Random Notes from Travels in France

Paris, Loire, Alsace
Tasted Friday, April 6, 2012 - Saturday, April 14, 2012 by drwine2001 with 520 views

Introduction

While I've catalogued domain visits separately as freestanding events, there was the usual plethora of things to taste and drink along the way, ranging from several great classics to wines previously unknown to me. It helps to have friends with a deep cellar, but there are still many treasures awaiting you on wine lists around the country.

Flight 1 - Paris (24 Notes)

  • NV de Venoge Champagne Brut Sélect Cordon Bleu

    France, Champagne

    (4/6/2012)

    Pretty user friendly Champagne, but not too sweet and admirable minerality.

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  • 2007 Domaine Bruno Clair Marsannay Les Vaudenelles

    France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Marsannay

    (4/7/2012)

    I was served this blind and was correct on the vintage due to the racy acidity but misfired with Savigny or Permand because of its brambly red fruit and licorice. It is slightly bigger than most of those wines, though. Very crisp, impressive depth. A few more years will tone down the acidity, but a pretty zesty drink now.

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  • 2009 Yvon Métras Fleurie L'Ultime

    France, Burgundy, Beaujolais, Fleurie

    (4/7/2012)

    Dark for Gamay. Brimming with raspberry fruit aromas and flavors but then adds some herbs and anise. Definitely sappy, but this has much better shape and acidity than when tasted a year ago out of magnum. Much easier to see what all the hype was about-extremely impressive!

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  • 2010 Alain Graillot Crozes-Hermitage

    France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Crozes-Hermitage

    (4/7/2012)

    Deep color. Absolutely gorgeous, soaring aromas of violets-pure essence of Syrah. Medium weight, great acidity, strong fruit. Not nearly as weighty and overripe as the '09. Bravo!

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  • 2010 Alain Graillot St. Joseph

    France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, St. Joseph

    (4/7/2012)

    While this shared the potent acidity of the Crozes, this was much earthier and seemed to have a touch less of everything, including excitement.

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  • 2006 Philippe Gonet Champagne Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs

    France, Champagne, Le Mesnil Sur Oger, Champagne Grand Cru

    (4/7/2012)

    Light yellow/brown. Very fine bead. Marvelous yeast, dry lemon nose. Ligt, dry, elegant and powerful with an incredible finish of rock and clay. I can't think of a single French white that I've tasted that matches the incredible structure of this wine. Go Gonet!

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  • 2010 Foreau Domaine du Clos Naudin Vouvray Sec

    France, Loire Valley, Touraine, Vouvray

    (4/7/2012)

    Very light. Butter, pear, and honey on the nose, but this is an honest to goodness, bracing, true Sec, just like the old days. Some quinine bitterness just to underscore the point. Loved it but it needs a lot of time.

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  • 2010 Vincent Dauvissat (René & Vincent) Irancy

    France, Burgundy, Côtes d'Auxerre, Irancy

    (4/7/2012)

    Medium red without complete clarity. Earth, licorice and brambly red fruit on the nose (like Savigny), but only 2 of 3 in the mouth-where's the fruit? As much as I admire Vincent Dauvissat, this strikes me as one of those "Why bother?" Pinots.

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  • 2008 Didier Dagueneau Blanc Fumé de Pouilly

    France, Loire Valley, Upper Loire, Pouilly-Fumé

    (4/7/2012)

    Limpid. Subtle, reticent floral and grapefruit scents. Almost feels like a Muscadet, but this packs quite a mineral and acid punch despite its seeming lack of presence.

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  • 2008 Domaine Guiberteau Saumur

    France, Loire Valley, Anjou-Saumur, Saumur

    (4/7/2012)

    Medium ruby. This has typical Cabernet Franc character at beginning and end, with herbaceous, Chinon-like aromatics and a dry, earthy finish. What is in the middle of this sandwich is fascinating, though. There is so much chocolatey richness and cinnamon spice that at one point, it actually had me thinking of Mexican coffee! Unusual richness, especially for an '08.

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  • 2010 Domaine Vacheron Sancerre

    France, Loire Valley, Upper Loire, Sancerre

    (4/8/2012)

    Pale. Bright grapefruit. Snappy, mineral, lovely texture. Top notch.

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  • 2009 Georges Descombes Morgon Vieilles Vignes

    France, Burgundy, Beaujolais, Morgon

    (4/8/2012)

    As wonderful and complex as before, but this bottle was the first to have a touch of brett.

