robert Mondavi and ask him.

Samantha Dugan said...


Ron Washam, HMW said...

My Gorgeous Samantha,

This just in! It's 30 degrees in Hell! Some sort of heating malfunction, or Satan didn't pay his propane bill. So I'll see you soon!

Four months ago wouldn't have been soon enough!

I adore you!

Samantha Dugan said...

Guess that snowball's chances just got better