February 19, 2012

Demanding wine

I'm pretty easy going and I appreciate how easy some wines are to understand, to satisfy in a way.

Still, the most compelling wines are demanding. They need something from you and, in the right case, I find myself happy to go where the wine leads. I'm not looking for wine to "perform," a word I hear too much. Wine isn't a show dog. I want the wine to compel me to act, to respond.

This 2004 Domaine Confuron-Cotetidot Vosne-Romanee is a good example of demanding wine. Powerfully complex aromatically, hard-edged texturally, there is no sign of any greenness that makes 2004 notorious in Burgundy.

Instead, this wine has an alluring perfume, wild to be sure and perhaps to the chagrin of the brett police. This isn't clean wine but it doesn't seem dirty to me either. Rather, it is full of iron and oaky spice to complement the red fruit flavors, floral like a syrah from the northern Rhone that you'd suggest was Burgundian.

The palate is tannic, there's no getting around it. But I find the tannin toothsome, not drying, the wine cleansing where overly soft, fruit-sweet wines finish syrupy and not refreshing.

With food, the tannin immediately seems a non-factor, though the pleasing edge to the wine remains. And I find myself holding the glass, smelling the perfume and setting the glass down without sipping. Exhaling, thinking of that fragrance, classic Burgundy like a Burberry scarf. Unmistakable.

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