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  • 2009 Domaine de la Pépière (Marc Ollivier) Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine Clisson

    France, Loire Valley, Pays Nantais, Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine

    (4/13/2012)

    Pale. Pretty amazing intensity of sour lemon flavor and mineral grip compared to other 2009 Muscadets. Snappy yet has that extra element of texture. Super.

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  • 2009 Evening Land Vineyards Beaune 1er Cru Bressandes

    France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Beaune 1er Cru

    (4/13/2012)

    Deep ruby. Inviting nose of red fruit that is overtaken by the smokiness of heavily charred oak. Medium body with prominent wood, nice tart fruit and a bit of soil on the finish. In case you couldn't tell, this has too much goddamn wood for a wine of this class and size. A waste of otherwise delicious juice. It did not seem this extreme when tasted at the domain last fall.

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  • 2010 Mas de Restanques Vacqueyras

    France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Vacqueyras

    (4/13/2012)

    Medium to dark red. Licorice pastille and bright red fruit. Attractive middle weight, supple, spicy, terrific acidity. Just delicious, extremely well fresh and balanced, and a delight to drink already. My first encounter with this producer. I hope someone brings the wine into the U.S.

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  • 2009 Joseph Drouhin Pernand-Vergelesses

    France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Pernand-Vergelesses

    (4/13/2012)

    Even medium ruby. Utterly typical tart red fruit plus licorice from the Pernand/Savigny corridor. Lovely crisp fruit, light weight, really good acidity for the year and a good dusting of soil at the end. Surprisingly good village Pernand.

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  • NV Philippe Gonet Champagne 3210 Extra Brut

    France, Champagne, Le Mesnil Sur Oger, Champagne

    (4/13/2012)

    Amazing consistency of this cuvée over the years. Exuberantly frothy. Light, completely dry, lemon zest and driving minerality. Walks a fine line and would be too spartan for some palates.

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  • 2009 Geantet-Pansiot Chambolle-Musigny Vieilles Vignes

    France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Chambolle-Musigny

    (4/14/2012)

    Quite deep ruby. A ripe nose that just screams Pinot-raspberry and flowers. Perhaps a little full for a Chambolle but definitely not overripe. In fact, while very lush, it bacomes tangier and lighter and picks up a touch of herbs as it goes. You feel but never taste the wood. Pretty terrific for a village Chambolle even if it leans toward a more modern style. It is hard to not like its pure red fruit.

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  • 2007 François Raveneau Chablis Grand Cru Valmur

    France, Burgundy, Chablis, Chablis Grand Cru

    (4/14/2012)

    Pale greenish. What a nose! Combination of iodine, brine, white flowers and underripe citrus. Absoltely, gloriously dry. Not a big wine but completely penetrating and expansive. Tart lemon with just an incipient glimpse of surrounding flesh. Long, long finish of stone and some earth. This is very, very young and should age for 20 more years. Remarkable power for its degree of elegance and delicacy. As I followed it over 6 hours, I could not help but think "Will Chablis like this exist in 20 years?". When I tasted it in 2010, I was struck by some wood, but that was not at all evident today.

    Addendum: Well, the oak did show up at the very end of the bottle.

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  • 2010 Paul Janin et Fils Moulin-à-Vent Domaine des Vignes du Tremblay

    France, Burgundy, Beaujolais, Moulin-à-Vent

    (4/14/2012)

    Very dark. Lean, pure black fruit, very tannic. Wow, this is mind's eye Moulin a Veny built for the long haul. Striking mouthful.

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  • 2010 Paul Janin et Fils Moulin-à-Vent Clos du Tremblay

    France, Burgundy, Beaujolais, Moulin-à-Vent

    (4/14/2012)

    This is also very good but it is a little lighter and softer than the highly structured Domaine du Tremblay. My least favorite of the trio M. Janin was pouring.

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  • 2010 Paul Janin et Fils Moulin-à-Vent Vieilles Vignes des Greneriers

    France, Burgundy, Beaujolais, Moulin-à-Vent

    (4/14/2012)

    Again, very dark. This too is quite tannic, but the tannins are hidden behind material and roundness that remind me more of many 2009 Beaujolais rather than 2010. However, still very classic with tartness and blackberry fruit. I was licky to stop by La Dernière Goutte while the producer was showing this impressive set of wines.

