Friday, August 14, 2009

Wine of the Week - Clos Roche Blanche Sauvignon

You already know about this producer and about this wine, the Clos Roche Blanche Touraine Sauvignon #2, $14, Louis/Dressner Selections. I am not going to shed any new light on the situation. I will say this, however, and please don't start drafting your hate mail yet - I don't love Clos Roche Blanche as much as some of you do. I have much respect and I've had some great bottles, but overall, not one of my favorite producers. Nothing complicated - I just don't always love the wines. My favorite is the fantastic Touraine Sauvignon Blanc.

But I am still frustrated by this wine. I have had bottles that just blow me away, and then had bottles that are simply uninspiring. There is variation with any wine, but I find more so with Clos Roche Blanche than with most other wines. Or perhaps, it is just that when a $14 wine is as beautiful as this one, it is equally frustrating when the next bottle is nothing special.

I've had the 2008 several times now and at its best, it rivals wines from Sancerre that cost more than three times as much. Like the bottle I opened the other night when my parents, who don't care a lick about wine, were here - I wanted to open something good, but not terribly dear to me because they don't care one way or another. The wine was utterly gorgeous. Even my mother who was mesmerized by her granddaughters said "Wow, this is great wine, I don't think I've ever had anything like this before."But when I served it to some close friends a few weeks ago as part of a blind wine dinner, it was totally unremarkable. How frustrating!

When you get a good bottle, this is what you get: smokey earth and minerals, black licorice and herbs, incredibly pure citrus fruit, vibrancy and balance. As Sharon Bowman recently pointed out, this wine can be addictive. And at 13.5% alcohol, be careful. But it's not always this good, and when it's not, I find that the drop off is rather steep. I'll keep buying this wine because it's so great when it's good, and at about $14, the risk is manageable. Is it just me, or have you found there to be lots of variability here?


vinosseur said...


I have recently tasted and written about the wines from Clos Roche Blanche, except the Sauvignon which I could not get my hands on unfortunately. It was nice to read your review on the wine and I am doing what I can to get a hold of a few bottles to taste.

Regarding bottle variation, I too find bottle variation when I drink wines that lean towards natural and can't help to wonder why myself.

I am not someone who follows the biodynamic lunar calender, but I wonder if the wine that was uninspiring was tasted on the "wrong day"? Do you have experience with this?

Or perhaps that particular bottle needed a few days to open as each bottle has it's own individual "personality" when it comes to "natural" wines.

Just a few thoughts!

TWG said...

Farmers/growers used man made fertilitzers and pesticides, each were/are exteremly effective on increasing yields and preserving the harvest. It also yielded a homogenized product.

Cutting back or eliminating man made chemicals is intended to restore variety to the vineyard. This is bound to lead to increase in variability and not just the positive kind. Wine makers are also early in the learning curve.

Anonymous said...

15.99 at Young's Fine Wines in Manhasset NY

Timothy Lock said...

Had my 3rd bottle of the 08 last night...haven't had a bad one yet, although they have been a bit different. The thing that always gets me (in a good way) in the CRB Sauvignon is the strong on the it!

Brooklynguy said...

hi Vinosseur - interesting point. perhaps i opened one on a root day or something.

vinosseur said...

Brooklyn guy,

Yes, I just thought I would bring it up. I don't personally follow the biodynamic calender. I feel that wine is alive and can simply go through dormant phases. This being said, I would be curious to know what phase you drank the wine in if you can remember?


jjoak said...

The more natural wines you drink, the more variability you will have.. That is the compromise you have to make when loving natural wine. Otherwise we can drink some wines from any large scale producer and have a consistent yet not sublime bottle at that price.