Saturday, July 25, 2009
Back when I was just a wine lovin' fool, I took a class at the WSET (Wine & Spirits Education Trust) in New York City. While listening to my instructor extol the virtues of fine Bordeaux, I raised my hand and made some smart-alack remark about how Bordeaux wasn't the end-all, be-all of wine. My teacher shot back something to the effect, "If one doesn't understand and adore Bordeaux, one could never truly be an expert in this field." Despite my internal temperature starting to peak, I shut my mouth. My early feeling was that Bordeaux couldn't shine Burgundies shoes and I was darn happy that everyone else loved it except me. Less people grasping at Beaune meant I would have an easier time getting my hands on it.
But I have softened my stance...at least a little. Time and experience (as well as very generous friends and colleagues) have offered me tastes of mind altering wines from Bordeaux, 1st Growths and little satellite wines alike. To me, there are two kinds of people in the world, Bordeaux people and Burgundy people. Bordeaux is regal; it's the grand-daddy of them all. I can respect that even though there definitely seems to be a "type" to the personality of a Bordeaux lover. You guys like big things...Cabernet, tannins, tooth-staining and mouth-coating wines. I completely get it! It's seductive as hell...I like to think of myself as a Burgundy guy. We're a little geeky, sorta pensive and like to speak in over-flowery language like the wine poets we are, waxing on about terroir and the soil differences between Vosne Romanee Les Beaux Monts vs. Vosne Romanee Les Malconsorts. Also Burgundy guys tend to be a bit more immediate-gratification types. Bordeaux is damn-near undrinkable in its youth (or is it...read below) and requires 10-20 years of patience before one can experience the nirvana of Margaux. Hell, I'm a spry 40, but I don't know if I've got the stick-to-it-iveness to wait these suckers out.
And then I run across a wine like the 2004 Chateau Pape Clement Pessac-Leognan, a surpirsingly drinkable and absolutely delicious blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Despite being so lovable currently, this will no doubt turn into a swan in 15 years as well because of the plethora of black fruit, dark chocolate, cassis and melted licorice notes propped up by plush tannins. This wine struck me so deeply that my faith in Bordeaux has been restored, renewed and recharged. It's funny how wines can do that to you, even when you least expect it.
JCB the 4th
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
1995 Billecart Salmon Cuvee Nicolas Francois Billecart
1991 Coche Dury Meursault Perrieres
2004 Roagna Barolo Vigna Rionda
2004 Giacosa Barolo Falleto (white label)
1992 Niellon Batard Montrachet
1992 Ramonet Batard Montrachet
1993 Rousseau Chambertin
1993 Bachelet Charmes Chambertin
2006 Rene Rostaing Cote Rotie Cote Blonde
1990 Giacosa Barolo Collina Rionda (red label) - corked - like a stake thru the heart!
1978 Rayas Chateauneuf du Pape
1988 Henri Bonneau Chateauneuf du Pape Reserve de Celestins
2002 Neveu Sancerre Vielles Vignes
1999 Berthet Bondet Jura Chateau Chalon
1989 Huet Vouvray Cuvee Constance
1995 Dal Forno Nattare Passito
And a Cuban...the only misstep of the night.
Thank you, kind Sir!
JCB the 4th
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Below is my newsletter to our clients about the article and why we freeze our butts off at 56...
TEMPERATURE RULES! ASK THE WALL ST. JOURNAL...
Despite the name of the store, sometimes folks come in shocked at the temperature. "How can you stand it in here?” the common question heard. Quite honestly, we care more about your wine than we do our own comfort. It's that important. Just take a look at the recent Wall Street Journal article by Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher, where they tackle the question of storage temperature and champion our store as a place to get perfectly stored wine. They explain superbly what we've know for quite a while; temperature is of paramount importance. So critical that we staked our name on it.
The bad things that happen to wine occur at breakneck speed when the temperature rises. Produce is kept cool at the supermarket and during transport so the food stays fresh and allows the natural flavors to shine. Wine is no different. We want to provide you with the brilliant flavors the winemaker coaxed from the fruit that was naturally and carefully harvested. And while we have many offerings that are rarities, we care just as much about the storage of the $12 white from the Touraine.
We'll gladly suffer for our winemakers art and your pleasure.
Director of Wine
JCB the 4th
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Thursday, July 2, 2009
As an aside, there is a little wine by the same producer called Abril de Azul y Garanza that is done in cement tank and is a cheap, juicy dynamo. Look for that in September...
Just landing today is THE white of the week, a minerally yet luscious Gruner Veltliner that goes by the name KALMUCK. It is a Federspiel (think Kabinett if this was Germany) but its bone dry with beautiful weight, crispy white fruits and just a measly 12.5% alc. Could it be the perfect wine? Well, it's darned close because it's just $16.50 and that makes it one to load in the trunk by the case.
Friday night is staff holiday party night. So much Txacolina, Cialla Bianco and Chateauneuf we'll feel it coming out of our pores Saturday morning!
JCB the 4th