Taster's Folly - Domaine Bourillon d'Orleans, Vouvray, La Bourdonnerie, Demi-Sec, 2003

This wine deserves its own post because it demonstrates one of the fallibilities of tasting wines.

What's the worst thing that can happen to you when you taste a wine? A badly flawed wine? Wrong, a badly flawed wine is at least easily discernible. The worst thing is a midly flawed wine, which, if you're unfamiliar with the wine or its maker, you dismiss it as just a mediocre wine.

My first encounter with the La Bourdonnerie 2003 is just such an experience, in hindsight. Here is my original tasting note:

The nose is somewhat discrete at first but opens up to reveal apricots, flowers, maybe a hint of apples and then earthly sweet spices. Keeps its distance, though. The palate echoes these aromas though it is not up to par, not really. It's heavier, fatter than the nose suggests and though it is reasonably concentrated, it appears to be low in acididy and thus suggests a higher ABV than its listed 12.5%.There's a bitter sensation of very fleshy, over-ripe apricots on the finish that I can't really come to terms with and overall seems rather disjointed. (Sep. 16, 2008)

I respect the taste of Giaconda's Anat Sela and Rafaella Ronen and while I don't always like all the wines in their catalog (their few German 2003's come to mind), I can usually understand the reasoning behind their selections. This wine was so underwhelming, though, that I was baffled. I would like to say that I immediately intuited that the bottle was off but alas, I am not quite that seasoned a taster. But today (Sep. 18), Anat opened another bottle with me and the results were educational.

The nose is similar to the previous bottle's - well, maybe creamier, thus the telltale differences are on the palate. The acidity is there, albeit beyond the initial flush of youth. Although the wine is still frustratingly opaque, there is a holistic sense of harmony and balance and definite purity on the finish. It is not a wow wine, not a wine to to cellar for an important birthday, but rather an interesting wine to age and see what story it has to tell of its birthplace in about five years. One of those wines that can put a little smile on a wine geek's face between those periodic meteor showers of the big wines.