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  • 2009 René Bouvier Marsannay Ouzeloy

    France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Marsannay

    (4/14/2012)

    Medium center, lighter edge. Very Gevrey-like nose: soil and sour red fruit, but it also has mint and a certain pepperiness to it. Clean, medium weight, good acidity, both red and black fruit in the mouth and some anise. Ripe but not overly so. Very good example.

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  • 2010 Bertin-Delatte Chenin Blanc L'Échalier

    France, Loire Valley, Anjou-Saumur

    (4/14/2012)

    I was fortunate to meet Genevieve Delatte, one of the 2 young proprietors of this new domain which only makes this one declassified cuvée. Light yellow, typical Chenin weight with some glycerine. Off dry (probably demi-sec level), excellent pure quince fruit and finishing acidity. Nothing wrong with this wine, which could stand up to some of its classified brethren. Based on this wine, may be an interesting producer to watch.

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Flight 2 - Eastern Loire Valley (18 Notes)

Flight 3 - Alsace (17 Notes)

  • 1996 Trimbach Riesling Clos Ste. Hune

    France, Alsace

    (4/10/2012)

    What a wine with which to start our stay in Alsace! Still light yellow. Citrus plus petrol aromatics. Absolutely dry. Perfect glycerine feel cut by incredible acidity without any harshness. Superb bottle. I'm sorry we could only spend 2 hours with it as it was still opening.

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  • 1999 Domaine Henri Gouges Nuits St. Georges 1er Cru Les Saint Georges

    France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Nuits St. Georges 1er Cru

    (4/10/2012)

    Decanted. Even, deep primary color. Powerful nose of grahite and anise. Pure red and black fruit without much complxity yet. Beautiful acidity, substantial tannins that are starting to loosen. Obviously Grand Cru quality and equally obvious that it's 20 years too young. Exciting to get a glimpse of this now (i.e., while I'm still alive).

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  • 1994 Paul Blanck Tokay Pinot Gris Furstentum Sélection de Grains Nobles

    France, Alsace, Alsace Grand Cru

    (4/10/2012)

    Half bottle. Golden. Heavily botrytised nose with yellow peach. Unctuous, creamy and well balanced by acidity. Oh my, what a surprise and a wonderful treat.

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  • 1998 Hugel et Fils Tokay Pinot Gris Hommage a Jean Hugel

    France, Alsace

    (4/10/2012)

    Tulip yellow. Inviting scents of peach and citrus. Rich and spicy, clean fruit, fresh for 14 year old Pinot Gris, impeccable balance due to racy acidity. We shook our heads in wonder about this-marvelous. This was the antidote to all of the poorly balanced Pinot Gris we tasted in Alsace.

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  • 2009 Domaine Weinbach Pinot Noir W

    France, Alsace

    (4/10/2012)

    Promising color. Some wood, brambly black fruit and stemminess. Earthy, short on fruit and underripe in the mouth. I just don't get Alsatian Pinot Noir. Disappointing for this producer.

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  • 1996 Hugel et Fils Riesling Vendange Tardive

    France, Alsace

    (4/10/2012)

    Half bottle. Quite light. Fantastically complex aromatics-petrol and herbs. All of that and tart green papaya fruit on the palate with blazing acidity but the additional layer of VT texture. This must be one of the driest Vendage Tardives I've ever had; in fact, it had a lot in common with the great '96 Clos Ste. Hune that we drank earlier today. Wow. Both Hugel wines we had tonight were really strutting.

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  • 2001 Domaine Weinbach Riesling Schlossberg Cuvée Ste. Catherine L'Inédit!

    France, Alsace, Alsace Grand Cru

    (4/11/2012)

    Full yellow. Much fresher than the '99 Cuvée Catherine we drank earlier today. Started with more exotic notes and citrus that made me think of Pinot Gris but got more petrol and Riesling with air. Medium to full, rich, some sugar but electric acidity cuts through the fat. In the end, marvelous tension between fruit and acid. Outstanding wine.

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  • 1996 Trimbach Riesling Cuvée Frédéric Emile

    France, Alsace

    (4/11/2012)

    Variable experience with this, but 10 km. from its place of birth, it was pristine. Light yellow, incredibly fresh, comlex nose of white flowers, a touch of petrol, herbs, tea and apply fruit. Light at first, it picked up another layer with air. Bone dry, lime flavors, rapier-like acidity. Just mouthwatering. Not a lot separate this from the Clos Ste. Hune in style or quality this vintage when the bottles are right. Fantastic.

