Matt Kramer's "Wines of My Heart"


Tasted October 26, 2007 by otisabdul with 948 views


One of the highlights of the WS Wine Experience is always the Matt Kramer seminar. He is such a fantastic speaker. Really funny and engaging, and ripe with memorable metaphors and descriptors. In NYC last week, the topic was “Wines of My Heart” – and it was a home run.

Matt picked three wines that he loves above all others. Wines that he has very emotional connections with. Wines that he’s tasted every vintage over the last three decades. Most of the notes below are taken from Matt’s speech. He captured everything so well, I can only add a few brief perspectives on top:

Flight 1 (3 notes)

2001 Trimbach Riesling Clos Ste. Hune France, Alsace
95 points
“Clos Ste. Hune is the finest dry Riesling in Alsace, which therefore makes it the finest dry Riesling in the world.” It comes from a 3.21 acre vineyard. Matt loves Clos Ste. Hune so much that he married his wife of 27 years in the 11th century fortified church that appears on the label. His best man was Hubert Trimbach. “CSH has enormous delicacy allied with enormous power. It has a profound particularity, and needs 15 years to reach maturity, and then can easily go another 15 years after that. Hay, spices, and abundant minerality. Seashells (the vineyard was once an ancient seabed). Utterly, absolutely dry. So persuasive and convincing, it makes you want to live. If God was drinking spring water, this is what it would taste like. An oak-free zone, this wine is a pure play. There are no bad vintages of CSH.”. I am a huge fan of Clos Ste. Hune and this vintage lived up to my expectations. So powerful and laser-like. I would love to try it in 2021. Just a shade behind the 1996 CSH, which is one of my top ten all-time favorite wines, and perhaps my #1 dry white.
2004 Domaine Marquis d'Angerville Volnay 1er Cru Clos des Ducs France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Volnay 1er Cru
90 points
From a 5.9 acre vineyard, with only about 100 cases making it to the USA every year. The soil is half chalk, almost white. “Pure winemaking. If one Volnay vineyard was to be anointed a Grand Cru, this would be it.” Matt has more bottles of this wine in his cellar than any other. “A tremendous minerality roars out of the glass. The wine has a near weightlessness. Wild cherry. Liquid rocks. Ethereal. You get the sense that no one is intervening between you and the vineyard. Here’s a hint – buy any wine that has ‘Ducs’ on the label. The Ducs always landed on the right squares.” I found this wine to be a little too delicate and minerally, but it had a great nose. I got graham crackers and herbs. My friend next to me said it smelled like pot. (Irie, mon). Very fine tannins and very young.
2001 Poderi Aldo Conterno Barolo Cicala Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
94 points
Vineyard name means “cicada”, something us Chicago-types are quite weary of! However, this was a fantastic Barolo. After many stories about Aldo (who always tells Matt “You wouldn’t understand!”), he described the wine as having “immense depth of character and definition. Barolo as it might be made in Volnay. Black cherries, with a touch of tar. Like a black fruit bubble. Long finish. Makes you want to kill a lamb and roast it.” He also told an interesting story about how Aldo is trying to grow nebbiolo vines from seed (usually genetically unstable) to prove that nebbiolo is a brother or sister of pinot noir. This wine was a big hit at our table. Should be even better with 5-10 years of aging. Impeccable balance and tons of concentrated flavor.


This got me thinking about the “Wines of My Heart”. After considerable thought, they would be:

1) Katherine Kennedy Estate Cab Sauvignon (my wife and I celebrate special occasions with this wine and it is our very favorite style of cabernet)

2) Joseph Phelps Insignia (I have tasted every vintage of this wine ever made, thanks to a couple vertical tastings I attended when I started getting into wine. Recently had the inaugural 1974 vintage and it was still glorious. Almost never disappointing.)

3) Altesino Montosoli (my favorite brunello year after year. I find Tuscan wines to be quite soulful and this is certainly the case with Montosoli, a place we have visited with fond memories)

What are your “Wines of the Heart”?



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