Thursday, February 14, 2008

By the Glass - Wines that I Don't Like Edition

When I read reviews I always wish for a sense of what the writer doesn't like - I get the fullest sense of their palate that way. But many people only write about the wines they like. For example, Brooklynguy, a blogger I feel particularly close to, hardly ever writes about wines he doesn't like. He really should do that from time to time. If not, a reasonable person might think "Is there anything this guy DOESN'T like? He likes everything. Therefore, nothing is special to him."

Well, take it easy, folks. There are many many many wines that just suck, to my taste. But I just don't consider myself expert enough to sit here and tell you definitively that a wine is bad. Instead, I'll tell you what I've tasted recently that I don't like. You might like these wines - what do I know? In any case, you'll get a more complete sense of my palate.

At a delicious brunch at Deetrane's house he opened a bottle of NV Feuillatte Blanc de Blancs. What an interesting experience it was for me to drink this wine in all of its chemical candied glory. After a steady diet of the grower stuff, this is the first mass market Champs I've had in a while, and with all due respect to the Deetrane (he likes it, and there is an emotional attachment too - this is a special wine for him and his wife), I found it to be a cartoon version of Champagne. Incredibly sweet candied bananas clubbing you over the head, a trio of birds whistling around to signify the daze you're in. My personal mission now is to get Deetrane to try more grower Champs.

I don't dabble too often in Rioja, and the 2001 Palacios de Remondo Rioja Propiedad H. Remondo, $24, is a good example of why I stick to López de Heredia. I liked this wine when I had it years ago in a restaurant so I bought a few bottles. It hasn't been as good at home (maybe it's my cooking?). This time it seemed roasted and pruney, nothing elegant or nuanced about it. Although we had hearty food, it was out of balance and almost overbearing. The blend is 55% Tempranillo and 45% Grenache (yes, I refuse to say Garnacha). For now I stay with López de Heredia when the Rioja mood strikes me.

I believe in miracles, but I still don't anticipate tasting a DRC wine anytime soon. But Aubert de Villaine makes wines under his own name from grapes grown in the Côte Chalonnaise. That is as close as I'm gonna get for now. I drank the 2006 A & P de Villaine Bouzeron, $23, the other night and it did almost nothing for me. Bouzeron is the appellation created to showcase the Aligoté grape. Wines made from Aligoté should be crisp and lean and fresh. This wine was none of those things, even on day 2 with plenty of airtime. Maybe 2006 was no good in the area. I can't imagine that the wine was supposed to be aged - it's Aligoté for goodness sake. Most people throw some Cassis in there and call it a Kir. Anyway, this wine was very uninspiring. Maybe I'm just missing something - this Villaine guy is clearly not playing games.

You know by now how fond I am of Loire Valley wines. I want to make sure that you know that I don't love all of them, even if the producer is hot with all of the cool cat winos and sommeliers. Here is a hipster wine that I just didn't care for. The 2005 Domaine de Bellivière Coteaux du Loir Le Rouge-Gorge, $20, is a wine that I was stunned to find that I didn't like. Bellevière is the amazing vigneron who is bringing Jasnieres and Coteaux du Loir back to greatness. This is natural wine making using traditional grapes, like Pinot D'Aunis for this wine. I have always enjoyed Bellevière's wines. Not this one - it was a wolf in sheep's clothing. Isn't Pinot D'Aunis supposed to be light bodied and redolent of strawberries and flowers, with a dose of black pepper? That's what I've found in the others I tasted. This one had the pepper, but it was very deep and dark and pretty heavy too. At 14% alcohol there was not a lot of elegance going on. Flavors were a touch roasted and the tannins were intrusive. I don't think this was a bad bottle, I think instead that the ripeness of 05 encouraged wine makers to do more with their raw material, and sometimes the resulting wine is out of character.

Alright, I'm not a total curmudgeon. I'm going to open a bottle of Billiot Ros
é Champagne tonight with the BrooklynLady for Valentines Day and I love that wine. I don't hate everything. Happy Valentines Day to you all.


Marcus said...

You are, of course, saying what no one seems to say and putting it perfectly too.

So obviously I'm jealous, but at the same time, I'm gravitating to your dislikes, such as:

Tempranillo and Grenache not doing the job at the dinner table? I thought it was just me. I cannot remember the last time I have purchased myself a Rioja.

Now I've learned something about you and something about López de Heredia. Nice work.

Anonymous said...

Great post. It's one of those hallmarks of commercial food and wine writing: write only about what you like. Then, on the other side of the coin, there's the Village Voice/Timeout/NY Mag way of writing negatively but saying "just by virtue of the fact that we wrote about it means we like it." Great post. I recently tasted the Feuillatte and got the same candied bananas thing. Long-live no (or little) dosage!

Anonymous said...

Isn't the 2006 A & P de Villaine Bouzeron too young to drink? Personally, I'd have low expectations on this.

And, I still haven't opened my bottle of the 2001 Palacios de Remondo Rioja Propiedad H. Remondo. Not a good sign that it's declining, though!

