Through the Heart of France

Centre, Aubrac, Languedoc and Paris

Tasted November 17, 2013 - November 25, 2013 by drwine2001 with 681 views

Introduction

Just some scattered, random notes from all over the place-friends' home, wine bars, restaurants, etc. I've separated 3 separate domain visits (Mellot, Vacheron, and Mas de Daumas Gassac) into their own much shorter tasting events.

Flight 1 (43 notes)

White - Sparkling
N.V. Laherte Frères Champagne Les Clos/Les 7 France, Champagne
Light color. Ginger and herbs. Masterful blending of major and minor Champagne varietals to craft an incredibly complex, very well balanced wine that remains fresh, lively and light.
White
2004 Alphonse Mellot Sancerre Edmond France, Loire Valley, Upper Loire, Sancerre
Light yellow. Almost overwhelming vanillin at first, but this calms down to make its presence felt on the texture more than the favors. Great youthful grapefruit with tremendous acidity and cut. Not entirely knitted just yet, but I think that this is the right sort of vintage for Edmond to sing-with the wood, too ripe and rich doesn't work so well.
White
2003 Alphonse Mellot Sancerre Edmond France, Loire Valley, Upper Loire, Sancerre
Medium yellow. Interesting in that it was structurally the converse of the 2004 version which preceded it. This led with ripe lemon fruit and the finished with somewhat dull, bitter wood tannins. Not overly ripe but the acidity is wanting. I much preferred the younger wine.
Red
2006 Domaine des Roches Neuves Saumur-Champigny La Marginale France, Loire Valley, Anjou-Saumur, Saumur-Champigny
Even, medium ruby. Fascinating, complex nose with perfume, some candied fruit, green olive. Medium weight, actually lean and not as ripe or fruity as the nose would suggest. Very tannic finish begs for more time, but will this thin out first?
White - Sparkling
N.V. Drappier Champagne Extra Brut Blanc de Noirs France, Champagne
Unsulfured version. Full, dry, regal, black fruited. Close your eyes and it's more serious red wine than bubbly.
Red
2009 Alphonse Mellot Sancerre Rouge En Grands Champs France, Loire Valley, Upper Loire, Sancerre Rouge
Deep primary ruby. Some fruit but mostly mint/menthol scents. Full for red Sancerre, unusual anise and pepper with a good dose of wet earth. Big wine, young and tannic. Hardly charming but may be better if the fruit emerges from its shell. The problem is that it is not very Pinot-like right now.
White
2005 Gérard Boulay Sancerre La Comtesse Monts Damnés France, Loire Valley, Upper Loire, Sancerre
Medium yellow. Orange oils and pineapple-very exotic. Full, lush, off dry. Just the faintest Sauvignon herbaceousness. I tried this blind and could have sworn it was a demi-sec Chenin Blanc. A wine in the rich Cotat style, but it misses the mark due to low acidity.
White
2007 Gérard Boulay Sancerre La Comtesse Monts Damnés France, Loire Valley, Upper Loire, Sancerre
Light yellow. In contrast to the 2005, here the citrus is pink grapefruit. Full and fleshy in Sancerre terms but nowhere near as oily and sweet as the 2005. Fabulous acid and quinine whiplash of a finish. One of the best whites we had today amongst many notable wines. You can hardly beat this when it has the backbone to stand up to the incredible texture Boulay is able to squeeze out of Sancerre.
White
2012 Louis Pétillat Saint Pourçain Or France, Loire Valley, Upper Loire, Saint Pourçain
We were in the Auvergne, so we tried this. A blend of a local varietal and Chardonnay. Pale. Dry, highly acidic and mineral without much discernible fruit. The Chardonnay adds a thin veneer of gloss, but overall, this was rather reminiscent of Muscadet.
White
2010 Coche-Dury Meursault 1er Cru Les Perrières France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Meursault 1er Cru
Light yellow. Fantastic nose-orange blossom, lees, and a hint of cinnamon or clove. Mouthcoating texture with some wood barely showing, covered up by the sheer density of extract. Saved from any sense of heaviness by fabulous acidity. Monumental wine, Grand Cru quality in every respect but especially unbelievable for its endless finish and aftertaste. Great now, probably even greater in 10 years.
Red
2009 Bouchard Père et Fils Beaune 1er Cru Marconnets France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Beaune 1er Cru
Dark ruby. Ripe red berry fruit, some game, and already some higher toned secondary aromatics. Rich. The wood is lurking underneath providing roundness without astringency. Sturdy Burgundy that stood up to a variety of strong cheeses. This strikes me as falling somewhere between New and Old world Pinot, but one way or another, very modern in style.
White
2005 Domaine de la Bongran (Thevenet) Viré-Clessé Cuvée E. J. Thevenet France, Burgundy, Mâconnais, Viré-Clessé
Magnum. Medium yellow. A ripe riot of diverse fruits-melon, pear, and citrus. Large scaled, concentrated, probably some residual sugar and botrytis as well. It has so much to it that its wood is hardly noticeable. Astounding lemon and acidity toward the end give it cut and drive despite its outsized nature. In its own way, as impressive as a Coche wine was last night.
