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In Which I Get Therapy (Boxler, Pegau, Selbach, etc)

by David M. Bueker » Mon Jan 28, 2008 1:49 pm

Dinner at Café Panache in New Jersey with many of the Wine Therapy crew I had only known virtually (for the most part). Thanks to Jay Miller (the non-Wine Advocate version) for setting everything up, hosting me & letting me order the oysters to go with the Muscadet (there were only a couple of orders left – I got one & David Ross the other).

Attendees included this mental-notes-only scribe, the aforementioned non-Wine Advocate Jay Miller, Bob Ross (who I had met once way back in 2000 or so), David Ross (Bob’s son), Cliff Rosenberg, Tony Fletcher & Brad Kane.

After settling in at a table that was planned to seat 8 but which could really only hold 4-5 wine geeks, we set upon a dizzying array of white wines. I didn’t write things down, so I am working from memory and a list of the wines that is somewhat incomplete.

We started with a 2006 Domaine Laurent Barth Pinot d’Alsace Cuvee Buster that was enjoyable to smell (all flowers and light peach) but didn’t really follow through on the palate. A bit too soft to be interesting.

I am bound by the rules of politeness to not give too much praise to the 1995 Willi Brundlmayer Gruner Veltliner Alte Reben (I brought it), but to heck with politeness – this was great wine. Honeyed and spicy, with a creaminess of texture, but cleansing acidity on the finish, all the pieces were in place, and the wine was showing beautifully. I would drink this up now as it’s in a great place.

Not to be out done, Brad opened a 2001 Albert Boxler Riesling Brand (L32?) that was just fantastic. A total contrast to the Brundlmayer with much more zest and freshness, and a full range of crisp tree fruit. Just off-dry, and poised for fine aging, but delicious to drink now as well.

Of course this means it’s time for a German Riesling rebuttal, so I opened a bottle of 2001 Selbach-Oster Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Spatlese which stood toe-to-toe with the Boxler, albeit in a different weight class and a different gym. This is into that phase where it mingles significant primary fruit with a secondary creaminess of texture while sustaining a fine acidic framework. Also delicious, and with the Boxler and the Brundlmayer a great set of white wines.

We also had a Muscadet and a Finger Lakes Riesling , neither of which I got the full names of, so comments will have to wait.

Moving on to the reds:

1982 Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande
Bob and David reported that they had been experiencing trouble with this wine, with several bottles undrinkable. Well this wasn’t undrinkable by any stretch, but it was odd. While there was still quite a lot of depth and richness there was a clear and dominant green tobacco element that held sway over the wine for quite a while, but when it finally faded (and it did) so did the rest of the wine into something rather bland and formless. Strange showing, and I have no idea what to make of it.

2002 Triacca Valtellina Superiore Sassella
This smelled really nice, with lots of floral and red fruit, but was quite acidic (even to me) and thin on the palate. It might make a nice perfume.

1998 Jamet Cote Rotie
This is not so bad, but oh it is young. Tight and coiled like a spring. This has almost as much acid as the Valtellina, but also a meaty, dark fruit profile that shows off some bacon and earth as well. Needs serious time. I would love to be able to follow this wine for years, and I’m not much of a Northern Rhone fan.

1993 Lafarge Volnay
Plenty of backbone left in this one. I like the structure, but it’s going to outlive the fruit. I would drink this up soon, as it has very enjoyable fruit, earth and leather elements, but the acids are busy taking over, and will dominate the wine in a few more years. I missed a ’97 Gevrey Chambertin in there somewhere as well. The table was rather crowded & it was hard to get to some of the bottles.

1999 Pegau Chateauneuf du Pape
Apparently Jay does not like Chateauneuf. Lucky me that Tony Fletcher and Brad Kane do. I was having short ribs in a somewhat oversweet sauce (the ribs were really good though), and this just danced with the food. Not too much horse sweat, lots of red and black fruit and fine depth. This is drinking very well now, though it has plenty of stuffing to hold on for a long time. Yum. This was my red WOTN.

