Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Recent Tastes: Loire Chenin and Bourgogne Rouge

Vouvray "La Cuvée des Fondreaux," Champalou 2005
Toeing the line between sec-tendre and demi-sec, I would enjoy drinking this casually and regularly, particularly if it were $15 rather than $19-20. However, I can easily see, through this wine and others like it, why so many people seem perplexed by Vouvray, as its charms can be overshadowed by the perception and popular misconception of sweetness. Clover honey and pear nectar dominate, followed by relatively low acidity and soft, round texture. Reasonable length is delivered, helped along by the unctuous nature of the wine’s residual sugar, but this lacks the minerality and layered depth of more interesting Vouvray.
$19. 13% alcohol. Natural cork closure. Importer: Kermit Lynch, Berkeley, CA.

Savennières "Clos des Perrieres," Château Soucherie (Pierre-Yves Tijou) 2000
Immediately oxidative notes give way to beeswax intensity as this opens in the glass. Pear and quince follow, along with aromas of preserved lemons and verbena. It’s intensely stony in the mouth, a sensation that is magnified by the wine’s tooth-aching acidity. Hints of madeirization persist but more aromas – clover blossoms and crystallized ginger – continue to emerge. Texturally, it’s generous up front, firm and steely on the finish. If you’re holding several bottles of this vintage, it might be worth keeping a couple to track development; otherwise, drink up.
$25. 13% alcohol. Natural cork closure. Importer: Rosenthal, New York, NY.

Bourgogne "Pinot Noir," Domaine Heresztyn 2005
Lovely, fresh red fruits and tangy acidity. A slightly stewed nose also shows hints of sweet red cherries and vanilla, yet there’s no suggestion of heat damage or of woodiness. This is a pretty solid value in the increasingly untouchable world of Burgundy.
$20. 12.5% alcohol. Natural cork closure. Importer: Kysela Père et Fils, Winchester, VA.

Maranges Premier Cru "Clos de la Fussière," Xavier Monnot 2005
Translucent yet a good deal darker in the glass than Heresztyn’s Bourgogne, this is showing firm, slightly astringent tannins… at least at first. It actually fluctuates, over the course of an hour, between generous and sinewy textures. Portobello mushrooms, espresso, black cherry skins, cinnamon bark and brambly herbaceous qualities all show up as the wine opens. This is interesting now and should develop well over the next few years. Another pretty good buy, from an importer whose wines I’ve tended to overlook for the past several years.
$25. 13.5% alcohol. Natural cork closure. Importer: Robert Kacher, Washington, DC.


Anonymous said...

i recently drank champalou's basic vouvray '05. both this and the one you cite rec'd decent praise in the wine advocates recent loire write up. frankly, i was underwhelmed. okay wine, but nothing special. i wouldn't buy it again.

David McDuff said...

Reviews from the evil empire aside, I wanted to like this more than I did. Kermit is definitely one of my go-to importers. But it was just simple and a bit too expensive relative to its merits.

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