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Red
2008 Château de Cazeneuve Pic St. Loup Le Sang du Calvaire France, Languedoc Roussillon, Languedoc, Pic St. Loup
Medium ruby, perfect clarity. Aromas of bark. Deeply extracted, dark chocolate and blueberry complemented by a dollop of herb. Adequate acidity, round tannin that does not interfere with early enjoyment. Good, highly polished prestige cuvée that falls short of being exciting.
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White
2005 Edmond Vatan Sancerre Clos la Néore France, Loire Valley, Upper Loire, Sancerre
Medium color with remaining glint of green. Fennel, grass and other green aromatic elements. Deep feel without any undue heaviness. Completely dry with powerful back end acidity and quinine. This was the antithesis of the '05 Boulay Comtesse. Incredible wine with years to go but so much better integrated than when I tasted it a year ago.
Red
1995 Domaine Marquis d'Angerville Volnay 1er Cru France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Volnay 1er Cru
Medium red, browning edge. Gamy, pungent black fruit. Volnay weight but very sturdy feel due to a raspy tannic finish. Not at all charming or flattering. I'm afraid that the rough, tannic character of the vintage plus the lean Angerville style are not a great recipe for this slightly lesser cuvée. OK but not a great success.
Red
2011 Domaine Jean David Côtes du Rhône Villages Séguret Cuvée Beau Nez France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Côtes du Rhône Villages Séguret
Full ruby. Raspberry/cherry fruit and a slight bit of herb. Big, sappy wine tending to the high alcohol side but a good gulp without being overtly hot.
White
2007 Bret Brothers Saint Véran La Côte Rôtie France, Burgundy, Mâconnais, Saint Véran
Medium color. Ripe lemon, slate nose. Nice weight for a Maconnais white with little woody underpinning. Lemon drop flavors with a trace of more exotic fruit. Quite an excellent tart, mineral finish. Drinking beautifully now, very stylish.
Red
2007 Domaine Yves Cuilleron Côte-Rôtie Terres Sombres France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Côte-Rôtie
Dark but not inky. Initial herbaceouness with rising pine needle atop black fruit and licorice. Gains violet florality and some pepper insets with air. All of this is good on the aromatic side, but much harder to love in the mouth, where it feels rough for a Cote Rotie and has really tart cranberry acidity and a very tannic finish. I don't think this has the balance to satisfy going forward. Too bad since there is a lot to like about it.
White - Sweet/Dessert
2000 Confrérie du Jurançon Jurançon Seduction du Petit Manseng France, Southwest France, Jurançon
Golden orange. Apricot, nuts, and a whiff of oxidation. Rich, unctuous but the sweetness is tamed by terrific soil and acidity. Reminded me of a hypothetical blend of Vin Jaune and Sauternes. Just a little astringency at the end keeps it from being entirely excellent. Very interesting dessert wine nonetheless.
White
2012 Domaine de la Pépière (Marc Ollivier) Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine Les Gras Moutons France, Loire Valley, Pays Nantais, Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine
Light yellow. Fairly ripe Muscadet but good lemony cut.
Red
2012 Sébastien Bobinet Saumur-Champigny Amateus Bobi France, Loire Valley, Anjou-Saumur, Saumur-Champigny
Light and herbal. Full dose of barnyard. Ecch.
Red
2013 Domaine du Vissoux / Pierre-Marie Chermette Beaujolais Nouveau Vieilles Vignes France, Burgundy, Beaujolais, Beaujolais Nouveau
Lively, brimming with fruit, serious concentration for Beaujolais Nouveau. Real wine, I'd say.
White
2009 François Raveneau Chablis 1er Cru Montée de Tonnerre France, Burgundy, Chablis, Chablis 1er Cru
Delicious, round and long with more pear fruit than usual but chalky minerality and fine acidity for the year. No crime to break into this now.
Red
2006 Simon Bize Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Cru Les Fournaux France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Cru
Medium center, mature edge. Secondary aromatics-game, tobacco and black fruit. Some fruit and texture early, but the searing acidity, dry tannins and overal pretty rigid and lean. Very dry, very traditional. I would not keep this for much longer as the remaining fruit has nowhere to go but down.
White
2007 Nikolaihof Riesling Reserve Steiner Hund Austria, Niederösterreich, Wachau
Medium yellow. Expansive nose of peach. Tremendous density and equally tremendous acidity. Kaleidoscopic flavors of stone fruit, citrus and crystallized ginger. Great length and incredible dynamism and evolution in the glass over 2 hours. Profound wine and barely in second gear, it would seem. Yes, indeed, this was the one and only non-French wine we drank on this trip, and well worth the brief detour!
