Wine Hunter Deja Vu: New Eyes on the Old Town

fieldmousecityWEBThe Field Mouse came to town, as the story goes, and found a new world. In our LA world our Field Mouse returned to LA for an extended visit and, being the natch’l born wine hunter that he is, went cruising for wine shops. When you are a tBoW wine snob this is how you spend your unscheduled time: hunting for that remote unsuspecting wine shop that will house an unusual label or a rare wine find; where at least we will encounter a knowledgeable owner who knows what he has on his floor and why it is there. In the case of the King [ed. alt Field Mouse name] the hunt these days is for Roussanne. He ain’t picky. Domestic or international will suffice. The best part of the hunt is knowing he stalks the rare and unusual wine.

Seems unlikely yet these are the empirical facts. Where is the Rousanne? Our wine hunter visited “Old Reliables” The Wine House and LA Wine Company. Whiff. Maybe a couple selections. Not sure if he tried Wally’s. He may still view Wally’s as the Hollywood store. We found out different in this post. Steve Wallace does stock a wide selection of vinom [ed. made up word suggests wine is poison]. Most importantly Manny is the go-to wine guy among a cadre of go-to guys. Searching under Roussanne came up with 17 selections. A search for “Rhone Blanc” pulled up another 26 wines but how many are Roussanne dominant? I did not check for overlaps. His own gumshoe search yielded a couple of finds among oddball storefronts and even a couple of domestic Roussanne wines.

A Field Mouse tasting is on the horizon where we expect to taste several Roussanne wines. Reportage will follow. In the meantime, here are some recent tastes.

GirardCabBRET1995WEB1995 Girard Cabernet Sauvignon $55: What kind of man attacks a defenseless wine? One of the last wines produced by the family winery that sold their estate to Rudd. The Rudd folks cleared the entire acreage and replanted with “even fancier” Bordeaux varietals. Dopes. I hung onto this wine because one day I wanted to open it for the right crew as a shining example of what a wine tainted – some might say flawed – by bret or brettanomyces tastes like. This is it. With the younguns and Goldun and Dotore all together the setting and circumstances were perfect. We all tasted then dumped. Goldun poured the remains back into the bottle like the tasting had become a funerary service for the last of Girard. BTW, none of the tasting notes we found online mention the obvious contamination. Curious, no? 13.5%

krug2010WEB2010 Charles Krug Cabernet Sauvignon Yountville $22: Available at Total Yawn. This would be a great deal at $15. But at this price level you get genuine Napa Valley Cabernet that (i) tastes like Napa Cab, (ii) is not a fruit bomb, and (iii) is nice to drink with burgers and steak. This is the entry level wine for a winery in transition. Even though the winery publicists insist Peter M remains the guiding hand, and despite the fact the sons hired the proven Pine Ridge winemaker of 30 years Stacey Clark to leave PR and come to Krug, we have to believe these wines have improved dramatically with input from Ms. Clark. We also believe this is the first vintage where she exercised control. The label says cocoa, dried currants, cherries, tobacco. The usual Cab stuff. We tasted mild tannins for a young wine integrated with the high toned fruit. All is in balance. A beauty if you are looking for Napa Cab. 14.5%

Pernot-BourgogneWEB2011 Paul Pernot Bourgogne Chardonnay $20: Goldun wine. Yellow color, solid middle weight. Hazelnut nose. Green flavors with some lemon on opening. Rounds up with 30 minutes, gets oily and rich. Declassified Puligny and Mersault. A beauty. Not quite but close enuff esp. given the pedigree to be a U20 find, if you can find it. 13%

MakorSangio08WEB2008 Makor Sangiovese White Hawk Vineyard $15: The Field Mouse loves a Sangiovese almost as much as he loves Roussanne. He picked this lost bottle up at Wades Wines. Middle to heavy weight liquid with plenty of ripe fruit but hardly over extracted. Just a rich Santa Barbara wine from veteran SB winemaker Jim Adelman who handles many of the daily winemaking for Au Bon Climat. Adelman – who may be the Rodney Dangerfield of SB winemakers – has been making wine and handling daily operations for many winemakers at the Qupe/ABC hangar located on the Bien Nacido property for more than three decades. I think it is safe to say he loves making wine and cares little for being a celebrity. Like Rodney – a comic’s comic – he keeps plugging away turning out great material. The 75 acre White hawk is prized by many locals who get listed on the WH website. Guess which label missing. This was the perfect Field Mouse find. U20 find. 14.5%

Announcement: 65 Willamette Valley Wineries will be pouring in LA Weds Sept 11 at the Ebell theater. If you like Now World Pinot Noir this promises to be a seminal event. $75 includes tastes form tBoW favorites Et Fille and Couer de Terre. Here is the link.

Speaking of classic vintage Rodney… rarely smiles, pops his eyes, hanky on the forehead… and the tie always the tie… WE INSIST YOU WATCH!!

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