King’s tasting de-thrones Burgundy

I am done with (red) Burgundy. Just like Barolo. It was bound to happen. No more fussing, hoping, expecting great but getting yecch.
The Mouse-man tasting was held at Palate in Glendale. Great food and service. Too bad the two 1996 Burgundies could not come close to measuring up. Let’s get to it.
2006 Schafer-Frohlich Riesling Spatlese Nahe $26: Halb-trocken from the Nahe. What is a halb-trocken? “Invented by the Germans when they realized the world did not like their wine style”. It means drier than one would have expected from traditional wine making. And this bottle is perfectly balanced, crispy like an ice-ee with caramel notes. Simply delicious. The job was to waken the palates of the tasters and that was accomplished.
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2007 Bandol Blanc La Bastide Blanche
$20: Last minute fill-in for a white Rhone that did not show well. Composed of Clairette, Bourboulenc and Ugni Blanc. Smoky, uncomplicated, good pick to go with lightly sauteed squid as we waited for fois gras and the next wine.
1983 Chateau d’Yquem Sauternes
~$500 online: The king of wines for the guest of honor. Petrol on the nose. Smell the alcohol which is listed as 11% to 14%. First time I noticed that. Dried apricots keep emerging stronger and stronger as the wine opens over the entire tasting. A monster wine. A finish so long we had to drink copious red wines to wash it out. Having it as the third wine may have been a sequencing error. Just too big. King says it is “leaking out my mouth”. Thick, viscous with a core I could only describe as atomic. “A baby” said sommelier Steve Goldun. “This s why I have to be an attorney so I can buy cases of this wine” says son of tBoW. Wine of the evening by a long shot.
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1996 Geantet-Pansiot Charmes Chambertin Grand Cru
~$150: Pee Yooo!! Now that is the goux de merde also known as barnyard. As tBoW has noted before French pinots can be stank-eee! The fruit is there but having trouble finding its way out of the lavatory. “Ripe diaper” says one taster. Brick red color, beets when it starts to lose the poo and show itself. Intense, dark. It never comes around. I saw a note online that says it needs 3 hours to open. Where was that guy? A doctor’s office? In line at DMV? This and the next wine close the book on red burgundy for me.
1996 Fourrier Gevrey Chambertin Premier Cru Clos St Jacques
~$150: The unofficial Gran Cru of Gevrey. “The perfect facing SE slope” says SG as he launches into an expert topographical delineation of the hill and its vineyards including the ideally situated Clos St Jacques. [ed. read more about Clos St Jacques here] Shoe polish on the nose. Could use some shoe polish to scrape the shit right off my shoes. Another poopster deluxe. Tight. Fruit is there but having trouble making it over the vineyard wall surrounding this precious acreage. Is it on the decline? 13.5%
These two burgs did not show well. They were open at least three hours and never came around. Various tasters online noted 3 to 5 hours required to reveal their magic. Call me impatient. I am done with aging red burgundy. Of course this position was roundly pooh-poohed (appropriately I suppose); tBoW was subjected to torrents of abuse when he declared Williams Selyem produced more consistent wines. I asked the sommelier to name the best domestic pinot producer and he immediately replied…that’s right, W-S. Tidbits from the table included 1996 is a tough and tight vintage; in the 90s favorite vintages are 1993 and 1999; and a preference noted for Nuits St George over Chambertin wines.
cornas TL 01.jpg2001 Tardieu-Laurent Cornas Coteaux $40: Shut yo mouf tasty. Yummy. BBQ and bricquets backed with plenty of fruit. More new world than old but still enough old world not to be confused for a Paso Robles effort. 13%
Rostaing LL.jpg1998 Rostaing La Landonne ~$200: A great wine in an off vintage proving the point about quality winemakers being robust to less than ideal weather conditions. White pepper on the nose. Knitted together nicely (i.e., balanced wine). Winemaker is known for low acid wines. Pleasing in every way. Tanzer writes “deceptively accessible”. Showing so much better than the burgs. Probably best of the rest after d’Yquem. Reviewed on this bog in December 2007.
Arnaldo SdM 01.gif2001 Arnaldo Caprai Sagrantino de Montefalco $50: Umbrian powerhouse made from grapes only grown in the region…except for a few grown in Washington state!! Mouse tout and a good one as per usual. tBoW detects brownies in the flavor profile. Baked, doughy, dark chocolate, cranberries. Only a wine with this kind of size and power could cap a tasting with this lineup. 14%
Retrospectively…Rhone wines never looked better than going head to head with Burgundy. Dotor√© thought there were too many wines and too much variety. Perhaps. While these were not U20 wines they helped make the point once again that price and quality do not necessarily go hand in hand [ed. talkin’ tBoW mainfesto here]. Baroli and (red) Burgs go to the sidelines. Beaujolais and Rhones step forward.
Consensus held the 1983 d’Yquem stole the show to the surprise of absolutely nobody. After that opinions varied as to the next best wine from the La Landonne to the Cornas to the Nahe Riesling. Steve G opened the 2005 White Dog Syrah from Santa Ynez Larner vineyard which produces some of the highest quality grapes in that region. Too bad the tBoW tasting team was dog meat by this time and thirsting for water and needing to wait a bissel before embarking on the ride home. Which we did.

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