Thursday, June 12, 2008

Jeebus in Eden

This was maybe the calmest, most laid-back initial jeebus I’ve ever been to. Actually, I’d call it a nice evening out rather than a jeebus. It just happened to involve a good amount of wine and wine-related conversation. I feel very comfortable around wine-business lifers. Those of us who have been around the wine business for 15+ years (30 in their cases) I find share a similar perspective and language that makes it easy to communicate ideas about wine. The notorious Eden Mylunch, Mike Greene, and la très charmant Françoise Gouges. We dined at Restaurant 2117 in Santa Monica which was a very pleasant surprise after the disastrous meals I’ve had in that town (well SoCal in general, really).

Tarlant Blanc de Blancs La Vigne d'Antan

Initially was a bit warm (anyone who has drunk with me knows I like my wines to start cold), but seemed serious, doughy, and precise enough. Something I would like to have again when I would pay more attention.

2001 Peillot Altesse de Montagnieu Cuvée Buster

This was alive and interesting, although it didn’t really have the verve that I love in Peillot’s Altesse. It was always a bigger version, but this one almost falls over into viognier territory, but never quite. I would have drunk this a couple of years ago if it were mine, but Eden likes science projects, and as a pseudo-intellectual pleasure hater, I’m all for it and do it myself.

2004 Bellivière Jasnières Les Rosiers

I was disappointed in this wine. Not that there was anything wrong with it, just that it was bigger and broader than I had hoped without the real cut that this wine can possess. 2004 was a warm year and the wines from chenin have tended to be big, a bit sweet, but kind and snuggly. This was an example of that, but I must admit, I was hoping it would have held on to more cut.

1999 Alzinger Riesling Smaragd Steinertal

This was excellent. Has shed its baby-fat and started to broaden into something more complex, but without losing some of the fruit and mineral zing. We talked about Alzinger for a while. He’s sort of the Yoda of vingerons in the Wachau. There are others that get more press, and others whose range I like more (Knoll for one), but every time I drink an Alzinger wine, I wonder why I don’t own more.

1988 Gouges Nuits St. Georges 1er Les Saint Georges

I think the provenance of this bottle was correct… This was another example of how well the 1988s are doing right now. My nemesis over at Rockss and Fruit talks about 88-it is. He’s full of shit. This wine was in an excellent spot, drinking wonderfully, and seamless besides. I tore the bottle out of Mike’s hand at one point. It has started to go tertiary, so it didn’t have the preserved fruit of some other excellent 1988s I’ve had, but it was still fresh, lively, and balanced, even if the emphasis wasn’t on fruit, but on an overall sense of Nuits St. Georges, and Les St. Georges in particular. There is something about the airy mouthfeel combined with depth and palate presence that this vineyard has which is unmatched in Nuits St. Georges. I’m not the first to note this, but I’m not really a Nuits St. Georges guy or really a big Gouges fan, but this was really excellent.

1993 Williams Selyem Pinot Noir Rochioli

Mike brought this as a sort of experiment, just to see how it would show. I was surprised at how exuberant it was. There was some real acid cut to the fruit, the nose was ripe cherries and an hery edge that I associate with Rochioli (almost, but not exaclt garrigue-ish, but something in that neighborhood). Anyway, we were all surprised at the structure and the undeniable deliciousness of it. The problem came when you tried to finish a glass, or pour another one. The fruit had a hard candy (candy apple coating) quality to it that made it just too much for us. I’m still trying to figure out how all those disparate parts fit together.

2000 Dönnhoff Oberhäuser Brücke Riesling Auslese

Raring to go and in a very nice spot. A kinder, gentler, Brücke Auslese. Hasn’t quite gone secondary, with only the barest hints of anything but honey, rocks and fruit. Maybe a bit of hay or something. A nice way to end the evening, sipping on Auslese and talking wine with people who know the difference. This is why I do shit like this.


Florida Jim said...

I too, like Alzinger's wines. The 1999 Loibenberg is a very pretty thing but needs a good bit more time in the cellar - mine that is.
Best, Jim

Cliff said...

Haven't gotten to the 01 Buster yet. I've still got one or two of the '99 left. I've found Buster sweeter, but bigger?

Nancy Deprez said...

Sounds nice - thanks for the notes!