Wine Exchange Tour de France

Sonoma
Tasted Tuesday, February 9, 2010 by xwine with 189 views

Introduction

My turn to host our monthly tasting. I decided to do a "Tour de France" to demonstrate the wide variety of high quality wines outside of the major regions (no Bordeaux, Burgundy or Champagne). The idea was to expose people to wines with which they may have little or no familiarity. I chose Muscadet, Alsace, Arbois, Cornas, Bandol and Vouvray.

Flight 1 (6 Notes)

  • 2008 Domaine de la Pépière (Marc Ollivier) Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine Sur Lie Vieilles Vignes Clos des Briords

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

    Clean, focused, saline, minerals, brilliant acidity -- everything you want in a top Muscadet. Clos des Briords seems to hit on all cylinders in every vintage.

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  • 2005 Domaine Weinbach Riesling Schlossberg Cuvée Ste. Catherine

    France, Alsace, Alsace Grand Cru

    Still very taut and firm (this time out of 750). The structure is impeccable. Lovely orchard fruit nose backed by minerals. A truly lovely riesling with a long life ahead of it.

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  • 1999 Jacques Puffeney Arbois Vin Jaune

    France, Jura, Arbois

    A stunning wine of exceptional balance, depth, structure and incredible acidity, yet with a sense of elegance. Some baked apple aromas, as well as a deep nutty character. Going back to this wine after the red wines (Cornas and Bandol), it actually stands up to those powerful wines, and almost displays a red wine character. Fascinating and profound, and I imagine it will live for many years.

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  • 2005 Franck Balthazar Cornas Chaillot

    France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Cornas

    Very "Cornas" profile, showing animal, licorice and deep fruit, all wrapped around a solid tannic core. Very good length. An excellent Cornas -- Balthazar is a producer to watch.

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  • 2007 Domaine Tempier Bandol La Migoua

    France, Provence, Bandol

    A thrilling Tempier, and no brett. The deep color suggests a very large scale wine, but the focused fruit maintains a sense of vibrancy and elegance -- it almost seems transparent. The fruit very nearly explodes on the palate, and the burst of fruit and acidity brings this wine to a level that I had not expected. Terrific wine, which should do well with some additional time (I should mention that it seems to carry a fair bit of oak [apparently large foudres, so I don't know why the oak seemed to come through], but not obtrusive).

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  • 1989 Foreau Domaine du Clos Naudin Vouvray Moelleux Réserve

    France, Loire Valley, Touraine, Vouvray

    The medium amber color belies this wine's youthful vibrancy. This is far better than Foreau's 1995 which we opened on New Year's Eve (though that one was still very good). It has weight and depth, but manages to dance across the palate with a sense of lightness. The deep and sweet orchard fruit is beautifully balanced by laser-like acidity, and the finish is stellar. Made me reflect on the ethereal 1947 Loyau we had on Christmas Eve in the late '80s. Great way to end our tasting.

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Closing

This tasting was great success. All the wines were brilliant and impeccable, with no flaws (no corked bottles, no brett bombs, etc.). What they all seemed to share is a sense of place, an identity, and terrific structure and balance. I was very happy with the tasting, and it seemed everyone else was, too.

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