Wednesday, September 29, 2010

In which I drink Champagne

Ulysse Collin Champagne Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs
At the bar at Rue Cler having a salad frisée with a duck egg we were sort of tired from a long weekend of wine and food so wanted to keep it light. This was just the wine for that. Lots of folks compare Collin to Selosse and that’s not quite right. Vilmart is the much better comparison. I loved the hint of wood on the nose, it added a element of spice with a slight vanilla edge (but awesome Madagascar vanilla, not shitty extract) and was very reminiscent of mid 1990s Création from Vilmart. The mousse was mouthfilling and lively. Really a great bottle that went fantastically with food. Will need to check the vintage. Maybe Peter is right about this whole Champagne thing.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Check it out

Even though you should subscribe to Champage Guide if you care about Champagne, Peter Liem will contribute to the World of Fine Wine blog. This is great news for those of us who value Peter's incredibly erudite thoughts about wine.

He also happens to have great taste in football.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Brooklynguy made me think

In a very nice post, Brooklynguy (whose blog I’ve begun reading in earnest and I’ve linked to) brought up a point that I think many people miss about the purpose of cellaring wine. A wine cellar isn't just a trophy cabinet or a hoard of treasure. I've said before that it is an extension of your kitchen, a type of root cellar. There are many excellent wines that aren't true vin de garde, but are excellent accompaniments to food and really shine with a with a couple of years of cellaring. Once you start to think of wine in this way, I think it helps to develop a much more sophisticated appreciation for wine in general. If your wines for daily consumption are all of the buy-today-to-drink-tonight variety you'll be missing a whole spectrum of enjoyment.

Here is a short list of wines that are very reasonable that I have found to gain character with a little age (2-3 years post release).

Baudry Cuvée Domaine Chinon
Roilette Fleurie
Dom. Ste. Anne St. Gervais
Clos Roche Blanche côt
Gamot and Cayrou Cahors
Brovia barbera
Montesecondo CC
Felsina CC Riserva

Guillemot Mâcon
Roally Mâcon
All Muscadet from Marc Olivier, Luneau-Papin, Bregeon, Landron (see David Lillie's excellent article in The Art of Eating).
Hüet pétillant
Pinon Vouvrays

What are some little wines that you cellar?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Subscribe to the Art of Eating

If you don't already, you should subscribe to Ed Behr's excellent little wine and food rag.

In the current issue, David Lille of Chambers St. Wines, authors a warm and lovely tribute to Muscadet and the handful of dedicating artisans that bring such excellent wine into being.

David is a hero to the VLM-TR, even if he is a commie, and we'd love to see him write more often.

Dressner at 3cups

At a wine dinner at 3 Cups with Shawn Mead of Louis/Dressner

2007 Jean Manciat Mâcon Charnay Franclieu
This was exotic and wildly floral. Lots of ripe melon type fruit with honeysuckle type flowers. Some richness but not sloppy. This had an almost carnal quality to it that I found really compelling.

2007 Domaine de Roally Viré-Clessé Tradition
Showed as beautiful as ever. Juxtaposed with the Manciat, it was more mineral, linear and restrained. Lovel yellow pitted fruits with maybe some apples in there surrounded by white flowers and some herbs.

2009 Domaine des Terres Dorées (Jean-Paul Brun) Beaujolais Cuvée l'Ancien
Plump and volumptuous with pitted fruits and berries. There is the typical mineral spine, but buried pretty deep.

2008 Coudert Fleurie Clos de la Roilette
An interesting counterpoint to the vivacious Brun. This was more aromatically complex and had a tart cranberry type of fruit on the nose.

2007 George Descombes Brouilly
This was really gorgeous. Drinking superbly with tons of aromatic expression and seamless texture.

2007 Sylvie Esmonin Gevrey-Chambertin
This was another surprise showing as I expected it to be really tight. The palate was a little firm, but the nose was a very Gevrey, animal, mineral, wet earth, dark red fruited concoction. Really interesting and well delineated. I have completely ignored 2007 Burgundy, but I might pick up some Esmonin.

2004 Domaine de Briseau Coteaux du Loir Les Mortiers
This bottle seems a bit faded from the last one I had. Still has the white pepper and ash notes that I associate with pineau d’aunis. IIRC, this has some côt in it which explains the darkish color.

2009 Clos Roche Blanche pineau d’aunis rosé
I get to enjoy more of this than is probably fair. Another lovely bottle of this excellent rose. It just feels healthy to drink this.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Puzelat of summer

With a simple dinner of salad frisée and poulet roti at Rue Cler with Damon.

