Analog Wines For the Digital Age

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Wine Group tasting 06.26.12 . . . epic? Not so sure . . .

Nine wines from around the world (mostly France) all from 2000 and older.
2000 Goisot Sauvignon St. Bris "Fie` Gris"
1993 Domaine Michel Juillot Mercurey Rouge
1994 Domaine Michel Juillot Mercurey Blanc
1996 Paul Chapelle Puligny-Montrachet Champgain
1991 Chante Perdrix Saint Joseph
1999 Domaine de Fauterie Cornas
1995 Canoe Ridge Merlot Columbia Valley
1998 Goisot Cotes d'Auxerre Corps de Garde Bourgogne Blanc
1993 Domaine Hubert de Montille Bourgogne Rouge
19997 Ferreira Vintage Port (375 ml - not pictured)

Had the guys over to the house to taste through some old wines from Beaune Imports and wines that have been hanging around in the garage for years off and on and it was a hit and miss affair.  Two and maybe possibly three of the wines were corked, some more than others and of course no one could agree on which ones were corked but there was some definite effect of the cork on all the wines whether it was the musty cardboard of classic corked wines or if it was just the muted fruit, slightly off of mildly corked wines.  All I know is I am hoping and praying for a time when this can't happen to any wine, but it won't be in my lifetime, that's for sure.  Too many people stuck on tradition.

The highlights of the night:

1998 Goisot Cotes d'Auxerre Corps de Garde Bourgogne Blanc (100% Chardonnay): Clean with pale gold core out to a watery rim, clean in the nose with fresh granny smith apples and custard and lemon zest with flavors to match.  Creamy and textured in the mouth but no overt wood flavors and it finishes really long and persistent with tangy acidity.  Excellent

1991 Chante Perdrix Saint Joseph: Clear and bright with a medium ruby core out to an orange rim.  Spicy white pepper and smoked meat in the nose with hints of cranberry sauce.  Smoked meat and blueberry/boysenberry balsamic vinegar reduction in the mouth with super fine tannins.  Long, long finish with medium plus acidity, definitely what has kept this lovely wine alive.  Excellent.

Others in the group loved the 1999 Domaine de Fauterie Cornas and the Goisot Fie` Gris.  The Michel Juillot wines were over the hill be still interesting wines for what I am sure back then (and probably now) some really inexpensive off the beaten path Burgundy.  The Canoe Ridge was disjointed and not fun.  The Hubert de Montille 1993 Bourgogne opened up with time but was showing a definite cork issue.  The 19997 Ferreira had maybe stayed too long in the garage . . . . and the Paul Chapelle was corked.

A fun night.  The cheeses from the Cheese Store of Beverly Hills were delicious.  Five guys must have eaten about 3 lbs of  Selles sur Cher, Comte`, Ossau-Iraty and more thanks to Erik Kelley.

So the question: is it worth it to cellar wines for 15 to 25 years before drinking?  Obviously, there needs to be a good place to keep the wine (cool, dry, dark, slightly humid but not too much) and the quality of the wine needs to stand up to the test of time (lots of acidity is needed to last 20 years, folks, lots and lots of acidity), and lots of luck that you don't have crappy cork that effects the taste of the wine and lets in just the right amount of oxygen so the aging process can percolate along.  So I am not sure . . . after all these years in the business, if the rewards of long term cellaring outweigh the risks.


Monday, June 4, 2012

The vineyards of San Polino in May . . .

Great video of Luigi Fabbro of San Polino in Montalcino talking about how he farms his grapes and makes wine . . .

Terroir and Vineyards
South-east of Montalcino, near Castelnuovo dell’Abate, between Montalcino and Monte Amiata, in the Val d’Orcia. South-facing over the valley of the Ribusuoli river. Height above sea level 400-450 metros. The soils of San Polino range in their texture from sandy-loam to clay-loam with a rich scheleton presence. Interspersed throughout the fields are large areas of galestro (shale) and red earth. The soil is well drained and has a good water permeability and, at the same time, good water retention. A satisfactory natural presence of the essential nutrients necessary for healthy vine growth means that only a minimal quantity of fertilizers are ever used. In many years they are not used at all. The vineyards face south and slope downhill at a gradient of 22%.
Sun all day due to its south-facing slopes. An almost constant southern breeze coming from Monte Amiata maintains a fresh and healthy climate where the need for fungicide spray is reduced. San Polino is surrounded by shrubland and woods. 25% of its area comprises a maintained wilderness in order to promote the rich presence of indigenous biodiversity, maintain a self-regulating balance in its environment and reduce the need for anti-fungicides

Sunday, June 3, 2012

G.D. Vajra tasting at winery with Milena Vaira . . . .

I set up a couple of people from Califonria with a tasting and tour at G.D. Vajra winery and these are some of the photos they sent back.  If anyone is ever in Piedmont and wants to go, please feel free to email me to set up an appointment at G.D. Vajra.  You won't be disappointed.

Looking out towards the residence from the winery

Looking up the hill at vineyards

 A rare sighting.  2001 Barolo Bricco delle Viole in magnum

 I am out of the 2007 but getting more on the next shipment

The 2010 Langhe Bianco (100% Riesling) is tasting amazing right now.

 Milena Vaira 

Taking a drive with Aldo Vaira to check on the progress of flowering in the vineyards . . .

Aldo Vaira

Looking from the Baudana vineyard in Serralunga towards Castiglione Falleto and way in the back towards the Castle La Volta in Barolo.

Just the beginning of flowering on a nebbiolo vine

Some haven't even opened up yet.

And more . . . 

Giuseppe Vaira

Steep vineyards in Sinnio (right outside the Barolo confines near Serralunga)

In the old days, these Sinnio vineyards used to be able to be labeled as Barolo and from what I have heard, lots of the older producers sourced grapes here.

Looking down the hill from the top of the Sinnio vineyard.

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...