Posts belonging to Category Burgundy



Hey Mr Covid19! We’re Still Drinking Wines!!

IS THAT ALL YOU GOT MR. CORONA?

Not Impressed. Not By a Long Shot. We Are Hunkering down and drinking wine and..and..and..so much more!!

tBoW and pals – and the occasional drifter – are spending more time on zoom than an Easter/Passover congregant. Thanks to the Desert Wine Shop – who shipped us a case for $154 including shipping – we have plenty of libations with which to celebrate the High Holy Days. Of course we also have a cellar. I mean a proper one; not a bedroom stuffed to the gills with cases of indeterminate labels. WORD: those cases have been curated by the indomitable Krisses…so you can be certain those boxes are filled with obscure delights…the kind one might find in shops like these https://shopobscuraantiques.com/ once featured on the TV show Oddities [ed. find entire seasons on youtube].

We are still accumulating wines for the long haul. As the history of pathogens has shown humankind for 700 years, this shit don’t just disappear. Now we have the anthropocene to consider [ed. for a heavy dose of pandemic history and microbial science you can read all about it here]. Thanks to pal CarltheBrain – CtB-  for the info. For sheer entertainment – while drinking worthwhile wines – check out the daily press briefings from the White House. How soon before the Big Cheeto comes to the podium looking like Iron Man above?

Here is how we have been entertaining ourselves and staying sane.

2018 Chateau d’Oupia Minervois Les Heretiques $10.56: Absolutely incredible. The perfect tBoW wine. Balanced? Check. Tasty fruit backed by some grit? Check. Balanced? Already said that. OK. How about the wine is true to the region? Super check. This is important. Light to middleweight. How often do we taste a wine that is reminiscent of somewhere other than it was grown? Too often. This is mostly (100%) Carignane from the Languedoc where tBoW visited in 2001. Yup. One month before Nine Eleven. The wine growing region 20 years was still regarded as chump change in the world of French super locales, i.e., Burgundy and Bordeaux. The mini-locales included Minervois, Corbières and Coteaux-du-Languedoc. Château d’Oupia is the winery. Who knew the site is legendary! We can tell you the wine meets the hype…and that is before we knew there was any hype. We called Katie at Desert Wine Shop grabbed another quad.

2009 Esprit de Tablas $45. The Tablas Creek winery was iconic. The first major site/venture in the USA to NOT plant Cabernet and Bordeaux varietals. Chose to go with Rhone grapes that suited the weather! Duh. And they started a nursery with vines imported from the Rhone. But one must wait on these collectible wines…and that can sooo haaaard. tBoW often failed and pulled a cork on a tough, tannic monster “before its time.” Then we had to “aerate” like a Brooklyn launderer. Had to purchase multiple kinds of aerators to do it better and faster. Thankfully we found other wines like Burgundies and Altopiemonteses to distract ourselves. Now it is time to clear the TC remainders. Today the tough tannic monster is a much softer patch of heavy sweet grass. Color is dark. Weight is middle to heavy. Flavors? Sappy but short of syrup. These wines were too ripe when harvested. And still too ripe! Double duh. Towards the earthy style. Find friends who always wanted to drink well-aged classic collectible wines from California. And drink up!

2018 A.A. Baadenhorst The Curator $8.06. Another Katie pick. Red Blend from South Africa. Already tBoW is skeptical. I texted KrisB “easily most memorable wine I have had from South Africa.” KrisB response? – “those are words seldom associated with South African wine.” The wine is pleasant. Even enjoyable. I wouldn’t chill it like the Spanish summer red wine the color of vampiric blood. slugged down on the balcony of a Sevilla hotel in July. Before I could text Katie…Mrs. tBoW said “nice label kinda art deco you think?” But…but…the wine itself is so…what’s that word? MEH. What is the problem with South African wines? Start with Pinotage…”a red wine grape that is South Africa’s signature variety. It was bred there in 1925 as a gutsy cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault.” A nation blended two grapes so it could have its own “unique signature” grape? DUMB. Mrs. tBoW likes it. Red wines do not always agree with her, esp the kind of wines we favor which have balancing acid that brings out nuances when well made. OK. This is quaffable. Inoffensive drink. The Shania Twain of reds. The perfect “food wine” for any season. Let’s get more, she suggests. 2 more from DWS! Now I am at a half case!

