Friday, June 06, 2008

Friday Night Bubbles

NV Foreau Vouvray Brut, $25, Rosenthal Imports. I love Foreau's still wines. Along with Domaine Huet, Foreau at Domaine du Clos Naudin is thought of as the finest producer in Vouvray. Foreau farms organically doesn't interfere with the wine - never adding sugar and not taming the acidity via malolactic fermentation. In most vintages there are sec (dry) and demi-sec (off-dry) wines, both superb, and both age-worthy. The sec in particular demands years in a cold cellar in order to truly express itself. These are profound wines, racy with acidity, very mineral, and very pure.

So it was with great anticipation that I came back to Foreau's Brut sparkling wine. The last time I had this wine was about three years ago. And I'm truly sad to say that this was a very disappointing bottle. I actually didn't trust my palate on this at first. Foreau is a superstar, how could this wine be as mediocre as we thought it was? Maybe I'm missing something, but I found this to be nowhere near the quality of several other Loire sparklers.

Foreau disgorges sparkling wine four times a year. On the side of the label there are four numbers that, with the aid of a Cap N' Crunch plastic toy decoder, will reveal the age of the wine. My bottle said L2041. The middle digits signify the vintage, in this case 2004 and the final digit indicates that this is lot 1, the first disgorgement. The decoder has yet to figure out what the L and the first digit mean.

Notes on the wine: toast and mineral water on the nose, and something like cold cream. But there is something unattractive there too, something soapy. The palate is citrus and toast, but there is little complexity and depth. It's kind of clunky actually. We lost interest in this wine after one glass, and that's saying something. I went back to it later, hoping it had blossomed into something lovely. No dice.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

you had a bad bottle asshole.

Brooklynguy said...

very brave, especially when you're anonymous. have a great day!

Sean said...

Sheesh...Let's hope that anonymous knucklehead's not in the employ of Foreau, huh?

I think we all understand that there's more to the spottiness of the bottlings of even our deeply-respected producers than "bad bottle," particularly in a region as variable as the Loire. I've come to trust in the better years there--'02, '05 of late, of course--& have found, as you repeatedly note in your postings, that the wines from this region can be among the most surprising & most gratifying bottles out there, particularly when it comes to price/quality ratio.

I've also got my horde of Dom. du Closel Papillon's in the cellar...

Steve L. said...

Does the brainiac who posted comment no. 1 have a blog? I'll bet it's riveting.

Brooklynguy said...

thanks Sean and Steve. Politeness and decorum prevails! My bottle was not corked or damaged at all. It just wasn't that good, in my opinion. Anyone else is free to express theirs. Opinions are cheap, after all.

J David Harden said...

BG-You seem far to wise to have poured this into a glass with detergent residue, so I'm wondering if "soapy" might be indicative of a flaw? I remember seeing a collection of aroma vials at a store in Beaune (never had the time/money/interest to try one of these kits) dedicated to flaws. Pretty sure that soap was one of the smells in the box (which might be included because of detergent residue and not some pesky yeast by-product...) That said, I googled wine flaw and soap smell and come up pretty empty.

If I could find a bottle in my neighborhood -- which I can't, I looked -- I'd volunteer to try to see if perhaps it was, as your anger-management-needing commenter pointed, a bad bottle.

Maybe keep an eye out for L2042?

As always, good stuff.

Brooklynguy said...

hey jdh - thanks for your comments. actually, i never use soap when washing my glasses for exactly that reason. impossible to really get the smell out. so i wash with my hands, inside and out and then air dry.

this was not a flawed bottle. I've learned how to spot them. this could have been a lesser bottle (this is basically natural wine we're talking about). i hope you do find it and try it, and report back.

Scott Kieser said...

I'am drinking this right now. I have had multiple chenin based sparklers of this ilk in the last 3weeks: Monmousseau Brut Etoile, Monmousseau Vouvray Brut, LaCheteau Vouvray Brut, Francois Pinon Vouvray Brut, and Baumard Carte Tourqouise.

I have to tell you, It's not even close. This was head and shoulders above the rest.

I do understand the reference to cold cream, I could definately detect that on the nose, but It was subtle and I didn't find it objectionable at all. I don't really know what you mean by soapy, I find that nearly all Vouvrays smell a bit like freshly laundered clothing, but I am guessing that is not what you were objecting to. This wine does finish with a bit of an oily texture that I supose could be called soapy, but it was all textural to my palate and not offensive.

Overall, I found this wine to be quite delicious. It has very high acid level with just a touch of sweetness in the mid-palate to provide some lovely balance. It is suprisinly rich and full bodied, (I was shocked to find the abv clocked in at only 11.5%), and had a fairly complex mineral driven finish. I think this is easily an 88 point wine. This is the only bottle I've tried so far That tastes like a still Vouvray with bubbles.

My bottle was numbered L2041 for what it's worth.

Scott Kieser said...

As much as I liked this, it is not a QPR steal. I don't see myself returning to this wine very often due the $25.00 price tag.

Brooklynguy said...

hi scott - thanks for your comments. i agree - at $25, this is just not an easy buy. for a mere $10 more you're stepping into the Champagne world, which I find much more rewarding in general. i may have to try this again to make sure I didn't have a bad bottle. have you tried the huet 02 brut?

Scott Kieser said...

Nope, I am afraid I am a Huet Virgin. It's too bad, because I am an absolute nut for Vouvray! I have just never seen it around and I was laughed at on both occasions I asked for it.

Scott Kieser said...

I quite by accident found a Champalou Vouvray Brut at a tiny little wineshop in NE Portland yesterday. Have you tried this? I'm looking forward to it. It was $17.00, so it should be a better value than the Foreau if it is any good.