Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Eric Nicolas needs cooler weather

A little back story on this. Sometime around the turn of the century, I was motoring around France visiting some vignerons, a few of which are represented in the US by my good friends Joe, Denyse, and Kevin at Louis/Dressner. Well I was going to Baudry and Breton and he suggested I stop by a producer they was thinking of representing and tasting through the wines. I believe it was the 2000 in barrel (could have been 2001). The wines were stunning and Eric was very hospitable. When I asked to buy a few bottles to take back to friends in Paris, he got quite embarrassed and apologized because he had no wine to sell! He gave me a 500mL of the 2000 Jasnières Les Rosiers which impressed my friends just as I expected. Eric and his wife are practicing some amazing viticulture that has resulted in some brilliant wines. As you’ll see below, I think that 2004 was not their best year (I didn’t like the reds either), but I think they are committed and have a long view and I will continue to buy and try the wines because when they are good, they are very, very good.

2004 Bellivière Jasnières Les Rosiers

If you are like me, you love Bellivière chenin, and the Jasnières in particular, for their nervy, lacey interpretation of chenin. The 2002 Rosiers and Calligramme were totally sublime and standouts in an excellent vintage for chenin all over the Loire. Well, the 2004 hasn’t held up to those standards. Instead of the nervy, incisive, etched chenin, there is a big, almost sugary version. It smells correct, but not complex and complete in the same way. It is a bit ponderous and one dimensional. This has held over two bottles in the last 10 days with one of them followed over a couple of days to make sure. That bottle didn’t fall apart, but it didn’t change in interesting ways either. All I can hope for is that Eric Nicolas gets a nice cool vintage with lots of sun and a long hang time. These can be among the most compelling wines made in the Loire. In 2004, it just isn’t the case.


Lyle Fass said...

See I disagree . ..2004 is no 2002 but 2005 was a mess I thought with the reds tasting like tequila and the whites like Spatlese. I thought the '04's were a notch below the 02's but in that same nervy style.

In '05 only wine I truly dug was Giroflees.

the vlm said...

Have you had the 2004 Rosiers lately? I've had two bottles in the last 10 days that showed exactly the same, as described above.

There is little to no structure there.

The 2005s have a bit more structure, but underneath all that sugar, I don't know.

The reds from both 2004 and 2005 didn't suit me.

That said, I'm a believer in Mssr. Nicolas and think he just needs some better weather...

Cliff said...

I know David loved the 2005 Giroflées, but, to me, it was no 2004. Now that is a wine. What has happened to that cuvée?

the vlm said...


2005 was a super ripe vintage. Like you, I think I may have like the 2004 pinot d'aunis rose mor ethan the 2005, but again, I think he is just getting his swerve on.

Cliff said...

Agreed, I would never turn down a glass of the 2005.