August 18, 2013

Reading wine

I'm a talker and talkers don't exactly have a reputation for listening, however misguided that may be. I love listening, even if it's not always obvious. I'm a reader, an apprentice, a wine taster and now a wine maker. I want to learn, to know what you're thinking. I want to read you. To listen.

So it is with wine. We use terms without even thinking what they really mean. "This wine speaks to me." "That wine was singing last night." "This one didn't have much to say." Even the notion of terroir requires the wine to speak and us to listen - to the sense of place, the somewhereness of the wine, its reflection of the growing season and grape.

As tasters, we must listen, and listen carefully in the case of more delicate grapes and wines like Pinot Noir and red Burgundy. I make Pinot in part because of that. I want a wine that compels me to listen.

Last night I opened the first of several bottles from Pierre Guillemot that purchased recently, red Burgundies from several vineyards in the village of Savigny from a producer known for delicate, perfumed, ageworthy wines. I opened this one - the 2009 Guillemot Savigny-les-Beaune Jarrons 1er Cru to get a read on it, and the others by extension, to listen and then to consider when the others might speak their best.

No surprise, this wine is an infant and was decidedly not singing. It was delicious, with a transparent but deep red raspberry color and a dusty through quiet aroma. Its perfume has not yet evolved, something careful aging should bring. The flavors were bright but rich, showing the warmth of the vintage, with a young, unresolved texture much like fruit that needs another day or two on the counter to smooth out and come together fully.

The read on this wine? Leave it and presumably its siblings in the cellar for several more years. Not that you can't enjoy the wine now, and I did. Nor was any of this surprising - the wines of Guillemot always need time. So much more from this wine will come in time, or should. So much more of its story, what it really has to say. I'll be reading and listening, however long it takes. Reading requires patience, something I also don't always have a reputation for having...but how can you not when your devotion is wine.


SteveMcCa11 said...

Melissa and I were lucky enough to visit Guillemot in 2009. We spent a fun afternoon with Pierre Guillemot's son Vincent (what are the odds?), who took us out to several of their holdings and walked us through a tasting of several of their wines, including a '73 Serpentierres that was still kicking. Nice blog post, Vincent, and one that brings back fun memories of a producer who's one of our favorites.

Vincent Fritzsche said...

Thanks for the comment. Sounds like a great visit. And the odds on a French winemaker named Vincent? Actually I went ahead with my label name in part because it's such a common winemaker name. Not in the US, but seems like every other French winemaker is a Vincent. And I'm not complaining.

Vincent Rolleri said...

I have just came across your blog today and I love reading it! I'm 20 years old and an aspiring to be a next great winemaker. As you said above,the seed of passion has been planted in my name. Your blog is a huge inspiration for me as well as seeing what you are doing as a urban winemaker. Not being from a rich family, I have wondered a lot lately about how I will someday soon bust into the industry. It gives me options.

Thank you.
Vincent Rolleri

Vincent Fritzsche said...

Vincent, thanks for the comment. And that's a fine name you have. As you might see here, the way into this discipline of growing grapes and making wine doesn't require family background or lots of money. Just passion to work and persevere in your vision of producing great wine. Good luck and thanks for reading.