Dessert was accompanied by:

1989 Domaine des Baumard Quarts de Chaume
No asparagus here. Lots of honey and good acidity. Not really sweet enough to accompany the pear dessert with maple ice cream (and why oh why did they have to drizzle chocolate over everything…), but very enjoyable on its own. Seems like it could evolve well for a long time.

Later on at Jay’s a few of us enjoyed one more wine:

2006 Pfeffingen Ungsteiner Herrenberg Scheurebe Auslese Goldkap
Not at all what I was expecting based on the vintage. This was not heavy or severely burdened by botrytis, but rather racy and showing some of the catty side of Scheu. Lots of grapefruit and a little mango/papaya, but nowhere near the concentration and depth of say the ’98 Catoirs when they came out. Not bad, but nothing I would go searching for. At least it wasn’t expensive. Gold capsule auslese???
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Re: In Which I Get Therapy (Boxler, Pegau, Selbach, etc)

by Tony Fletcher » Mon Jan 28, 2008 5:03 pm

Thanks for being so quick with the notes, David - and I look forward to adding to them later on, hopefully this evening. It was great to meet you - and I'm always happy to contribute WOTN!

Tony
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Re: In Which I Get Therapy (Boxler, Pegau, Selbach, etc)

by David M. Bueker » Mon Jan 28, 2008 5:09 pm

It was rgeat meeting you Tony. I look forward to your thoughts. How was your pasta by the way?
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Re: In Which I Get Therapy (Boxler, Pegau, Selbach, etc)

by Dale Williams » Mon Jan 28, 2008 5:18 pm

Nice notes, sorry didn't get to see you!
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Re: In Which I Get Therapy (Boxler, Pegau, Selbach, etc)

by Martin Barz » Mon Jan 28, 2008 5:33 pm

David,

interesting notes concerning 82 Pichon Lalande, as everyone praises this wine.

"but to heck with politeness" , I love the english language, in contrast to the german language so straight forward/direct. :lol:

I had a 2000 Pegau a few weeks ago, I know what you´re talking about. Charming Laurence makes terrific wines..........

As always great notes,
Martin
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Re: In Which I Get Therapy (Boxler, Pegau, Selbach, etc)

by Rahsaan » Mon Jan 28, 2008 9:08 pm

Sounds like a good meal and a nice time.

But if you had really gotten Therapy you would have take notes on the Muscadet :D
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Re: In Which I Get Therapy (Boxler, Pegau, Selbach, etc)

by David M. Bueker » Mon Jan 28, 2008 9:14 pm

I have notes, just not the name - just got it. Will add later.
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Re: In Which I Get Therapy (Boxler, Pegau, Selbach, etc)

by JoePerry » Mon Jan 28, 2008 9:20 pm

Nice wines!

There a good group of guys. Jay Miller and Bob Ross are total gentlemen.
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Re: In Which I Get Therapy (Boxler, Pegau, Selbach, etc)

by David M. Bueker » Mon Jan 28, 2008 10:03 pm

JoePerry wrote:Nice wines!

There a good group of guys. Jay Miller and Bob Ross are total gentlemen.


Indeed. Jay offered to open CUNE. I had him save it for you.
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Re: In Which I Get Therapy (Boxler, Pegau, Selbach, etc)

by Lou Kessler » Mon Jan 28, 2008 10:15 pm

I've broken bread with most of the group you drank and ate with, and I hope this is not too disconcerting but after having socializing with Kane, Miller, on a few occasions I was dropped from the Napa social register. I thought that having Bob Ross there would balance out my fall from social grace but it didn't compensate. :roll:
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Re: In Which I Get Therapy (Boxler, Pegau, Selbach, etc)

by David M. Bueker » Mon Jan 28, 2008 10:16 pm

Lou Kessler wrote:I've broken bread with most of the group you drank and ate with, and I hope this is not too disconcerting but after having socializing with Kane, Miller, on a few occasions I was dropped from the Napa social register.


I don't even have LA privleges, so no worries.
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Re: In Which I Get Therapy (Boxler, Pegau, Selbach, etc)

by Tony Fletcher » Mon Jan 28, 2008 11:00 pm

David

The Muscadet Sevre et Maine was a Terroir les gras moutons from Claude Branger, 2002 - and I thought it was fabulous. We finished it last night, it was very fat, a really big Muscadet with plenty of body. Never heard of the producer before, though.