Joe Manekin said...

Here's to hating on bad wine on Vday!

You should try La Rioja Alta Vina Alberdi (either '00 or maybe '01 is out there in NY). Tasty, classic Rioja for $20.

Funny thing about the Bellevieres Pd'A as it was the first example of the grape that I tasted as well. It came across as resiny and piney, a bit lacking in charm. Much better: 2006 Puzelat Pd'A, which was intense, but fresh and lively as well. Also 14.5% alcohol, though, so I think that pineau d'aunis naturally achieves higher alcohol levels.

Remember that occasionally it's ok to hate (as long as you don't turn into a career hater).

Brooklynguy said...

hiya Dok - flattery will get you everywhere. apparently old school rioja is light bodied and elegant, kind of like Burgundy. I've tasted only 1, the '76 from Bosconia Gran Riserva by López de Heredia, and I'm a believer. hope you have a good love -day up there in mont-royale. i just got back from a little V-day lunch with the BrooklynLady at...that's right, Blau Gans. Excellent as always.

hi Jeremy - first, allow me to express how honored i am that you are here, and taking part in this conversation. Do Bianchi is at Brooklynguy's house! I knew it couldn't just be me on the Feuillate. low dosage all the way, for me too. cheers to respectful negativity in wine blogging- thanks for stopping by.

hi jack - i thought this is young drinking wine, but maybe you're right. and penty of other folks with good palates enjoy this wine - joe of joe's blog for one. this could just be me here. same with the '01 Rioja. you have more experience than i do with Rioja, maybe you will see something in it that I did not. Maybe i'm just a Rioja wimp.

hey old skool - i didn't even mean it to be for valentine's day - funny coincidence. i have tried Rioja Alta actually, although not that bottle. It was something numbered, like 904 or something, and it was fantastic. I forgot about that, thanks for reminding me. I need to try the Puzelat wine. You know my favorite D'Aunis of the season - the You are so beautiful wine. Have you tried it? You're a country wine nut, and i bet you have.

Anonymous said...

love reading your blog! my first comment.

you probably read mcduff's blog post awhile back where he and i tasted both belliviere reds and where a bit underwhelmed also.i found the aromatics intriguing on both the rouge gorge and the other more expensive bottling (name escapes me know).
i love loire wines and own quite a few but have not warmed up to belliviere's chenins either.
however, i did quite enjoy the sweet rose in 500ml.

peter said...

NOW I know what I'll bring...

Happy V-day; I'm doing the dinner tomorrow because I had to work late.

Brooklynguy said...

hi bill l - thanks for the compliment. the other one is an Homage a someone or other, cannot remember who. i have the suspicion that both were better in 04 or 02, but I'm not sure. one thing I will say, I tend to like Bellevière's wines. In fact, Eric Nicholas makes one of my favorite roses and it's a Pinot D'Aunis. Soooo good, try it if you can find it. thanks for stopping by.

well color me curious, peter. have fun

peter said...

I will allow you to heft the bottle as a clue.

PS I LOVE Billiot. Cheers.

Marco said...

I agree on the Champagne, but being a Rioja lover, I can only suggest that you go to Tinto in the East Village or Agreed too that the Palacio is a weak example.

Debra Morgan said...

pinotage--name one that doesn't taste like a dirty penny?

Brooklynguy said...

hi marco - anything in particular that you would recommend that hasn't been mentioned already? are you the Marco who frequents Mondosapore, by the way? thanks for stopping by.

genevelyn - can't do it. i'm gonna add a link to your blog, but you understand i will lose my PG-13 rating.

Anonymous said...

Brooklynguy, thanks for the kind words. Have been reading your blog for sometime now... great stuff...

Brooklynguy is most definitely in the Do Bianchi house as well (although I live out of a suitcase!).

Looking forward to Marco's recommendations as well...

Anonymous said...

Hello people,
I gather that the latest releases of Bellivière Pineau d'aunis were bitter or drying. This is said of the two bottlings, the more expensive one being named 'Hommage à Louis Derré'.
I have fond memories of the 2000 Bellivière Rouge-Gorge. So my hypothesis is that the quality is deteriorating.
In January I had a 2005 varietal Pineau d'aunis offered by Nana vins & Cie. The webpage of the importer does not mention it.
I served it slightly fresh. The nose was intense with pepper ; the wine was dense on the palate, drying with a frank acidity. This was just a bit lacking in flow/juiciness.
I find that Pineau d'aunis is often drying and I suspect that this is because of acidity plus tannins. Do not forget to eat while drinking!

The 2005 Villaine Bouzeron did not much to me either. Still it was crisp and fresh -- as intended. Its pureness was akin to that of the 2005 Brégeon gros-plant, a sparkling beauty.

Brooklynguy -- Thank you for expressing your darker side :o)

Brooklynguy said...

hi felicien - thanks for your comments and welcome to the site. dressner's page does mention You Are So Beautiful, all the way at the bottom of the page. I liked that wine very much when I tasted it: