Sunday, January 31, 2010

Domaine Cecile Tremblay (Jan. 27, 2010)


Giaconda's forays into red wine territory over the past year or so are certainly troubling news for anyone with a limited bank account. All the more so with a region as dear to my heart as Burgundy is.

Here's the thing. Right now, my shopping list is as follows:

WineRoute for Bordeaux, Piedmonte, Rhone. Some Burgundy.

BDCH for Champagne.

Tomer Gal for Burgundy.

Giaconda for Riesling, Loire, Alsace, a few Rhone odds and ends, Chablis. And now red Burgundy.

Hence no money for food, electricity, higher education... But we're good for Grand Crus!

What saves my bank account from imploding are the off-vintages and at first I thought this was the case with 2007. If I were to base my purchases of the Tremblay 2007's based on this tasting, I'd give them a thumbs-down. On the other hand, experienced tasters such Alan Meadows as rate them highly, so I would have to guess that I just can't get such young Burgundies, especially so soon after their arrival on these shores. Having said that, my work was cut out for me with the 2006's which are already charming and delicious and utterly Bourgogne. Again, as I don't have the breadth and depth of experience with the 2006 vintage I will not generalize, but from what I have tasted (at this tasting and in previous ones), 2006 seems to have the some of the body of 2002 and 2005 while retaining the characteristics of the so-called 'classic' vintages, such as 2001.

The tasting was hosted by Maly Bar-Natan, who headed the group purchase of the wines, and I have only thanks and praises for the enterprise and logistics. Having said that, the reason Giaconda themselves did not hold such a tasting in-house was that head honcho-women Anat Sella and Rafaella Ronen did not think the 2007's were in a taste-able state.

Vosne-Romanee, Vieilles Vignes, 2007

While this is a fascinating wine - in a way, more so than the much better Premier and Grand Crus to come - it is so harshly austere that I don't know whether I should be patient and give it time or give up and call it a disappointment. The nose is so very Bourgogne with its red cherry fruit and has decent complexity as well as a chalk overlay that would have become a fine Chablis, while on the palate the tannins are raspy and more obvious than the fruit. Then the whole package shuts down even more. If it picks up a little lushness in bottle without losing its quirky minerality, then it would be a precocious Village. 350 NIS.

Morey-Saint-Denis, "Tres Girard", 2007

This is very drinkable even now, yet certainly less complex and less interesting than the Vosne. Both nose and palate are fruitier and somewhat four-squared, while time brings out sweeter aromatics as well forest floor and, to a lesser degree than the Vosne, a pungent whiff of chalk. A pretty (but high maintenance) girl to take out to a party but not for serious loving, sorry. 320 NIS.

Chambolle-Musigny Premier Cru, Feusselottes, 2007

The nose is a step up in richness and ripeness, adding fennel and eastern spices on top of the red fruits we've seen so far. The palate is languid and round with good acidity yet soon loses focus. 500 NIS.

Chapelle-Chambertin Grand Cru, 2007

This is a Grand Cru and it shows it. The nose is riper, yet more minerally and more focused at the same time. The palate has the length and depth you'd expect from a Grand Cru, yet pales in comparison with the 2006, as will be seen shortly. 840 NIS.

Vosne-Romanee, Vieilles Vignes, 2006

The nose is riper than the 2007, more extroverted while within the boundaries of the Old World asceticism; the palate too is warm and ripe yet no less structured for that. In short, it is everything that's good about the 2007, magnified. I didn't like the price much at first, but I've read that in recent vintages a couple of Vosne-Romanee Premier Crus were blended in for logistical reasons so it's actually a decent price in that respect. 350 NIS.

Chambolle-Musigny Premier Cru, Feusselottes, 2006

A step up in ripeness and complexity once again, the nose showing eastern spices, minerals, animal sweat and smoke. The palate is extremely fulfilling, with sweet, succulent fruit, long and balanced. To put the performance of the 2006's versus the 2007's in perspective, I like this better than the 2007 Chapelle at this point in time. 500 NIS.

Chapelle-Chambertin Grand Cru, 2006

This, like the 2007's, seems almost too young to abstract, but the greater concentration of fruit that a Grand Cru brings to the table makes it easier to approach, what with that extra more year in bottle helping out. It's monolithic at first as far as aromas and flavors go, although the fine structure is very obvious (finer than the Echezeaux), and it's less muscular than I'd expect a Chambertin Grand Cru to be, although the meatiness is there. The Wine Of The Night out of the Tramblays. 840 NIS.


Echezeaux Grand Cru, 2007

The nose is damn fine, really impressive with smoked meat and a confident burst of minerals. Right now, the palate is a little too sweet and obvious for my tastes and, even though the Charmes-Chambertin was no less opaque, it made a better case for potential complexity than the Echezeaux. 840 NIS.

We also had a few "bonus" whites. We started out with William Fevre, Chablis, 2007, which had a heady, forward mix of flint, fossils and citrus peels. The palate is tasty although unassuming, with a fine acidity that only dissipates on the finish, which I find a little too sweet. Imported by WineRoute, the price is around 100 NIS, if I recall correctly. The William Fevre, Chablis Grand Cru, Les Clos, 2006, which we had after the reds, extended the basic fabric of the villages Chablis to a much more, well, grand scale, adding smoke and martzipan to the complex and expressive picture. As the wine was served too cold by a couple of degrees, at the very least, I'll reserve judgement on what I perceived as intrusive oak. Whatever, when WineRoute offered it this summer in six-packs for 190 NIS per bottle, it seemed like the steal of the century and this sneak preview confirmed that, judging by the nose anyway.

It aint' over until the fat lady sings.

Weingut Blees Ferber, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Leiwener Klostergarten. Riesling Eiswein, 2002

God, I love the nose, which is fresh and vibrant, with red and baked apples over a backdrop of frozen slate. The palate is succulent with gorgeous acidity that is so light that the descriptor that comes to mind is cherubic. Without any great complexity, this small-scale artifact from that great wine country is infinitely sniffable and an utter treat to drink.

Not imported to Israel, price unknown.

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