Saturday Night Tasting (Nov. 8, 2008)

Sometimes I think my wife considers these Saturday night do's to be an Upper Class Twit Club...

Louis Jadot, Gevrey-Chambertin Premier Cru, Combe Aux Moines, 2002

This was at first very discrete aromatically, even though the bottle had been open for an hour after letting down the shoulders a bit. Quality Pinot fruit was clearly present but it lacked detail. The palate too was unassuming, soft and elegant yet lacking the presence you'd expect from a Cote de Nuits 1er Cru and the power you'd associate with Gevrey. Twenty minutes later I was at the end of my glass after a small refill and finally the nose became a more fully fleshed Bourgogne nose of of a somewhat glossy disposition while the palate became more muscular while retaining that elegance. Quite good.

Imported by WineRoute, this was sold, as far as I recall, for something in the mid 200's (NIS).

Tardieu-Laurent, Cornas Vieilles Vignes, 2000

This is Tardieu-Laurent's premier Cornas cuvee and while the next wine beat it easily, it was arguably an uneven match. In its own right, this was a fine wine, though a bit too round and sweetish for my taste (like the other 2000 Cornas I'd tasted) though most of the sweetness was well counterpointed by juicy acidity. The nose will get you anyway, with Provencal herbs (never really smelled the real thing but this isn't the first time I've whiffed this aroma in wines described in reviews as showing Provencal herbs so I think I've finally earned the right to use the term), flowers and cocoa floating over a black-dominated fruit profile.

I bought this bottle in D.C. for about 50 USD but back in the days when WineRoute imported the 2001 version, it was sold in the mid 200's.

Tardieu-Laurent, Cote Rotie, 1997

This was the real deal, holy shit (quite literally, in a way). The nose made me shiver. It was just what Rhone freaks adore: Cherries topping black fruits, herbs again but best of all that gutter stink that quickly blew off to reveal gorgeous smoked meat aromas. The palate might have been even better because this bottle offered zero palate fatigue, so savoury and saline with a structure that carried a lot of flavors without letting them get out of hand.

Price unknown but other vintages were imported by WineRoute and sold for 350-400.

Alion, Ribera del Duero, 2000

This wine, to me, shows the fallacy of scoring wines, because it was objectively as good as the Cote Rotie was, arguably technically better, but it just didn't move me as much. So what would be the point of acknowledging that it's a 92 pointer? It would mean something if I were a professional critic but inasmuch as I'm not attempting to write a Consumer's Guide here, I'll just ignore the score. However, if you like classy, very, very well made wines that don't ignore their origins, this is a wine for you, with its round black fruit complemented by hints of spices and earth and excellent length. I look forward to tasting a well-matured Alion from a better vintage and learning to love it and not just appreciate it.

Imported by HaKerem and its price ranges from 250 to 350 NIS, depnding on where you buy it and who you know. And if you don't like that, write a letter to your Congressman.

Chateau Guiraud, Sauternes, 2000

This was just a nice wine and interesting in that its faults somehow offered intellectual interest. It was not very long - okay, it was short - but complex enough for all that. And despite its low acidity, it had enough spicy apricot flavors to balance its sweetness so it came off as structured if not racy.

Imported by WineRoute. It's a Bordeaux so its price varies from year to year.