Archive for August, 2012
Yes, 2009 produced some really good wines in France! I clearly remember how excited vignerons were in many of the top growing areas. Here are 4 of our favorites from the southern Rhone Valley & one from Faugeres down in southern France….each epitomize true vineyard character, authenticity & soulful-ness.
2009 Gramenon “Sagesse”
In the past 10 years, Domaine Gramenon has catapulted into cult wine status. They employ organic and biodynamic practices in the vineyards, with a strong non-interventionist, surprisingly old fashion stance in the cellars. These are without a doubt some of the most sought after wines out of southern France. The 2009 Sagesse cuvee is produced from 60 year old Grenache vines grown in clay, limestone, gravel, sand soils & is as au naturale a red as you will likely have.
Tonight was a golden opportunity to try a few top caliber wines with some bottle age. VERY impressive to say the least.
1983 Domaine Tempier Bandol “La Tourtine”
The 1983 was fully mature with an amazing nose! With every swirl, something new seemingly opened up. I happen to love the wild & rustic character Tempier’s Bandol innately has. The fruit qualities of this ’83 had completely changed into much more tertiary nuances, the acidity levels harmonized & the tannins had almost completely mellowed out. Although this wine, I believe, can age a while, I was happy at having this bottle tonight.
We served the 1992 Zilliken Spaetlese “Saarburger Rausch” the other night in VINO & it was an awesome, breathtaking, mineral driven white wine with eye popping intricacies, breed & stunning harmony.
For those unfamiliar with aged sweet wines from Germany, you will be surprised to find that a wine’s apparent sweetness changes with bottle age. This 1992 Spaetlese, for instance, had pronounced sweetness when released, greatly buttressed with high levels of acidity which produced a fabulous sweet sour tension on the palate.
With our VINO concept, we are always looking to more rustic styled wines from around the Mediterranean basin. They seem to work better with VINO’s style of cooking. We therefore are always searching for really interesting wines produced from indigenous grape varieties from the wine producing areas found along the basin, which we supplement with rustic wines from other wine growing regions.
A real treat is when we have an opportunity to try these kinds of wine with some bottle age to them.
Cornas is a “bowl” of hillside vineyards planted above the town itself, just south of the great Hermitage. Similarly these hillsides have lots of granitic soils on the steep prefaces….BUT in the hands of the great ones (Clape, Verset & Allemand)…produce a very different Syrah from Hermitage or Cote Rotie.
This particular post is all about the 2009 August Clape. August himself is pretty much retired, but still comes around to check things out as he lives in the same town, right down the street. His son, Pierre Marie & grandson, Olivier now run the operations.
The Cote Rotie is comprised of steep hillsides in France’s northern Rhone Valley. When my wife Cheryle got her first glimpse after turning a corner….it reminded her of turing the corner at Makapuu in Hawaii & looking up to the steep hillsides.
Although records show plantings back to the 2nd century AD, It really was in the 18th Century that Cote Rotie gained prominence.
Like the nearby Hermitage hill, the Cote Rotie & its hillsides are steep & rocky. How does one harvest the grapes?
Chateau Lafite Rothschild is one of the true iconic red wines of the world……and deservedly so. For my palate, what separates Lafite out in a crowd, is its incredible breed & pedigree. I absolutely love its innate ethereal, majestic, regal perfume.
Since 1982, however, I believe their wines have changed in style, like many of their First Growth peers.
I truly believe that the 1976 Paris Wine Exhibition where American wines were selected over French counterparts BY FRENCH judges in a comparative blind tasting not only instantly put California on the wine world map, it also help foster a trend towards riper, more forward, much more supple wine styles.
In a tasting today, we were fortunate to sample 3 fabulous 2010 Premier Cru white Burgundies from Domaine Comtesse Bernard de Chérisey.
Based in the relatively unknown hamlet of Blagny, which is located higher up the slope between Meursault & Puligny Montrachet…..the combination of this higher elevation (& cooler growing conditions), their resounding high mineral parcels & the winemaking skill of of Laurent make for some very interesting, unique, compelling wines which truly standout in my mind…..in a “throw back” style reminiscent of the way it was. Needless to say, eventhough I have tasted only a few vintages, I am all in with these wines.
Records show this estate back to the 1600′s. It’s true rise to stardom, however, began in 1993 with the addition of superstar consultant Michel Rolland, with an elevation to Grand Cru Classe status in 2006.
The estate vineyard is located 500 meters south of the town of St Emilion with deep gravel & sandy/gravel soils. The 1995 was produced from 60% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc & 10% Cabernet Sauvignon & rated 92 points by noted wine writer Robert Parker.