2015 Domaine Tortochot Morey St Denis $35: Still young. Early middle age like KrisB and Ikorb. Great color deep ruby. Complex flavors. Cherries more than beets. Supremely balanced with a slight tilt to elegance. Think Jane Fonda in Barbarella…[ed. watched the movie recently]. Could go another 3 years ez. Burgundy. King of wines. Medieval. Vineyards passed down thru the family for centuries. Hard to say no when the right offer comes. So we do not…say no.

Dr. John wants to help us all cast a demonic spell on Mr Covid19. Might work. Nobody knows. Give a listen. Gris gris gumbo ya ya.

 

From the Depths of Despair…Wine Delivers Solace…One Case at a Time.

Sure. Things are grim.

Exclusive Preview of Svengoolie Parody From MAD #4!.

Look. We believe in – and practice – wine therapy.

Every freaking day…well, mostly evenings.

Good news is The Desert Wine Shop in Rancho Mirage is owned by enlightened people whose palates match that of tBoW and many of our readers almost eerily. tBoW called up Kate and asked her to put together then ship a mixed case of her most fabulous and inexpensive [ed. just say c-h-e-a-p] wines. Fact is we have been reading her tasting lineups pre-corona  [ed. of course shut down for now] and she pops corks on some very very very interesting wines. The case arrived within 24 hours [ed. $23 shipping].

Mrs. tBoW has all mail on 24 hour quarantine. So next day at 6:00 [ed. PM] we pulled the cork on the…

2016 Thierry Lurton Chateau Camarac 12.5% $11.66. Blend of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc…from Entre-Deaux-Mers. Full disclosure…tBoW not a fan of Sauv Blanc grape. Grassy California styles ruined that. But Semillon? Has there ever been a bad one made? Me thinks not. And this was superb. Blended like siblings who love each other. Need more of this for summertime when covid19 has been sent packing…or at least until such a time as it returns. No? Unlikely? Unable to wait on this. Interesting note from producer on back label: “to be kept 1 to 4 years.” So we are at the end of the winemaker’s recommended cycle. We are prudent and attentive with all warnings. We keep socially distant. We stay inside unless we drive around in our hermetically sealed vehicle. Only host or attend virtual wine tastings.

Other wines in the case include a Savoie Gamay Rose @ $9.86; Parallele 45 Cotes du Rhone Blanc [ed. nice, esp since not fond of red CdR wines] @ $12.56; Aveleda Vinho Verde @ $9.86…and eight more wines that will be covered during this horrific pandemic now gratefully tempered with a splendid case of vin from DWS.

Pour a glass and read the following tale of life among Millenials featuring ironic irony and admirable, if normal, work habits penned by the Glass Jar. The name of the current employer of the Glass Jar will remain unknown to protect it’s questionable nature and unnecessary existence [ed. a few more wine reviews shall follow]..

All Wade ever did was walk around the building.

Wades work history is peppered with rapid departures. He was once fired from a job he took knowing in his own mind the job was mindless. Wade was later fired. Curiously, the executives flew over to the office to fire the woman who fired Mr. Mindless. Mr. Mindless had a buddy from his neighborhood who he worked with. His buddy has since been fired. 

Wade was known for walking around the building. He did little work and commonly strolled around parts of the building he had nothing to do with. He was told by his supervisor that he was taking too many walks. On that day, he took a walk. Wade did last a solid seven months before he was told it was him time to join the Hall of Fame of people fired from this beautiful company.

