A Traveling Wine Chick/Uncorked Remarks collaboration
French wine producer Domaines Paul Mas made the decision to relaunch their popular Arrogant Frog line this year, and we were lucky enough to participate. In collaboration with McCue Communications, owner/winemaker Jean-Claude Mas answered questions about his new batch of offerings in a live, online tasting. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the format, Jean-Claude and Michelle McCue discussed the new wines, while the participants tasted along, asked questions and live tweeted our opinions and findings.
You will soon see these wines everywhere. They are well crafted, made to drink now and very affordable. Jean-Claude meticulously explored the four newly-released wines tonight (all are 2013 vintage): Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. I will share my take on the two reds and my co-conspirator, Traveling Wine Chick, will review the whites. Off we go.
The Pinot Noir is about as fruit-forward as any Pinot that I’ve tasted. This wine bursts with cherry flavors and has a toasty, smoky character. Now I chilled it for a short time and just opened the bottle prior to the event, so it was a bit overpowering to me. The Pinot is deep purple in color, almost garnet. Over the next day or two, it softened up nicely and was considerably more enjoyable. Not bad for ten bucks, but you will want to decant this if you can.
Jean-Claude’s Cab/Merlot blend was more my style. I was surprised how complex this wine was for the price. Like the Pinot, it had a lot of fruit on the palate and a dark color. This blend showed layers of character that the first wine didn’t. This will do the trick at your next cookout or with a steak. And I would let this one breathe for awhile also.
And here’s our pro, Beth with the choice, summer whites …
Arrogant Frog is unique in that the wines are produced in Languedoc, France (Pays d’Oc IGP – Indication Géographique Protégée), but are fermented in American oak, which gives them a new-world style. As Jean-Claude said in during our virtual tasting, they are “old world wines with new world attitude.” The use of American oak, with its more open grain, generally interacts more with the wine. It impacts the flavor more than French oak, often adding flavors such as coconut and vanilla, and provides more tannin and a creamier mouthfeel.
If you try this line of wines, it is recommended that you decant and try them 24 hours later. As stated Jean-Claude, “All of my wines taste better one day later, that’s my style.”
I was surprised at creaminess of Arrogant Frog Sauvignon Blanc, with aromas and flavors of warmer-climate fruits such as pineapple, stone fruits, and tropical fruits. Citrus was present, but not overpowering. I found it to be very refreshing for summertime sipping. Recommended pairing: grilled white fish and raw oysters.
The Chardonnay was similar in style to the Sauvignon Blanc, in that it had that similar creamy mouthfeel and balanced fruit. It possessed aromas and flavors of vanilla, apple, peach, pear, and tropical fruits with a medium finish. I’m thinking shellfish as a pairing here: lobster, shrimp, and scallops. Now I’m hungry.
Both white wines utilize a Stelvin (screw cap) closure and are meant to be consumed now.
These wines are a great bargain at this price point, four popular varieties which will satisfy a wide range of palates. And serious enough for you skeptics out there.
Thanks to Jean-Claude & Michelle for a great tasting experience. Salut!