NGW: Domaine du Haut Bourg Muscadet Côtes de Grandlieu Sur Lie 2010   4 comments

Given Lemons—Make Lemon Meringue!

Good friend, RJ Asher, after exiting from Corporate America found himself in Hong Kong with a hankering to do something that played to his creative side.  He had been a home schooled pie maker (aren’t they all?).

He invited me to brunch one afternoon in 2010, with his wife, Mary Beth, and two other friends.  He discussed the next step in his life– his vision for a pie bakery in Hong Kong.   One thing led to another, and somehow the party migrated to their nice flat.  There, sitting on the terrace, overlooking the city, we munched on some of the sweet stuff including a skyscraper of a Lemon Meringue Pie. 

Image DetailOver some more pie (I think it was a buttery pecan pie), we discussed the phenomena of the Tai Tai—basically the Hong Kong version of the unemployed, kept woman.  A funny thought occurred to me: RJ was at that moment the male version of the Tai Tai.  So I offhandedly suggested he name his new company Tai Tai Pie Pie.  It was meant as a joke.  It was an idea that was probably fueled by a Bloody Mary or two.  But leaps into the abyss often begin with a small shove.

The rest (as they say) is history.  Today, RJ’s Tai Tai Pie Pies operation is in a commercial facility.  He has a passionate commitment to producing the best pies from the purest, most flavorful ingredients available no matter the cost.  This is why if you live in Hong Kong, or even if you’re just passing through HK, you need to get some of this good stuff.   

At dinner at a mutual friends’ home in Manila recently, they pulled out some of RJ’s savory pies.  Personal sized, oval, lard-butter crusted creations filled with beef and chicken and other goodies.  I hadn’t tasted the savory pies till that moment– it was a revelation.  Next time I get to HK, I need to bring some of these frozen babies home with me.  They are that good.  Check out Tai Tai Pie Pies by clicking here.

As I was sipping at today’s NGW, I was reminded of that first lemony creamy taste of one of RJ’s signature pies.  This should come as no surprise since this is a wine with the Sur lie designation, meaning literally “on lees”.  Sur lie wines are bottled directly from the lees without racking (a process for filtering the wine).  This process can add freshness and a creamy quality  to the wine.  Good Muscadet is made in this fashion. 

The grape variety used to produced Muscadet, Melon de Bourgogne, is a relatively neutral grape. With sur lie aging, the wine stays in contact with the dead yeast cells left over after fermentation (the lees).  This process contributes to a creamy mouthfeel that may make the wine seem to have a fuller body. 

Prior to the early 1990s, any producer of Muscadet wine could use the phrase sur lie on their wine labels regardless of the length of time and manner that it actually spent in contact with the lees.  However, in 1994, French authorities implemented regulations limiting the use of sur lie to only wines that comply with set guidelines.  Among these are that while the sub-appellations of Muscadet-Sèvre et Maine, Muscadet-Coteaux de la Loire and Muscadet-Côtes de Grandlieu (source of today’s NGW) are permitted to use the term, any wine labeled with just the generic AOC Muscadet cannot.  Another requirement is that the wine must spend at least a full winter in contact with the lees and not be bottled till after the third week of March following the harvest. 

Domaine du Haut Bourg Muscadet Côtes de Grandlieu Sur Lie 2010 ($9).  Mild floral aromas.  Saline, with a minerally quality and friendly acidity, this is reminiscent of lemon merengue and tart apple yet with more of a viscous mouthfeel than expected.  I nibbled on some wasabi peas while I sipped this– and it stood up to that strong flavor.  This is seafood friendly– but don’t just think sushi– think garlicy shrimp scampi, also think spicy Thai food.  This will get in the face of all of that.  Rated **1/2

The little guy in the photo at the top of this page doesn’t have a guilty bone in his body.  Neither should you.  No-Guilt Wednesday (NGW) is not about compromising on quality.  It’s all about drinking good wine that does not break the bank ($15 or less), eating good food and of course, it’s about sharing with the ones you love.

Posted May 23, 2012 by Sybarite Sauvage in No-Guilt Wednesday

4 responses to “NGW: Domaine du Haut Bourg Muscadet Côtes de Grandlieu Sur Lie 2010

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  1. Good stuff all around! Good writing too!

  2. Thanks, Dennis. We tries to do our bests!

  3. Nice post. I like No Guilt Wednesdays.

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