About a month after Wade’s last walk out of the building, this COVID-19 situation had all employees working from home. [ed. ironic eh?] We were told to get the things we needed and head on home. Meetings were virtual. Working in pajamas was normal. Taking long breaks in-between emails became normal. When you take away supervisors and cubicles, it is amazing how little work one can do from home. With all the walking around I was doing on the clock, I realized this pandemic is turning us all into Wade! If only Wade could just stay employed by Morons Incorporated, he would be getting paid to walk around whichever building he wanted.

A message of hope to kids, one day you can be paid to sit around and watch TV and don’t let anybody stop you from believing in yourself. 

Now we are going to provide you with the best coronavirus wines. Wines to make you reflect on all the nothing you accomplish when working out of the bath tub.

Thank you GJ. I feel like Svengoolie sans the makeup. Classic “culture crossed with tacky would-be humor.” Perfect for the shut-in season. Here is teh extar wine review.

2017 Gachot-Monot Cote de Nuits-Villages $30ish. [ed. I lifted this right off a website. Helps the memory.]This is a special cuvee which comes from a plot of the same name “Les Chaillots” in old Burgundian French which means ‘Les Cailloux’ (the Pebbles) which exactly describes this plot where the soil is very stony with natural drainage. The soil produces complex wines which are expressed in fruity notes of cherry, blackberry & forest floor. Would tBoW say Complex? Nah. Ripe and juicy? Yes. Cherry and blackberry? Cherry. Forest floor? Not a hint “tanks gott.” Not even meaty unless you are thinking kangaroo jerky, crikey. This wine is delicious and a Burgunday bargain. Almost certian it was a Desert Wine purchase.

Thanks to the Glass Jar for his contirbution to vin literatur. Since we are all locked up and shut in with nothing better to do than let our minds wander we encourage you to share your views on life and wine. Here is the greatest songwriter of a generation.

Forced and Unforced Wine Errors.

 

Making Sense of Chaos.

Lettie Teague recently wrote what she really loves about wine 7 Reasons We Love Wine. tBoW loves Lettie Teague…and wine. Much to love when it comes to wine. However, there is a lot of dopey stuff as well. And since tBoW does not write for a living (at least not about wine) we can poke fun at all the silliness involved.

Take Wallys Wine and Spirits. For more than four decades Wallys was the trendsetter in how to market fine wine. Steve Wallace and Gary Fishman [ed. call me Gary, Matt’s Dad wants to interview you] ran the best WINE shop on the Westside. The only competition was the Wine House which became the SUPER market for wines ’round the world. However, Wallys was the top dog with the Hollywood client list. Ran into Danny Kay there. Had him sign the birthday card I happened to be carrying with me. Now Wallys is a laff riot of misguided pretension. Glamour and importance. Cater your next awards season party. Affect your glamorous lifestyle. Forced error – misguided hubris.

The aging wine thing is D-U-M-B. Archaic. Silly. Producing wine to be aged is bull pucky; a fashion foisted on the innocenti who believe wine is better with age. The only thing better with age is adolescence. In fact aging wine is a gamble…a poor one. Odds are stacked against those who love wine when the wine needs to “lay down.” This is doublespeak for heavy oak and tannins more commonly found in wood sealers. Those phonies who would write a wine review suggesting “lay down this beauty for a decade” are lost in the “fog of wine.” Lettie Teague would never suggest laying down a wine. At least we believe that is true.

Ever freeze a bottle of wine? You now…put it in the freezer to cool and discover a few days later you actually put in the cooler to freeze? Unforced DUMB error.

tBoW recommends wines that can be opened and consumed right now. Sometimes it is necessary to lay the wine down in the cellar. This is usually the case when wine is shipped. Wait 2 weeks if you can stand it. Sometimes it is necessary to allow a wine to settle down if the bottle has been cooled in the freezer on a bed of ice…and forgotten. That wine should be defrosted at room temp before pulling the cork in another week…if the cork has not forced its own exit from the bottle. Barring unforced errors like freezing wine for good cause there is no excuse for buying wine that needs to be aged for a decade or more. There are two exceptions to this rule: ports and sauternes.

