Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Walking Down Memory Lane - Misc. Historical Notes, Mostly French

This is a collection of notes pre-dating the 2GrandCru blog that I never got around to uploading. As far as I can tell, I've changed so much over the past couple of years that some of these notes might no longer reflect my personal taste or even my writing style but it sure was fun reading them over. I've marked a question mark wines I doubt I could stand to drink these days.

Rosemont Estate, Balmoral Syrah, 1998

The color is dark black-red with hints of browning and shows aromas and flavors of ripe and very fresh plums and blackberries, sweet cedar, leather and hints of coffee. Abundant super-fine tannins, long and full-bodied yet elegant despite the size, probably due to a proportioned measure of acidity. The glaring fault is that it becomes one-dimensionally fruity after a few hours. It’s a very impressive wine that leans towards the Old World, probably a solid 92 as is and might improve (so the experts say anyway). (Jul 6, 2005)

Bought in Atlanta, GA for about 40-50 USD.

Brundlmayer, Kamptal, Langenlois, Gruner Veltliner, Alte Reben, 2000

A wonderful aromatic and flavor profile I can’t place. I get the apples and spices but there’s a specific overlay of minerals that disorients me. Something about it is Burgundian; though the fruit is obviously not Chardonnay, it’s just too vivid and nervy from the green apple acidity to the mildy spicy finish. Obviously a wine meriting discussion, especially as it keeps opening, revealing nuts and tropical fruits. (Jul. 30, 2006)

Bought from Anavim for about 160 NIS. They could never get rid of these beauties and I think they've stopped importing them.

Trimbach, Cuvee Fredrich Emile, Riesling, 1998

Needs time to open, as at first it only showed petrol on the nose and a tight palate. As the evening wore on, it started to show more fruit and minerality, developing complexity and grip on the palate. It’s a subtle wine but I can appreciate where it got its reputation. (Mar. 8, 2006)

New Hampshire doesn't have sales taxes and it has a state monopoly which cuts down on one level of middlemen. But I bought this wine the week after New years when the main branch had a 15% discount across the board and it only cost me 27 USD!

Pfaffenheim, Grand Cru Goldert, Gewurztraminer, 2001

Leechee, grapefruit, minerals, spices, some toast. Good balance. Medium bodied, maybe even full. At first I thought it was a bit too alcoholic and acidic, but at the proper temperature and some time to work out its kinks, it shows very good balance. (Feb. 2, 2006)

HaKerem sold this three years ago for about 135 NIS.

Chateau Coutet, Barsac, 1996

Passion fruit, spices, a hint of pastry. Long, refreshing and complex with excellent structure. (Dec. 8, 2005)

One of my first purchases in the US, from Sam's in Chicago. Can't recall the price, though.

Ramonet, Chassagne-Montrachet, 2002

Pale gold color. Nice thick legs. A minerally/toasty nose, with spices and roasted nuts. The palate is wet rock with pears and apples and good grip. I do see it as improving a bit within a year or so. (Aug. 4, 2005)

Imported by Tomer Gal, recent vintages cost about 150 NIS.

Ghislaine Barthod, Chambolle-Musigny Premier Cru, Les Cras, 1997

Dark ruby color starting to thin. An enchanting, highly sniffable nose of good complexity showing cherries, berries, coffee (cake?), light hints of chocolate and sweat. Medium bodied with good acidity, tannins are soft but more prominent on fairly long finish. Elegant, austere yet concentrated. A couple years before its peak, I guess, though I think it’s a matter of fine-tuning rather than major leaps. I do wish I had a few more of these or anything else by Barthod. (Sep. 29, 2005)

The Les Cras deserves honorable mention for making me click with Burgundy. Purchased at the discount shelf in Table and Vine for 40 USD. Lucky me.

Domaine De La Vougeraie, Bourgogne, Terres de Famille, 2002

Good color extraction. The nose is red fruits, mostly strawberries, brett, developing spices laster on, with almost an oriental touch. Medium-bodied, balanced, with a sort of country-elegance. It’s a little green at first but almost ripens in glass. The tannins are smooth but with a rustic character. Seems to grow longer in glass as well as picking up some complexity in the finish. (Jan. 5, 2006)

Tomer Gal imports. usually sold for about 110 NIS.

Domaine Gaec Cluny et Fils, Gevrey-Chambertin, 1989

A revelatory experience to make you believe all wines could be this elegant, just when I’d stopped believing I’d ever run into a wine this elegant anytime soon. A very clear red color, not browning so much as fading a bit. The basic personality is sour red cherries and that’s all it had to begin with. Then little by little, in the course of a couple of hours, more and more elements showed up: light hints of sweat, light hints of spices and leather, light hints of coffee, beefing up both nose and palate, all with almost perfect poise. And through it all, that warm cherry personality running like a thread. (May 5, 2005)

Shimon Lasry imported this directly from the winery where it had been stored since bottling. Which explains the terrific state of the bottle. Many of my friends bought multiples. I wasn't that much into Bourgogne at the time and only bought one bottle.

Armand Rousseau, Gevrey-Chambertin, 1996 ?

A mature, semi-transparent, browning color. An airy nose which picks up more presence after an hour or so: strawberries, herbs and spices on an earthy background. A pretty, quiet nose. The palate also needs some time to flesh out and follows the nose, with sour cherries on the finish. Good, somewhat shrill acidity, not fully integrated with the fruit which lacks some freshness. Fully integrated tannins. Drink now. (Feb. 26, 2006)

Another find from the Table and Vine discount shelf. This cost about 30 USD as I recall and it was obviously not as good a buy as the Barthod.

Domaine Brintet, Mercurey, Vielles Vignes, 2002

Dark for a Pinot. I think the nose is typical Bourgogne, and pretty damn good at that, with red fruits and some chocolate and eastern spices, with a touch of lemon taking it in another direction. Soft tannins and good length but the high acidity and the buried fruits make it seem thin. I think, though, it just needs age that might raise the score by a point. Drink 2008-12. (Dec. 16, 2006)

Bought in New Hamphire for about 30 USD.

Deux Montilles, Saint Roman, Les Jarrons, 2004

Buttery and pure Chardonnay fruit, with some mildly sweet spices, minerals, some smoke on the nose but it’s main appeal is in the mouth-watering acidity on the palate, with a zippy, almost pungent finish. I would have guessed Chablis in a blind tasting except for that happy, hyper acidity, which will either win you over or put you off. (Sep. 10, 2006)

A Tomer Gal import which cost about 170 NIS, making it inexpensive in the context of Burgundy. I am still, two years on, undecided on whether it's a good price for what the wine gives. But it's a charming wine.

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