Friday, January 09, 2009

Friday Night Bubbles

2000 Gatinois Brut, about $45, Polaner Imports. The millennium vintage in Champagne was not a great one, in the end. It was a ripe vintage, strange as that may sound for Champagne, and apparently many of the wines lack precision and focus. Most producers made a vintage wine anyway - if you were a wine maker would you skip the chance to make a wine from the year 2000? really, how bad would your fruit have to be to voluntarily miss out? All your colleagues are making a 2000, shouldn't you?

I've had the chance to drink several 2000's in the past few weeks, and I must say that I have not been impressed. Even with a rock solid producer like Jacques Lassaigne in Montgueux, whose non vintage wines are cut and precise, the 2000 was sort of fuzzy and all over the place. I know there are great wines from the 2000 vintage, but I haven't had them. Well, I did taste the 2000 Cuvée Fiacre from Chartogne Taillet and that was wonderful. They're out there, but they're not the norm.

This one, the 2000 Gatinois Brut, is one of the good ones. Gatinois is located in Aÿ in the Vallée de Marne, right near Bollinger, to whom Pierre Cheval-Gatinois sells about half of his harvest each year. Aÿ is Grand Cru Pinot Noir territory, and as you would therefore expect, Gatinois wines are almost entirely Pinot. In the case of the vintage wines, they are 100% Pinot Noir. Gatinois bottles under 3,000 cases of wine each year, and this is inclusive of all five wines (Tradition Brut, Réserve Brut, Rosé, Millésime, and Demi-sec), so it's not an easy bottle to find. But if you are a fan of red grape Champagne, and of a full bodied style in general, try a bottle if you see one.
The color is somewhat striking, golden, almost amber in color. The nose is first and foremost clean and fresh, almost airy, and this balances the ripeness and richness of the aromas so that the wine in the end transcends the problems of the vintage. Sweet and rich aromas of berry fruit, orange peel and marzipan are infused with a chalky essence. The nose is broad and round, but mostly under control. The wine is texturally lovely with a very fine mousse and the palate is surprisingly mineral driven. The fruit is front and center, and it's juicy and ripe, but the fineness of texture and the definite mineral floor grounds the wine. With air time it puts on weight, but maintains somewhat strong focus in part because of the tangy acidity, and also because of the strong and narrow finish that resonates with orange zest. This is a very big wine with great depth of fragrance and flavor, and it maintains an elegant, if exuberant posture.

10 comments:

Vinogirl said...

Well, I'm sure if the fruit was very ripe, it was harvested late with a higher pH and a correspondingly lower acid. Your description still makes me want a glass, or two, though.

elwood said...

I've been a fan of the rosé for a couple of years now. Very precise wines (usually) with great red-fruit flavors balanced with stones and wet gravel. Someone I know once called their wines "Statuesque" which makes more sense after one tries the wine.

J. Williams said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Deetrane said...

oh, good!!!

TWG said...

I don't understand the last two posts

Brooklynguy said...

vinogirl - not a wine to age, not enough acidity as you say. but quite good nonetheless.

hi Elwood - i have to try to rose. i've never seen it in NYC though.

deetrane - thanks again for giving this to me, we really enjoyed it.

TWG - the guy whose post I erased is some sort of spammer. he left the same comment on several of my posts and simply wants you to click on his link. i got annoyed an erased it. deetrane was just happy that i liked the wine he gave me.

TWG said...

Thanks for replying, it was just the Oh, good comment I thought referred to the deletion.

J. Williams said...

Brooklynguy - I am NOT a spammer at all. I am a regular guy on a mad search for a rare wine that I love so much. Your site seemed very informative and you seem very knowledgable, which is the reason why I left the same post on multiple pages. The link on my posting isn't even my page...it was one I came across that has a pic from the label of wine I'm looking for. Again, I'm looking for a Domaine de Val Frais Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Prestige.

Brooklynguy said...

my bad Jwilliams, sorry for the mistake. i am not familiar with the wine you're looking for, although a commenter responded to you suggesting that you inquire at the restaurant where you drank the wine. you might also try a rhone specialist retail store, such as burgundy wine company in the west 20's of manhattan. good luck.

TWG said...

http://www.chateauneuf.dk/en/cdpen117.htm

Try this website for the wineries email address and request the US distributor's name.