Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A Wee Bit of Bottle Age

It's really amazing the difference a few months can make. Here are a few Loire Valley '05s that I enjoyed when I first tasted them, but that I really loved when drinking them recently. In each case, about 6 months passed between tastes. I always liked the Loire '05s, but this is ridiculous - 2005 in the Loire is just sick, and an amazing value. Don't let the wines get lost amidst the cacophony of 2005 Bordeaux and Burgundy.

2005 François Chidaine Montlouis-sur-Loire Les Tuffeaux, $26. I purchased a few bottles of this wine based on my impressions at a tasting, so clearly I always liked it. But the first bottle that I opened at home in October of 2007 did not overly impress me. I found it to be a bit fat, to be lacking in balancing acidity. Well, we opened a bottle the other day and let me be the one to tell you that this is excellent wine. It is full bodied and flavorful but also well balanced and perky. On the nose is apple skins, wool, wax, and pure honeysuckle rainwater. It's a beautiful nose, it really pulls you in. There is plenty of residual sugar but the palate is well balanced and very drinkable, the acids so much more prominent than they were in October. There is great energy for an off-dry wine. The finish is surprisingly light and sheer, but the flavors linger. This is really a perfect aperitif wine and I'm buying more.

2005 Filliatreau Saumur-Champigny La Grande Vignolle, $16. Wow, this is some
tobacco-ey, earthy stuff. There is also great fruit here. Beautiful nose of red and dark fruit, tobacco, a bit of cocoa too, and that Saumur-Champigny earthy velvet is in full effect. This has great texture, purity, and length. And I remind you - it cost $16. Very satisfying wine and an excellent companion to roast meat. I'd love to get my hands on the "higher level" wines from Filliatreau, but I haven't seen them in NYC. I might sock away one of my two remaining bottles just to see what happens to it in 6 years.

2005 Chateau du Hureau Saumur-Champigny Les Fevettes, $22. This wine was basically closed down the last time I tasted it, in July of 2007. Of the three wines discussed here, this is the most improved and the most impressive. The nose is incredible, with absolutely clean and pure red raspberries (I would say jumping out of the glass, but it's cliché - the raspberries WERE jumping though), dark flowers, and minerally wet soil, with only the tiniest bit of alcohol (14%) poking through. This is a beautiful nose and you can tell that there is still some unwinding to do. The palate echoes the nose and is silky in its rustic country-ness, such a winning combination. There is soil underneath the raspberries and flowers, and it crackles with minerals and life. The finish is clean and pure. Just very impressive and delicious wine, and with a long life ahead of it.

What other glories from 2005 in the Loire Valley await? I'm guessing everything will be great.


Anonymous said...

2005 François Chidaine Montlouis-sur-Loire Les Tuffeaux - My problem with this wine was not enough acids for sweetness level. Plus, I think the bottle should indicate it's off-dry, not dry. (Demi-sec!)

Brooklynguy said...

hey jack - it was pretty fat and sweet a while back. better balance now and that's due in part to the acids - they've emerged. Chidaine doesn't label any of his wines as sec or demi-sec. would be easier for consumers. there must be some reason. check out Besotted Ramblings and Other Drive for a good recent profile of Chidaine - this is mentioned there.

David McDuff said...

Here's the breakdown with Chidaine's Montlouis:

- Les Tuffeaux: always demi-sec
- Clos du Breuil: always sec
- Clos Habert: generally demi-sec
- Les Choisilles: always sec, generally the most intensely dry of them all
- Les Bournais: sec so far, the newest wine in the lineup.
- Moelleux: speaks for itself, though it's not produced every year.
- There are also two bubblies, which are labeled sec and demi-sec.

Of course, each wine will vary from year to year in direct correlation to the natural conditions of the vintage. I believe FC omits the sec/demi-sec nomenclature out of a wish that the wines be expressions of place rather than of a "traditional" or expected style. My two cents....

Brooklynguy said...

thanks for this david - very resourceful. i've never tasted the choisilles, to my sadness. i could have grabbed an 04 for about $28 recently but for some reason i let i go, and went back today, but it was gone, baby, gone.

David McDuff said...

As I thought about it after my first comment, Neil, I realized the bubblies are actually Brut and Brut Non-Dose.

As for Les Choisilles, just drag your ass down here to Philly and you'll be taken care of. And knowing that will take some doing, don't pass it up the next time you see it. $28 is a fair price given the wine's quality.

Brooklynguy said...

yeah, i'd never seen the demi-sec bubbles. but i know there are many of their wines that don't make it over here. i would love to come to philly. can you email me sometime using my profile contact and we can try to set something up? i have an idea...