Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Frenemies and bad luck

My good friend/sworn mortal enemy Eric Stokes has jumped into it with both feet opening his own retail shop in Apex, NC. Some of you may know Eric from his time at the Carolina Wine Co. I think Eric really wanted the chance to sell wines he believes in, rather than what someone else has bought. It takes a set. He doesn’t have an online shopping cart, but does have a website that has contact information. He had a killer price on Pépière Clisson, maybe still has some.

A few of us gathered to help him celebrate his first week in business. These are the wines I noted, there were some other CA chardonnay and cabernet type things, about which I give less than a shit. My luck with Burgundy finally ran out as there were mostly disappointments.

1993 Barthod Chambolle 1er Charmes
This was a good bottle of this, although not seemingly a pristine bottle. It was nice to have a Barthod wine that was seeming to mature because my 1995s and 1996s haven’t really seemed to be budging, or doing so reluctantly. The Charmes fruit has dissipated into a nice earthy, leathery dried cherry thing. However, it is the inner mouth perfume (retro-nasal olfaction) and the mouthfeel that really make this a nice drop. If your bottles are in better condition, they might show younger, but I think you can start getting into these now.

1998 Bouchard Vosne 1er Reignots
Pretty non-descript. I’ve never had a Bouchard wine that did it for me and this wasn’t the start.

1999 Geantet-Pansiot Charmes
Viciously, horrendously corked. Like someone added chemicals to it. Crazy.

1996 Domaine René Engel Grands-Echezeaux
Elegant, nice Grands-Echezeaux, but not particularly inspiring. A sort of sandlewood spice to the sour cherry cranberry fruit. Lean and stretched and maybe a bit dilute, but it is 1996 after all, so I should just be happy that it was pleasant. Should continue to improve, if you have any, but won’t make old bones.

At dinner at J. Betski’s, the only reason I will drive to Raleigh. If you are in the area, you should try it out. They are doing some really excellent food and have a very cool wine list.

2002 Domaine de Bellivière Coteaux du Loir L'Effraie
Spectacular and shows what Eric Nicolas is capable of. I really don’t think that 2003, 2004, or 2005 really showed his wines at their best. They were just too warm to show what he and these sites are capable of. Shimmering, dancing, beautiful wine that divides and recombines across the palate. Has an edge of chenin wildness to it, but manages to keep its grace under pressure demeanor. This is why I fell in love with these wines to begin with. Please, let Eric Nicolas have a long, cool growing season sometime soon.

2002 Emrich-Schönleber Monzinger Halenberg Riesling Spätlese Halbtrocken
Rockss and Douche is batshit crazy over these wines (well, he's batshit crazy in general, but that's another story). A recent bottle of Kabinett was excellent. This, being a halb-trocken, was a different beast. Whereas the straight Pradikät wines have an inherent balance, this seems to have to work a little more for it. It was a very good wine, full of creamy yellow fruits and good underlying structure, without that stripped feeling you can get from non-Pradikät wines.

1996 Bernard Dugat-Py Gevrey-Chambertin Vieilles Vignes
Started out promising with a kind of rhubarb thing that I get on Dugat-Py Gevrey sometimes. Dark color as you would expect from this producer. After a couple hours in the decanter though, it started to go south. Not bad really, but not really interesting. Another mediocre 1996. The 1995 version of this was a much better wine.


Sharon said...

Your white-on-black is truly reprehensible, goddamn. Yet one reads, because your notes are right. Thanks for once again trying to take some of the immense and ludicrous stuffing out of Bouchard. Make me vomit!

And pleasure in L'Effraie. Mm.

the vlm said...

Ooooh...I finally figured out how to change the font color to yellow.

White(grey-ish actually) on black is much better for reading than black on white. Yellow on black is the best for your eyes.

Bouchard is god-awful shite. The only really convincing ones were made by Regis Forey, and I only had that a few times. Don't understand why everyone wants to keep pushing them...

Jello4 said...

I don't like it.

the vlm said...

What? The color?

Suggestions? I'm not giving up on the black background. As someone who sits in from of a computer all day, it would be nice if everything did. You're not old enough to remember, but computer screens used to all be orange or green on black. Uses less energy too.

Sharon said...

It's really ugly, but it is legible! Yes!

The white on black was torture on the eyes; like slowly deciphering some half-obscured text on a plinth or stele.

the vlm said...

Yes, Sharon, but worth it for the implacable genius behind it...

tin said...

Interesting thing about Geantet-Pansiot being corked. Recently I had a bottle of his 2002 Poissenots and it was corked too (imagine that). What the hell? (I wanted to say 'fuck' but I guess swearing privilages are reserved for you only...).

Scraped safely through Twente, I hope.

Jello4 said...

What are you talking about? I used plenty of green/orange on black computers when I was wee. I liked the white on black and found it very elegant and unpainful to the eye. This multicolor shit looks like Vegas.

Skinny said...

I agree with Susannah. This sucks!! Also, how about some pictures.....

Andrew Martin said...

Dear VLM of the cheeky persuasion,
Yellow on black is lurid but much easier to read for us old people. Another 96 underwhelming moment, I am finding the same - will the fruit outlive the acid? Only real intensity I've found is in Robert Chevillon's efforts. Why did I buy the others? Although a Mongeard Mugneret was ok if a little rustic. As soon as more Germans use vinlok or screw caps I'm there with the cellar money, they are so good in summer.
Cheers for another post - Andrew

Joe said...

Could we have a little back story on why the guy is not your friend, sort of, and yet you go to his parties and apparently bring wine?

Enquiring minds and all

Lyle Fass said...

Bouchard whites are decent. Reds no go.