Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Tasting Other Blogger's Recommendations

Bloggers and blog readers recommend wines constantly and it's impossible to try all of them. But this is how I learn about new wines I want to try - your recommendations. Here are the very positive results of tasting four wines on blogger and reader recommendations over the past month or so. And now, I can recommend them to you:

The first of two were recommended back in November as part of Wine Blogging Wednesday's Silver Burgundy theme. David McDuff's discussion of André Bonhomme was very compelling. I'm always interested in finding excellent Burgundy at good prices so when I saw this at Moore Brothers in Manhattan, trying it one was a no-brainer. After all, $25 buys less than half a bottle of most 2005 village wines from Puligny or Meursault.

2005 André Bonhomme Viré-Clessé, $25, Fleet Street Imports. First thing I noticed was the unusual color - this wine had a distinct peach hue, very faint, but definitely there amidst the golden yellow. What that means, I have no idea, but seems like a good thing to me. Flowers, roast nuts, lots of minerals on the nose. Very pure and fresh. The palate is well balanced with great acidity. Apricots and citrus flavors in the mouth with lingering mineral and fleshy fruit after swallowing. There is also a hint of butterscotch in there, which makes sense in that the wine saw 25% new oak barrels. I was stunned to see 14% alcohol on the label, as I didn't sense any alcohol all. This wine improved on day 2, the flavors were richer and worked better together, the wine mouth coating and intense. This wine has great potential energy, like a coiled spring, and I bet it will age quite well. Don't feel like plunking down $80 for a bottle of 2005 Puligny-Montrachet? This could very well be your best bet.

Lyle Fass of Rockss and Fruit dipped his toe in the WBW pool for the first time that November, and highly recommended another reasonably priced wine from the Mâconnais. This bottle cost me all of $21 at Chambers Street, another no-brainer. That's about the same price as two tickets to a movie in Manhattan, and the wine is far more entertaining.

2005 Éric Texier Mâcon-Bussières Très Vieilles Vignes, $21, Louis/Dressner Selections. Rich and deep yellow color, and the aromas are jumping out of the glass. I got nuts, lemon oil, and minerals on the nose. What most impressed me about this wine is how pure and well defined the flavors are. The palate is vibrant and alive with great purity and length. Lots of fresh fruit layered on a mineral bed, and flowers and eucalyptus honey after swallowing. Lots of movement in the glass too, as one sip brought flowers, the next wet rocks, and the next ripe fruit. Another winner and another great value from the humble Mâconnais.

Alice Feiring listed some of her favorite Champagnes at the very end of 2007. I'm on a mission to try them all. So far I've located three of them and tasted two of them. First, I tasted a NV Raymond Boulard Brut Nature (non-dosage), and I wasn't crazy about it until there was merely one glass left, and then the wine blossomed into something beautiful. I sometimes forget that Champagne needs airtime too. On this, my second foray into Alice's list, I took better notes. And I loved the wine enough to buy both a second bottle AND a bottle of the 2000 vintage wine for the cellar.

N.V. Jacques Lassaigne Champagne Les Vignes de Montgueux Blanc de Blancs Montgueux, $38, Jenny & Francois Selections. This wine was so vibrant and fresh, sparkling with life. I got biscuits and citrus on the nose, all surrounded by pleasantly chalky minerals. And the palate combined elegance and grace with real power, something that continues to thrill me about good Blanc de Blancs. This one stays with you long after swallowing. We loved it as an aperitif but I can imagine it pairing beautifully with sushi or any kind of seafood, but when we were drinking it I wanted to be sitting in a meadow somewhere eating cold roast chicken and all kinds of picnic salads.

Last but not least, my pal Adam knows that I am hot and heavy with Champagne right now and he brought over a bottle for me to try. It is quite inexpensive as Champagne goes, and we were very impressed with it.

N.V. Moutard Champagne Brut Grande Cuvée, about $30, not sure who imports it. Fresh and clean nose of red fruit and pastry dough that follow through onto the palate. Crisp and precise flavors and very satisfying. Delicious as an aperitif but I could picture enjoying this with simple lean meats, like a roast beef sandwich. Call me crazy, I was thinking steak too, one of those cuts like skirt, or hangar, or flank. Yup, I think that Pinot-heavy Champs can go well with meat. So sue me.


Peter Liem said...

Some nice selections here, Neil. I like that Lassaigne too -- Montgueux is a hidden gem in Champagne, but it usually just goes into blends. It's really interesting to compare Lassaigne's wines with classic Côte des Blancs chardonnay.

David McDuff said...

Glad you liked the Bonhomme, Neil. It's always a drag when a recommendation misses the mark so I'm glad this one worked out.

The Texier M-B has been on my wish list ever since your Silver Burgundy episode. Now I suppose I'll have to add the Boulard and Lassaigne Champagnes as well.

Brooklynguy said...

hi Peter - great to see you 'round these here parts. i've never compared them side to side. i imagine that Côte des Blancs chardonnay produces a richer would you compare them?

hi david - i preferred the Lassaigne over the Boulard wine, but i need to taste them both again. have you had the 05 Bonhomme yet? i was so impressed. thanks for bringing that to my cellar.

David McDuff said...

I have had the '05, just after it came ashore. Much crisper acidity than in '04 and, as you said, loads of minerality. Peachiness, both in color and in flavor, is typical to Bonhomme's wines.

Chef Jeena said...
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Anonymous said...

Thank you for the notes. Had the 05 Texier Macon Bussieres last week and it was incredible by itself and it also went very well with a mildly spiced fish dish. My wife, who loved the wine, mentioned she was getting a 'seedy' note that made this wine stand out. I looked up on Texier's website and it says the chardonnay is pressed whole clustered. Wonder if there is a correlation to the seedy/greeny componenet or else how the whole-cluster pressing shows in this wine?

Vinotas said...

Champagne Lassaigne rocks! I had it in Paris this past trip for the first time and it's delicious.

I may have to look up Champagne Moutard, though.