Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Open Something Good Before Leaving

I'm traveling for work this week. I have this superstition that compels me to open a really good bottle of wine the night before I leave, something special to share with BrooklynLady. On Sunday night we at a version of Osso Bucco, ours braised with fennel, carrots, and orange peel. We opened a bottle of wine that I had planned on cellaring for many years, the 2006 Domaine de L'Arlot Nuits St. Georges 1er Cru Clos des Forêts St. Georges, $55-85, Daniel Johnnes Selections/Michael Skurnik Wines.

Last year at about this time I visited Domaine de L'Arlot, stayed at the estate in Prémeaux-Prissey actually. I was very much impressed with the wines - very pure and full of character and complexity. The Clos des Forêts St. Georges is a monopole of the domaine, and sits next to the famous Les Saint-Georges, the great vineyard in Nuits St. Georges that is considered by many to be of true Grand Cru quality. Domaine de L'Arlot's Clos des Forêts St. Georges can be similar to the wines of Les Saint-Georges, showing a dark fruited muscularity, a sauvage pungency. I'm a recent but adoring fan.

Although this wine will clearly repay a decade and more in the cellar, it was utterly delicious on Sunday evening. The oak is quite prominent on the nose, but the true character shines through. Deeply and darkly fruited, firmly structured, and with an inner cylinder of pungent animal perfume that emerges on the midpalate and gently pushes through the finish. Really a beautiful wine, a lot of character. And I'm confident that the oak will integrate with time.

And then guess what happened...maybe 30 minutes in, while still putting the finishing touches on dinner, I poured another splash from the decanter and I noticed that the wine smelled corky, ever so faintly, but corky. Was it just that one whiff, was it a pungent note that resembled TCA? We sat down to eat 15 minutes later, I poured us each a glass, and there was no mistaking it - the wine was corked. Not savagely so, but corked indeed, and the aromatics had been overwhelmed. Isn't that wild? The TCA didn't show itself until the wine had spent about 30 minutes in a decanter. It was gorgeous before that point.

We opened a bottle of 2006 Chandon de Briailles Pernand Vergelesses 1er Cru Ile des Vergelesses, $43, David Bowler Wines, instead, another wine I had planned on cellaring. It was lovely, more subtle and subdued, its stems more apparent. We both agreed that this wine, as lovely as it was, was difficult to drink after the first half hour of that beautiful Clos des Forêts St. Georges. Oh TCA, how I despise you, let me count the ways.

Lest you think this corked wine somehow jinxed my trip, that's not the case. Everything is going fine so far. And when I get home I'll open something nice with BrooklynLady.

13 comments:

michelecolline said...

You keep eating Italian dishes with french wine....you making me crazy!

Brooklynguy said...

hey michele - that is such a funny comment, i love it. sorry to make you crazy, but i just don't have much Italian wine, it's not that I don't believe that an Italian wine would have been good with this dish. What would you recommend? and by the way, i'm sure you would agree that its more the aroma and flavor profile of a wine that makes it a good pairing, than it is the nationality of that wine, right?

Mark Ryan said...

Hi, I just had to comment here - I thought I was the only person in the world to have such a weird tradition as to open (what is hopefully) a great bottle, the night before departing on a trip. Glad to know there are other like-minded individuals!

Cliff said...

I have no problem mixing nationalities, but, if you want to go Italian, the first thing that comes to mind tonight is one of the cellar releases of Ippolito Cirò Rosso Classico Superiore Ripe del Falco Riserva. I had a stunning 1993 a few years ago that really left an impression. Maybe an Aglianico. Chambers just had some mature D'Angelo that is quite nice.

michelecolline said...

Call me traditional. I would agree it's the flavor profile(taste?)and the weight that matters most. I never meant to insinuate that your red burgundy didn't go with the dish. The weight seems favorable. Osso buco is from Milan? or the north so maybe a dolcetto di dogliani or a valtellina nebbiolo or for an out of left field choice, how about marzemino? By the way, I'm making cassoulet tonight to go with a nice montepulciano di Abruzzo.

Beau said...

I had the same problem Sunday night. I wanted to serve two different Simon-Bize Savigny-les-Beaune lieu-dit, one from 2000 and one from 2007 with a roast chicken for 4. But the 2000 was corked, a real bummer.

Did you re-cork your bottle and return it for another? You should.
Even if you wait 'till you get back.

I too like the superstitious idea of pairing regional cuisine w/ regional wine when possible. Maybe a Caremma or a Ghemme for Osso Bucco (more bang for your buck).

José Luiz said...

Coincidentally, I had the same wine at Mas Farmhouse, while I was in NY and we had the same problem. At the end of the meal, we simply left half of the botle... TCA, no doubt.

Sean said...

We do an osso bucco every year for New Year's, complete with a delightful gremolata. I have to say, having tried lots of bottlings alongside, that nothing holds up like a good Barolo. I could see how your Nuits St.-Georges would provide the perfect French analogue, but see if you can't lay your hands on a killer nebbiolo next time 'round.

Cliff said...

Or maybe a Sfursat

The Wine Mule said...

A slo-mo TCA attack seems unusual. Then again, that's the glory of wine...any bottle may surprise you in any way. Good you had a fallback. And I got no problem with pinot noir and osso bucco. So you didn't have any Peter Zemmer Pinot Nero from the Alto Adige on hand, so that's a crime already?

Brooklynguy said...

okay, it sounds like I need to do nebbiolo next time i make this, and that makes sense. i have nothing aged, so I'll pick something young and approachable.

Beau - i will take it back, although i am always filled with apprehension when i do that.

José Luiz - same exact wine, same vintage, same showing, where the wine seemed fine at first? that's kind of scary.

Hey Wine Mule - i'm no expert on TCA, but i thought that wines that have seen a lot of new oak can often take some time before showing TCA, if it's there. Doesn't the oak mask it at first, or something?

Anthony said...

For BrooklynGuy, Wikipedia Page on TCA. Thanks for the fun read!

Drink, Memory said...

I had my very first bottle of Nuits St. George for Christmas and I am definitely hooked. It was a 2001 premier cru,but I dont have a decanter so I just opened the bottle an hour before. Should I decant next time?