Tricks and treats on All Hallows Eve

Some bewitching and some spooky wines…none that taste like punkin but at least one that belongs in a bag of goodies.
sagrantino-lable.jpg2003 Montefalco Sagrantino ~$40: Deep dark red purple color, thick looking juice, ripe aroma, bacon and chocolate (I know that sounds like chocolate covered bacon which would be awful – nevertheless, the two flavors were present). Skunkwd.jpg Then some skunkweed. Taster Richie G who is from Jersey and I (high school South Jersey) both picked it up at the same time. A moment, I know. Hard to imagine how anyone could like this wine from the tantalizing descriptions. But Jackson and Richie G of Giovanni Ristorante liked it just fine. So did I. So where is Perugia? In Umbria which is south of Tuscany and in the middle of Italy. Imagine visiting Umbria instead of Tuscany. Hmm. All the sagrantino you could hope for. Here is where you would be. perugia-umbria-map.jpg Not a U20 wine but worth every dollar over the limit. Fenks to the Bruin-loving Mouse for the tout. Live a little! 13.5%.
2004 La Chablisienne ~$17: The other Premier Cru Chablis at Costco (at least this week). lachablisienne-label.jpgThe de la Motte reviewed previously was sooo good I had to give this one a whirl. Not up to the other but decent enough. Produced by the largest cooperative of some 300 winemakers in Chablis. Their aim is not to be too fancy pants but rather to make good wines representing the region. They have succeeded. Lighter weight. Yellow straw color. More lean and acidic in flavors. Quince, citrus. Nice enough but I will take the de la Motte.
1996 Frederic Esmonin Ruchottes Chambertin Gran Cru ~$100 today: Eleven year old red Esmonin-Ruchottes-label.jpg
burgundy from a very good year. Cellared at home for 8 years. Took it to local restaurant Toast (sorry – no website) where the fare is improving nicely. Red color. Not browning. Sweet fruit with pointed acidity. Quite nice and femmy. 14%. Held up well throughout meal. We talked about how different Calif pinots are from Burgs…and how we both love Williams Selyem. I was dining with the man who helped me plow through my considerable W/S collection finally cracking the last bottle about 18 months back. I also refer to him as the Scourge of Mastros. He said “Igottatellya I love California pinots but they don’t get very good until you shell out $40”. He’s right. The more expensive ABC and Ojai wines are better. Wes Hagen’s best Clos Pepe wines are at the top of his line. This Esmonin is one of a case of Gran and Premier Cru Frederic Esmonin wines I bought from the 95 and 96 vintages. cotenuitsmap.jpgAnd Igottatellya I have been mildly impressed with every one and let down with more than I expected. I think it’s the producer. This is when I started to follow my own advice. If I am buying burgs then I am buying Becky Wasserman. If you care to learn more about the 1996 vintage ten years later in Burgundy here are some very interesting tasting notes made in June 2006 by Ken Wollenberg K&L Burg buyer on the 1996 vintage. There is one note on the Georges Mugneret Ruchottes. Better than the Esmonin Ruchottes. There is an Esmonin Charmes-Chambertin and a Camille Giroud (represented by Wasserman Selections) Chambertin Clos de Beze. chambertin-map.gif
Geography is somewhat of a hobby for the Scourge of Mastros. He read the label which placed Ruchottes Chambertin in the Cotes d’Or but that is all of Burgundy. The Ruchottes vineyard is in the Cote de Nuits which is one of the two principal regions in Burgundy, aka Cotes d’Or. The map above shows the Cote de Nuits. The map below shows the location of the Ruchottes vineyard (#6) in the Chambertin group of Gran and Premier Cru vineyards. Here is a fun site (a wine dictionary!) where you can learn some quick info including how to pronounce roo-show.


  1. Wavatar
    martin glasser says:

    If his Stumpfiness will allow, let this other coast wine fool throw his lot toward a decidedly under$20 wine:
    Chateau Villerambert Julien 2003, a Minervois white.
    Yes, a white – the first I’ve found from this red drenched land northeast of Carcasonne. This ageworthy beauty – priced at $10! – seamlessly blends an overmaturation of marsanne and rousane.
    Now, go find a vintage of Curran’s Grenache blanc, which despite the different grape tries to seek the same flavors. At twice the price. Just silly.
    There is a world of darn good Rhone whites that, as far as I know, no one drinks. For the O$20 crowd, one can reach for a crispy U. Grant and walk away with a Condrieu. Great stuff. Or, for $30, one can grab a CNP blanc. Good stuff.
    But SoFrance is teaming with wonderful U20 whites!

  2. Wavatar
    bacchus says:

    Mouse – Thanks for posting. You now I am welcoming guest blog entries if there is a topic you want to cover like Rhone and Languedoc whites. You do the writing and I will grab the label photos. It will give me a chance to post some of my own photos from our 2001 trip to the region. White Minervois? Must find it yesterday. I will investigate. Overmature? Slightly oxidized or just ripe? Minervois is a cool site where the Cathars lost a vicious and hellfire battle in the 13th century to Simon du Monfort and his Papal forces. The reds were among the best we tasted. Lean. Syrah and Grenache. And I love the new tag – “O20”!

Got something to add?