Saturday, August 07, 2010

A Couple More New Vintages

Just a couple more notes on new vintages of wines that I drink every year.

This one comes courtesy of Keith Levenberg who seems to have abandoned his blog The Picky Eater (the guy has a new baby, give him a break). I enjoyed his Cellar Tracker note on the 2009 Coudert Clos de la Roilette Fleurie Cuvée Tardive, $26, Louis/Dressner Selections, and received his permission to re-print it here:

This is my first taste of 2009 Beaujolais so I don't know if some other examples are bearing out people's speculation that the vintage may be marked by fat, overdone fruit. That is emphatically not the case here. Steve Martin had a memorable line in his novella Shopgirl: "When you work in the glove department at Neiman's, you are selling things that nobody buys anymore. These gloves aren't like the hard-working ones sold by L.L. Bean; these are so fine that a lady wearing them can still pick up a straight pin." The 2009 Clos de la Roilette Cuvee Tardive is made out of the same material as those gloves. This is the old-vine cuvée from Coudert and indeed what makes this special is that unique ability of very old vines to deliver intense flavor out of physical material that is so sheer and fine it's practically not even there. This is practically waifish with a refinement that is already very pinot noir-like in the fashion of Burgundies with an Audrey Hepburn figure, but the flavors show gamay's tart wild-berry side seasoned with something I find myself calling "mealy" for lack of a better term, kind of reminiscent of cereal and multigrain, already past the primary.

If you've ever wondered what wines available for the taking today have the potential to turn into tomorrow's sought-after collectibles that you'll kick yourself for not picking up when you had the chance, this is a pretty damn good candidate. It's an iconic Beaujolais, costs a whopping $5 more than the basic bottling, and has a production level somewhere around the quantities of Roumier Musigny. Only one of two things can happen. The first possibility is that it remains an insider's wine and the only way to experience a mature bottle will be to cellar it yourself, because the people who have them won't be selling. The other possibility is that collectors of top Burgundy realize they ought to have some top Beaujolais in their cellars, with the usual price consequences. Either way I'm glad to have stocked up.
I recently drank two newly released wines by Bernard Baudry. I love Baudry's wines in general, although I am learning that I prefer the wines from the more difficult vintages to the "great" ones. But I might be in the minority here, so please take the following with a healthy dose of "I need to drink those for myself." Just my opinion, that's all...

2009 Bernard Baudry Chinon Les Granges, $17, Louis/Dressner Selections. This is Baudry's "entry level" Chinon from gravel soils. The 2009 is not a successful wine, to my taste. It borders on fruit bomb. The fruit is attractive and clean, but the wine doesn't speak to me of the gravel soils where it is grown (the way '08, '07. and '06 did, for example), and it simply is not a very interesting wine. I thought that perhaps I was catching the loud and fruity opening phase, so I left it alone for about 12 hours and very little happened to improve the wine. It's drinkable and the ripe dark fruit is very tasty. But I didn't find balance, acidity, or much beyond the fruit.

2008 Bernard Baudry Chinon Les Grézeaux, $24, Louis/Dressner Selections. From hillside vineyards of clay and gravel right next to the Baudry's house. This wine rests in cement and sometimes in neutral oak, and I'm not sure what the regimen was in 2008. This wine along with the Cuvée Domaine are, to me, the value selections in the Baudry portfolio. They are consistently excellent wines and they're ridiculously inexpensive for what you get. The Cuvée Domaine is about $18 for goodness sake, and it's a great wine (inexplicably the fantastic 2007 is still available and if you haven't had it, you really should). The 2008 Grézeaux is hard to figure out right now. Upon opening it was aromatically lovely with pungent dried flowers and earthy fresh fruit. The palate shows good balance and texture - this wine is lighter than the 09 Les Granges, but there also might be a bit of a hole in the midpalate. I'm just not sure, because it drank better the next day, although the aromas had receded a bit too. Check back in perhaps 5 years and we'll see where this one goes.


chris newport said...

Thanks for the notes....

I wasn't a big fan of the '09 Les Granges either... seemed to be missing something, particularly in the's nice to know I'm not alone.

I'm still eagerly anticipating the release of his higher end bottlings.

Director, Lab Outreach said...

I was trying to think of way of saying what I mean but it keeps coming out that I'm glad Keith isn't blogging. Which is not what I mean.

I read a number of wine blogs regularly but that doesn't mean I want to go back and search them for tasting notes -- and at some level, I don't recall ever having done this. Maybe once, and I was probably looking for something you'd written about Champagne.

But it's GREAT to have the tasting notes available in the one place you're likely to see them when you're actually looking for them.

I love Keith's CT notes. Yours too.

So that's what I meant to say.