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.
Tuesday, December 08, 2009