A New King in Beaujolais, Paso Brilliance, and a Devilish Deal

made his deal with the devil

Time to pull the ornaments off the tree, drag the shedding carcass to the curb, and turn our sights to summer. Before we forget the great wines tasted over the Holiday here is a review of more notables poured and quaffed.

2005 Tablas Creek Esprit de Beaucastel Blanc $35: Tablas Creek is the premier producer in Paso Robles and possibly the entire Central Coast. And the whiter wines may be the best wines from the estate. The Esprit de Beaucastel white and red wines are the premium blends from the estate. Not only was TC among the first wineries in the region to “get it right” by growing and producing Rhone style wines in Paso they also produce some of the best wines from Paso every vintage. There is no question TC has inspired Central Coast startups [ed. upstarts?] to follow their lead and use their cuttings. This was in a split (375 ml). Honeysuckle, ripe pear, creme brulee. A big wine for our tastes but still within the limits of very well balanced wines that represent the region. 70% Rousanne and 25% Grenache Blanc. Here is a link worth reading to the TC website that reviews a vertical tasting of the premium line in red and white. 14.5%

2008 Field Recordings Jurrassic Park Chenin Blanc $15: 14% Rescued from the Wine House Sale Bin [ed. old guard grind-it-out-above-it-all emporium in West LA; how can a shop with an encyclopedic selection be SO BORING?] by tBoW remote taster Field Mouse at half off making this the Super U20 of the season. Further evidence the Wine Bored should give vinifera another chance in 2011 is the emergence of this visionary project by one dude leveraging a key position in vineyard management to make a few worthwhile bottles of wine under his Field Recordings label. What IS the meaning of the label name? Filmic reference or just his way of saying the old ways are the best ways. Turns out it is probably neither. Field recordings were made by collector historians of Delta blues musicians in the 30s and 40s often – but not always – right there with recording equipment in the trunk of a car adjacent to the farm fields where these old masters worked. As happenstance would have it tBoW has been listening and hunting down these musical field recordings recently. This “old vine” Chenin Blanc – planted in 1978 – from the Santa Ynez Valley is a case in point; maybe the Tommy Johnson of wine; very rare, eccentric, a terrific experience, then never to be seen again. The wine is cloudy in the glass – it IS unfiltered and unfined. Tasters said nummy num nums. Please sir can I have some more? Here are the dude’s own tasting notes from his Jurassic Park facebook page. We really think we should taste the other wines.

Production: 349 cases made
Aging: 50% stainless steel, 50% neutral French oak for 6 months
Vineyard notes: These vines are old and barely surviving. They are naturally stressed by age and the infertile sandy soil.
Tasting notes: Radioactive lemonade color. Expressive and lively aromas of key lime pie, almonds and chamomile, with a stripe of acidity through the unfined/unfiltered/unadulterated lemon curd flavor. Incredible food-pairing flexibility. Drink now or by 2011.

2009 Eve et Michel Rey Juli√©nas “Les Pacquelets” Tr√®s Vieille Vigne $22: Now what makes this wine fun is the TRES Vielle Vigne on the label. Old Vines? See that plenty alot. VERY old vines? One of the Reys has a sense of humor AND he ain’t lying. Vines that produced this juice are 90 years and aging. Good thing the wine ain’t funny. It is simply delicious. It is so good it is the most memorable 2009 Beaujolais and strictly on a flavor/pleasure basis would knock the Dubouef entries off the top of the list in the vintage everyone should buy. Except for the price. tBoW will keep his eye on this wine waiting for an early price drop in 2011. Then we move. A North Berkeley Wine Selection blended by our favorite wine store in the Bay Area. 12.5%

Give Tommy Johnson a listen and hear what a man sounds like who made his own deal with the devil…like we did with Bacchus!


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    Le Large says:

    A factual error — I protest — where do you buy your Beaujolais anyway? Amazon? North Berekely? Vinemaster, did thou forgetest thy protege picked up a bottle at The Wine Barn in Santa Rosa (another fine quasi-Bay Area establishment, Dry Creek-adjacent) for a mere $16.99… thus with discriminating shoppers your favorite Beau indeed qualifies as a U20!


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    Le Large says:

    Btw, I have another one, which might just rival, or eclipse the Eve et Michel Rey Juliénas…. (price comparable) –L

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    Bacchus says:

    Large – Your largesse is exceeded only by your largeness. Thanks for the info re Santa Rosa Wine Barn. My comments referred to – my surprise – that the boys at North Berkeley Wine Imports did the hand picking on site. You might check
    out NBW next time roaming the Bay Area. Great for Burgs and SW France.

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    Bondrayson says:

    Fools! I got a Cranberry Juice Cocktail at a City of Marina
    7-11 last evening for a mere $2.99. It was rich yet delicate with a plastic aftertaste that would knock your socks off. I can only sit and wait for next week’s vintage.

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