Here are two wine paragons that can please greatly when opened “before their time;” and one wine that missed its “open by” date.

2016 Boxler Gewurtztraminer $35: Floral nose, a flower bouquet, honey suckle. Flavors of hay and mint. Say what? Over the top AND balanced. Honey. A knockout. Can it age. Certainly. However, if we bought more it would be like trying to keep my hands off my baby granddaughter. Oh sure. Wait until she’s five years old and more ambulatory. Looks like this gewurtz baby is still available at Kermit Lynch, Flatiron and Vintage Wine Merchants in San Jose. Lucky buy! Thank you Kermit.

NV Perrier-Jouet Grand Brut 13.5% $39 at Costco. May seem pricey however for champagne of this pedigree it is the go-to choice for tBoW on Valentines Day. Fruity, marzipan like. Break out the nice flutes. Dependable selection for the special occasion. The right question is whether the tBoW reviewed Cava sparkler Ravenots at 40% the cost, is good enough? We would say not quite…but close.

2011 Domaine Joseph Roty Marsannay 13%. $40ish. Tough to find. Because it is old now. Generally the vineyard designations age longer and are more interesting than this village bottling. The pedigree – Roty – is top notch. The wine is exotic but on its way to the Assisted Living Facility. tBoW finds that Burgs are generally better when consumed “before their time.” We missed here by a couple years. Forced PEDIGREE error. Fuggedaboudid. It’s Burg Town..

Making the right choices when buying wines is important to our list of reasons to love wine. As Chuck D and Public Enemy put it don’t believe the hype. However we find Bob McNamara in all his confidence and technicalities the more appropos analogue when it comes to figuring out how to enjoy wine by accepting the Fog of Wine.

Cellar Purge: Wait Too Long & Suffer Like Postseason Doyers

SIGN OF GREAT WINE? BE REAL.

Would you pull the cork on one of these dusty moldy bottles with excitement or trepidation? The task is not any easier for much larger concerns. Consider the Dodgers. Their pitching staff is somewhat like the photo. They got rid of one very bad bottle but held onto a couple showing serious signs of age.

Los Doyers had the chance to get another relief pitcher before the deadline and failed to do what was obvious. Now comes the lesson. When one fails to do the obvious now one often pays the price later on.

Image result for CLAYTON KERSHAW SLIPPING

PAST HIS PRIME

So it is also true with wine “collecting.” As the reader should understand we no longer “collect” wine. Although we have in the past. “Collecting” involves buying “trophy bottles” [ed. see Wine Speculator and 100 point scores] with heavily hyped name winemakers or labels. This rarely works out when it comes to actually pulling a cork. Another “collecting” mistake is buying a wine because it “means something” like a favorite travel destination. Or winning a World Series.

The final collecting mistake is actually good advice. Somebody gives you a bottle of plonk over the upcoming horrible holidays? Get rid of it. Re-gift it. Just do not let the Riesling from Yakima WA occupy any space on the bar or god forbid in the cellar. We learned these lessons once again when recently re-doing the cellar. Think about how the Dodgers dumped Yasiel Puig. He had to go. Stuck around way too long.

tBoW and Ikorb went thru our shared cellar last week. Every bottle was under consideration. The new cellar features a new cooler (Whisperkool 5000 on Craigslist $600 cash) and half as much space which means half as many bins. Many many bottles were purged. The new org scheme features the most precious wines, e.g., Ital Nebs and French Pinots. It had to be. [ed. he has a handful of domestic Pinot Noir which has-to-go] Ten cases of bought-and-paid-for wines will be arriving in 60 days from Fass Selections, Kermit Lynch and even Garagiste [ed. Fass and Rimmerman in dead heat for most entertaining online retailers]. tBoW Sr. has decided to devote his wine selections to David Russell of WHWC [ed. just picked up two Corsican DR picks].

