Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Fruits of the Tasting Season

Fall is tasting season in New York. This year it has been a bit more subdued than usual, perhaps because no one has any money. But still, there have been plenty of trade tastings to attend. I went to almost none of them. Some, like Jenny & François, I wanted to attend but missed because of work conflicts. Some I skipped because I went in years past, and couldn't muster up the gumption to fight the crowds for a loud and jostly ounce, even if it is Dujac Morey St Denis. But I made a point of going to a couple of tastings that I'd never before attended. This is one of my favorite ways to discover producers and wines - to try something new.

This year, for example, I went to the Willette Wines portfolio tasting. Liz Willette has a small but interesting group of producers, and she works with Becky and Peter Wasserman, so she must be a good person. At this tasting I drank some great wines that were completely new to me, wines that I will happily buy if I see them in stores.

Have you had Godmé Champagne? I had heard of it, but never tasted, and I was very impressed. The Godmé estate is located in Verzenay, the Grand Cru village in the Pinot Noir belt of the Montagne de Reims. Another small but excellent producer is there too - Lallement. Anyway, I liked these wines because they had such clean and pure flavors, and a great elegant intensity.

The NV Godmé Brut Réserve 1er Cru should sell for about $50, and I thought it was excellent. The nose is airy and fresh with lovely floral aromas - my notes say chamomile. Not a profound wine, but very well textured and open, and the finish has orange peel notes that are very pretty. The NV Godmé Brut Tradition Blanc de Noirs should sell for about $55 was a much more serious wine, full of dark furry fruit and black tea, very wound up and tense. I liked it but would need to drink it at home to get a better sense. The NV Godmé Brut Rosé, about $60, is somewhat shy, but that's fine - aerate a bit and it shows a beautiful perfume of peaches and spice, raspberries and chalky soil. It is a serious wine that is also quite joyous.

The other wines that floored me were the Camille Giroud Burgundies. I always thought of Camille Giroud as old-men-in-tweed-blazers Burgundy. But the family sold in 2001 to a group that included a bunch of investment bankers from Goldman Sachs (!). Becky Wasserman is involved as a manager of some sort, and the young buck David Croix is the head wine maker. I must say, the 2006's were delicious. My particular favorites were the two "low level" wines, the 2006 Camille Giroud Bourgogne Rouge, about $26 and the 2006 Camille Giroud Aloxe-Corton 1er Cru Les Guérets, about $37. Of course the Volnay Taillepieds was very good, and so was Pommard Epenots, but those are much more expensive, and they weren't as easy to understand at this tasting.

The Bourgogne Rouge was enticing and delicious, meaty and floral, like a Volnay. And whaddaya know, that's where some of the parcels are. Good balance, absolutely tasty and satisfying, a great Bourgogne. And this is coming from a person who has issues with Bourgogne Rouge. But the gem of the portfolio, QPR-wise anyway, is the Aloxe-Corton. It is a wine that is unmistakably of its place - masculine, the tannins tough, the fruit deep and dark, a brooding earthy pungency already starting to show. But like all good versions of wine from this place, this wine also has a gentle side. It is refined and well balanced, and I found the overall package to be incredibly sophisticated. I would eagerly buy this wine, and I'm sure it would cellar well but I bet I would drink mine rather quickly, fall coming on and all.


José Luiz said...

Brooklyn Guy,
A few weeks ago I attended to a tasting here in brazil and I found the same wines the best of the burgundy panel. The Aloxe Corton Les Guerets 1er Cru 2006 was absolutely delicious. And there's no more left at the importer...
Jose Luiz

Jack Everitt said...


Tonight at the Aerie Resort's restaurant, I had this:
2006 Venturi Schulze Brut Naturel Vancouver Island

About $36 retail and very enjoyable. Even age-able. Yes, Vancouver Island and a Pinot Gris blend from the Natural Winery here. I could see this (and their other wines) as Louis/Dressner Selections.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jack,

I'm Michelle Schulze from Venturi-Schulze Vineyards. Just wanted to thank you for your positive comments about the Brut Naturel. It's one of my favourites, despite the ridiculous effort it takes to make! Thanks again and cheers.