Recommendations from Robert Kacher Selections
Tuesday, January 18, 2011; 11:53 AM
More than 20 years ago, when I first fell in love with wine, I confided to Tim Bradshaw, a salesman at Mayflower Wine & Spirits in Northwest, that I knew so little about French wines that I was wary of buying them. He picked up a bottle of Cotes du Rhone, turned to the back label and pointed to three words: Robert Kacher Selections. "This is all you need to know," he said.
It was useful advice, cluing me in to the importance of the importer as a guide to foreign wines. Today, there are several boutique importers in the Washington area, and we don't need to follow just one. We simply need to pay attention.
Over the years, I've tasted fewer of Kacher's wines as I explored the market's diversity. But each time I revisit his portfolio, I'm reminded of my own wine-drinking roots and Tim Bradshaw's sage advice. Here are some of my current Kacher favorites.
Domaine Cordier Pere et Fils Pouilly-Fuisse Vieilles Vignes, 2009
Burgundy, France, $42
It's a lush chardonnay that nicely balances ripe tree-fruit flavors and toasty oak, highlighted by a beam of minerality that lends finesse. The regular Pouilly-Fuisse bottling (rr1/2 , $35) is also excellent, and I have recommended this producer in the past.
Domaine des Hauts de Sanziers Saumur, 2009
Loire, France, $12
This delightful white wine is chenin blanc as it should be: tinted gold, with hints of acacia honey on the nose, yet dry, light and very mineral as it parades exotic fruit flavors across the palate.
Lamiable Grand Cru Brut
Champagne, France, $50
Here's a small-grower champagne, blended from 80 percent pinot noir and 20 percent chardonnay. It's in the powerful sit-up-and-take-notice style of champagne, rich and full-bodied.
Michel & Stephane Ogier Cote Rotie, 2007
Rhone, France, $84
This is a cellar selection that ideally should age a decade or more from the vintage; it is big and brooding, and it only reveals its inner core of fruit with some coaxing right now. It's the kind of wine that makes you suspect it's evaluating you.
Chateau Guiot Alex Costieres de Nimes, 2006
Languedoc, France, $16
A blend of cabernet sauvignon and syrah, it's named for Kacher's son. It is ripe and full with dark and red fruit flavors, and staying power that should keep it fresh for a few more years. It cries out for red meat.
Domaine Alain Assadet Menetou-Salon, 2009
Loire, France, $16
Pure sauvignon blanc, the other great white grape of the Loire Valley (along with chenin blanc), this wine is delicate and fine, without the aggressive grassiness that has mistakenly come to be synonymous with the grape variety.
Note: Robert Kacher Selections are widely available, distributed in the District by Washington Wholesale, in Maryland by Reliable Churchill and in Virginia by Tri-Cities Beverage and the Robins Cellars.
Stores that carry large Kacher selections include Calvert Woodley, Chevy Chase Wine & Spirits, MacArthur Beverages, Pearson's and Schneider's of Capitol Hill in the District.
Maryland stores include Calvert Discount Liquors in Hunt Valley; Mills Fine Wine & Spirits in Annapolis; Mount Washington Wine Co., Quarry Wine & Spirits, Wells Discount Liquors and Wine Source in Baltimore; Perfect Pour in Elkridge; Shab Row Bistro & Wine Bar and Ye Old Spirit Shop in Frederick; and State Line Liquors and Weaver's Discount Liquors in Elkton.
Virginia stores include Aldie Peddler; Ashburn Wine Shop; Balducci's locations in Alexandria and McLean; Cecile's Wine Cellar in McLean; Cheesetique, Rick's Wine & Gourmet and Unwined (both locations) in Alexandria; Curious Grape and Whole Foods Market in Arlington; Maison du Vin in Great Falls; Market Cellars and the Wine Cabinet in Reston; Out of Site Wines and Vienna Vintner in Vienna; Town Duck in Warrenton; and Wine House in Fairfax.
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Prices are approximate. Check Winesearcher.com to verify availability, or ask a favorite wine store to order through a distributor.