My good friend/sworn mortal enemy Eric Stokes has jumped into it with both feet opening his own retail shop in Apex, NC. Some of you may know Eric from his time at the Carolina Wine Co. I think Eric really wanted the chance to sell wines he believes in, rather than what someone else has bought. It takes a set. He doesn’t have an online shopping cart, but does have a website that has contact information. He had a killer price on Pépière Clisson, maybe still has some.
A few of us gathered to help him celebrate his first week in business. These are the wines I noted, there were some other CA chardonnay and cabernet type things, about which I give less than a shit. My luck with Burgundy finally ran out as there were mostly disappointments.
1993 Barthod Chambolle 1er Charmes
This was a good bottle of this, although not seemingly a pristine bottle. It was nice to have a Barthod wine that was seeming to mature because my 1995s and 1996s haven’t really seemed to be budging, or doing so reluctantly. The Charmes fruit has dissipated into a nice earthy, leathery dried cherry thing. However, it is the inner mouth perfume (retro-nasal olfaction) and the mouthfeel that really make this a nice drop. If your bottles are in better condition, they might show younger, but I think you can start getting into these now.
1998 Bouchard Vosne 1er Reignots
Pretty non-descript. I’ve never had a Bouchard wine that did it for me and this wasn’t the start.
1999 Geantet-Pansiot Charmes
Viciously, horrendously corked. Like someone added chemicals to it. Crazy.
1996 Domaine René Engel Grands-Echezeaux
Elegant, nice Grands-Echezeaux, but not particularly inspiring. A sort of sandlewood spice to the sour cherry cranberry fruit. Lean and stretched and maybe a bit dilute, but it is 1996 after all, so I should just be happy that it was pleasant. Should continue to improve, if you have any, but won’t make old bones.
At dinner at J. Betski’s, the only reason I will drive to Raleigh. If you are in the area, you should try it out. They are doing some really excellent food and have a very cool wine list.
2002 Domaine de Bellivière Coteaux du Loir L'Effraie
Spectacular and shows what Eric Nicolas is capable of. I really don’t think that 2003, 2004, or 2005 really showed his wines at their best. They were just too warm to show what he and these sites are capable of. Shimmering, dancing, beautiful wine that divides and recombines across the palate. Has an edge of chenin wildness to it, but manages to keep its grace under pressure demeanor. This is why I fell in love with these wines to begin with. Please, let Eric Nicolas have a long, cool growing season sometime soon.
2002 Emrich-Schönleber Monzinger Halenberg Riesling Spätlese Halbtrocken
Rockss and Douche is batshit crazy over these wines (well, he's batshit crazy in general, but that's another story). A recent bottle of Kabinett was excellent. This, being a halb-trocken, was a different beast. Whereas the straight Pradikät wines have an inherent balance, this seems to have to work a little more for it. It was a very good wine, full of creamy yellow fruits and good underlying structure, without that stripped feeling you can get from non-Pradikät wines.
1996 Bernard Dugat-Py Gevrey-Chambertin Vieilles Vignes
Started out promising with a kind of rhubarb thing that I get on Dugat-Py Gevrey sometimes. Dark color as you would expect from this producer. After a couple hours in the decanter though, it started to go south. Not bad really, but not really interesting. Another mediocre 1996. The 1995 version of this was a much better wine.