August 04, 2007

Catching Up

Is it me, or was Gary V. the other night on Conan kind of a dud? Maybe the quirkiness of his internet personality doesn’t translate well to TV. Maybe the schtick of literally tasting dirt and old socks wasn’t funny enough, especially when most viewers probably thought he was serious. Sure, he apparently “learned” to taste by eating cigars and such, but is he really on a mission to get other people to do that? That’s news to me, but if I didn’t know better, I’d have thought he was serious, and seriously odd.

Let’s not mention how unintentionally funny his vertical brevity was next to the tower of Conan. They just looked weird next to one another.

Oh well, so it goes for anecdotal blogging. Probably shouldn’t have mentioned it in the first place.

So back to wine. I had a lovely little wine last week that merits reporting. The 2004 Olessen’s Riesling from Central Otago on the south island of New Zealand isn’t great wine, but it has great acidity that made my mouth water and compelled me to drink. That’s good wine, though I can imagine how you might try it and wonder what the big deal is. Maybe it just hit me at the right moment. Wine’s like that.

And the other night I caught up to some old aquaintances who do “meat night” every Wednesday. BYO meat and wine, our host fires up his fryer for some fresh truffle fries. And a small group feasts on beef and a nice range of wines.

Highlights from this past week included the NV Baumard Carte Turquoise, a chenin-based sparkler from the Loire. Terrific crisp, appley wine with verve and subtlty. Delicious. We also had the NV Champagne Brut Nature from a producer I can’t recall that was a terrific contrast. Crisp and minerally like the Baumard, but bisquit and bread aromas even in this non-dosage bottling. Delicious.

Notable whites included an ’05 Rijckeart Chardonnay from the Jura that was also very mineral and lean. Someone remarked they’d like a glass of this but not a bottle. Certainly not cocktail wine. I loved the ’05 Tissot Cour-Chevergny from the little known Romorantin grape. Tasting blind, I thought this hazy, slightly sweet wine was a later harvest Chardonnay from the Macon. Someone suggested the Jura and I thought that was a better guess. But no, it’s from the Loire and though it didn’t have any sense of Riesling that I sometimes get in Cour-Chevergny, I loved this and will likely buy some to cellar.

The only notable red was something I brought – the 1996 Druet Chinon Clos du Danzay, which was the best Druet wine I’ve tried. Usually Druet’s wines seem too hard and tight, even those I’ve tried with some age, as if they’ll never come around (at least in my lifetime). Happily, this was still young but open for business, with a pretty fragrance and flavor. Wish I had more of this.

Finally, we tried another oddity – the 2005 Texier “O Pale” that is made from Viognier grapes from the Condrieu AOC in France (though the label doesn’t get that specific) made in a Germanic spatlese style. Meaning, partially fermented to about 7% alcohol with the remaining sugar balanced by bracing acidity. Except this wine lacked the acid of a better spatlese, leaving it sweeter than table wine and perhaps more like a German QBA wine. Soft, porky, delicious in a grape juice way, but lacking definition and certainly the exotic nature of more varietally charateristic Viognier. Overall, it’s good enough and I’ll drink my other wine with a fruit tart dessert or something like that. But I’m not sure I’d keep making this type of wine if I were the producer. Better to let Condrieu be Condrieu, rather than flaccid quasi dessert wine.