HE HAD TO GO

Wines that did not make the cellar cut: Rangeland 2009 Cabernet and 2009 Zinfandel. tBoW felt strong ties to the young winemaker when visiting on 2010. When tBoW writes the following about a winemaker you know a purchase of wine will follow. “Shannon is Audrey Hepburn in a hoodie, Astrud Gilberto punching down the cap.” Bought too many bottles. Most opened within a couple years. Waiting 10 years for the last couple three makes the point.

Do not wait too long – like more than four years -on 95% of California wines. Unless the wines are from Tablas Creek. We expect those to be ready in another five years [ed. which would be a total of 15 to 20 years]! And they will be finally ready. Will they be worth the wait? Who can say. We are no longer fond of red Rhone style wines no matter the vintage! [ed. note to readers white Rhones not included]. At ten years the Rangeland – which was not intended to go this long – was completely out of sorts.

POWERHOUSE CONSISTENCY

The other wine we held far too long was the 2009 Chateau Cambon. This illustrates another “collector” mistake – buying the winemaker [ed. see above Rangeland] and not the wine. This was the last wine made by Marcel Lapierre the “legendary winemaker” of Beaujolais, in particular Morgon [ed. Beaujolais has more than 5 but less than ten villages – look it up!]. Beauj is 100% Gamay juice. Every wine drinker needs to make up her mind about Gamay juice. Part of the argument aside from palate preference, was that Beaujolais and Gamay were the poor man’s Burgundy choice. Not really. It is always about the Price-Quality ratio aannnndddd what your palate prefers. Gamay just does not do it for tBoW.

We still have Beaujolais in the cellar. None from 2009 any more. However there are several from 2013. These can form the first flight to a late summer tasting.

After three “flawed” wines we settled on Burgundy [ed. duh]. We had a 2010 and a 2011 Roty Marsannay. Right. We opened both. 

The 2010 was delishus. The 2011 was delishus. These Roty wines from Marsannay were a tad more rustic than the Fournier Marsannay slugged down recently. Small point. Both bottles were exhausted enthusiastically. Ikorb noted that the nose on the 2011 “stinks of truffles.” His sniffer is legendary.

One needs a guide to identifying quality Burgs. If you like truffles – or cherries or beets – you will love Burgundy wines however selection is everything. I believe the same can be said of German Rieslings. And Maus will tell us we may apply these same considerations to his special spots [ed. Rhone plus other off the trail regions in France] where he knows exactly what to buy.

Wait! One more lesson learned. Start with the highest quality when filing your cellar; not from the bottom. Andrew Friedman chose not to replace his GM who left for the Giants [ed. nice job there]. Instead he split the job of one technocrat among three others. Expect to see postseason analysis of that failure–to–fulfill. Astros in 6…again. However I actually hope the Dodgers prevail so there will never be another World Series trophy wine like this one below.

Wine Talk with the Ultimate Cognoscentus: Mr. David Russell

 

We have an exclusive interview with David Russell who is the Senior Wine Advisor at Woodland Hills Wine Company which is tBoW’s home store. A truncated set of questions and answers follow [ed. that means there are others on the shelf]. Suffice it to say David has wasted most of his life chasing a wine dream. Something with which tBoW and readers are familiar. There are worse things to pursue like going into politics. He has worked at prestigious wine shops along the Coastal Premium Wine Shop Trail which runs from Seattle thru Portland then the Bay Area to Santa Barbara, LA and Orange County. In case he looks familiar his personal tracks cover the Bay Area and Santa Barbara, and now Woodland Hills. There are maybe a dozen or so premium wine shops where one can count on great wine for a fair price sold by folks who know their shit. And away we go.

