It’s been quite awhile since I’ve had the time or energy to get on here and post anything, but don’t let that make you think I’ve not been enjoying wine! I most certainly have been. So I figured I’d post a few highlights of recent times and then hopefully get on with a more educational review in the near future.
Selosse Le Bout du Clos Champagne: Anselme Selosse has been a game changer in Champagne and I have previously enjoyed several bottles of the “Initial” which is the “entry level” offering. He is perhaps most famous for his Lieux Dits collection which is 6 single vineyard Champagnes showcasing various terroir. Le Bout du Clos is the first one I’ve been able to taste. From a plot in Ambonnay and made with mostly pinot noir which Ambonnay is most famous for. There is a small amount of chardonnay blended in. Selosse makes wine in an oxidative style so it is a different profile than typical for Champagne. I personally love it. The nose here is simply captivating with red apple and red d’anjou pear, toasted walnuts and honey, hints of damp stony earth. With air the fruit takes on a slightly bruised character and the smells seem to change each sip. The palate is deep, vinous, and very long. There is a caressing sensation that covers your whole mouth and the flavors linger. A great wine that I thoroughly enjoyed. This bottle was disgorged in April 2017. I hope to try more of the Lieux dits collection in the future!
Clos des Lambrays 1962: This is a particularly fine vintage in Burgundy. For those of you that follow Allen Meadows, he gives this vintage a 5 start rating in his excellent book regarding Burgundy vintages. So I was particularly excited to try this as it may very well be the only ’62 I ever get to drink. Clos des Lambrays at this point was actually a 1er cru as it was not upgraded to grand cru status until 1981. It was owned at this time by the Cosson family and was labeled as Morey St Denis Grand Cru Classe which is a term used in Bordeaux. The Cosson family by all reports I’ve seen were not great stewards of the vineyard and it slowly fell into disrepair until they sold it. Now of course it is one of the 5 grand crus of Morey St Denis and has regained a very good reputation. This particular bottle I obtained from a Zachy’s auction and honestly had no idea what to expect. The fill and color appeared quite good for a wine of this age. On first pour, the wine was a bit earth driven, but clearly not corked or oxidized. Over the next hour it blossomed into a purely exquisite experience. The nose was classic old Burgundy… forest floor or sous bois as the French term; hints of salumi and game meat, with air surprisingly fresh red berry fruits with a hint of bergamot oil, floral notes, and then some sweet spices and black tea emerge. Constantly changing, each sniff was pure pleasure. The palate was good though not great as the mid palate lacked a bit of concentration and the acidity seemed to shorten the finish. This actually continued to improve and flesh out which made me wish I could have followed it a bit longer. Regardless it was a great experience. I’d love to taste more wines from this stellar vintage, but as you can imagine they are difficult to find and quite pricey…
Domaine G Roumier Corton Charlemagne 2010: Roumier is certainly much more famous for their red wines which is justified as they are exquisite in quality. I found this Corton Charlie for a pretty reasonable price (considering it is a grand cru from Roumier of course) and decided to check out their white wine capability. Christophe Roumier is a truly gifted wine maker and this did not disappoint. As with any white Burgundy these days I’m always nervous about premox and decided a little over a decade was enough age for this. Based on this bottle, it wasn’t… the wine was incredibly fresh and vivid and clearly has some more development ahead. That said, it was still a phenomenal wine. I did actually decant it to get it going. The nose was so floral and fresh. Jasmine, lilac, lemon verbena, lemon zest, ripe golden apple and green pear, and a tiny hint of oak spices. The palate was super fresh and driven compared with a few other CC’s I’ve tasted. Great mid-palate concentration and a long finish. With air the fruit became more peach and poached pear, but still with a great freshness on the palate. My personal taste in white Burgundy is certainly for a fresher style so I absolutely adored this. This clearly has more to give, but is drinking well now with a good aeration.
DRC Vosne Romanee 1er Cru “Cuvee Duvault Blochet” 2006: DRC is widely considered the best and most important domaine in all of Burgundy. They generally only release grand cru level wines, but occasionally they release a “1er cru” that is made with declassified fruit from their grand crus. Usually I believe it is Echezeaux and Grands Echezeaux with maybe a bit of RSV. I’ve never tasted a bottle and decided I needed to explore the hype. This particular bottle was spell bindingly good which was awesome because I was fully prepared to be quite disappointed. Open and ready to go, but certainly only in the the early stages of maturity if even that. The nose was like the definition of Vosne spice with clove, cardamom, cinnamon, and a hint of anise. Following the spices were perfectly ripe red berry fruits such as cherry and raspberry, then black tea, and hints of floral perfume. The palate is such a great example of power without weight. It seemed to obliterate my taste buds with the power of the flavors yet at the same time danced across with such liveliness and lift… exquisite.
Chateau d’Yquem 1981: Yquem is a wine I’ve had only a few times and the first time or two it didn’t really blow me away. A 2011 split had last year did blow me away and moved me to want to taste more of it. I’ve never had a mature example so I was pretty excited to explore this bottle. Certainly not a great vintage, but good enough. The color was a deep orange gold. The nose was initially a bit overwhelmingly botrytis type notes, but this quickly cleared to show apricot and orange marmalade, honeyed pecan, orange blossom, sweet spices, and some dried orchard blossom notes. The palate was rich and had an almost viscous feel, but just when you worry it would start feeling heavy the acidity lifted and kept it focused. The finish was so long it was silly. Great stuff.
Lopez de Heredia Gran Reserva Tondonia 1981: last, but not least a beautiful mature Rioja. I don’t drink a lot of Rioja because for several years I felt like they were simply emulating other international wines and tasted anonymous. Heredia of course has never strayed from their ultra-classic style and so when I did and do drink Rioja, they are my go to producer. Not to mention the wines age effortlessly. This bottle was simply singing and has lots of life ahead. The nose is pure and delightful with fresh red berry notes, orange peel, tobacco, dusty earth, damp leather, and lovely note of petrichor. The palate has incredible freshness for the age, but also has excellent depth and the balance was perfect with the tannin, acidity, and fruit/savory notes co-mingling in exquisite harmony. This easily has years ahead!
Ok I think I’ll stop there. Not a bad summer of tasting just looking at these 6 bottles! I’ll try to find a vineyard or region to get out an overview on in the near future. Until then cheers and enjoy summer!
J. Newman, CSW