Thursday, November 29, 2012

St. Urban to the rescue

1999 Nikolaihof Riesling Spätlese Reserve Steiner Hund
Really pretty, very Steiner Hund nose right out of the gate. Something about this wine just screams alpine meadow with its floral bouquet and sunny disposition. On the palate the wine is more or less resolved and really feels natural, if that makes any sense. I’ve always felt that way about these wines, sort of like Clos Roche Blanche, they just have a texture that I associate with the best of natural wines as well as a outdoorsy wildness to the aromatics. It also has a note of OFF to it that I also, weirdly associate with natural wines (counter-intuitively, I find it very pleasant). A very good wine and one I think should be consumed in the next couple of years. I plan to.

1996 Weingut Knoll Riesling Smaragd Ried Schutt
My last bottle of what was my first Austrian wine purchased for cellaring. A challenging year, with all sorts of hail and rot and botrytis. This wine doesn’t show those things, with the exception of some botrytis. The color is a darker golden and the nose is a piercing and intense blend of rocks and grape skins. It just smells acidic, in a very good way. As the wine warms and opens, a whole bundle of other Riesling aromatics come out, with the thankful exception of diesel and lactic notes, neither of which appeal to me. The mouthfeel has a density and richness sliced through with penetrating acidity. With time everything sort of balances out without ever losing freshness. This was a great showing for an excellent wine from a great vineyard in a difficult vintage. Yet more evidence to producer and vineyard over vintage.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Accept no substitute

Old friends of the family came down to visit and brought with them some MD lump crab meat for some fantastic MD crab cakes. There really is no substitute for the real thing.

2009 Michel Gahier Chardonnay Arbois Les Crets
Some people have claimed to find this wine “too vintage marked”, whatever that means. I found it to be excellent, just like every Gahier wine I’ve had so far. This was clean, bright, and well proportioned. Plenty of yellow pitted fruits and stone nuances. Lively and bright, a svelte middleweight. I think this would probably age pretty well for 7-10 years, but for my palate, I can enjoy it now. This was a superb match for the crab cakes. For the price and reasonable availability, Gahier is becoming my go to source for Jura wines.

2010 Coudert Fleurie Clos de la Roilette Griffe du Marquis
Wow. This is the second bottle of this and if anything, it might be even better and showing a more savory side. Truly great wine.

2010 St. Innocent Pinot Noir Momtazi Vineyard
I haven’t had a St. Innocent wine in a while, but the last one I had, a Brickhouse Vineyard, showed resemblance to this wine in that it was only moderately colored. This showed nice lighter red tart fruit with nice spice notes on the top and some earth underneath. I liked the sense of structure that it had. Not a big wine, but well framed. This fit well with a Kelly Fox Momtazi I had a while back. I think this could improve and soften over a few years, but there is no shame in drinking it now. I found that it liked about an hour in the decanter.

2009 Broc Cellars Vine Starr Red
I’ve really been enjoying Chris Brockway’s wines over the last couple of months and this zinfandel might be my favorite. Made in a lower octane style, the wine presents a face of zinfandel that I haven’t seen for a while. What greats you are earthy and savory notes, not the fruit jam that so many others offer. You have to wait a while for the fruit, but it's there. Went really well with food, as it has every time I've had it. I'm interested to see how this develops, but I only have a single bottle left to me now. I guess I'll give it 2-3 years? I think Chris is making the kind of wines I've been looking for from CA and I'm really excited to drink through all of them. Speaking of the real thing, this is it.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Headcheese and hachis

Met up with my friend Noel after a long slog at the shop for some headcheese and hachis parmentier at the bar of Vin Rouge. We decanted both of these bottles and drank them over a couple of hours.

2006 Hubert Lignier Gevrey-Chambertin
Started out tight with only a hint of fruit and spice on the nose. With some time it became more expansive, the spice giving way to other earthy and woodsy notes while the fruit deepened in pitch and in weight. Nicely balanced with good tannic structure, this develops into a lovely mid-weight Gevrey with wood and soil tones. I think it will probably be even better in 2 or 3 years. This could be one of those sneaky villages wines that someone will pull out of their ass in 15 years that blows you away.

2010 Coudert Fleurie Clos de la Roilette Griffe du Marquis
Holy crap is this good. The texture is pure velvet and brings to mind the old cliché, iron fist in a velvet glove. Lots of fruit and flowers followed by minerals over the structure. Not aromatically complex yet, even after decanting, but really succulent on the palate. It makes me want to say, “very fine, indeed.” Part of me thinks this is the best Beaujolais ever made.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Score one for Peter and Levi

Equipo Navazos La Bota de Manzanilla Pasada "1/15" Nº 10
OK, now this is more like it. My last bottle of this seemed confused. After reading a tweet from Levi about a great bottle that he and Peter Liem had enjoyed, I decided to open one of mine at Bar Mateo, the new tapas bar downtown. We drank this out of red wine glasses instead of sherry glasses and it helped the wine to blossom, we also followed it over the course of several hours. It has a cool copper color and the nose is a million things at once. The most salient feature of the wine is the umami-like quality it has on the palate. The nose has saline notes that give way to raw almond skin and then to dried yellow fruitcake like fruits. Went really well with most of the food but especially well with some Iberico and Johnston County Mangalista ham. I don't have any idea whether to age this or not. I have a few more bottles that it will be hard not to drink soon.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Yes darling, I still drink Bourgogne Blanc