1989 François Pinon Vouvray 1er Trie
This is broader and sweeter than the 1996, but still not a full on moëlleux. Has matured to take on some brown sugar and spiced fruits but there is still a bit of freshness and honeysuckle in the nose. On the palate it is balanced and full if not quite as linear as the 1996. No reason to age it further, although SFJoe would probably argue with me. I like where it is now, although it should at least hold.

2005 Domaine Bernard Baudry Chinon Cuvée Domaine
After going through most of my 2004 and 2006 of this wine, it is time to start in on the 2005. It is a different beast from either of those two vintages. This is as rich and full a wine as I’ve had from Baudry. Savory notes over top of rich fruit with a full palate presence. Manages to hold it all together without being too rich but I must admit I was a bit surprised by the wine. Not in the mold of other vintages I’ve had. Damon thought it was great, as did our waiter. I’m still not sure what to think. I have the better part of 2 cases to figure it out. I mean, it’s Baudry after all.

2008 Thierry Puzelat Touraine La Tesnière
I just can’t get enough of this wine right now. I’ve been drinking bottles of it as Rue for the last month and they are now pouring it by the glass. This is a cruchy, herby, tart, mineral mélange of green fruits on the nose and palate. Refreshing, bone dry but not aggressively acidic the way that menu pineau can sometimes be. This wine is intriguing and almost too easy to drink at the same time.

Monday, September 13, 2010

My dinner with Andre

My dear friend Andre Tamers had his west coast representative in town and had me along for dinner. Holly was charming, affable, and full to the brim with knowledge and anecdotes. It just so happens that we know about 600 people in common and it is amazing we have never met (although I think we must have at some point). Bravo to Andre for bringing her on board. I was doing more socializing than real analyzing so keep that in mind; however, a couple of wines clearly shone or disappointed.

Dinner was at Vin Rouge in Durham and Matt provided excellent food as always and Michael was spot on with wine service, again, per usual.

2007 Domaine du Bagnol Cassis
Clearly past it’s drinking window. These need to be drunk fresh. The rosé is also much, much better. This is one of those pleasures that should probably stay in France.

2005 Domaine Ganevat Savagnin Côtes du Jura Sous la Roche La Combe de Rotalier
I liked the 2002 of this a great deal and was eager to try this version. Didn’t seem to have the same tension as the 2002, but had good weight and length and that intensity I like from good sous voile wines. For my personal tastes, Ganevat is clearly at the top of Savagnin producers. I still have no idea how this will age. I know it will hold, but how will it really change? Will it be glacial? I suspect. I’ve never cellared these wines, I tend to buy them and drink them. I’d love to hear from anyone who cellars these.

2008 Ganevat Côtes du Jura Pinot Noir Cuvée Julien
I don’t get the hype. I guess it’s a nice wine, but would be crushed by Barthod or Mugneret Bourgogne.

2005 Pépière (Marc Ollivier) Clos des Briords 1.5L
This was a great showing by this wine. Maybe it will come together. I was worried that the vintage was too fat and would never shed that baby fat to become what we recognize as Briords. Contrary to that fear, if this magnum was a leading indicator, it seems to be doing just that. Becoming more focused and mineral, it also seems to have absorbed some of the fat and turned it into some yellow fruits. This will always be on the bigger side and won’t be confused with 2002 or 1996, but it could end up being more interesting in the medium term than I suspected. I have a 750 at the house waiting to drink and will see if this is a one off phenomenon or a portent.

2005 Château du Cayrou Cahors
Even though this is young, I liked it a lot. I have a soft spot for both this and the Gamot and I don’t know why. There is a kind of regal quality to their rusticity, sort of like a country gentleman, and a real sense of density and place. I am not sure what the signature terroir of Cahors is, but tis is the type of wine I think of. Dark and almost black purple, sauvage aromas of black and blue fruits enveloped in leather, tree bark and 14 hour hung game (top that Schildy). There is also a nice minerality underneath everything else. I should own some of this. Was not wildly tannic, perhaps due to the merlot in the blend, but drank well the following day.

1996 Vietti Barolo Brunate
Astoundingly disappointing bottle. Decanted for several hours, this never really opened up. Seemed a bit dilute, which do0esn’t make any sense given how it showed as a young wine and where it should be. Maybe it’s in a dumb phase, I don’t really know.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Dressner at Poole's

A Louis/Dressner wine dinner at Poole’s Diner in Raleigh. Ashley made a hell of a meal to go with the wines and the staff, and especially Matt Fern made it a very fun evening. The wines all showed remarkably well. Must have been a Thai Stripper day on the Biodynamic Calender.