Red
2011 Domaine des Lises Crozes-Hermitage Équinoxe France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Crozes-Hermitage
Saturated purple. All manner of captivating, exotic Syrah scents-violet, perfume, cracked pepper. Then, slightly less exciting and more tame in the mouth. Surprisingly supple, middle weight. Its bright black fruit falls off in the finish. Good overall, but oooh, that nose could keep my nose in the glass for hours.
White - Sparkling
N.V. Jacquesson & Fils Champagne Cuvée No. 736 France, Champagne
Light weight, dry, crisp and classic, particularly in contrast with the younger cuvée (737) which is based on the riper 2009 vintage.
White - Sparkling
N.V. Jacquesson & Fils Champagne Cuvée No. 737 France, Champagne
Fuller, richer and more fruity than the 736. Its most appealing part is the strikingly ripe orange aspect, but it really comes across as too sweet, even though the dosage is said to be 3 grams.
Red
2011 Georges Descombes Morgon Vieilles Vignes France, Burgundy, Beaujolais, Morgon
Red. A much fruitier nose than the last 2 vintages, but what glorious fruit it is-winey mix of red berries and a touch of anise. Light weight that gains in the glass. Crackling Gamay acidity that softens and becomes less aggressive, some soil and marvelous inner mouth perfume. This bottling provides wonderful drinking year in and year out. I don't think this will take as long to come around as the '09 or '10.
White
2008 Domaine Rapatel Costières-de-Nîmes Grande Signature Gerard Eyraud France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Costières-de-Nîmes
Full yellow. Exotic, oily, ripe with some sweetness. Not for me.
Red
2008 Domaine Rapatel Costières-de-Nîmes Grande Signature Gerard Eyraud France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Costières-de-Nîmes
Ruby. Grenache nose with definite surmaturité. Big wine, overripe fruit, some alcohol. Thin, not completely clean finish. Based upon these 2008s (both white and red), this does not appear to be a domain that values finesse.
White - Sparkling
N.V. A. R. Lenoble Champagne Grand Cru L'Épurée Blanc de Blancs France, Champagne, Champagne Grand Cru
Deceptive wine. At first it gives the sense of richness and sweetness, but this is actually some subtle caramel nuttiness rather than higher dosage. Through the mid-palate and finish, it it light (true Blanc de Blancs weight), very intense, and ends in a swirl of acidity and stoniness. This grew on me over the course of savoring the glass.
Rosé - Sparkling
N.V. Alfred Gratien Champagne Brut Rosé France, Champagne
Deep pink. Aromas so strawberry and green apple. Moderate sweetness, better dark fruit and soil as it went, but still easy and lacking both grip and concentration.
Red
2009 Domaine Ghislaine Barthod / Barthod-Noëllat Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Les Chatelots France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru
Medium depth. Almost unbelievably fruity nose like a New World Pinot; some more perfumed elements come with air. Full in a Chambolle context. Fairly simple cherry and blueberry fruit with reasonable acidity and the barest amount of earth. OK, the hedonist part of my drinking brain says "Tasty!" and it did stand up to a rich game dish tonight, but this is too heavy for Chambolle and one of the least defined wines I've ever had from Barthod. How long would I cellar this? I honestly have no idea and might just dig in now to savor all that fruit.
White
2010 Domaine Billaud-Simon Chablis 1er Cru Montée de Tonnerre France, Burgundy, Chablis, Chablis 1er Cru
Half bottle. Light green. Redolent of sea breeze. Light weight, crisp and pure, with lovely orange peel fruit edging in after some air. No perceptible wood. A real success and not a 2010 that requires a ton of time.
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Red
2007 Mongeard-Mugneret Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Cru Narbantons France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Cru
Half bottle. Light red with mature tawny edge. Beautiful mixture of some game and red fruit confit on the nose. Medium weight. Very suave and supple for a Savigny without any of the bramble notes or harshness. Essentially ready (at least in this format) and excellent. What a nice surprise.
White
2001 Morey-Blanc Meursault France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Meursault
Medium yellow color. A touch of honey, ripe citrus and vanilla. Medium weight, gently woody base, spice, yellow apple and orange oil. It may have the barest amount of residual sugar but finishes dry, in fact somewhat grainy. This was recommended by a fine caviste in Paris, and he was right-easily Premier Cru quality and outstanding freshness for a 12 year old AC Meursault. I think the touch of botrytis is the vintage rather the winemaking, since all in all, it is quite subtle for Meursault.

