Friday, April 4, 2008

BYO Night at Giaconda (Apr. 3, 2008)

Giaconda are hosting a series of BYO nights for their customers, offering a series of light side dishes and a couple of wines from their private collection. I attended the first evening, which was an interesting grab-bag of wines. The food was really tasty, too. I didn't write down any notes thus the following is my impressions of the wines that impressed me enough to commit a few mental notes to memory.

Schafer-Frohlich, Erste Gewachs Bockenauer Felseneck, Riesling Trocken Gold Capsule, 2004

A surprise because I'd only tasted the producer's lower end wines which were no earth movers. This Grand Cru, however, did create a few tremors. Which is not to imply that this is a block-buster or anything like that, quite the opposite, this is an elegant, almost reticient wine, snake-like in the path it etched on my palate and only showed its full colors and intensity on the long finish. The same combination of elegance and reticience is is evidenced on the nose as well, where peaches, minerals and flowers are dabbed on in pastel watercolors. It reminded me of Heymann-Lowenstein, albeit somewhat cooler in character and arguably more elegant. And no, it's not in the Giaconda portfolio (yet?).

Francois Jobard, Blagny Premier Cru, La Piece Sous le Bois, 2002

This is a bottle I'd bought in the US for about 60 USD a couple of years ago out of curiousity, as Jobard is a master of white Meursault and Blagny Premier Cru is a red wine AOC. I'd been looking for a tasting note ever since, if only so I could find a drinking window, and only recently learned that Burghound said to drink from 2007 so I thought it was time to try it.

It is very Pinot-ish on the nose, all strawberries, live and youthful and hasn't developed a lot of mature Bourgogne traits but it's lying on the cusp of all that bottle age can give these wines and you can sense the potential aromatics. Doesn't hurt that its 'teenaged' aromas are quite charming right now anyway. Medium-bodied, no overt signs of oak, very elegant with a lightly spicy finish. Truly a couple of years into its drinking window, much readier than any of Jobard's 2002 whites, should last, oh, five years at least. Since it's not imported, I won't have a chance to test its aging potential.

D'Arenberg, Dead Arm Shiraz, 2004

It's been a while since I've had a Dead Arm and in the interim, I really haven't had a lot of Australian reds and what I have tasted were too forward or too big or too sweet for my tastes. Not really my style though I do worry about not seeing Australia in the proper perspective. I mean, the Mersch imports I've tasted were in the archtypical Parker mode while the other importers stick either to value wines or one,two producers with a wide range so I get the feeling we're only seeing specific corners of that continent down under. In short, if you're a serious wine geek, it's much easier to explore Bordeaux, Burgundy or Germany via imports than Australia.

My first impression was that this is obviously a modern wine in a New World style but I thought it was a super-Tuscan. The fruit didn't seem particularly Shiraz (or even Syrah for that matter) and it had that "accomplished performer" appeal of the super-Tuscans. You know, a forward nose with enough complexity and nuances to grab attention, acidity tempered by savory tannins, as well as the kind of presence that almost boasts: "no bottle variation in my house!". As it sat in glass, the fruit coalesced into a Shiraz black-fruit-with-chocolate character while the structure loosened its muscles enough to show the elegance beneath its initial black hole of tannins and fruit. I didn't make a note of the alcohol % but if it's the usual Aussie 15% then it's not in the slightest bit visible on the palate.

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