Wednesday, December 03, 2008

By the Glass - 2005 Muscadet Edition

2005 was the vintage of the century in Bordeaux, the vintage of the millennium in Burgundy, the finest post-World War II vintage in the Rhône, and the greatest vintage in recent memory in the Loire. Isn't it tempting to check in on your 2005's? I have equal amounts of patience and curiosity, so under the right circumstances, I can be convinced to open a bottle that really should be left alone.

But haven't you found that sometimes wines from these "vintages of the century" aren't always better than wines from normal, or "classic" vintages? That they don't age as well? Based on my utterly informal and amateur observations, there are some 2005 Muscadets that will cellar very well, and others that might not improve all that much. These are bone-dry wines of deep mineral character, after all, wines that might not benefit from the super-ripe conditions of 2005. I wonder how they'll stack up against their unheralded brethren from the "classic" 2004 vintage, for example. I know you love Muscadet - what's your take on the 2005 vintage?

Here are my notes on a few 2005 Muscadets that I drank this fall:

2005 Domaine de la Louvetrie Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine Sur Lie Le Fief du Breil, $18, martin Scott Imports. Drank in late November. This wine is lovely right now, open and balanced. The nose is a blast of yeast, cream, saline and citrus. Bright and fresh on the palate with racy acidity providing the right cut. There is a nice herbal tint to the finish. Here's the thing, though: this wine is good, but nowhere near as amazing as the 2004, in my opinion. I'm not sure that there is much point in long-term cellaring this one.

2005 Luneau-Papin Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine Le L D'Or, $17, Dressner Imports. Drank in late October. The top vineyard in the estate and always a wine worth cellaring. The first day it's got a lot of fat, with a sherbet-like lemon cream thing happening on the nose. The palate is creamy too, and not yet in focus. On day 2 this wine shows what it's all about, with focused acidity, well defined fruit and mineral flavors, and excellent balance. Seems like it will wear it's creamy ripeness well, and probably better to hold for a while.

2005 Guy Bossard Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine Expression de Granite, $18, I forgot who imports this. Drank in mid October, and then again in late October with Marcus of the now-defunct blog Doktor Weingolb when he most generously carried a bottle from Montreal specifically for our lunch. Can I tell you that the first bottle I drank was honestly the finest Muscadet that I've ever had?
Never would have guessed it at first. I was so disappointed when I opened this bottle at 5 in the afternoon. Like licking a granite wall, no fruit, only minerals of the most intense nature and a thin texture. Basically undrinkable. We left it alone and came back to it a little after 8pm and it was really singing. Fragrant with a lemon sherbet richness, a bit floral, and briny. The palate was fleshy with ripe yellow fruit and intense minerality, and good acidity and balance. This wine displays the richness of 2005 but incorporates it into the overall Muscadet character in a beautiful way - incredibly precise and focused wine.

2005 Domaine de la Pépière (Marc Ollivier) Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine Sur Lie Clos des Briords, $14, Dressner Imports. Drank in late September. Bursting with ripe creamy citrus fruit on the nose, settles in with seashells and pure water. Although this wine is quite dry, it is very rich. The nose shut down a bit after a few hours open, and I can't tell you what happened on day two because this delicious wine didn't make it that far. Ripe and expressive on the palate with good acidity. Worth holding some for the future, which is a good thing, as this is the one I went deep on - I have a half case buried somewhere.

2005 Luneau-Papin Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine Vieilles Vignes Domaine de la Grange, $12, Dressner Imports. Drank in mid August. Very rich and full for a Muscadet, but retains its varietal character. Briny minerals and lemon peel on the nose, full and expansive on the palate. You could serve this in place of a young white Burgundy with the appropriate dishes, and be happily surprised, and save a lot of money too. Beautiful now - I'm not sure if aging this will be worth the time and space.

2005 Domaine de la Pépière Granite de Clisson, $19, Dressner Imports. Drank in Late July. This is the wine that Marc Ollivier kept on the lees for longer than is allowed under the rules governing Muscadet sur lie appellation status. Arcane French wine rules, anyone? Regardless of the name, this is Muscadet in all of its glory, and it's fantastic. The nose is all minerals with only hints of flowers and citrus fruit poking through, and there is a full almost yeasty essence too, especially with some air time. The extended lees time is obvious on the palate - the wine has a distinct creaminess. It's focused and cut with acidity, and salty with minerals. Broad and mouth filling, and just delicious. And there is better balance and definition on day two. This is a wine that seems like it will improve over the long haul.


Do Bianchi said...

so good the granite de clisson

Cliff said...

The Granite de Clisson is exceptional in all sorts of ways. On the whole, though, I like 2004 better than 2005.

NAPTOWN said...

At least, out west here, the Bossard is imported through Kysela Pere & Fils LTD. FYI.

Brooklynguy said...

yes, 2005 Granite de Clisson is one of the finest values in wine, i think. i hear you on 04 vs 05. thanks for the info naptown.