On the road again, searching for wine, I bought some bottles for laying down back home, and drank a few more I bought at Gordon's Wines and Liquors at Waltham that I either saw no reason to age or was just curious about.
Now, some of these wines were recommended by Gordon's Cheryl Lechan, but this first one wasn't. I tasted Moreau's Les Clos a few months ago and loved it. The rain and wind drenching Massachusets the weekend I landed reminded me of a sea storm and, by association, wet, brimy oysters. And thus, Chablis.
Domaine Christian Moreau, Chablis Premier Cru, Vaillons, 2004
There's a relatively underused cliche in wine that goes "a blind man would recognize this wine as a...". Never mind that a cliche, by definition, can't be underused - the Moreau Vaillons is a textbook example of such typicity of wine, as it shows its Chabli-ness immediately upon opening, with pungent citrus aromatics counter-pointed by saline, seaside notes. The marine aspect grows more pronounced as a hint of seaweed also emerges. The palate shows awkward greenness and oakiness until it integrates with some air and warmth, and then, while it retains its structure, it is limpid, off-the-cuff, unassuming, almost feeling as though you're not drinking a wine at all . Despite, or because, of this almost ethereal impression, there's nice, sappy juice here with integrated minerality and a lovely, saline finish. Bundles of joy in what is, objectively, "only" a 90-pointer. (Mar. 14, 2010)
Imported by Tomer Gal, the debut vintage in Israel was sold for 180 NIS. My bottle was purchased in Waltham for 40 USD.
Jean-Marc Burgaud, Beaujolais, Cote Du Py, Vieilles Vignes, 2006
The first glass ain't much but each pour finds the fruit growing purer on the palate, even as the nose becomes more complex. Aromatically, what we have here is red fruit with a touch of smoky black pepper and a leathery essence that just smells savory. The palate is a middleweight on the simple side, yet makes up for lack of complexity with a round form, one that is counterpointed by rusty tannins and balanced acidity that only announces itself on the finish, where it gives the fruit a hint of peaches. Although on the short side, and rustic, it is very tasty and a great value, but drink now, as it feels fully mature, maybe even a quarter step beyond, and I miss some freshness. (Mar. 17, 2010)
About 18 USD.
Cheryl recommended this when I asked for a white Burgundy from one of the fringe AOC's that would be relatively unoaked and fresh.
Domaine Belleville, Rully Premier Cru, Montpalais, 2007
Good call, Cheryl, even if I still prefer Villaine or Deux Montilles. The nose is citrus fruit laced with gunpowder, the palate as fresh and as full of fruit bound with fruity acidity as promised. What sets it apart from its northern cousins is the fruit's leanings towards citrus fruit, as opposed to apples and/or pears (well, maybe there is a bit of Meursault-ish pear in there). This has its faults - somehow there is a green streak at the core of the ripe fruit - and I'm not really smitten by it, but give it an hour or so to pull itself together and and to merge that green streak into the infrastructure of the fruit and it really is a nice wine, with quintessential (albeit, in this case, small-scale) white B savoriness. (Mar. 19, 2010)
About 32 USD.
I've tasted my fair share of world-famous wines, from First Growths to Grand Crus to Lebanon's Chateau Musar, but for some reason, this is the first time I've drank the harbinger of New Zealand's Sauvignon Blanc revolution.
Cloudy Bay, Sauvignon Blanc, 2008
I don't know about cat's piss, this smells herbal and minty, with a grapefruit note bordering on tropical fruit punch that's even more pronounced on the palate. The palate feels very limpid at first, the fruit too passive and thus the 13.5% ABV feels too obvious. What saves it is a mineral note, reminiscent of Loire Chenin, that verges on funky, and which evolves from an embryonic stage until it gives the wine a fully-developed form. But to be perfectly honest, I'm being a little more tolerant of it than I might have been in a comparative tasting: it's nice, it's interesting, and it pulls a satisfying act in the end, but I expect better craft and a little wow factor from a piece of history. (Mar. 22, 2010)
About 30 USD.
I tried the final wine on this trip because I'd recently read a very interesting article about the winery (read it here in Hebrew).
Patricia Green Cellars, Oregon, Williamette Valley, Pinot Noir, Reserve, 2007
This is immediately recognizable as Pinot. And it's not that far off from the Burgundian model. That is, while it's overtly fruitier than its Old World relatives, it bears comparisons with the lower AOC's, except for being a bit on the sweet side. The nose shows similar fresh red fruit, with initially the same candied undertow that a young Bourgogne would show. It's greatest affinity with the Old World, as I perceive it, is a disinterest in polish: the color is murky, the palate feels murky despite the ripeness, while the aromatics balance the fruit with minerals on the verge of pungency. In the end, that disinterest fosters faults, as the ripe sweetness of the fruit is a little too much for the tannins and acidity, but it's a good wine and an interesting experience. (Mar. 25, 2010)
About 30 USD.