Sunday, April 03, 2011

March Wines - a Laundry List

Here are some wines that I drank in March that did not appear on this blog. The "excellent" group consists of wines that are truly memorable, wines that inspire me to seek out and buy these and wines like them. The "excellent" and "very good" groups are wines that I would happily buy at the given price. All other wines, even if I liked them, are not wines that I would buy today given my recent experience with them. Doesn't mean that I think they are bad wines, just means that based on the bottle I drank, there are other things I would prefer to buy with that money.

Excellent Wines
2002 Houillon/Overnoy Arbois Poulsard
, $36, Louis/Dressner Selections. The best bottle of Poulsard that I've had. It was still growing as we finished it with gorgeous aromatics, so pure fresh, high toned but gentle -not primary, currant and blood orange fruit and a dominant aroma of dried rose petal. The nose is really beautiful. Resolved on the palate but still well structured and perfectly balanced, with sweet red fruit and underbrush, great acidity and length, and the finish is fragrant with dried roses. Elegant, harmonious, beautiful wine. This is why I keep buying this wine, even though many bottles do not achieve this kind of showing. The new vintage is 2009 and it costs $60 (!!!) in NYC. Not sure I can keep riding this train...

2002 Albert Boxler Riesling Grand Cru Brand, $35, Robbert Chadderdon Selections. A perfect bottle, great freshness and complexity, and it was beautiful with braised pork shoulder. Aromas of petrol and baking spice infused ripe orchard fruit. The nose becomes perfectly harmonious after a short time open. The palate is much drier than I expected, and is entirely delicious, with good acidity supporting the ripe fruit and the more mature secondary tones of petrol. Compelling and memorable.

2000 López de Heredia Rioja Rosado Gran Reserva Viña Tondonia, $24, Polaner Selections. With the 1995, this is my favorite vintage of this wine, so far. There is a kinetic energy here, a grippy texture that works perfectly for the diversity of flavors - orange oil, sherry, peach, good. Nothing else like it. And if you buy it as part of a case you're paying under $22. Kind of amazing.

Very Good Wines
Emilio Lustau (Almacenista) Jerez-Xérès-Sherry Amontillado del Puerto Jose Luis González Obregón, selected by Christopher Cannan, Imported by Europvin USA, $37. Plenty of flor character in this wine, probably includes a decent proportion of wines that were under flor not too long ago. Fresh and complex aromas of butter, roast nuts, and even some dark fruit. Fantastically harmonious on the nose, and follows through on the palate, which is silky textured and offers great depth. This is a very classy amontillado, and one to go back to again and again.

2009 Domaine Ganevat Côtes du Jura Cuvée de l'Enfant Terrible, $34, Jeffrey Alpert Selections. Another great Poulsard. This bottle showed best on day 2, after decanting the remaining half bottle. At it's best it is strikingly pure and fresh, absolutely inviting, with high toned cranberry and red currant fruit. There is a gamy undertone that also somehow seems very fresh and pure, and an unmistakable stony minerality that grounds the wine. The wine is cooling, very refreshing, and really just a beautiful drink. Perfect balance and structure, so the wine is seamless. On the first day, however, this is not the experience. It is delicious, but the structure sticks out a little, there is a rusticity that vanishes by day two, and the wine doesn't show the harmony that makes it so special. Decant a long time in advance, or really, just hang onto the wine for a while. That's what I'll do with what I have left.

Laherte Frères Champagne Brut Tradition, $39, Imported by Selection Pas Mal. A truly lovely Meunier-based blend. This bottle is based on 2007, although 40% is reserve wine from 2006. Harmonious and classy, this wine shows delicious apple and quince fruit and good acidity, and there is a pleasant chalky undertone. Just a pleasure to drink, and a very good value.

2004 Château Rayas Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc Reserve, price unknown. A fascinating bottle of wine. The nose took a while to open, and was never loud, with waxy white flower and orchard fruit aromatics. I enjoyed the slightly oily texture of this wine, and the subtle salty complexity. White wine from this region is still a mystery to me, but this is one of the better examples that I've had.

Jacques Lassaigne Champagne Les Vignes de Montgueux Blanc de Blancs, $45, Jenny & François Selections. This wine is always delicious, and this was a particularly good bottle. Broad and ample with very ripe fruit, and still firmly under control, with great acidity and freshness. Surely one of the best Blanc de Blancs from down in the Aube.

Good Wines
2006 Camille Giroud Aloxe-Corton 1er Cru Les Guérets, $36, Becky Wasserman Selections. I really appreciate the terroir expression in this wine, as the gamy and rocky earth of Aloxe is apparent. But something bugs me about what I experience to be a liberal application of oak. I have nothing against oak, as long as it doesn't jut out, and here it juts out a bit. that might change with more time in the bottle, but I'm not convinced that there is enough raw material here to absorb the wood.

Diebolt-Vallois Champagne Brut Rosé, $60, Imported by Petit Pois Corp. I think this is based on 2007 and like the Diebolt 2007-based Blanc de Blancs, I'm just not crazy about it. The fruit is juicy and bright, but the wine is pretty simple and unmemorable, disappointing.

2009 Château de Pibarnon Bandol Rosé, $27, Imported by Michael Skurnik Wines. This is good, but I've preferred the past few vintages. the fruit here veers just a bit towards candied, and although there is some mineral complexity, the wine just kind of spreads out without much structure or acidity.

2009 Michel Brégeon Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine, $12, Imported by Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant. This was a bit fat and didn't offer the precision and detail that I've come to expect from this producer. 2009-itus, or perhaps like the past few vintages, the wine really just needs more time in the bottle?

These, I had Problems With
2005 Jacques Puffeney Trousseau Arbois Les Berangères, $32, Imported by Neal Rosenthal Wine Merchant. Wow, what a disappointment! As hard as it is for me to say this...not every bottle of red wine from Puffeney or from the Jura is a good bottle. Here the fruit was candied and stewed, the tannins were harsh, the wine was fundamentally out of balance. Bad bottle...perhaps. Too young...perhaps. I'm not convinced.

2007 Domaine de Chantermerle Chablis 1er Cru Fourchaume, $25, Imported by Michael Skurnik Wines. Perfectly fine in that there is apple fruit, just enough acidity to make the wine drinkable, and the flavors are pleasant. But the wine has a flabby texture and a dilute midpalate, and does not really say anything to me about Chablis. Quite underwhelming, considering that other wines I've had by this producer have been quite good.


Cliff said...

Totally agree about the Puffeney. I don't know what happened in 2005, but, whatever it was, it wasn't good.

Tom said...

You say the Emmanuel Houillon is $60 in NYC, but I can never find it...any chance you have any leads?

Brooklynguy said...

Tom - the usual suspects got a small allocation (from what I heard). Try stores that carry lots of Jura wine. Chambers, Crush, Astor, among the big ones.