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  • 2002 Alphonse Mellot Sancerre Rouge Génération XIX

    France, Loire Valley, Upper Loire, Sancerre Rouge

    (4/11/2012)

    Medium ruby. Sexy nose smoky high char oak and sour red fruit. Gently oaky base, tart red fruit, average acidity and soil-inflected finish. Yes, it is pretty dressed up, but there is a lot to like and admire about this 10 year old Loire red. Impressive if a tad manipulated.

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  • 2010 Agathe Bursin Riesling

    France, Alsace

    (4/11/2012)

    Pale. Pure, dry, lean, mineral and limey. Very much in linear Trimbach style.

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  • 1999 Domaine Weinbach Riesling Schlossberg Cuvée Ste. Catherine

    France, Alsace, Alsace Grand Cru

    (4/11/2012)

    Full yellow, a touch of brown. Low pitched peach and nuts. Then it became fully maderized and dull. Some botrytis deep in the background. Full bodied, some residual sugar. Just when we thought it was completely dead, it perked up in a remarkale way to show more livly stone fruit. Ah, the mysteries of older wines. Not one to hold or bet on at this point.

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  • 2010 Josmeyer Muscat

    France, Alsace

    (4/12/2012)

    Pale. Crisp, dry, light and mineral. With faint Muscat perfume. Perfect as an apertif sip.

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  • 2002 Marcel Deiss Schoenenbourg

    France, Alsace, Alsace Grand Cru

    (4/12/2012)

    Medium yellow. Bright orange aromatics with a bit of perfume. Medium to full bodied, excellent buffering of the low residual sugar with well integrated acidity. Some soil on the extremely long finish. Nothing out of place here. After tasting younger examples of these blends at the domain, it was very impressive to see how the grapes meld together and give something really complex with time in the bottle.

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  • 2002 Domaine Robert Arnoux / Arnoux-Lachaux Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Les Suchots

    France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru

    (4/12/2012)

    Still quite deep ruby. Sexy nose of smoke and blackberry, but over time, the high char wood takes over. Medium weght, blak fruit and anise, crisp ending acidity. Very attractive, yet the oak is overblown, robbing it of some delicacy and the finish just astringent enough to detract from its harmony. The sad thing is that the outstanding material did not need all that.

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  • 1995 Trimbach Riesling Cuvée Frédéric Emile

    France, Alsace

    (4/12/2012)

    What an object lesson in the incalculable value of never moving a wine. Light color retaining some green. Slowly building mature Riesling aromas. Light weight, lemon/lime fruit with light herbs. Blazing acidity that could have been confused with a '96. Long, mineral, brown tea inflected finish. This only improved for the 2 hours it lasted. I have had several bottles of this in the U.S. and it has never been as pristine as this bottle from an Alsatian restaurant. Briiliant and by my recollection, perhaps the equal of a Clos Ste. Hune of the same vintage drunk several months ago.

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  • 1999 Domaine Marquis d'Angerville Volnay 1er Cru Clos des Ducs

    France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Volnay 1er Cru

    (4/12/2012)

    What a thrill to find and drink this. Deep ruby without clearing. Intense perfume of violets and black fruit. No evident wood, all pure fruit. Lean, linear and dry, just beginning to gain some flesh, but essentially strict without any sweetness or excess fat. Gorgeous acidity and an amazing finish which leaves stone dust on the tongue for minutes. Quintessential, pure Volnay. It had much more in common with the Frederic Emile Riesling alongside it than the wood drenched Vosne Suchots we had at lunch. A very great Volnay in the making. Optimally, hold until 2025 for full development, but if like me, you must try one now, that's okay too.

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  • 1995 Albert Mann Riesling Cuvée Antoine

    France, Alsace

    (4/12/2012)

    This is essentially a declassified SGN, but it is not labeled as such. Deep yellow with some orange, slightly cloudy. Initially some nuttuness made me worry about oxidation, but this quickly blew off to reveal ripe yellow peach without a trace of botrytis. Clean, intense and neither that sweet nor that heavy in the mouth. Perhaps not the peak of complexity, but an excellent dessert Riesling at any rate.

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