2010 V&S Morey Chassagne 1er Caillerets

Starting out very tight, wood marked, and sullen, this was placed to the side while we enjoyed yet another excellent, if young, bottle of 2009 Pépière Clisson. After about another hour, we jumped back in and the wine had come to life. All of the melon, citrus and yellow pit fruit you would expect from Caillerets, as well as a nice mineral tang. The oak retreats enough for me to supply a nice spice top note that I find appealing with young chardonnay. For me, this only works if there is the good acidity to frame the wood and adequate mineral notes to underpin the spice. This is really a fantastic young vintage of this wine, which I have enjoyed for years and year from their father Bernard. I think you should wait at least another 12-18 months to let things integrate, although with air this is good now. Given the current state of white Burgundy, who knows what the long term future is. Mine won’t last more than 5-7 years.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Erix Texier for President

It’s always great to see my friends Eric and Laurence Texier. They are always a pleasure to have around and wonderful people to talk with. Conversation is never lacking and often goes into the wee hours. Every time I’m around Eric I learn something or he forces me to think about my positions, whether they change or not. Eric thinks both more broadly and more deeply about vine growing and wine making than just about anyone I’ve met. Combine that with a probing intellect and I’m on board for Erix Texier for President of Wine.

We gathered at Vin Rouge in Durham to have dinner and get into some wines. It was an unfortunate night for wines, as many of them showed poorly, even wines that I’ve had many times and can’t find an explanation in any damage, all the bottles were in perfect condition. The weather was crazy, it being pre-Sandy. It really felt and tasted like hurricane weather, as those from this part of the world will understand. Honestly, I think this really affected the wines, although I have no scientific proof ,I have theories on low and high pressure, etc.. Also, several of the wines showed better a couple of days later after the low pressure had passed.

But it is just wine and Sandy did much more than that to many people. Fortunately, everyone i know ended up OK. Do your best to support those that did not.

N.V. Diebolt-Vallois Champagne Brut Blanc de Blancs
Good, but a bit sweeter and more wood marked than I remember. Good texture and zip.

2010 Landron Muscadet Amphibolite
A flat and disappointing bottle. Not sure what the deal is here, we barely touched it.

2004 Éric Texier Condrieu Janrode
I don’t normally drink viognier, but when I do, it’s Texier Condrieu. Seriously, most viognier is laborious and heavy, not this one. Still lithe and deft, even after this many years in bottle. Maybe doesn;’t have the zing it did as a younger wine, but it isn’t old. It’s not young either. I doubt anyone has any left but my friend Ken, but if you do, this would be great at Thanksgiving.

2001 Huët Vouvray Sec Le Mont
I don’t remember anything about this, but I know it was opened.

1999 Weingut Knoll Riesling Smaragd Ried Schütt
This bottle was muted and strange in contrast to a smashing bottle a few months before. It showed better a few days later.

1999 Franz Hirtzberger Grüner Veltliner Smaragd Honivogl
Like the Knoll, this came across as stunted. Five days later, the remainder of the bottle was good, if not the show stopper I was expecting.

1999 Éric Texier Brézème Mise Tardive
This was the focus of the evening as Eric doesn’t have any bottles of this remaining and this was my last one. This has been a temperamental wine for its entire life with bottles ranging from terrible to profound. This particular bottle was a very good bottle. It was meaty and smoky, but in a graphite way, not a bacon way with dried darker fruits and a really seamless texture. It had a savory bottle weight to it and a cool hint of lavender on the nose. This bottle showed great balance on the palate between the acids, savory and fruit notes and the last remaining tannin (not much). It was the texture and the inner mouth perfume where this shined. Glad that I saved this bottle and even happier I got to open it with Eric.

1999 Ogier Côte-Rôtie
Aromatically stunted and a bit wood marked on the palate. Four days later this was fading. Oh well, a bottle wasted.

2008 Éric Texier Côtes du Rhône-Brézème Vieille Serine Domaine de Pergaud
Sandy totally kicked this beautiful magnum in the face. The palate was refined and silky, as we’ve come to expect from Eric and this site, but there was absolutely no nose to speak of. Well, that all changed  four days later when I finished the rest of the magnum, again while cooking at home. The nose was buoyant with herbs and flowers around what I have begun to think of as the savory Brézème core. There is something very special about these vines and even in difficult vintages like 2008, they have something very interesting to say.

2011 Marcel Lapierre Morgon
I’ve been drinking tons of this as it is so delightful now. This bottle was decidedly blah in comparison. Still, it was Lapierre Morgon, which is like pizza, always good. It was finished that evening.

2001 Philip Togni Cabernet Sauvignon
Reduced and crappy. I couldn’t get past that and didn’t touch another drop.

1986 Phelps Cabernet Sauvignon Eisele
This was a real bummer because I had a really wonderful bottle with Sophie a few months back and I always like to try at least one bottle of American wine while Eric is here.

1999 Amiot-Servelle Chambolle 1er Les Amoureuses
Another muted wine, this wine was a bit angular as well. There was fruit buried on the palate, but not much could be discerned. Three days later, I drank the rest while preparing dinner, and wow, what a difference. Although I imagine it would have been brighter had I opened it and consumed iut the same night, the nose had layers of fruit, woodsy not-quite-sous-bois aromas and more fruit and spice on the palate with the beginning of the umami thing that has come to characterize good Burgundy beginning to hit its stride. Too bad Sandy fucked this very good wine.