Monday, November 23, 2009

Nearly recent Rhones

2005 Domaine Bernard Baudry Chinon Les Grézeaux
For whatever reason, this doesn’t seem to be shutting down. Admittedly, this bottle was opened a few days before and was kept in the fridge less a glass, but still, it is remarkable how well this is showing as a young wine. If you missed out on this vintage, don’t make that mistake again.

2004 Clos du Tue-Boeuf Cheverny La Guerrerie
Not a great showing for this, but still a nice dining companion. A bit wobbly.

2001 Domaine de l'Oratoire St Martin Cairanne Cuvée Prestige
After a couple of poor showings over recent months, I had begun to really worry about these wines. Well, it looks like I was just having a run of bad luck with bottles. This was outstanding and everything I want out of a grenache. Sappy and pure with herb laced fruit that was pinned together by focused tannin.

2000 Domaine de l'Oratoire St Martin Cairanne Haut-Coustias
This was the disastrous wine from a couple of months ago. Wacked out by overwhelming VA. This bottle was an entirely different story. Full of fruit and with that tangy mineral underpinning and structure that mourvedre shows in this limestone site.

1999 Domaine de l'Oratoire St Martin Cairanne Haut-Coustias
As well as the 2000 showed, it will always be the weak sister to this wine. Sappier and more focused with a wider spectrum of flavors, both fruit and otherwise. This has always been a great wine and one that one can never have in high enough quantity. I’ve gone through most of 2 cases over the years and wish I had several more.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Old notes but still germane

Some friends and an old professor got together to celebrate my good friend RJ’s completion of his PhD. It’s a group that doesn’t get a chance to spend time together very often as we are spread out over the country at different universities. I haven’t laughed that hard in years.

1999 Gosset Champagne Brut Grand Millésime
Showed pretty well. Definitely made with a “house style” in mind, but that’s OK with me. It was a bit doughy and such but with good structure and a fine mousse.

N.V. Pierre Peters Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut Cuvée de Réserve
Out of magnum. Very good bubbly. My regular Champagne these days, to the extent that I drink Champagne. I like the leanness and minerality.

2004 Breton Bourgueil Nuits d'Ivresse
From magnum. Ready to go and showed pretty well. We were telling old stories, laughing, eating, and drinking. The wine seemed perfectly suited to that kind of conviviality. Never my favorite of the Breton line-up, every wine has its purpose and this one was fulfilling it perfectly.

2006 Domaine Brana Irouléguy Harri Gorri
A bit disappointing. I was hoping for something more interesting. Kind of glossy and flat.

2002 Radikon Venezia Giulia Jakot
What I love about these wines is that people are immediately drawn to them. I’ve had people say to me that the wines are unsellable and that people don’t get them. I think that’s horseshit. At a table full of people that like wine, but are not geeks by any measure, they all loved the wine without any prodding from me. It’s delicious and great with food. I’d drink it every day if I could afford to.

30 yr old Chinese Liquor
WTF? Crazy.

Johnny Walker Blue Label
Delicious. We drank the whole bottle. If it were cheaper, I’d have it on hand all the time.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Misled by curiosity

Sometimes I’ll let curiosity get the better of me. I’m usually very disciplined about not opening wines way too young and I had a feeling that a 2001 Jasmin Côte-Rôtie wouldn’t exactly be peaking, but I was really curious about it and wanted a feminine syrah, well that’s what I got. I also mis-remembered the number of bottles I owned, so I really did let curiosity kill this cat.

2001 Domaine Jasmin Côte-Rôtie
Barky and light, beautiful ruby color, some sour cherry cranberry fruit, not too smokey, clinched on the palate, but began to open up after 1.5 hours of being open. Flowers started showing and there was a ferric quality to the fruit on the palate and it also showed some meaty tendencies. Acid sticks out now, but the tannins are nice and fine grained, if a bit biting. I’d say at least 5 more years before I’d touch one of these.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I'm back

I’d like to apologize for being away for so long.

A combination of a lot of travel for work and some for pleasure which meant lots of work when I got back has kept me from updating.

I’ll be around for a while and will keep the blog updated regularly for the next couple of months.

So, I was in London, Paris and New York recently.

Met Peter Liem in London to go see the Arsenal sweep Birmingham aside 3 – 1 at the Emirites. It was a fantastically good time. We had a very mediocre dinner with some mediocre wines, but it was not enough to even put a dent in my pleasant mood. (If you haven’t already sign up for his excellent guide to Champagne at, worth every cent.)

I was in Paris for work, and managed to find a stomach bug which sidelined me for three eating days.

The best meal I had was a long lunch at Le Comptoir at the Relais St. Germain. Great food and a short but excellent wine list. The standout wine was 2008 Lapierre Morgon was fragrant, luscious yet focused and complex. Really stunningly delicious wine that I could drown in happily. We also had a great bottle of 2007 Descombes Brouilly Vieilles Vignes.

On the prodding of Peter and Sharon, I also picked up a bottle each of Vouette et Sorbée Saignée de Sorbée and Blanc d’Argile. They were € 54 and € 46. Those are fairly expensive wines when you are spending dollars. I was disappointed in the Saignée de Sorbée. I found the wine to be very lose, with a sort of muddled nose and unstructured palate. The Blanc d’Argile was better with sharper delineation and better structure. These are very expensive in my market (the Blanc d’Argile is ~$90). Peter thinks that I would like a different vintage (this was most likely the 2005), but at those prices, I doubt I’ll be trying them again unless at a tasting or if someone else is buying. I liked a Drappier Brut Nature Sans Soufre a lot more than either, however. It was bright and lively with plenty of focus and flavor. I’ve had the Brut Nature before, but never the Sans Soufre.

NY was a blast. 2 days of Louis-Dressner tasting with old friends and evenings at the Ten Bells.

Had the Platonic form of the chicken wing at Ippudo. Great Hakata style ramen as well, of course.

Also attended the Amphora dinner at Convivio, but I’ll save that for a separate post. It was nice to finally meet Mike Steinberger. I recently read his book Au Revoir to All That. I really enjoyed it and can highly recommend it.

New content coming soon.