Last Rites For Bertie (Apr. 30, 2016)

I really thought the last time was the last time, but I wound up coming to the last service.

So, until Bertie is reborn in a new form in a few weeks, thanks for the memories and the seafood.

Andreas Laible, Baden, Durbacher Plauelrain, Riesling Großes Gewächs, 2012

You might say this is a cult winery. A small, family operation whose wines you can barely find anywhere, growing all their grapes from the steep Plauelrain vineyard right next door. This is the last of three different wines that  I bought on a visit two years ago, and I wish I'd bought more or that there was a local importer (or that I could find the wines anywhere at all). All were  lovely and complex. The GG is their flagship wine and it is one of the most elegant dry Rieslings I've ever had. The nose is deep and complex, with red apples, sour apple peels, minerals and a dollop of red fruit and flowers as well. The palate is full in Riesling terms, yet with very focused finesse and a structure steeled in minerals.

Domaine Romaneaux-Deatezet, Vin de Pays de l'Ardeche, Syrah, 2014

The domaine is the love child of Herve Souhaut, who owns or otherwise works old-to-ancient vines in and around the North Rhone AOC's. This wine is partially made of grapes bought from growers, but the average age is decent enough: 30 years. I'm not sure whether the VdP designation is due to the origins of the grapes declassification, but it comes off as a lighter version of Cornas or Côte Rotie, with moderate, friendly tannins and traces of bacon funk.

Giuseppe Rinaldi, Langhe Nebbiolo, 2012

I have no idea where this old school producer sources this, but it drinks (and, from what I can tell, costs) almost like an entry level Barolo. But, as it's designed for a softer impression, in its own right this is a lovely, fetching, wine, with dusty floral soft red fruit, a firm but not overpowering structure. Very high complex quality for the level.

Domaine Hubert Lignier, Chambolle-Musigny Premier Cru, Les Baudes, 2006

I usually swoon for this producer, but something here just doesn't work for me. It's funky, almost reductive, and although that, taken on its own, is charming in it way, it obscures the Cote de Nuits spices and forest floor. Others liked more.

Clos du Mont-Olivet, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, La Cuvée de Papet, 2005

Super ripe and alcoholic. If you drink this, you won't pass a breath analyzer test for a month.

Clos Marie, Pic-St.-Loup, l'Olivette, 2014

I should buy more of this. I bought the first couple of vintages, than I stopped, for no better reason than it got too tedious to look for it. But it was always a personable wine, a model representative of the best of the Languedoc. This is actually a finer rendition than the prior vintages that I loved. They were funky and bretty, this, on the other hand, is meaty and briny, tasty and full of character.

Orlando Abrigo, Valmaggiore, Nebbiolo d'Alba, 2010

Extracted, but expressive, peppery and spicy, a fascinating contrast to the Rinaldi. It's relatively tame, but you can get an idea of how intense, for good or bad, the higher wines would be. This hovers back and forth across the red line of over-extraction.

Tua Rita, Guisto di Notri, 2006

A Bordeaux blend that, as always, conveys the notion that, under a sensitive hand, the essence of Tuscany goes beyond the indigenous grapes.

Pierre Gimmonet, Special Club, 2005

A fitting closer to this farewell night. Fresh, lively, vibrant green apples and sautéed mushrooms with brioche nuances delineate a captivating structure. Everything you might ever want in a Champagne, larger than life, all the while imbued with breed, breed, breed.