I had heard the name Clos Saron around I don’t know where.  But it really came to my attention on the wine list of one of my favorite NYC haunts, Hearth.  They have an entire page dedicated to this California producer.  That is to say, not an entire page of wines from them, as there are only a few listed, but a page that gives a bit of the story about this special winery.  And the Hearth wine list contains many stories about other producers and regions and that makes it one of the coolest and most unique wine lists I have come across.

On a recent night there we had a bottle of one of Clos Saron’s red blends, Cuvée Mystérieuse 2002, and it was as unique, delicious, and surprising as any wine that I had tried from California, or elsewhere.  It was a dense red, with loads of sediment, and reminded me perhaps of something that would have come from a natural wine from the Northern Rhone, the Languedoc or the Loire perhaps.  I was intrigued, and determined to find out more about a great winery that had earned a page in the wine list at Hearth.

Well it just so happened that I was in the Natural Wine Company, an out of the way gem in my home turf of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, when I spotted a bottle of 2010 Carte Blanche from Clos Saron.  I jumped at the bottle, wondering if the white would be as wonderful and surprising as the red had been.  The 2010 Carte Blanche was bottled without additional sulfites and is a blend of 51% Roussanne, 35% Sauvignon Blanc, 7% Viognier and 7% Chardonnay. Unfortunately, a fire burned down the vineyard right after harvest, so it appears that this wine will not be bottled in this incarnation ever again.  It is truly an exceptional and distinct wine, even more so than the red we tried.  It reminds me very much of Lopez de Heredia’s Viña Tondonia whites, with a wonderful almond nuttiness coming through.  And the back of the label really says everything one needs to know:  nothing added, nothing taken away, the way wine should be.  The simple design and elegant packaging are also a welcome touch.  But with the elegant packaging does not come as high price tag as one might expect.  The Clos Saron wines have wax dipped capsules and come wrapped in tissue paper, and the white is under $30!  If you are looking for something different, if you love the white wines from Lopez de Heredia, or say Radikon or Gravner, or the whites of the Jura, then try this wine.  A new bench mark for what California (white) wines can be.

Clos Saron 2010 Carte Blanche – $29.99

The 2010 Clos Saron Carte Blanche is a deeply colored golden yellow with some orange hints.  The nose has fresh almonds on top of pears and Meyer lemon.  There is great depth and minerality and mouth feel is slightly rich and oily, probably thanks to the presence of the Viognier?  The wine is changeable as it breaths and it really drinks best just under room temperature to truly appreciate all the layered aromatics.  I tasted the wine on the first day and fourth day, and I have to say it just kept getting better.  Drink now or cellar for several years and see what happens, it seemingly has the stuffing to age nicely.  But this is it for this wine due to fire which destroyed the vineyard after harvest, so get it before it’s gone.  Purchased at Natural Wine Company.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED