Friday, November 21, 2008

Winning streak

Recently, I had a great streak where wines showing amazingly well. I think it has something to do with the beautiful weather during October (I’d really like to see a study on wine and barometric pressure). In any event, these two wines showed better than they ever have before. So well, I’m tempted to say neither one will ever get better.

1996 Pierre-Jacques Druet Bourgueil Vaumoreau
A great bottle of this, much better than my last bottle. Really well defined layers with lots of forest, leather, earth, and brighter flowers notes around a core of fruit lifted up on a bed of something distinctly limestone like. What was really striking was the sphericity of the nose. It was so headily perfumed it seemed to really invade the senses. The tannins are getting towards the resolved side and one wouldn’t be doing a disservice by drinking all your bottles in the next 3 years. I think it has more to show and I’ll try to hold one or two for another decade or more. Very compelling stuff and you should open a bottle soon if you have some.

1998 Vieux Télégraphe Châteauneuf-du-Pape La Crau
The best bottle of this I’ve had and the best Chateauneuf I’ve had in a long time. There was a nice structure to the juicy fruit with all the garrigue nuance you could want. Everyone knows we at the VLM-TR are not big fans of Grenache, but this really turned our heads. Unlike so many I’ve had, this was well delineated and complex with real presence and structure, not to mention actual acidic lift. If you like Chateauneuf, this is a wine I would seek out.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

As of Today

I just talked to Joe Dressner and his doctors.

According to all medical evidence, he has a 56.43% chance of death.

Just thought I'd update the avid VLM_TR reader.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Newsflash: Great American Wine!!!

I had a nice visit from a fried where we enjoyed the following with 3 separate meals.

1997 Kalin Livermore Valley Semillon
Golden tinge to the yellow. It has a rich, waxy, and leesy nose with some stone pitted yellow fruits underneath. Portrays a sense of underlying concentration. Kind of coiled. Great balance between the concentration and some acid lift. Nice mineral and fruit skin undertones. Very cool wine that drinks well now, but could go for a long, long time. Terry Leighton makes some of the best white wines I’ve ever had from California.

1997 Nikolaihof Riesling Smaragd Vom Stein
Delicate and powerful all at once. Diving but light as a feather. Really, really good wine. The nose is swirling with nuance and layers. Meadows of flowers, rain dripping off Autumn leaves. There is a certain momentary perfection that reminds you that this isn’t a dream within a dream, but that sometimes, life is real and beauty if right in front of you. Take that Derrida.

2002 d'Angerville Volnay 1er Champans
Very disappointing. I was hoping to check in and see what was up. Seemed really muted and never could seem to give anything. I know it is on the young side, but with Champans, you can usually see what is going on. A frustrating and perplexing experience.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Blackwood Day 2

Well, this was the BIG EVENT of the weekend. Lots of food, lots of wine and lots of great conversation and general conviviality.

My brother put out a great spread at Rue Cler. Always a pleasure to have him cook for us.

2004 Pépière Clos des Briords 1.5L
2005 Pépière Clos des Briords 1.5L
I don’t know. What do you say about Briords and huge plates of oysters? Life is worth living again? I’m honing in on the fact that this is THE great Muscadet. I thought the 2004 showed a bit better to my tastes, more precise, but they are both excellent. The 2005 will probably age better.

1996 Trimbach Riesling Cuvée Frédéric Emile
Started a bit musty, but shook that off. It was all oyster shell and dirt, without much of that petrol emotion. Some yellowish fruit started peaking out after a bit. It wasn’t as aggressive as this wine can be, but I was mostly just drinking it, not studying it.

1996 Vincent Dauvissat Chablis 1er La Fôret
A couple of us found this wine outstanding. It had that lemon drop crusted stone quality that I love so much from this particular wine. Still very well structured, but anyone who remembers how intense these wines were in their youth will be happy with how they are coming around. I was worried by the crazy intensity of the wine and also the potential of premature oxidation, but neither seemed to be a problem.

1995 Rémi Rollin Corton-Charlemagne
At first, I was really disappointed. It seemed sort of watery and washed out. Most folks at the table dismissed it, but Sophie brought me back to it with a particular dish, and the wine had really come around. What was previously washed out had firmed up. There were notes of pretty fruit and some flowers and spices. It also seemed to stretch out a bit and pick up some structure. I think part of this was my expectation for Corton-Charlemagne to be so big and minerally and intense. Sometimes you have to just let a wine be itself. I don’t think there is anything to be gained by aging this, but please give it some time and quite attention when you open it.

2005 Edmond Vatan Sancerre Chavignol Clos la Néore
Seemed to be closed in on itself. Kinda strange since I had a bottle not too long ago that was more open, but also much more mineral. You can always see the makings of a legend in this wine, though, and I’m always happy to be around it.

2004 Edmond Vatan Sancerre Chavignol Clos la Néore
Although it isn’t in the same class as the 2005, I felt this showed better. The lightness and linearity of it made it much more enjoyable on the night.

2006 Bernard Baudry Chinon Blanc La Croix Boissée
Went so well with the rabbit. While it isn’t defined the way the 2004 was, it has enough structure to hold itself together and to ensure that the fruit and limestone are delivered. A really pleasurable wine to drink. I don’t think it will make old bones, but over the next 5 years, and maybe more, it is a great drink.

2001 Pierre Amiot et Fils Clos de la Roche
Didn’t make much of an impression. Pretty woody and blocky to me. Susannah took it home, I’d be curious to see how it was the next day.

