"You look for people who aren't forcing commercial yields, people who respect what it takes to ripen grapes."
This is the philosophy that importer Bobby Kacher employs in his search for wine. He is one of a small group of U.S. importers who spend half their lives traveling the back roads of France, Germany, Italy, and Spain following tips and leads and hunches in search of small, independent wine producers that specialize in making limited quantities of artisanal wines—wines with personality, wines that taste of the terroir from which they come.
To say these guys are driven—even fanatical in their pursuit of what they consider wine purity—is an understatement. As Kacher explains it, he is looking for: "the best, purest raw material, and that means full ripeness of the grapes. Farming properly at the right yields because yield control makes a difference."
I have long admired his wines. This week and next I'll be featuring two ridiculously inexpensive offerings from Kacher's extensive portfolio.
This week's Wine of the Week is his Mas de Guiot Cabernet Sauvignon-Syrah 2008 ($14) from the delta of the Rhône river in southern France. Owned by Francois and Sylvia Cornut, the estate, says Kacher, "has such a great microclimate … it overlooks the Camargue, it's hot, it's arid, it's rocky, it's not rich soil."
The wine has a dense, opaque appearance, but there's nothing dense or opaque about the flavor—it's bursting with tangy dark-fruit flavors, balanced by an earthy richness and a fine structural integrity that makes it perfect with anything from pizza to rare steak to roast chicken. As such, it is a glowing example of the evolution of French country wines—an authentic peasant wine of the soil given poise and structure by the application of impeccable modern winemaking techniques.
Find this wine near you: www.wine-searcher.com
When to Drink: Now and for the next couple of years
Breathing/Decanting: An hour's breathing is helpful
Food Pairing: Robust, hearty dishes. Strongly recommend roast boar
Grapes: Cabernet sauvignon 60%, syrah 40%
Appellation: Vin de Pays de Gard
Region: Rhone Valley
Price: A ridiculous $14
Web Site: http://www.robertkacherselections.com/