Saturday, March 20, 2010
Cornas... why don't more lists feature wines from here?! I so clearly recall clambering up Clape's rocky vineyards in ripped jeans on my hands and knees for a full 30 minutes in 2006 - the soil was scarlet-red, so filled with iron it left me with scars that I treasure... So I tasted a 2001 Courbis 'Eygats' with my staff tonight, how beautiful it was... these wines take 8-10 years to open up and show their bloody-iron, lavender-peppery stuff, sure, but why not wait? 2 years ago, this wine was heavy and inky and slightly closed, but now it's lively - lithe, certainly, charming, even... tasting this wine tonight proved ONCE AGAIN how place trumps varietal - all Syrah, sure, yet the Cornas-esque-ness here was EVERYTHING...
Sunday, March 14, 2010
When did 'Sur Lie' become a regulated 'necessity' for Sevre et Maine?
Why was this regulation restricted to Muscadet? (Jo claims 12 percent alcohol is easy to reach: who needs more?)
What, after all, is a 'Dada' wine? (video to come soon...)
Saturday, March 13, 2010
A lovely tasting today at Perman's with Candid Wines and Jo Landron of Domaine de la Louvetrie in Muscadet; some mature Muscadets along with young ones, all from the 4 best winemakers in the region: Landron, Bossard, Ollivier and Papin. Jo likes to compare Muscadet to Burgundy in ripe years, and Savennieres in less-than-ripe years... an interesting idea, but for me, the extended lees contact of Muscadet tends to obscure those relations. It would take a 5-page essay to describe all the information he shared; I'll limit myself to a few choice rapid-fire comments.
Tasted the '09 Louvetrie, which had wide-out, generous flavors of orange blossom, tea, and chive, next to the '08 Louvetrie 'Hermine d'Or', which had powerful mineral and salt and a lemon-curd grip, which bore out Jo's comment that '09 was sunnier, more bold and juicy than '08.
The 2002's were showing GORGEOUSLY; we had a healthy number of these. Jo's 'Fiefs du Breil' was powerful, rich, and dark, with an exotic blue cheese/anjou pear flavor... Bossard's 'Orthogneiss' was round and plush, driven by golden raisin and sweet cherry... his 'Granite' had a saltier, mintier, nervously 'taut' character, while staying quite overt... Papin's 'D'Or' was very floral & fragrant, perhaps my favorite of the tasting - the palate was all smoked salt and fresh red salmon.
Interesting thing about Muscadet which speaks to other regions in France (and the world): the greater degree of minerality to the wine at harvest, the longer it can sit on lees and gain in complexity. The exposure of the site, the heat of the year, and the time of harvest all affect the potential minerality (expressed in terms of the root depth & essential oils they pick up). So 'sur-lie' time in Muscadet is relative to all of these. I found Bossard's wines (a biodynamic winemaker) to be the most complete... Yet Jo's, read as sculptures, had the strongest mineral 'pedestal', the highest step by which to be viewed...
Friday, March 12, 2010
... I discovered a terrific new taste pairing last week: roast pheasant and the superb 2007 Rully from Clos la Folie. The 'Schildknecht-fave' Domaine de la Cadette 'La Chatelaine' from Vezelay had also been my preferred mid-priced 2007 white Burgundy/Châlonnaise, but this Folie -a bit less nervous, perhaps, with less overt 'greenness' than the former, more yellow apple and textural 'give' - is of equal, if not superior quality. Roasted for 2 hours at 375ºF alongside raw white onion, basted in 2004 Montbourgeau 'L'Etoile' Jura Chardonnay, stuffed under-skin with fresh sage leaves [!] and butter, dusted with cracked black pepper and sea salt, the phinished pheasant had the ideal balance of sweet gaminess, buttery succulence, and pronounced herbality to allow the wine's otherwise disguised sinuous and muscular development to show itself. I ate the whole bird in one sitting, at 3am, along with the entire bottle. At times the Rully had the perfume and salty grip of a top manzanilla, La Cigarrera, let's say; at others, the grapefruit/taffee-ness of a Slovenian Tocai; and at others still, the autumnal fresh honey-crisp apple and cracked pecan that signals Rully... 'Clos la Folie' is one of their oldest sites, but perhaps not their meilleur cru... I can't wait to try their 'Clos St.-Jacques' with coquilles St-Jacques!!! Perhaps this spring...