I'll post more notes later.
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Re: In Which I Get Therapy (Boxler, Pegau, Selbach, etc)

by JoePerry » Mon Jan 28, 2008 11:03 pm

David M. Bueker wrote:
JoePerry wrote:Nice wines!

There a good group of guys. Jay Miller and Bob Ross are total gentlemen.


Indeed. Jay offered to open CUNE. I had him save it for you.


Nice! :D
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Re: In Which I Get Therapy (Boxler, Pegau, Selbach, etc)

by David M. Bueker » Mon Jan 28, 2008 11:04 pm

Tony Fletcher wrote:David

The Muscadet Sevre et Maine was a Terroir les gras moutons from Claude Branger, 2002 - and I thought it was fabulous. We finished it last night, it was very fat, a really big Muscadet with plenty of body. Never heard of the producer before, though.

I'll post more notes later.


Indeed it was quite good, but the prep on the oysters (with a big hunk of ginger) made them a less than satisfying match.

New producer to me as well.
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Re: In Which I Get Therapy (Boxler, Pegau, Selbach, etc)

by Tony Fletcher » Tue Jan 29, 2008 12:20 am

David

Thanks for getting your detailed notes up; it allows me just to add some comments and still have a reference point for the future!

I concur on the Pinot D’Alsace – I liked it up front, found it enjoyably waxy on the palate but felt it finished short. Compared to the white wine competition, it didn’t have much of a chance. As for the Gruner and the two Rieslings, I couldn’t better your descriptions.

I really dug that Muscadet – usually they’re such thrillingly acidic wines but this one was so much more “serious” and had considerable depth to it. If the ginger on your oysters ruined it maybe you should have tried the Ravines 2006 Finger Lakes Riesling, the bracing acidity of which Bob Ross found to gracefully easily offset some incredibly strong spice on his own starter. I found that the acidity masked a steely back end that was a little disconcerting, but there was a reasonably amount of Granny Smith-pear fruit on the palate and it held up over the next two nights – my wife only just finished the last glass. I picked it on the day up just to entertain you as the Riesling man – I haven’t visited Ravines but I do like my Finger Lakes Rieslings and this was a fair if not great example.

Of the reds, I will only really challenge you on the 2002 Sassella Valtellina Superiore. Yes, red fruits and floral (lavender?) on the nose, a light color and a relatively light wine, but I found it absolutely delicious on the palate, delicate bright red fruit with a surprisingly meaty finish. Nebbiolo, I believe, an apparently easy-going example of such, but Cliff – whose bottle this was – says he’s drunk them at fifteen years and found them sensational. Given the price bracket – under $20 – I’m going to hunt one down. I was quite thrilled to discover a brand new wine – always a thrill.

Having been so in love with the aroma but relatively disappointed by the actual wine, I took the Cote Rotie home hoping it might open up over the next 24 hours. It didn’t. The fruit had just faded away. It was pretty dull to be honest. I’m not sure how that bodes for those who’ve got some tucked away – I had otherwise fully agreed that it was just tight, maybe closed. Anyone else care to comment?

The 1997 Gevrey-Chambertin from Esmonin, you may have been wise to skip. I guess it was pleasant enough on the night but to be honest, it was outshone by pretty much all the other reds and was relatively mundane a night later. A disappointment.

The 1993 Volnay Lafarge was better; it was served very cold, accenting its acidity, but as it warmed up, the fruit started to shine, the richness of the Pinot shone through and it finished well. I sneaked one final glass out of this when I got home and it was lovely.

You nailed it on the 82 Pichon, and as far as the 99 Pegau Châteauneuf du Pape, yes wasn’t that lovely? Even Jay said “not bad” – high praise indeed. Brings me back to the conversation I was having with Brad about 99 in that part of the world – my Chateauneufs have tasted far more forward and drinkable than the Gigondas, which seem like they still need a couple more years. You’d expect it to be the other way round.

Oh, and the pasta was great. As was the Baumard 89, I would never say no to a glass of that - with or without chocolate on top of my chocolate cake.

