Joseph Mellot Quincy Le Rimonet 2015
For many years of my life if you had asked me to talk for one minute on Quincy I would have launched – provided I was motivated by a suitable cash prize – into a diatribe on the role of the same name played with memorable spittle-faced fury by Jack Klugman. I could have told you how Quincy M.E. (we never knew his first name) coped, or rather failed to cope, with protocol, procedure and slow-witted colleagues as a Los Angeles County Medical Examiner. And I could have included in my minute of fame a brief and tone-deaf rendition of that unforgettable earworm of a theme tune, as I can still hum it to myself now, despite not having watched an episode for what must be twenty years. I would secure my prize by describing the opening sequence in detail, even down to the fact that the chest x-ray on the wall behind Quincy as he performs his autopsy, surrounded by fainting police officers, was the wrong way round (was it just me that spotted that?).
So much for then. These days you and I know that Quincy means Sauvignon Blanc from the Central Vineyards, a tiny appellation of just 250 hectares northwest of Bourges, some way west of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé. Here land is relatively cheap, compared to more famous appellations anyway, and there is plenty available, with much of it currently given over to arable farming. This, and the lack of a prestigious appellation, means the wines can deliver value as well as quality. There are a small number of dedicated vignerons carrying the torch for this appellation, names such as Jacques Tatin, Jacques Rouzé and Domaine Lecomte, but there has also been outside investment from the likes of Henri Bourgeois and Joseph Mellot.
Although not exactly a high-profile appellation, especially compared to the likes of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé, it is a well-known fact among Quincy geeks (fans of the wine that is, not the medical examiner prone to intense shouting matches with Lieutenant Frank Monahan) that this was the first region in the Loire Valley to gain appellation status, the decree having been signed on August 8th 1936. Why Quincy, you might ask, and not a more significant vineyard region such as Sancerre, Vouvray, Chinon or Muscadet? The simple fact is that local growers realised that the new appellation system was the ideal way to protect the name of Quincy from imitation and abuse, and that this had been more of a problem than today you might think. The vineyards were on the doorstep of Bourges, where various kings and noblemen had developed a taste for it, and so over the years there had been problems with imitations and knock-offs. The vignerons, led by Emile Roux, got organised and submitted an application for the appellation to the courts at Bourges in 1931. Five years later it was approved, before some more famous wine regions had even woken up to the existence of the new appellation system.
Congratulations are due, as it is now eighty years since the landmark creation of the Quincy appellation, and I am sure the only way to celebrate is to pull the cork on a bottle. Le Rimonet (there are various spellings, but this is the one Joseph Mellot prefer) is a vineyard of sandy and silty soils situated to the southwest of the village of Quincy. The Sauvignon Blanc vines planted here are about 40 years of age, and the vinification is fairly standard, the fruit picked and pressed, settled at a cold temperature and then fermented in small stainless steel vats, with a short élevage on the fine lees. In the glass the 2015 Joseph Mellot Quincy Le Rimonet has a very pale straw hue, with a subtle tinge of green. Perhaps as a reflection of the warm 2015 vintage the aromatics feel wonderfully ripe and perfumed, the nose filled with the scents of citrus fruit and pears, dusted with white pepper, the overall effect very expressive and confident. The palate is supple and fruit-rich, with sweet pears and dessert apples wrapped around a very forceful, granular and pithy core of pear skin and greengage pit. It is really quite perfumed, especially in its rather pithy finish, where there is also a flourish of rose-petal and lychee. At this moment it feels a little more like Sauvignon Gris than Sauvignon Blanc, although this could of course simply be the extraordinary ripeness of the 2015 vintage coming through.
Overall this is an attractive wine, perfumed and charming; it would be perfect for sipping onboard your sailboat, tied up in Marina Del Rey in Los Angeles. After a busy day of autopsies and shouting, of course. Daah, da-da-da dah-daah….. 15.5/20 (19/12/16)