Friday, June 13, 2008

Sometimes, it's just eh...

You know how sometimes you have those nights where none of the wines really get you interested? Well, this was one of those nights. Although none of these were burdened with the tag of greatness (maybe I’ll write about that sometime), some of these wines had the obligation to be more interesting than they were, but just didn’t come through. Sometimes wines surprise, sometimes they disappoint. The food was pretty mediocre as well, but I’m used to that in Orange County (CA). Oh well.

1998 Jean Milan Brut Cuvée Symphorine

I found this too sweat for me. I’ve like the Terres de Noel in the past, but Champagne doesn’t really get me all excited. Cellaring won’t help either, unless you want the bubbles to go away. As an aside, really old Champagne is a farce, readers of the VLM-TR should not get sucked in to the current hype.

1985 Prince Florent de Merode Corton-Clos du Roi

This bottle was in pretty rough shape, however, it ended up being a decent enough drop, even if was more mature wine than really screaming Burgundy. Pristine bottles may offer more interest.

1985 Domaine de Montille Volnay 1er

This bottle wasn’t pristine either and it started out so funky that you would subsidize Hubert to get rid of those old stanky barrels. Sometimes air will help a wine get out of that stage, and for a fleeting moment, it looked to have turned a corner. That was a mirage. The bottom basically fell out and there was nothing to enjoy.

2002 Sylvie Esmonin Gevrey 1er Clos St. Jacques

I don’t know about 2002 Burgundy. I’m just not all that interested. There was plenty of big fruit here, but where is the Clos St. Jacques? The structure and complexity of this great vineyard never really came to the table.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Jeebus in Eden

This was maybe the calmest, most laid-back initial jeebus I’ve ever been to. Actually, I’d call it a nice evening out rather than a jeebus. It just happened to involve a good amount of wine and wine-related conversation. I feel very comfortable around wine-business lifers. Those of us who have been around the wine business for 15+ years (30 in their cases) I find share a similar perspective and language that makes it easy to communicate ideas about wine. The notorious Eden Mylunch, Mike Greene, and la très charmant Françoise Gouges. We dined at Restaurant 2117 in Santa Monica which was a very pleasant surprise after the disastrous meals I’ve had in that town (well SoCal in general, really).

Tarlant Blanc de Blancs La Vigne d'Antan

Initially was a bit warm (anyone who has drunk with me knows I like my wines to start cold), but seemed serious, doughy, and precise enough. Something I would like to have again when I would pay more attention.

2001 Peillot Altesse de Montagnieu Cuvée Buster

This was alive and interesting, although it didn’t really have the verve that I love in Peillot’s Altesse. It was always a bigger version, but this one almost falls over into viognier territory, but never quite. I would have drunk this a couple of years ago if it were mine, but Eden likes science projects, and as a pseudo-intellectual pleasure hater, I’m all for it and do it myself.

2004 Bellivière Jasnières Les Rosiers

I was disappointed in this wine. Not that there was anything wrong with it, just that it was bigger and broader than I had hoped without the real cut that this wine can possess. 2004 was a warm year and the wines from chenin have tended to be big, a bit sweet, but kind and snuggly. This was an example of that, but I must admit, I was hoping it would have held on to more cut.

1999 Alzinger Riesling Smaragd Steinertal

This was excellent. Has shed its baby-fat and started to broaden into something more complex, but without losing some of the fruit and mineral zing. We talked about Alzinger for a while. He’s sort of the Yoda of vingerons in the Wachau. There are others that get more press, and others whose range I like more (Knoll for one), but every time I drink an Alzinger wine, I wonder why I don’t own more.

1988 Gouges Nuits St. Georges 1er Les Saint Georges

I think the provenance of this bottle was correct… This was another example of how well the 1988s are doing right now. My nemesis over at Rockss and Fruit talks about 88-it is. He’s full of shit. This wine was in an excellent spot, drinking wonderfully, and seamless besides. I tore the bottle out of Mike’s hand at one point. It has started to go tertiary, so it didn’t have the preserved fruit of some other excellent 1988s I’ve had, but it was still fresh, lively, and balanced, even if the emphasis wasn’t on fruit, but on an overall sense of Nuits St. Georges, and Les St. Georges in particular. There is something about the airy mouthfeel combined with depth and palate presence that this vineyard has which is unmatched in Nuits St. Georges. I’m not the first to note this, but I’m not really a Nuits St. Georges guy or really a big Gouges fan, but this was really excellent.

1993 Williams Selyem Pinot Noir Rochioli

Mike brought this as a sort of experiment, just to see how it would show. I was surprised at how exuberant it was. There was some real acid cut to the fruit, the nose was ripe cherries and an hery edge that I associate with Rochioli (almost, but not exaclt garrigue-ish, but something in that neighborhood). Anyway, we were all surprised at the structure and the undeniable deliciousness of it. The problem came when you tried to finish a glass, or pour another one. The fruit had a hard candy (candy apple coating) quality to it that made it just too much for us. I’m still trying to figure out how all those disparate parts fit together.

2000 Dönnhoff Oberhäuser Brücke Riesling Auslese

Raring to go and in a very nice spot. A kinder, gentler, Brücke Auslese. Hasn’t quite gone secondary, with only the barest hints of anything but honey, rocks and fruit. Maybe a bit of hay or something. A nice way to end the evening, sipping on Auslese and talking wine with people who know the difference. This is why I do shit like this.


Given my impending move, I've been running around like crazy, so I haven't done a good job of keeping the blog up to date. Some of you might even have had to resort to reading Rockss and Douche, and for that I am truly sorry.

I had a lot of great wine back east and will tell you all about it soon.

My readership numbers have declined precipitously without content, so I'm going to do my best to keep it coming. You people are voracious.

Thanks for your patience, I hope you keep coming back.

If not, you're stupid fucks who deserve the shitty wine you probably drink.