The wine group met recently to taste a bunch of white Burgundies procured by one member who works for a local distributor.
We started with a pair of blind “mystery” wines. The first smelled like Sauvignon blanc, with a clean gooseberry, grassy lychee aroma and a tart grapefruit flavor, angular and minerally but not especially deep. I guessed New Zealand Sauvignon, but it’s the 2004 De Moor St. Bris, made from Sauvignon from just outside Chablis and one of France’s newest appellations. In retrospect, this tasted just like the ’98 and ’99 versions of this wine that I was familiar with from my days working for an importer.
Then a huge change of pace, the next wine showed a huge toasty aroma with diactyl buttery aromas, coconut, brown butter, and golden fruit. Reminds me of the 2003 Cameron Clos Electric Chardonnay from here in the Dundee Hills. Full and rich in the mouth with toasty tropical fruit, nuts and brown butter, citrusy but a bit hollow in the middle and just too oaky. With time the wood seems better integrated, I’m surprised to find out this is the 2004 Fougeray de Beauclair Marsannay made from 100% Pinot blanc, which incidentially I’ve heard Cameron blends into its Chardonnay.
Then on to the main flight of wines. I struggled with this line up, finding the first wine terrific and the others hard to distinuish from one another for a while. The first showed a broad, fresh minerally aroma wtih clean, lightly honeyed and waxy fruit and hints of smokey oak. In the mouth it had round, full and long flavors with great finesse. This was the 2004 Deux Montille Pernand-Vergelesses “Sous Frétille” and it's one of the nicest white Burgs I've had recently.
The next wine smelled a little like orange juice and sea shells with bright acids and a Chablis-like focus. It was the 2004 De la Folie Rully “Clos la Folie.” Then another sea shell, lightly stinky wine that I couldn’t get a handle on at all beside the bright flavors. It was the 2004 Dauvissat-Camus Chablis “Vaillons” that one person nailed as Chablis, but there I was thinking the Rully before was Chablis. Call this one young and closed, or maybe that's me.
The fourth wine again seemed like Chablis, a basic wine but nicely flavored but just lacking intensity. It was the 2004 Olivier Morin Bourgone Chitry, from a village very near Chablis. So at least I wasn’t far off there.
Finally, a nice fleshy clean Chardonnay with simple, lightly sweet citrus flavors. I couldn’t figure this one out either, but in retrospect that sounds like a wine from the Macon. It was the 2004 Domain Robert-Denogent Macon Fuissé “Les Taches.”
All in all, a nice tasting but challenging in that we were trying young wines from (somewhat) one region. I came away thinking that I may be a fair taster of diverse wines, but sometimes I struggle when the subjects are so similar. If I want to be a winemaker, I better be able to pick out the quality lots from an assortment of similar wines. The prescription? More practice.