LudoBites 8 (with its eminently more sane booking policy) debuted last night, which means a new wine list curated by Domaine LA along with chef Ludo and his wife, Krissy. The big news: the wine list now includes beer and cider (a Normandy cide from Domaine du Manoir in Montreuil, France, to be precise). In paying homage to chef Ludo's dual homes, everything on the list originates from either France or California, with a focus on wines "made in a responsible manner," i.e. no staying out late on a school night, no extensive manipulation in the cellar and farming techniques that are primarily organic.
Domaine LA founder Jill Bernheimer says these wines were picked "because they are eminently food-friendly and a good match for the flavors and styles prominent in Ludo's cuisine" and because "They all provide excellent value/quality ratios."
Some of these wines are extremely limited in production and availability, so once the first batch runs out, they'll switch to another wine (either from the same region or perhaps even the same producer).
Bernheimer describes the Normandy Cider as "A bit savory, a tiny hint sweet and with some earthy funk, this should prove one of the more interesting items to pair with Ludo's food." As for the wines, a few of highlights include:
2009 Francois Cazin Cour-Cheverny Cuvée Renaissance, Loire Valley, France
100% Romorantin, a mineral-driven grape variety that's not well known. This particular bottling sees some "noble rot" and has a small bit of residual sugar in it. Bernheimer and the Lefevres swear this is perfect for pairing with foie. ($35/bottle)
2010 Broc Cellars "Carbonic" Carignan, Alexander Valley, California
100% Carignan. This wine is made with a technique called "carbonic maceration" which allows the grapes to ferment inside their own skins. The result is in a wine that is soft and fruit-driven and soft. Winemaker Chris Brockway was just named by the San Francisco Chronicle as one of five winemakers to watch in 2012. ($45/bottle)
NV Cedric Bouchard "Val Vilaine" Inflorescence, Blanc de Noirs, Champagne, France
Cedric Bouchard only uses single vineyards, single vintages and single grape varieties per bottling. This bottling of the Val Vilaine is based on the 2009 vintage and is 100% Pinot Noir. It has no added sugar "but still has bold fruit, richness," according to Bernheimer. This is one of the rarer and more expensive bottlings on the list, so get it if and while you can. ($105/bottle)
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The list also showcases $14 carafes (350 ml pours) featuring the "From the Tank" series by natural wine importer Jenny & Francois. The white is a 100% unoaked Chardonnay, and the red is a Cotes du Rhone. The carafes will cost a mere $14 a piece.
Still need guidance? Ask Whitney Adams from Domaine LA or Maxwell Leer, formerly of the Tasting Kitchen and the Bazaar, who will be splitting sommelier duties for LudoBites 8. Corkage is $18.
Elina Shatkin is a staff writer at LA Weekly. Follow her at @elinashatkin or contact her at email@example.com.