Saturday, July 19, 2008

Excellent Cathiard, mediocre Olek

Met up at Rue Cler with my friend Susannah for dinner after work.

2005 Olek-Mery Chinon Blanc
I’d been really curious about this wine for a while and was psyched for Susannah to bring it to dinner. I’m curious about the etiology of this wine as it could be the same grapes that Matthieu Baudry uses for the Croix Boisée blanc, but I don’t know and will have to remember to ask. This had a leesy scent and what appeared to be some new wood. It was a bit flabby and dilute, not really what I was hoping for at all. Compared to the recent bottle of 2004 Baudry Croix Boisée blanc, it was distinctly inferior.


1999 Cathiard Nuits St. Georges 1er Murgers
I decanted this and then set it aside while we tried the white. This wine built and built like a slow train. It reminded me of Coltrane. Snoop would dig it on the Soul Plane. Anyway, for the first time I understood a comment someone said to me about Cathiard being fruity. I’ve never though of the wines as fruit forward, but as supremely elegant and reserved wines, especially in the context of Vosne. Right upon opening it was quite fruity and not appropriately structured. This all started to change dramatically at about the hour mark. I suspect that folks who find this fruity just popped and poured. It really benefitted from time in the decanter. The unfurling picked up speed and the wine gained in precision and focus, stretching out before us while developing snap and verve. Cool red fruits framed by floral and Spring field-ish notes. I loved the structure. This was strikingly precise and detailed for a wine from Nuits St. George, but the vineyard location and vigneron have something to do with that. I wish Cathiard wines hadn’t got so expensive. I think the 2005 sells for like $200 or something ridiculous like that. Who knew?

8 comments:

Lyle Fass said...

Even though certain Olek-Mery bottlings have the same source as Baudry they have always left me a bit befuddled. I agree about the '05 Baudry Croix Boisse Blanc which is terrible.

Jello4 said...

Agreed a hundred per cent. I had been super curious about the wine, eyeing it for a year or more. Then I was pleased to get to taste the Baudry Blanc '04, which was transcendent. Thus spurred to buy the Olek-Mery finally, I was hugely disappointed. I thought it had a distinct scuppernong thing going on, though Nathan chalked that up to yeasts.

the vlm said...

Lyle-

I've had really good Olek bottlings from 1989, 1990 as well as 1996.

Yeah, 2005 Croix Boissée Blanc wasn't great, but the 2006 is better. Should hit a store near you soon.

S-

I said it reminded me of yeasts, not sure that's exactly what it was though. Some wood too, maybe. Just strange and disappointing in the end.

the vlm said...

S-

But the Cathiard was sick though, wasn't it...

Jello4 said...

Si, Señor, although only at the end for me. I didn't get the fruitiness early on to the same degree that you did. Towards the end I felt it turned a definite corner and became something different, more precise, more internally aligned. Not only my first Cathiard, but also my first Murgers, so thanks!

jb said...

Limited sampling here, but I like the '99 and '01 Cathiard wines I've had. Don't we need a theme or something for september. With input from Jello4?

jb said...

Wait, $200. For Cathiard wines? Maybe what this country needs after all is a big recession.

the vlm said...

jb-

A big recession is coming, whether the country likes it or not. By definition, if a recession comes, it was needed to prune excess.

Tentative theme is Briords and oysters for lunch Saturday. Baudry-a-thon for dinner. Everything else is up in the air.