About this Blog

The blog focuses on the essence of wine and food, not how many points or stars it receives. The opinions are mine and should be taken only as that, an opinion not gospel.

Like many collectors, initially I was very much influenced by wine ratings. I purchased wines based on points, even if I had never tasted the wine. And it was much worse than that. I would drink a wine with a high rating, not like it, yet since it was highly rated I’d rationalize that I did not yet appreciate the wine, or that my palate was not sophisticated enough to understand the wine. How’s that for lunacy? As a result my cellar grew in all directions while my palate narrowed. By the time I realized the style of wine that I enjoyed, my cellar abounded with wines whose styles I did not enjoy. All of these wines were very highly rated, just not my cup of tea, or glass of wine to be more accurate. Fortunately I was able to sell many of these wines to those who either enjoyed them or wanted highly rated wines. Don’t misunderstand, I am not against wines with high ratings, in fact I own many. It is just that I now purchase wines based on the producer, the style and my palate, not the rating. Nor do I shun reading reviews. I very much respect Antonio Galloni, Alan Meadows, Eric Asimov and John Gilman and read their reviews routinely. I pay attention to what they write, not the points they award.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Back to Burgundy

Our wine group met this past week for dinner at The Pluckemin Inn, in Bedminster, NJ.   The Pluckemin Inn is a routine venue for us. The food is always excellent and the wine service, under the direction of Wine Director Brian Hider, is first class. A few of the plates we enjoyed tonight were Vitello Tonato; Ricotta Gnocchi, Risotto, Pork Chop and Scottish Salmon.

It was Marc’s turn to choose and bring the wine.  For the first time since I have been in the group, Marc did not bring Italian wines, instead he made his first venture into Burgundy.  His selections were excellent and made for good drinking and lively conversation.  Group member Jeff has an extensive Burgundy collection and is the most knowledgeable person I know regarding the wines from there.  The opportunity to learn about the vintage and producer specifics of the wines we drank is greatly appreciated by all of us.

2009 Patrick Piuze Chablis Montee de Tonnerre 1er Cru.  Unfortunately tonight’s bottle suffered from premature oxidation.  While the wine was drinkable, it was not very enjoyable.  It lacked the crisp, pure fruit and vibrant acidity of previous bottles I have had of this wine.  Patrick Piuze is one of the upcoming stars in Chablis. While he owns no vineyards, he has access to fruit from the very best plots in Chablis.  His wines are delicious and very reasonably priced. $50.  New York Wine Warehouse.

2009 Domaine Joseph Drouhin Gevrey Chambertin, Villages.  This estate is one of the largest in all of Burgundy.  In addition to making wine from their own fruit they also source fruit from other vineyard owners.  This Villages wine is made from sourced fruit.  This is a delightful entry level wine and a great way to experience the magic of classic Burgundy Pinot Noir at a very reasonable price.  The wine possessed a bright ruby red color with a fruity and delicate nose.  On the palate it was harmonious, balanced with considerable character and finesse.  The wine is vinified with indigenous yeasts under temperature control.  It is aged in oak barrels (20% new) for 14 to 18 months.  $50. Wine-Searcher.

1997 Comte Armand Pommard Clos des Epeneaux 1er Cru.  A bit tight on the first sip, but it opened nicely over the next hour.  The fruit became more vibrant (typical of the vintage) and refined with each sip.  I found the finish to be a bit short.  Like the 1997 vintage in Barolo, I think the best years for this vintage are behind it and in my opinion should be consumed now.  $156. Wine-Searcher.

2003 Louis Jadot Gevrey Chambertin Clos St. Jacques 1er Cru.  The Jadot estate has been making classic red and white Burgundy wines since 1859.    The wine is fermented in vats for 3 to 4 weeks and then aged in 228 litre oak barrels (made by the estate) for 18 to 20 months before bottling.  Tonight's wine was full-bodied and complex on the palate.  Fruit was alive and focused and it finished with a lingering elegance.  A terrific wine from a hot vintage.  $127. Wine-Searcher.

2007 Domaine Georges Mugneret-Gibourg Nuits St. Georges Les Chaignots 1er Cru.  Marc purchased this from the Pluckemin wine list as the 1996 Domaine Jean Grivot Nuits St Georges les Boudots he intended to serve was corked.  The wine possessed a classic red Burgundian nose. The complex palate was marked by lively fruit, soft tannins and excellent balance while the finish was lengthy and elegant.  A terrific wine at the beginning of its drinking window that will provide pleasure for many years to come.  $102.  The US market appears to be out of this vintage.

Great job Marc.


Sunday, June 14, 2015

A "Retired" Lunch

The other day I had lunch with two members of our wine group who recently joined me in the ranks of retirement.  They came up with the idea that we should do a "retirees" luncheon from time to time.  Great ideas should always be pursued and we did.   We kicked it off with 3 fantastic white whites that drank beautifully.  Lunch was at the Pluckemin Inn, in Bedminster, NJ.   The food is always good here, especially the Onion Soup and Burgers.

2010 Borgo del Tiglio Studio di Bianco, 14% abv.  The estate produces mostly white wines.  In my opinion owner/winemaker Nicola Manferrari is at the very top of the list of great producers of Italian white wines. To highlight the influence of the terroir the grapes from each plot are kept separate in the winemaking process. All of the Borgo del Tiglio whites are fermented in barrel.

The wine we drank today, the estate's top wine was simply stunning.  A blend of Friulano, Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling, this is a compelling round and delicious wine.  It boasts fully developed fruit, complexity, balance and brilliant acidity.  Production is small making the wines a bit hard to find.  I have had success in finding them at New York Wine Warehouse.  While the Studio di Bianco is a bit pricey at $75, the entry-level wine, Borgo del Tiglio Collio Bianco (Friulano, Chardonnay, Malvasia, Riesling and Sauvignon blend) is about $35. While it lacks the complexity and depth of the Studio, it is a fantastic wine.

2006 Henri Boillot Puligny Montrachet Clos De La Mouchere 1er Cru.  This estate has been producing red and white Burgundy since 1885.  The Clos De La Mouchere we drank today is from their Les Moucheres monopole. The grapes are whole-bunch pressed and vinified without any batonnage (stirring). After fermentation the wine goes to barrel, either new or one year old barrel, and is bottled after 18 months. No racking, fining or filtering. It was excellent with a rich bouquet of flowers and fruit. Oak is beautifully integrated on a balanced and slightly viscous palate. The wine evolved with each sip and finished with length and finesse  $136.  Wine-Searcher.

2010 Eric Morgat Savennières, L'Enclos. 14% abv.  I posted about this wine a couple of months back,  http://winewithoutnumbers.blogspot.com/2015/03/a-spectacular-loire-valley-wine-dinner.html.  Another stunning example of Chenin Blanc, the wine exhibited a rich, balanced, stony and complex palate with a long finish.  This is a remarkable effort and great value wine. Lots of soul here.  $40.  Manhattan Wine Company.

Needless to say we had a most relaxing and enjoyable lunch.  Life is good.