I was lucky enough to taste some very interesting wines this month, many of them quite delicious and memorable. Here are some from the past few weeks that did not get their own post:
NV Domaine des Terres Dorees (Jean-Paul Brun) Beaujolais FRV 100, $19 (SIP Fine Wines, Brooklyn). The name of this wine is a little pun in French..."ef..er..vey...cent." Effervescent. Yes, this is sparkling Beaujolais from Jean-Paul Brun, producer of the popular and very reasonably priced old vine Beaujolais called Cuvee L'Ancien. So it was with excitement and hope that I brought this over to Adam's house one night as an aperitif before whatever lovely dinner he was cooking. Sadly, not a rebuy, no way. Low alcohol, which is nice - about 8%, but not enough bramble or acidity or anything to balance out the intense residual sugar. This was pleasant to be sure, but not interesting in any way. And it is more expensive than the NV Renerdat Fache Bugey-Berdon, a lovely and interesting low alcohol sparkling rose wine.
2005 Domaine du Vissoux Beaujolais Vieille Vignes Cuvee Traditionnelle, $14 (Chambers Street Wines, NY). I have enjoyed Vissoux's wines in the past, but I have tasted only their Cru Beaujolais - things like their Fleurie. Those are great, but they're also over $20 a bottle. How would this $14 bottle be? Heady nose of raspberry liquor upon opening, almost like candy. There is also some funky underbrush in the background. the palate is little intense at first, but the candied nature of the fruit wore off and things were integrated and lovely, a dusty sense to the wine. This is simply good Beaujolais, lip smacking and tasty with food (we had pork chops).
1999 Domaine Roger Belland Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Morgeot Clos Pitois, $ unknown. I have never heard of this producer, but there are MANY Burgundy wine makers I've never heard of. I like to think that list gets smaller, but who knows...any way, our pal Mike opened this while preparing dinner recently and we drank it alone, no food. BrooklynLady and I were both just wowed by this wine. Like crushed rocks and a drop of honey, this well structured Chardonnay had lots of personality. It did not have any of the tropical fruit and vanilla that I associate with oak, but that might be because of the 8 years in the bottle - maybe things are integrated by now. Or maybe the soils in this vineyard, Morgeot Clos Pitois, are very mineral, and this producer helps that character to shine in his wines. Either way, we enjoyed this classy and vibrant wine very much. A rare pleasure to taste a well aged white Burgundy.
2005 Domaine Bart Fixin, $22 (Chambers Street). This was my first taste of a wine from Fixin, and it was not an auspicious one. This wine was magenta in color with an almost electric hue. Raspberry on the nose, but that aspartame element too that I sometimes get in wines from "lesser" Burgundy villages like Pernand Vergelesses or Ladoix, for example. BrooklynLady thought this wine was undrinkable. I found it's flavors to be awkward and at times unpleasant, but I saw some promise there, some hints at something animal and interesting. maybe with five years in the bottle, this could become good wine. but who would go through that kind of effort in this case? Not me, that's one thing of which I am absolutely certain.
2003 Daedalus Pinot Noir Seven Springs Vineyard, $35 (Winery). Another impressive effort from Daedalus. This wine from the exalted Seven Springs Vineyard was dark translucent purple with dark fruit, violets, and lots of spice on the nose. It needed some time to really open up, but once it did, it had a rich nose of flowers, fruit, earth, and spice, with a silky dark fruit palate. Excellent and balanced wine from a difficult hot vintage. Daedalus is moving up in my mind's list of top Oregon producers.
2005 Domaine de la Pepiere Muscadet de Sevre-et-Maine Sur Lie, $10 (Chambers Street). Everyone went gaga over Pepiere's Muscadets this year. I wonder if the excellent review and scores in Wine Spadvocator had anything to do with that? Deservedly so, anyway, as the Clos de Briords (made from old vines) is truly superb, and at $13 or so, are you kidding me? But what about the "regular" Muscadet from the same vintage? This wine is light straw colored with saline smells and citrus peel. Very steely and tense in the mouth, yet light and fresh tasting, very pure. Delicious with shellfish, and I understand that this is a cliche, but I really mean it. This wine is DELICIOUS with shellfish. I can imagine sipping it alone, but then again, I love briny acidic Muscadet.
2004 Domaine du Closel Savennieres Clos du Papillon, $24 (Chambers Street). Holy cow! This is just fantastic wine! Closel never disappoints, but this was just ridiculous. Showing better than ever, the 04 Papillon is a deep gold color with a focused nose of nuts, bees wax, quinine, and hints of melon. The palate is razor sharp with pronounced mineral flavors, some herbs and stone fruit too. Great balance and acidity. Great with baked fish, this will clearly continue to improve for years. I have to exercise control and save some.
2004 Eric Texier Cotes Du Rhone Brezeme, $16 (Chambers Street). This lovely Syrah from Texier is an excellent value at $16. Light and lively with strong acidity, but not off-putting, as it can be in young Syrahs sometimes. Fresh red fruit and hints of tar on the palate. This versatile wine would pair well with cheeses, or roast chicken or turkey, or most anything off the grill - it is versatile because it has powerful flavors but it is light and acidic.
1998 Chateau de Cabrieres Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee Prestige Tete de Cru, $33 (Wine Commune). A few years ago I got what seemed like a good deal on three bottles of this wine on Wine Commune. I was trying to branch out, to taste some CDPs and other Rhone wines. I spent 100 plus shipping on these bottles and if I could have that $ back I would know better what to buy now. One bottle was hopelessly corked and the other two were simply nothing special. Odd, since Parker's wine book gushes over this wine, but I stopped paying attention to that right around the time I bought this wine...Ruby colored with a dustynose of red fruit, but a muddy and almost roasted palate, nothing complex going on at all. Flavors are out of focus. Could be a secondary market storage issue, or maybe Cabrieres is making CDP in a style that I don't care for.
1997 Massolino Barolo Riserva Vigna Rionda, $ unknown. Adam busted out this wine with his braised shortribs. I know almost nothing about Italian wine and I have had fewer Barolos than I have fingers on one hand, and I only have five fingers on one hand. So you can tell, I have not had a lot of Barolo. This one really impressed me. It was dark and spicy on the nose, some pruney smells too. Still quite grippy and astringent, but also silky dark fruit and spices on the palate. I was intrigued by this wine, but I liked it more than everyone else at the table. More Barolo please...