David wears glasses and is often fighting a chill.

1. tBoW: You are from SB and almost the right age. Did you riot in IV? DR: I’m definitely the right age, however I was in Hong Kong dodging the draft serving a Mormon mission (seriously!) when the really heavy shit went down in about 1970. Also I went to UC Berkeley, not UCSB (although most of my friends did go to UCSB and did participate in, uh, acts of civil disobedience.

2. tBoW: Spumante or prosecco? DR: I can tolerate a decent Prosecco. 

3. tBoW: what was the last wine you drank – not tasted – that was higher than 15%? DR: Though it doesn’t taste like it’s 15%, the 2014 Passopisciaro from Etna is labeled as such, and I definitely enjoyed it.

4. tBoW: Compare these wines for relative quality: Rochioli and Williams Selyem (Burt years). DR: I haven’t had nearly the experience with either that many have, but the W-S during the Burt years that I have tasted were not only frighteningly Burgundian, but I’d go even further and say that some were even Jayer-like.

5. tBoW: What Burg region would you recommend TODAY for value? What is your personal fave Burg region? Producers: choose Leroy/DRC vs, Armand Rousseau?

the wine that inspired this post was sold to us by David Russell!

DR: Probably the Côte Chalonnaise. Or Marsannay and/or Fixin. I likely have more favorite producers in the Côte de Nuits than in the Côte de Beaune, simply because the former is so much bigger and has so many more growers. I’d give DRC the nod over Leroy (though we’re splitting hairs here), as I’ve had more older bottles that truly delivered (’62 La Tâche being a case in point). Remember: Domaine Leroy has only been existence since 1988. As much as I adore Rousseau, it’s only their top three wines that really perform at the level they ought to; the Charmes-Chambertin, Mazy-Chambertin, and Clos de la Roche routinely under-deliver. There also other producers among the very elite: Louis-Michel Liger-Belair, Mugneret-Gibourg, Mugnier; Lafon, Raveneau, and Roulot in white.

7. tBoW: How long have you known Marsanne is not south of Beaune? DR: But Marsanne is south of Beaune, unless you mean Marsannay.

8. tBoW: We support the Price/Quality ratio and NOT the 100 point system which is only 13 points. Is Shanken a prick? DR: He strikes me more a buffoon than a prick.

9. tBoW: Port or Sauternes? DR: Sauternes.

10. tBoW: Is Santa Barbara suitable for Pinot Noir? Didn’t Richard Sanford have it right (how to make SB Pinot) from the start? DR: Yes, although I think Santa Maria is undervalued and Sta. Rita Hills overrated. Richard Sanford may indeed have had it right, to a degree at least, but the most compelling SB pinots for me have come from Jim Clendenen (Au Bon Climat).

11. tBoW: Can Calif produce great wines? Does it? Who are SOME of the GREAT producers? DR: Yes. It does, at least it did…pre-Parker. Ridge Monte Bello is still great. But none of the Big Bucks Cult Cabs are even worthy of mention in the same sentence with ’68-’70 Heitz Martha’s, ’68 or ’70 BV Private Reserve, ’74 Conn Creek, etc.

12. tBoW: What is it about Lodi that makes it the most dependable and best growing region in CA. DR: Who says Lodi is the best growing region in CA? Certainly not I.

13. tBoW: What can u say about Riesling in less than 10 words? DR: Rivals pinot in its ability to express terroir.

Many many thanks to David for sharing some time with tBoW readers. When in Woodland Hills drop into Woodland Hills Wine Company. As you can see, if you love wine then you always end up at some point with Burgundy. Maus will tell you to hunt down white Rhones and KrisB will expound on Riesling values. IGTY will ask is this all you got? tBoW Jr wants to know what we are drinking tonight. We value winemakers like Jim Moore and wine retailers like David Russell. Christ. I’m getting moist eyes.

Here. Try some Ron Burgundy with your wine Burgundy…