(2008) François Pinon Vouvray Brut Non Dosé
Nice mousse and a fine structure. Lovely bread and pitted fruit notes. Unapologetically bubbly chenin. Maybe lacks the depth of Huet, but this was clean, vibrant and superb, overall. The Pinon wines are such remarkably rock solid values.

1999 Luneau-Papin Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine Le L D'Or
I tasted from 3 different bottles of this, two of which were brilliant. There was a mature depth to the fruit, a kind of bottle sweetness, and a real viscous sense of the earth. Probably the best experience I’ve ahd with this wine. The third bottle wasn’t corked or otherwise flawed. It seemed younger and also completely flat and innocuous. Almost like another vintage was mislabeled.

2008 Franck Peillot Roussette du Bugey Altesse de Montagnieu
The Alpine meadow strikes again. Frank makes such a lovely version of altesse. It is floral and yellow and gentle, but just when you think you have it figured out, it is something else. This wine is terribly easy to drink and graces the table rather well. The course here was an expertly fried chicken thigh over an okra hash. Everything was right with the world.

2008 Arianna Occhipinti Sicilia IGT SP68
This was the best showing for this in a while. It had everything I loved about this wine, from the startlingly pure and focused aromatics to the crisp and refreshing palate. I love the wines sharpness and cut, although I can see where it might be too acidic for some folks. This was served with some crazy ass carnitas dish over fresh butterbean and corn succotash style dish.

2005 Clos Rougeard (Foucault) Saumur-Champigny Le Clos
This is great wine. For several years, I made the mistake of buying all the Poyeux and Bourg I could afford, but ignoring the Clos. In fact, the Clos (unsurprisingly) is much closer to the Bourg in comportment. While young, this was velvety and quite long. It needs five or so years and will probably drink beautifully for 20 or even more, but can be enjoyed with the right food by the impatient. With Piedmontese beef over a foraged mushroom risotto, one couldn’t ask for more.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Gamay broth

Sunday chicken social with Will, Brad, Christine, and Vicky. Lively conversation mostly centered around music, but wide ranging.

2009 Marcel Lapierre Morgon
On the first night, this had really rich fruit and an almost meat broth quality. Umami in wine, who knew? (As an aside, I always found it curious the was David Schildknecht would identify chicken broth in some Chablis, but it was sometimes there and a more beefy broth was definitely here.) There is pretty deep finishing fruit. On the next night it has calmed down a bit and there isn’t as much of the fruit sap and the broth quality has also become just a more general meatiness. There is some structure here, but not like one finds in Coudert or Desvignes.

2009 Marcel Lapierre Morgon
This bottle never showed the umami side of the other bottle, but had plenty of fruit, although never as sappy. It did show a little bit of heat on the back end the longer it was open. The best of these two experiences was the first bottle on its first night.

2005 Coudert Fleurie Clos de la Roilette
It took a while for this to open, and it never did completely, but what it did show was a refined wine of some length. This has, not as brooding quality, but a steely one which brings to mind the iron-fist-in-a-velvet-glove tropism. Very pure red fruits, some woods-y aromas and a strong mineral spine with firm but fine tannins. A good dose of them for gamay as well. Just starting to enter a good window

To go with cheese, we scrounged around Will’s fridge for some whites, we came up with some interesting wines.
2004 Willi Schaefer Graacher Domprobst Riesling Auslese #14
This was fantastic. Really penetrating nose of green grape and slate and a bit of herbs. I love the refreshing briskness of the wine. I could drink tons of this. It was a very nice foil for the cheese.

1997 Gallo of Sonoma Chardonnay Late Harvest Style
Not bad at all. Not particularly good, but not cloying and with the cheese did fairly well.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Vin de Soif

Having dinner with my friend RJ who was packing things up before closing on his house and heading out to Seattle for good. Had a light dinner of apps and charcuterie at Vin Rouge. Excellent.

2002 Radikon Jakot
This is my favorite of the Radikon whites for reasons I cannot fully explain. I am of the belief that these, with exceptions, gain nothing from extended bottle aging I convinced RJ to bring out his last bottle. It showed OK, but a bit more loose than previous bottles. While still a very good drop, I’ve had better bottles.

2008 Foillard Morgon
When you are in the mood, nothing else will truly suffice. Again, this was not the best bottle of this I’ve had, a bit less overt fruityness (which was sort of what I was looking for) but still able to tickle all the right spots on my palate and even spine. If you don’t like this, you really need to ask yourself if wine truly is your beverage of choice.