2004 Robert Arnoux Vosne 1er Les Suchots
One of the folks at the table really liked this, for me, it was another 2004. It isn’t the greenness that I dislike so much, although that can be annoying, it is the sort of glommy quality to the fruit. It was a vintage that had pretty high natural sugar but is watery at the same time resulting in very odd textures.

1996 Ghislaine Barthod Chambolle 1er Beaux Bruns
This was actually drinking pretty well. I was worried about this showing the sternness mixed with hollowness that can be the bugbear of this vintage. While not fair to compare it to a wine from a superior vineyard and vintage, it is impossible not to. Beaux Bruns is always a richer, earthier expression of Chambolle, with darker fruits. My hope is that the best 1996s will turn into 1988s. This bottle gives me a bit of hope.

2001 Ghislaine Barthod Chambolle 1er Fuées
Beautiful. Barthod made great wines in 2001, unfortunately for me, my source got theirs with heat damage, so I took them all back, so I only have a couple of bottles. What I love about Fuees, and Barthod’s in particular, is that there is a strong mineral spine with a coating of crunchy red fruit. Red currants and cranberry mostly. It is a driving wine, not a necessarily gentle one, but when the parts come together it is a wonderful expression of the best of Chambolle.

1995 Thierry Allemand Cornas Chaillot
Very reduced/bretty. This is the first time I’ve experienced this with an Allemand wine, although others have reported more frequent instances.

1995 Auguste Clape Cornas
A very elegant and social wine especially in comparison to the Verset. There was nothing wrong with it, but it seemed boring next to the Verset. I always seem to drink these two wines together, which is maybe not fair. Next time I’ll drink this by itself.

1995 Noël Verset Cornas
Absolutely wild and gorgeous. This certainly has some volatile acidity, but it serves to lift the wine, not to push it outside of the lines. What was amazing was how snappy and floral this was, in conjunction with some deep, animal, blackstrap Cornas-ness. If you have this, you can start drinking now. BTW, this reminds me of my Cornas aging theory. Medium term, not long term. I think 20 years is at the outer edge.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Blackwood Day 1

Once or twice a year I try to convince John Blackwood to come to the DCL and every time he forgets that last time he left screaming.

For Day 1, I left work early to meet John at the Duke golf course. I’d never played it (shit, I just started playing golf again after about 16 years off, I’m embracing my whiteness), but there has been a final four here and it was supposed to be a very nice course. Well the greens were in awful shape and it was a gross day, really soupy if not blistering hot. Oh well, John and I had a blast anyway.

For dinner we headed to Pop’s with a few friends to have a casual, family style meal. There was much fun being had, but it was a night of good, not great wines.

1990 Castello di Monsanto Chianti Classico Riserva Il Poggio
My last bottle and a great showing for this wine. Really beautiful nose and a palate presence that was refined, but still sharp. As the night wore on, it faded and the palate became a bit coarse.

1995 Salvatore Molettieri Taurasi Cinque Querce
At first, it didn’t seem like this would be interesting at all so I re-corked it to take home (you know, aglianico for breakfast), but it gradually opened up and by the end of the night and had definitely broadened without losing the underlying bloody/ferrous nature to include with hints of dried fruit and herbs. Rustic, tannic, and not for the squeamish. Again, my last bottle and I wish I had a few more. It is my understanding that this wine is a bit spoofy these days.

1996 Montevertine Le Pergole Torte
I think the bottle may have seen some heat at some point which probably took away from its delicacy.

1996 Roberto Voerzio Barolo Brunate
I managed to more or less gloss over this wine. I had a couple of tastes, but it didn’t grab me and my overall impression was of slick but not

2007 Ameztoi Getariako Txakolina Rubentis
A wonderfully refreshing way to end the night.

Friday, November 7, 2008

This just in

In case you haven't seen it elsewhere on the interwebs, those pig-fuckers at Terroir can't seem to get anything but great press. Well done you little whores.

OK, sorry

I've been getting a lot of complaints about not updating my blog. I'd like to apologize for that. I've had a lot going on at my new job and some other things suffer, like the VLM-TR. Frankly, I thought of giving up altogether and if, going forward, I am not able to keep it updated in a reasonable way, I will.

I'd love to get some feedback on what folks think would be a reasonable amount of new content. 2 updates a week? 3? Daily?

Thanks, and fuck you.

Blackwood Day 0

Once or twice a year I try to convince John Blackwood to come to the DCL and every time he forgets that last time he left screaming.

Well he and Trinka arrived straight from FlaJim’s place in the mountains, willing and rested. They may have wanted a quit evening alone on Day 0, but no such luck. They headed over to Vin Rouge and I joined from the office. It’d been a hell of a week, so I helped myself to a couple of Campari & sodas while they were drinking the Brun.

2006 Jean-Paul Brun Moulin-à-Vent
Juicy, bright and very much in the house style. There was a time a few years back when I found some of the Cru to be quite a bit more blowsy and overtly fruity than the l’Ancien. I didn’t pay too much attention, but certainly worth drinking.

1995 Henri Gouges Nuits St. Georges 1er Les Saint Georges
This was tighter than I expected, but I probably should have expected it to be tighter. Very refined and old-viney tasting with a core of fruit that finishes long. There was a regalness to this wine that you just don’t get from other vineyards in Nuits-St-Georges. I think this wine has a very promising future. I’d love to try it again in 5 years, but it didn’t belong to me, but to Vin Rouge.