Sunday, December 6, 2009

What we've been drinking lately

Busy times for a wine merchant, December, but a blog needs to be fed. Perhaps my postings will be a little shorter these days. In this one I briefly mention some of the wines we've been drinking − some interesting, and some great.

Barnaut Millésime 1999 and Dauvissat Chablis Premier Cru 'La Forest' 2004
These first two bottles both unquestionably belong to the category "great". I love Barnaut, but I hadn't tasted their Millésimé yet. Wow! This is a different world − another dimension added, an extra depth, call it complexity. You smell this champagne from a distance. The wine is ripe but there is - still - plenty of freshness in this 1999. Bread and some yeast in the nose, and a certain creamy touch. A very soft champagne, and simply delicious. Then the Dauvissat, another experience! Tight and intense, mineral. Ripe and somewhat spiced, plus a hint of honey. These are two wines I do not mind waking up for.

Ramonet Chassagne-Montrachet white and red
One evening we opened two Chassagne-Montrachets from Domaine Ramonet, one white, a Villages from 2004, and a red, the Premier Cru "Clos de la Boudriotte" 1999. I didn't take any notes, only a picture. The evening was very good, and these Ramonets without doubt contributed to that. These two wines simply prove (again) that Ramonet is a great producer. Both wines were very 'drinkable', digestible, elegant and characterful. This is the style of Burgundy I like.

David Léclapart L'Amateur
David Léclapart is a purist. Organic, to start with. And no liqueur d'expedition after dégorgement. But not just that: the little bit of champagne that is lost with the dégorgement is not compensated - the bottle is not topped up. So Léclapart takes "no liqueur d'expedition" very literally - simply nothing is added. At first we had to get used to the taste of this champagne; it is truly very dry, like chewing on stone. But very pure and fresh too. And the further we got (towards the bottom of the bottle) the more we liked it. Always a good sign, but I wouldn't really call this a "commercial" champagne. Something for devotees for sure.

Frank Phélan, Labégorce-Zédé & La Parde de Haut-Bailly 2006
Finally some Bordeaux 2006 samples crossed our path. They were very young, so I retasted the day after. My final verdict: I prefer La Parde de Haut-Bailly. The first evening it was the Labégorce-Zédé that came across best, for it is more approachable - a slightly lighter structure with more obvious oak (and fresh leather and mint). What I was wondering also: am I sensing the hand of the new owner, is there a bit more make-up (and modernity) in this wine, compared to the 2005?

La Parde de Haut-Bailly especially showed its beauty the second day, when the tight fruit had opened itself somewhat. It is a powerful wine, energetic, with healthy and tough purple young fruit. It has a bright future.

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