Here are some of our thoughts about the 4 wines we tried in VINO tonight–
Just so you know, we are not presenting here 4 esoteric wines, just to showcase the latest fashion/trend. Each of these are stellar, standout wines, so much so, one can readily measure other wines you taste to, they are that good. It begins with very individually unique vineyards that truly have something special to say. And, these wines also feature truly masterful, artisanal winemaking. The combination is game changing. Over the years, finding this truly remarkable quality of wines is what rings my bell. Finding them from lesser known appellations before the high acclaim & therefore high prices & scarce availability is just the icing on the cake.
Bet you’ve never had a Beaujolais like this before! Jules Chauvet was a true yoda of his craft & was so far ahead of his time with his au naturale approach to grape growing & winemaking. Much later, contemporary icons like Marcel Lapierre & Jean Foillard followed in his footsteps with his approach. At the same time, so did Jean Jacques Robert over in the Maconnais & his small portfolio of single, old vine parcel Chardonnays. Here is the first red wine from him which has come to the Islands. The parcel is leased from Jules Chauvet’s niece (20 & 70 year old vines grown in sandy decomposed granite) & the grapes are wild yeast fermented in old barrels & then aged for an additional 16 months in 7 year old barrels. The color is very light & the wine quite transparent. The wine’s nose had a distinct gunflintiness in its core, with a rustic Old World charm. So pretty with understated vinosity & character. It is surprisingly light on the palate, but still with good intensity & concentration, just done with remarkable lightness & fabulous deliciousness.
2009 Chateau Belle-Graves “Lalande de Pomerol”
A fabulous, relatively new discovery for us. Situated in Lalande de Pomerol, just north of Pomerol, Belles-Graves produces Merlot-dominated wines with a lush, velvety texture and very fine tannins. The vineyards are planted on slopes that descend to the east, south and west of the estate, which sit just across a small stream from some of the famous estates of Pomerol (& of all of Bordeaux for that matter). Their greatness comes from their own terroir of varied clay and gravel where flint, quartz, and mica offer distinct mineral components to each parcel. How can one not love the lush, velvety plumpness in the front & middle with the prominent gravelly finish. It is really nice to find an true artisan, estate grown Bordeaux which truly over delivers for the dollar.
2011 de Villaine Rully “Les Sainte-Jacques”
From the truly iconic Aubert deVillaine & interesting vineyards near his home in the lesser known Chalonnaise appellation. Their single-vineyard parcels are stunning examples of what this complex and amazing terroir can yield. These wines have great purity, true character & intricacies, qualities one might expect from a true Master such as de Villaine. “Much of this is due to both the diversity of his vinestock and his organic and biodynamic methodology in the vineyards, both of which Aubert stands by with great conviction“. I bet you’ve never had a Chardonnay like this! The nose has great purity–slightly honeyed, floral (in the limestone kind of way) & totally captivating in its minerality. I was really taken by its compelling “presence” & seeming vinosity. On the palate I was also quite taken by how wonderfully seamless & textural this wine masterfully is. What a fabulous drink!!!!! It is wines like this, from a vintage like 2011 (generally lukewarmly received by the media), which reminds one that vintage charts are generalities & scores, just one person’s opinion.
2013 Faury Condrieu
Condrieu was once considered one of the great white wines of the world & here is your chance to try one of the most pure and most interesting. “The steep slopes of Condrieu have a grade of up to 55% & present a challenging terrain where farming is only feasible through terracing. The work is therefore back breaking & is done because of true passion“. Domaine Faury is one of the northern Rhone Valley’s true artisanal producers & the resulting wines exemplify authenticity, done with soul & deliciousness, a rare combination. The primary fermentation is done in stainless steel cuves & then the wine is aged 11 months on its lees, in 10% new barrels, 30% 2 to 5 year-old barrels, and 60% stainless steel. What an exotic perfume!!! Apricots, jasmine, stone, honeysuckle, plumeria–all so pretty & enticing. The palate is rich with all kinds of exotic fruit coupled with definite stone nuances & a slight nuttiness. What a real pleasure to drink & savor!