The location was ridiculously easy for me to get to - all of about 5 miles off the NYS Thruway. I was home in about 90 minutes. Cheers.
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Re: In Which I Get Therapy (Boxler, Pegau, Selbach, etc)

by David M. Bueker » Tue Jan 29, 2008 9:08 am

Tony Fletcher wrote: If the ginger on your oysters ruined it maybe you should have tried the Ravines 2006 Finger Lakes Riesling, the bracing acidity of which Bob Ross found to gracefully easily offset some incredibly strong spice on his own starter. I found that the acidity masked a steely back end


Unfortunately the Ravines did not make it over to me until I was finished with my oysters. Indeed the acidity in the wine might have made it a good match (the Muscadet was too braod shouldered). On its own it had good acidity, but needed to have a little more fruit to be a sipper. David Ross apparently had 1 oyster left & had some of the Riesling with it and it worked.
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Re: In Which I Get Therapy (Boxler, Pegau, Selbach, etc)

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Tue Jan 29, 2008 2:43 pm

Terrific notes. I lurk at "Therapy" but am unable to access right now. Is it up and running again?
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Re: In Which I Get Therapy (Boxler, Pegau, Selbach, etc)

by Rahsaan » Tue Jan 29, 2008 2:44 pm

Bob Parsons Alberta. wrote:I lurk at "Therapy" but am unable to access right now. Is it up and running again?


Yes, but now you need to register even to read it.
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Re: In Which I Get Therapy (Boxler, Pegau, Selbach, etc)

by David M. Bueker » Tue Jan 29, 2008 2:44 pm

Bob Parsons Alberta. wrote:Terrific notes. I lurk at "Therapy" but am unable to access right now. Is it up and running again?


Yes, but you have to be registered to view.
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Re: In Which I Get Therapy (Boxler, Pegau, Selbach, etc)

by Rahsaan » Tue Jan 29, 2008 2:45 pm

Tony Fletcher wrote:Muscadet Sevre et Maine was a Terroir les gras moutons from Claude Branger, 2002Never heard of the producer before, though..


Aha, I believe Fl Jim has posted favorable notes on this one.
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Re: In Which I Get Therapy (Boxler, Pegau, Selbach, etc)

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Tue Jan 29, 2008 2:46 pm

That was quick guys. Think I lost my password, guess there is a "contact us"?

Hows de weather, only minus 40 here today!!
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Re: In Which I Get Therapy (Boxler, Pegau, Selbach, etc)

by Rahsaan » Tue Jan 29, 2008 8:00 pm

Bob Parsons Alberta. wrote:That was quick guys. Think I lost my password, guess there is a "contact us"?


Or you can register again with a different name. Seems to be lots of that going on.
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Re: In Which I Get Therapy (Boxler, Pegau, Selbach, etc)

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Wed Jan 30, 2008 12:02 am

OK Rahsaan, but my email address screws it up. Already in use it says.
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Re: In Which I Get Therapy (Boxler, Pegau, Selbach, etc)

by Joe Moryl » Wed Jan 30, 2008 12:58 am

Tony Fletcher wrote:....... the Ravines 2006 Finger Lakes Riesling, the bracing acidity of which Bob Ross found to gracefully easily offset some incredibly strong spice on his own starter. I found that the acidity masked a steely back end that was a little disconcerting, but there was a reasonably amount of Granny Smith-pear fruit on the palate and it held up over the next two nights – my wife only just finished the last glass. I picked it on the day up just to entertain you as the Riesling man – I haven’t visited Ravines but I do like my Finger Lakes Rieslings and this was a fair if not great example........


When Ravines labels their wine "Dry Riesling" they mean it, unlike some of the others. In the few years that Ravines has been in business I think the '06 riesling was about their most severe and steely of the lot, and is a reflection of the growing season for that year. Interestingly, some of the grapes for this wine a sourced from a vineyard on Skaneateles Lake, which is one of the smaller Finger Lakes, not usually associated with grape growing. Expect some nice, albeit richer, wines in the '07 vintage.

Just where is Cafe Panache, anyway? Doesn't ring a bell.
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