After a night recorked, more obvious vanilla and oak, some oxidation, and the fruit is more honeyed. Not surprising and still very admirable for a negociant village bottling.
Red
2010 Domaine Ghislaine Barthod / Barthod-Noëllat Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Les Cras France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru
Dark ruby. Knockout nose of black raspberry, smoke, and licorice. Formidable concentration upfront but increasing finesse and airiness as it relaxed. Electric but unobtrusive acidity, appealing salty soil, substantial but noble tannins. Extremely young, not shut down yet, bult for the long haul. What a contrast this was to the '09 Barthod we had last night; this was so much fresher and more classic. I can't wait to return to the rest of the bottle tomorrow.

Second day-More spice and strawberry character, but you also sense more wood in its bitter chocolate/ coffee flavors. Some cooler menthol notes also begin to come up. This should have a long, glorious life.
White
2011 Domaine François Cotat Sancerre Les Monts Damnés France, Loire Valley, Upper Loire, Sancerre
Medium yellow. Lemon confit and light herbaceousness. Sweet, ripe citrus buttressed by tremendous minerality throughout. Maybe slightly shorter in acidity than vintages such as 2010, but who's counting?!? A typically rich, deep Cotat that is absolutely succulent right now.
Red
2011 Georges Descombes Brouilly France, Burgundy, Beaujolais, Brouilly
Light red. Tart cherry. Light, carefree fruit, a twist of cranberry, very saline finish. Very Gamay. It only emphasizes how much deeper and complex the Morgon Vieilles Vignes is after having that the other day.
Red
1999 Domaine Follin-Arbelet Pernand-Vergelesses 1er Cru Les Fichots France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Pernand-Vergelesses 1er Cru
Another recommendation of Les Caprices de l'Instant. Mature looking grenadine with fading edge. Surprising burst of red berry, but mostly restrained red plum aromas with a good measure of soil. Gentle, almost completely mature but some sap to it. There is a little remnant Savigny-like tartness, but for the most part, this is smooth, subtle and poised with a long, soil inflected finish. It may lack an extra dimension of depth, but this is still one the best, most complete Pernands I've ever had. It is also only the second time I've tried Follin Arbelet. A delightful find.
Rosé - Sparkling
N.V. Franck Pascal Champagne Cuvée Tolérance France, Champagne
Deep pink. Vivid wild strawberry aromas. Medium to full bodied, quite a bit of initial sweetness, but very alive with good acidity and terrific finishing stoniness. I thought it drank really well, but if more noticeable dosage bothers you, probably one to avoid.
Red - Fortified
1996 Vins Parcé Frères Rivesaltes Ambré France, Languedoc Roussillon, Roussillon, Rivesaltes
Copper golden color. Unctuous fig, molasses and grilled nuts. Great acidity slices through the richness, and it really evoked a rich Madeira. This was a terrific glass of dessert wine.
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