When my sister gave birth to her third child, a third son, my mother proudly criticized her for having no imagination. This must be a family trait as I’m once again spending a Saturday afternoon in March writing about a Domaine Belle wine. In my defense, why would I look past a wine just because I wrote about another wine from the same producer two weeks before? Seems silly to avoid a wine like that especially one I find as delicious as the 2010 Crozes-Hermitage Les Terres Blanches from Domaine Belle. It has aromas of white blossoms, apricots and juicy mandarins that carry over on to the palate. It’s got a fresh, zesty mouthfeel dominated by ripe citrus flavors and then stays interesting through to the finish with its perky minerality. In my opinion, there is a lot to love about Rhone whites though they are unjustly overlooked by the more popular Rhone reds.

The 2010 Les Terres Blanches is a blend of 70% Marsanne and 30% Roussanne and sees a third low-toast new barrel, a third 1-year old barrel and the rest is in stainless steel. The barrel regiment is quite deft and is used for texture. I was quite surprised to learn that there was new barrel since I detected no overt oaky flavors or notes. The grapes for Les Terres Blanches are grown on a special white clay soil called Kaolin which is quite rare in Crozes-Hermitage and is likely only found around the town of Larnage where Domaine Belle is located. Marsanne is known for displaying the mineral flavors of the soil in which it is grown and as such, this rare Kaolin soil helps to explain the depth of flavor and, as I wrote above, the perky minerality Belle’s Les Terres Blanches shows in abundance. 
Last Sunday, TWH staff celebrated the last days of winter by throwing a Post-Post Holiday Party at Garçon. It was well worth the wait…as you can imagine the wines selected were dazzling and they showed beautifully. Definitely one of the great perks of working at TWH are times like this drinking great wines with my comrades. It makes putting up with frost bitten toes well worth it. I won’t bore you with the list of wines we drank but if you are curious you can check them out here.

Our Bordeaux Scout, Pete Z., is heading off to Bordeaux this week and will be reporting back on the 2011 vintage.Inside our warehouse we are busy making space for back-to-back containers. New stuff is on the way! Yippee! Domestically speaking we’ve got some stellar Pinots from the Anderson Valley from Knez and Drew Family and a new vintage from Arbe Garbe…but more on that later. —Anya Balistreri