Monday, October 06, 2008

Inexpensive but Totally Cellar Worthy

Make your morning coffee at home - why pay almost 3 bucks for it each day? Bring your lunch to work - why pay almost 10 bucks for it every day? There are many little ways to reduce spending. It feels reassuring to do these things now that common wisdom says most of us in the US have been living way beyond our means, the economy isn't nearly as bad as it's going to get, and it's now about holding onto our jobs as opposed to getting a raise.

Be that as it may, are we supposed to give up entirely on building our modest wine cellars? I can cut down on buying new shoes and underwear, but no fine wine for the cellar - that would be an undo hardship. Now is a good time, though, to be more selective about what to buy, and value is king.

With that in mind, here are three wines that will be amazing down the road, and that in my opinion offer great value. And these are wines that you can find on retail shelves without too much difficulty. I have four each of these babies, the most I buy of any one wine due to space and $ constraints. That's how much I like 'em.

2006 Chandon de Briailles Pernand-Vergelesses 1er Cru Les Vergelesses
, $38, David Bowler Wine.
$38 is not cheap for a bottle of wine, I know, but this is an amazing value. This will act like a much more expensive wine if you let it rest for 8-12 years. Pernand-Vergelesses is a lovely little village on the west side of the big hill of Corton, the promontory on whose slopes are found the Grand Cru vineyards that produce grapes for the wines of Corton Charlemagne, Clos du Roi, Bressandes, and others. Pernand-Vergelesses and Savigny-Les-Beaune, its neighbor to the south, are the two villages in the Côte de Beaune that I look to for great values in red wine. There are a couple of vineyards in particular that seem to spawn really good wines year in-year out, and Les Vergelesses is one of them, and Chandon de Briailles is one of the top producers working there.

Even though this wine is completely wrapped up in structure, the perfume is deep purple and very clean. The purity and the richness of fruit is obvious, and it rests on a nimble and spare frame. The acidity is gentle and there is a current of iron minerals running underneath everything. It's so good now, like dipping your finger in the bowl of icing - better to wait for the whole cake, but undeniably yummy.

2005 Bernard Baudry Chinon Les Grezeaux, $23, Louis/Dressner Selections. If you live in the NYC area you'll probably have to order this from North Carolina, but with shipping and a mixed case discount you're still talking about under $25. And that's just silliness for a wine of this quality and longevity. The structure on this one is quite a thick layer right now, but the fruit is dark, ripe, and juicy. There are little glimpses of the secondary goodness to come - wafts of tobacco and moss. Great acidity, very lively wine, this one is a killer. And it will be drinking great when my daughter is done with college. And this is not even the top wine from the Baudry estate. How good is that wine, the 2005 La Croix Boisée? I haven't tasted mine yet, have you?

2004 Produttori del Barbaresco, $29, Vias Imports. I'm really not the guy to talk to about Produttori del Barbaresco. That would be Dr. Parzen. I'm a Barbaresco neophyte. But on Produttori I'm totally convinced. I can't afford to start learning about Barolo now, so this is going to have to do. The 2004 is absolutely delicious at this very moment, but so clearly will sleep happily for 20 years or more - there is a robe of structure and a bright and lovely core. When it integrates, I want to be there. Right now we're talking about clean cherries, tar, flowers, and leather on the nose. The tannins are pretty fierce right now, but the ripeness and balance, the juicy acidity on the palate is undeniable.

11 comments:

Jason said...

You're dead on about the Les Grezeaux . I opened a 2002 the other night and I was totally blown away. Big and massive with just a beautifully balanced structure of acid and tannin. There was an initial tell tail bell pepper element that passed and went on express incredible minerality and unctuous cab franc fruit. 2002 was also a ripe year, so expect that 2005 to be ready no sooner than 2015.

broman said...

Can you elaborate on this comment: "If you live in the NYC area you'll probably have to order this from North Carolina" - who in NC is selling Les Grezeaux?

Brooklynguy said...

i actually like the 05 grezeaux now, even though it is nowhere near really being ready to drink. but i still like it.

hmmm, broman: as of last week when i checked on this, there was a store in Durham (can't remember the name) that has this wine listed at $19/btle. no more, according to wine searcher, winezap, etc. but now a place in Mass. is selling it. check winesearcher for details. you can always contact Dressner to see where it might be available. if not, there's always the 2006...

jim said...

Another choice for an affordable, accessible Barolo would be one from Damilano; see www.theitaliancellar.blogspot.com

genevelyn said...

So many buyers poo-poo on co-op wines--Produttori proves them wrong and wrecks a lot of symbols. I think this makes the wine taste better.

Vinogirl said...

Why don't more people drink Cab franc?

Lyle Fass said...

'05 Grezeaux rocks.

peter said...

I bought a case of '97 Produttori Moccagatta a while back, and I'm SO glad I did. That Chinon looks intriguing...

Joe Manekin said...

Still need to taste '05 Grezeaux and I'm very much looking forward to it. As for the Produttori'04, on two separate occasions it has really disappointed. I have another bottle which I'm waiting to crack and hopefully it makes me change my mind. As it stands now, I have not had a really enjoyable PBBT since '01. Have gotten my inexpensive Nebbiolo fix from various Langhe and Alba nebbiolos.

Brooklynguy said...

hmm - why did it disappoint? i don't have a whole lot of context for this wine. and does this mean that i should by the 2001 single vineyard PdB thati saw for $48?

Wicker Parker said...

More pro-Grézeaux pimping: I had the '03 about a year ago, and when it bloomed (a full 48 hours after opening but not decanted), it was phenomenal -- pure and velvety, with great structure. Bonus: a mere 12.5% alcohol.

Thanks for the tip about the Chandon de Briailles! Sounds great.