Analog Wines For the Digital Age

Saturday, April 24, 2010

1992 Domaine de L'Hortus Cuvee Classique, Coteaux du Languedoc

Another treasure from the Beaune vault.

Bright garnet with just a touch of orange. Immediately upon hitting the glass, the distinctive aroma of black perigord truffles wafted upward into my nose along with a touch of white pepper, and stewed cranberry sauce. There is definitely a touch of garrigue in the nose as well.

In the mouth the L'Hortus is soft and velvety, still with punchy acidity and tannins that although present, are resolved and integrated into the wine. Flavors of black truffles, cranberry, soy sauce and spiced smokey meat. Still lots of life in this wine!

I don't know the exact cepage of this cuvee but it is definitely Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre. The Mourvedre I would know anywhere as this is the grape that gives the typical aroma and flavor of black truffles. Fermented and aged in stainless steel, this wine proves that oak is not needed to make great, flavorful reds. Alcohol is 12.5%. Certainly a thing of the past.

L'Hortus is located in the Pic St. Loup area of the Languedoc and it is one of the most stunning places in the world to grow grapes and make wine. You can go here if you want to learn more about the winery and see pictures.

A humble wine that usually sells for less than $15 at retail, the current vintage is 2007 and it is stellar as well.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Pollerhof 2008 "Frau Mayer" Gruner Veltliner

This is an ode to the Frau Mayer, who owned and farmed the vineyard that provides the grapes for this wine. She worked out in the fields all day and farmed her little plot of land the best she could, tending to each vine, making sure that they were in the best condition to produce these stellar grapes. In winter and in summer, she was always out in the vineyards. When she passed away recently, Erwin Poller decided to make a wine from her single vineyard and name it after her. The label is from wallpaper . . . yes, I said, "wallpaper", that was in her house. So as you can imagine, only a small amount of this wine was made. Vinolok, of course.

Really too young to drink right now, this wine rewards being open for a little bit. I didn't decant it as my buddy Alex and I drank most of it in the backyard under the fading sun but it wouldn't have hurt the wine by any means. Brilliantly clear like all of Pollerhof''s wines, this one is more on the water white with glints of green than hay or straw but that is because of its youth.

In the nose the wine is all white pepper and white flowers, like jasmine or maybe orange blossom, with sweet notes of freshly grated ginger.

In the mouth it is viscous and strong but with a huge amount of acidity to cut the body as it goes to the back of your mouth. Salty, minerally, kind of like sucking on gravel (for those of you into that sort of thing) with a long finish. Flavors of baked apples, ginger ale and fresh sweet peas in the mouth.

It finishes a little hot but is relatively low in alcohol at 13% so I think it is more youth showing through instead of imbalance.

Too bad I don't have any to sell, but those of you up in the Bay Area may be able to find some if you look really hard . . .

I really enjoy all the Pollerhof wines, from the $12 Gruner Veltliner to this wine that would be around $30 retail if available.

Maybe some schnitzel is in order?

Lunch with Francesca Vaira at Terroni DTLA . . . best lunch ever!

Francesca Vaira  2010 Langhe Freisa Kye` Library  2006 Langhe Freisa Kye` Library 2014 Luigi Ba...