Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Notes from Fright Night

As much as I loved Halloween as a wee lad, the idea of sitting home alone on Friday night, handing out candy to scores of costumed kids, my dogs barking frantically in the background, just wasn’t calling my name this year. The idea of hanging out with friends, preparing a casual meal and tasting through a few wines, though, sounded like just the thing. What better way to pass the time between the few stray trick-or-treaters wandering their neighborhood?

Muscadet Sèvre et Maine “Amphibolite Nature,” Domaine de la Louvetrie (Joseph Landron) 2007. $14. 11.2% alcohol. Importer: Martin Scott, Lake Success, NY.
Jo Landron’s “Amphibolite Nature” spends minimal time on the lees, thus delivering a purely fruit-driven expression of Muscadet that’s perfect, particularly given its low alcohol, as an aperitif. That’s exactly how we treated it. The bottle had actually been opened the prior day. What was left was showing quite nicely, with pretty lime pith and mineral scents followed by melon, crisp peach and a dash of white pepper on the palate. Very refreshing.

Bourgogne Aligoté, François Mikulski 2006. $20. 12% alcohol. Nomacorc. Importer: Elite Wines Imports, Lorton, VA.
Right up front, this delivers a nose of sour rocks and pear skins, aromas that eventually become riper and rounder. Nice front palate flesh is contrasted by bracing acids and grippy texture on the finish. In the big picture, it’s a simple wine. But it’s a pretty serious Aligoté, one that delivers admirable concentration, balance and ripe lemon-lime fruit.

Bourgogne Rouge, Domaine Chevillon-Chezeaux 2006. $22. 12.5% alcohol. Cork. Importer: Weygandt-Metzler, Unionville, PA.
A touch tighter and tangier than the handful of other basic ’06 Bourgogne from the Côtes de Nuits I’ve tasted thus far but delicious nonetheless. Griotte and lightly brined green olive scents follow through in the mouth, carried along on a light-bodied, brightly acidic frame with silky texture and measurable persistence. This was my first encounter – and a promising one – with the wines of Philippe Chezeaux.

Fleurie “Les Garants,” Domaine du Vissoux (Pierre-Marie Chermette) 2007. $25. 13% alcohol. Cork. Importer: Weygandt-Metzler, Unionville, PA.
I sold Vissoux’s wines years ago and now terribly miss having convenient access to them. Pierre-Marie Chermette makes some of the most fruit-rich, concentrated Beaujolais out there. They tend to show tons of primary fruit on release, sometimes tight, sometimes forward, but take time to really blossom. This is on the forward side of the curve right now, explosively fruity – crushed raspberries, violets and blueberries – on the nose, round, vibrant and juicy in the mouth. But it’s painfully young, both grapey and chalky. The pieces are all there – excellent balance and fine bones. It just needs to be forgotten about for a few years.

Fleurie “Clos de la Roilette Cuvée Tardive,” Coudert Père et Fils 2007. $26. 13% alcohol. Cork. Importer: Louis/Dressner, New York, NY.
The differences between the Fleuries of Coudert and Vissoux in ’07 (as in most years, I expect) are like night and day. It was a treat to taste them back-to-back. “Cuvée Tardive” is already showing much more serious, vinous character than Chermette’s wine. Earthy, pale ruby red in color, its nose, which is really lovely, hints of wild red berries, fresh thyme and black pepper. It’s even lovelier in its impact on the palate, tense and serious. Absolutely spot-on with flank steak sandwiches topped with caramelized onions and red peppers, served on onion rolls. This too is built to last, but it’s going to require serious willpower not to drink it now.

Carema “Etichetta Bianco,” Luigi Ferrando 2004. $37. 13.5% alcohol. Cork. Importer: Rosenthal Wine Merchants, New York, NY.
This was the rollercoaster of the night. Tight, closed, even a little musty when first opened, after about an hour it blossomed into a fantastic expression of high altitude Nebbiolo. Leather, herbal red fruit, vanilla and rose petals, none of which were apparent at first, came out of hiding. Aromas of drying cigarette tobacco followed, even a touch of sweet seaweed flavor. Another thirty minutes, though, and it clamped shut again, tight, tangy and wacky. Whether drunk now or later, coming to grips with this will take a patient temperament and an open mind.

4 comments:

bill l said...

just as a point of reference, the bourgogne rouge from chevillon-chezeaux was drinking really well on day two. sour cherry and mineral flavors. i'm seriously thinking of buying quite a bit of this.
same experience with the aligote. but it even drank well on day three.

David McDuff said...

Thanks for the update, Bill. Have you tried any other wines from Chevillon-Chezeaux yet?

Mike Drapkin said...

How was the 07 Tardive showing compared to a few weeks ago at the Dressner tasting?

David McDuff said...

Mike,
It was a standout at the Dressner tasting but it was even more pleasurable on this occasion. Spending time with it at the table definitely let it show more of its stuff.

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