Posts belonging to Category Gamay



The Fall, Rise and Fall of Beaujolais

she ruled the 60s

she ruled the 60s

Beaujolais has been forgotten more often than whatshisname. Beauj wines were top shelf in the 14th century until the Burgundy farmers chased the Gamay Noir grape – crossed with the blessed Pinot Noir – and its wannabe producers south. Gamay lost its prestige in the wake of Marie Antoinette’s gehackt kopf.

Gamay grown south of Burgundy can produce a lovely light to medium weight red wine with floral qualities and the requisite acid to buck it all up. Until the 1960s. Yearning for fanfare the Beaujolais producers led by Georges Dubouef came up with Beaujolais Nouveau which became fashionable as Twiggy. And half as interesting. This pompy silly era was Fall #1 for Beaujolais in the Modern Era: Beaj Nouveau. Like the Beatles, still popular.

The Rise. In 2006 the earth around Beaujolais began to move. Suddenly, gratefully, amidst an avalanche of rocketing collector prices and the relentless quest to win a Parker 100 point score, Beaujolais winemakers began producing some very nice wines. The value quotient (VQ) was an island in a sea of [ed. better metaphor please] an outpost in a wilderness of [ed. not wilderness] an outpost in the back country of forgotten appellations. Gamay returned to wine snobs. The 2006, 2007 and 2008 vintages were superb. The ten crus offered more variety than Bourdeaux along with far better pricing and far more availability. Superb Gamay cru wines were priced near $15. Beaujolais was on the RISE.

Fall #2. The 2008 economic crash took about 18 months for Parker and the Wine Speculator to concede the 100 point game was over. Tostado. This should have been the tipping point when Beaujolais secured its new position as leader in the quality and value game. But it did not. Instead, the producers raised prices. Dumb. Da Dumb. Dumb. The market was in their hands… and they let it slip away. The last vintages we bought were 2009 2010. We are tasting through them now with no plans to replenish.

Very good Beaujolais costs close to $30. At the same time we are buying outrageously great Chablis for the same price. And super Red Burg for the same price and up to $10 more… except we are buying wines Beaujolais will never become, except for Clos de la Roilette which we still buy. Welcome to the new top shelf.

Here are two more wines from the Not Ready For Prime Time Tasting.

Ridge-Montebello-00WEB2000 Ridge Montebello $120: A-L-M-O-S-T R-E-A-D-Y. At 14 years this wine can be enjoyed. Ridge Montebello is regarded as the Lafite of US wines. Justifiably so. This wine was gorgeous, not voluptious, not lean. Classically beautiful, something like Lauren Bacall. Perfect California mountain blend with just enough oak to give it the classic style. Last domestic Cabernet we had like this was the 1987 Dunn Howell in mag. Dunn is more rustic. Montebello more refined. Truly spectacular wine and not Bordeaux. Honestly. At $120 and being the benchmark for California GREATNESS in wine, this is a bargain. 13.5%

Tondonia-91WEB1991 Lopez de Herredia Tondonia $105 (sorry, it’s a secret for now): tBoW asked Goldun will this wine be ready in another 10 years? “Maybe 100” came the comeback. 23 years in the bottle and the color is not even golden. Yellow as a five year old Chablis. Flavors enchanting but the wine is n-o-t r-e-a-d-y. We must have another bottle taking into account predicted auto-longevity and the likelihood I will be around to enjoy with the Geezer Troop. 13%

Maybe this could also be “the discrete charm of the Beaujolais?” Cue the electric sitars please. It’s all… so beautiful.

Gettin Hot in Here… Gotta Pull Some Corks…

"should hit 100 degrees in the Valley today"

“should hit 100 degrees in the Valley today”

SoCal is burning up. 100 degrees every day. Only the Angels seem to like it (second best record in baseball). We took off for San Diego. That was a very good decision. Boogie boarding in Solana Beach. Gay Pride parade in University Heights. As Stuart Scott would say “cooler than the underside of the pillow.”

While we were waiting on the Borax 20 Mule Team to haul us away here is what were tasting.

bowarrow-medici102012 Bow and Arrow Pinot Noir Medici Valley Chehalem Mountains $33 (Eno Fine Wine): Purchased this in the past year. New World organic Pinot Noir that does not taste like most New World Pinots. Citric, acid notes. Like tasting the skins on which the wine was fermented. Natural wine from Oregon. You mention the Chehalem Mountain district and we think ripe over oaked fruit bomb Pinot. No wonder we gravitated to Ribbon Ridge where the living is more severe and the wines like Patricia Green’s have more spine. Not this wine. Welcome surprise. Domestic Pinot is not an easy sell among the snob family. We cleaned out Goldun’s remains. Look at the low alcohol. 11.5%

paraiso-09-PNWEB2009 Paraiso Pinot Noir $16: Picked this up at the winery in Santa Lucia Highlands about 12 months ago. Looked like a deal at the price. We did taste int eh winery but that is almost always tainted with expectations and sappy BS. Funk on the nose. Ripe without much oak. Light to medium weight. A bit ripe. Will wait another 6 months. U20. 14.2%

lathuiliere-Morgon-10WEB2010 Gravallon-Lathuiliere Morgon Cuvée Premium $18: “Real wine” as Senor Goldun puts it. Pure juicy Gama wine with acidic backbone to firm it all up. Big by little standards. Think US soccer player Michael Bradley with the quick feet and fine touch. World class if not at the top. Bright and muscular. Superb bottle that wold complement any Mediterranean summer meal. U20. 13%

Dining spot dining spot dining spot…we can all afford.

