Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Back in the Saddle

I haven't written anything in a long time. It's hard to get started again. I've wanted to, but the longer it gets, the more inertia sets in. Perhaps the best way is simply to write something  - anything. Even just a list of recent wines I've loved. If it's fun, I'll write again another time.

The best red wine I've had in some time? A bottle of Beaujolais, but a special bottle - the 2011 Yvon Métras Moulin-à-Vent. This is not so easy to find here in the US, but whoa, it's worth looking for. Here's my note on the bottle: "Honestly, the finest red wine I've tasted in a while. A perfect bottle. Fragrant with fruit, flowers, stones, leaves. Beautifully expressive on the palate with complex fruit and mineral flavors, a structural firmness under the fruit that smacks of Moulin-à-Vent, texturally perfect, long on the finish - I'm trying to mention everything that's great about this wine which starts to feel silly. It really was just a wonderful bottle with a depth and expression of aroma and flavor that is fantastic." Métras is a cultish producer and that might turn some folks off. It turned me off, to be honest. But this bottle converted me. 

Then there's also this bottle, the 2008 Giuseppe Rinaldi Barbera d'Alba. Another one that is not easy to find here in the US. This bottle kind of blew me away. Pure and fresh, absolutely transparent in feel and the earthy minerality is pungent. The wine is so complex too - the finish is a melange of the herbal, the acidic, and the ripe but not overripe fruit (which itself is a melange of bright red raspberry and deep dark cherry). If you drink it now, save half for ay 2 - way better on day 2. I've not had too many Barberas, and I've had none that I loved except for a bottle a few years back by G. Conterno. This one, I loved, LOVED. Is this is what Barbera grown on great soils by a great wine maker is like?

The 2012 vintage of Tissot Poulsard is here and it's really good. For me, this is the Poulsard to buy and drink with impunity these days, as Overnoy is a unicorn and Ganevat costs $50. This wine needs a good decant to deal with the reduction, but it is absolutely delicious. It comes from very old vines and it has no added sulfur (which should raise alarms more than act as a selling point, in my book, but this one does it beautifully). It will greatly please Poulsard lovers but also I think would be a nice way to introduce a friend to the charms of light and weird red wine - it's accessible like that. Cranberries, blood oranges, hard spices, flowers, harmonious and beautifully textured, this wine packs a lot of interest into a very light frame. It costs about $25.

I'm still not entirely sure where I am with this wine. 2010 Weingut Günther Steinmetz Mülheimer Sonnenlay Pinot Noir Unfiltriert, as it is deftly named, might be an intense wine that offers way more complexity, terroir expression, and overall quality than its $23 price tag suggests is possible. Or it might just be an incredibly delicious and balanced Pinot from Germany. I can't tell yet. But I will tell you that I am vigorously enjoying the act of drinking the wine and further exploring this important question.

I still drink white wine. Way more than red, actually. Here are some recent whites that also wowed me:

2007 Fritz Haag Brauneberger Juffer-Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese. You know, I look back at my notes from drinking this wine and it's not as though I loved it on paper. But the thing is, I loved it. I've thought about it a lot since drinking it. Maybe it sounds obvious to you if you drink these wines, but the purity, the delicacy, the impeccable balance...it really got to me and I must have more.

2012 Bernard Ott Grüner Veltliner Am Berg. I think this is a great vintage for this wine. It's subtle and quiet, but absolutely delicious and entirely expressive of place and of Grüner. I like to decant this wine, and then there are clean and cooling aromas of sour cream, lemongrass, and green herbs. Quiet, but arresting. And versatile at the table. And about $18.

I dipped into my small stash of the very fine La Bota de Fino Nº 35, and whoa, is it drinking beautifully. This is a Fino selected from barrels in the Valdespino Inocente solera system. The overtly powerful personality of the wine has been tempered a bit and it now thrives on this amazing harmony of aroma and flavor. Complex, savory,  and shockingly delicious.

Just to see what's what, I opened a bottle of 2008 Gilbert Picq Chablis 1er Cru Vogros. It reminded me that it's possible to drink real Chablis, truly satisfying Chablis, elegant and bantam weight Chablis that really smacks of seashells, iodine, and white flowers, for under $30. I like this wine in every vintage I've tasted. This one drinks very well right now, but takes 90 minutes to get there and seems like it will improve with another few years in the cellar. But whoa, when it got there it was rewarding.

That was kind of fun, writing this. For me, anyway.


Do Bianchi said...

welcome back, Brooklyn Guy. Glad to see you're drinking well... Would have loved to drink that Barbera with you.

Karin said...

Thanks for writing again!

Mike Harlen said...

It's fun for us readers too! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

"If it's fun, I'll write again another time."

Or, if you don't, I'll stop drinking. But I'm not worrying: you have too many neat things to say.

LMac said...

I'm with you on the La Bota Sherries. My company held a Sherry dinner in December where we had the La Bota 35 Fino and 31 Amontillado. Both were incredibly complex and totally delicious, but it was really the Fino that blew my mind. I didn't realize there could be so much going on there...

Also had a nice Chablis recently- Raveneau Blanchot 2006. Awesome.

Glad your back and I look forward to see what's in store for '14. Cheers

Ben said...

Loved reading this. Will try that Ott. Had the 2011 Métras Moulin-à-Vent and it seemed so complete that I don't know what would be gained from aging it as is usually suggested.

Anonymous said...

This was fun to read - thanks!

I have the Metras and am excited to try.

ilbe said...

Really got some ideas what to source next. Please, do bless us more often with your posts BG!

John O said...

Great tip on the Poulsard

Anonymous said...

Yours is some of the best wine writing on the intertubes, esp since Coad went missing. Thank youuu, for sharing your thoughts with us.