Culver City is the cultural capitol of LA’s Westside. When a decent dining spot – FIN – can open that serves fine cocktails, has a small efficient wine list and very good food, and has a speakeasy in the alley [ed. speakeasy?], and hardly any of the mega critics cover it… that means Culver City has arrived.

One dining room with 15 tables and a mezzanine for the overflow. The $35 prix fixe menu featured 3 plates that did the trick. Main course was a pan seared black cod with miso sauce. We were served a Pinot Grigio from Italy that had enough backbone to handle the salty cod.

Here is coverage from Urbandaddy. Checkitout. Washington and Grand View.

The North Coast of San Diego County is stunningly gorgeous, especially in the summer. Who needs Hawaii? This is from May 2014 at the beach we like to take out our boogie boards.

If Bill Belichick Rated Wines…

chick-grapes2WEBIf you have any interest left in the NFL playoffs raise your hand. The one without the remote control. Sorry if we woke you. Yup. tBoW is NOT a fan of the NFL. He prefers Homeland reruns to another commercial festival. And college hoops. However, there is one clown prince of the NFL who can take the starch out of any reporter, whether on the sideline or at the postgame podium. That would be the reigning genius of pro football; Bill Belichick. (more…)

Reclassifying De-classified Wines

declassified-logoWEBDe-classified wines. Like outlaws they exist outside the mainstream. Wines which others have attempted to place on the margins of the inner sect. Untouchables. The lowest caste. The underclass. Warlocks to the Eloi. They are among a wine snob’s favorite topic. Wines banished from the world of civilized wine snobbery. (more…)

A Decent Costco Wine! Los Doyers on the Ropes )):]=

Crawford shows Beaujolais leadership!

Crawford shows Beaujolais leadership!

tBoW is aware we have many LA readers and they are ALL Dodger fans. We respect their fiendish loyalty however this blog is about – if N-O-T-H-I-N-G else – truthdom. The Dodgers will lose to the Cardinals…

Fred's Doyer seats Game 3

Papa Fred’s Doyer seats Game 3

for the reasons encrypted in the wines reviewed. Wait til next year! Hail to the Tigers World Series champs.

2009 Gérard Mugneret Bourgogne Passetoutgrain $20: A controversial wine that cleaves Burgundy loyalties right down the middle because it is a hybrid wine. This wine blends Pinot Noir with Gamay [ed. NOOOO WAAAAAY!]. There are multiple producers of Passetoutgrain. mugneret_passetout09WEBMugneret is good as producers get in Burgundy. Goldun picked it because it is NOT like Yasiel Puig: full of vibrant energy, spectacular blunders and unpredictable heroics. Well, Puig’s heroic are not entirely unpredictable. You know they will occur just not sure if this is the time. This Passetoutgrain breaks the mold of grainy barnyard chicken lickin’ wine. The wine comes out with all the acid of Jim Harbaugh [ed. hello – he’s a football coach] then settles into a balanced sweet spot where the acid settles down and the Pinot Noir is surprisingly tasty. Unexpectedly capable… like Don Mattingly. A Becky Wassserman Selection available at Steve Goldun’s Eno Fine Wine site. U20 steal deal! 12%

wentereliz10WEB2010 Wente Reliz Creek Pinot Noir Arroyo Seco Monterey $17: Purchased from Costco on a field trip with Young ‘Un PT88Y. tBoW pointed out all the MOR internationals which Costco strives to discover which used to be how Dodger GM Doug Colletti has to find ballplayers under the former Dodger owner. Now Colletti can pay a bit more for quality like Hanley Ramirez and Zach Grienke. This wine has a lot going against it like Ramirez: from a tarnished franchise (Marlins) with a rep for being a wimp. Wente bills itself as California’s oldest family winery (it is… but so what?). Reliz Creek runs through the property (who cares?) [ed. enuff with the Pauley Pavilion cheers] in a cool weather zone (now we’re listening). Bottom line is Ramirez had a smashing summer and took a shot to play in Game 3 after the Boys in Blue dropped two in St Louis. Baseball is such a slow game with a season so long players can grow 8 beards. Wente has been around so long they have to unload their mixed up brand – old school, legacy with family values? – to any takers. Enter Costco. This Pinot Noir is light weight, ruby red and does not taste at all like an extracted giant catfish from River Monsters – I mean Santa Rita Hills. Another U20 value we can recommend. 14.5%

morgon06WEB2006 Thévenet Morgon “Vielles Vignes” $23: Drink it up. This wine is a couple years past its prime, like Clayton Kershaw will be in 5 more years. Thévenet is a prized winemaker and his Beaujolais labels are equally prized. Kershaw is often confused with Sandy Koufax. He gets rocked more than Koufax did. For now the better comparison is to Hershiser. Pinpoint pitching accuracy. Bulldog attitude. Power. Smarts. These are intense times. Gratify me now…before things get worse. Patience went a bit long with this bottle however it did not lose any of its character. Fruit is there. It is tiring without losing vitality. Like Carl Crawford. Not as fast as he once was but the instincts are there to go for home even though he is a step slower… and beat the tag by the length of a split cork [ed. photo at top!]. A winner. Balanced. Pleasing. Beaujolais at its best. Here is a site for learning more about GOOD Beaujolais. 13%

Let’s pull for Los Doyers. Pray for more Puig at bats and fielding opportunities. Cards in 6. Wait until 2014. With one more season Puig will be the monster.

who will last longer?

who will last longer?