2005 Raymond Quénard, Vin de Savoie Chignin VV:
Fresh and juicy mondeuse at 12% alcohol with notes of red grapes and flint on the nose and a noticeable minerality as a part of the grapey palate. A pretty wine, that’s quite young and mildly reminiscent of gamay in, some ways. About $17.
2004 Gorrondona, Bizkaiko Txakolina (red):
The grape is hondarrabi beltza from 100+ year old, ungrafted vines in the Basque; it’s 12% alcohol and fermented in stainless. A pungent leafy/herbal streak is center stage in the nose with solid red fruit and mineral notes (sort of Loire cab. franc like); the herbaceousness steps aside on the palate as the fruit becomes more complex and detailed; long, very detailed finish. 99% of the time I don’t like this much herb in my wine but this got better in the glass and became so complex and challenging that I was enamored; even Diane, who hates ‘green’ in her wine, liked this. About $18.
I do believe I’ll let this sleep awhile; such was my impression.
2005 Amesguren, Getariako Txakolina Ameztoi (white):
Hondarrabi zuri is the grape and this too is from the Basque region of Spain at about 11% alcohol, done only in tank. Fresh white grapefruit with a little peach skin and some tonic water scents; cleansing acidity in the mouth with flavors that follow the nose, lightweight, maybe some dissolved CO2 and a clean, crisp, mouthwatering aftertaste. To be drunk now, I’d say and really very refreshing (as in, drink it on a hot day). About $14.
1998 Dom. G. Roumier, Bonnes-Mares:
I think it was Baron Rothschild that said the best food match for Mouton was something simple like macaroni and cheese – to that end, a dinner of seared (rare), sushi quality tuna with a little olive oil on the side and this bottle; penetrating aromas of ripe red fruits, steel, freshly turned loam and five-spice powder; deep and focused in the mouth with powerful flavors that follow the nose, a substantial shot of tannin and a complexity that seems to vary the delivery of the flavors each time I take a sip; very long and structured but not at all drying at the finish. Young, contemplative and visceral at the same time. Really, very nice – and the Baron was right. About $90 several years ago because it had a stained label.
2002 Overnoy, Arbois Pupillin:
Made from the poulsard grape (also spelled plousard), 12.5% alcohol from the Jura. Essence of fresh, wild strawberry on the nose with light accents of mineral, talc and herb; great cut on the palate with flavors that follow the nose, mouthwatering acidity, character and intensity; long, intense finish. Accompanied pasta with mushrooms and, when tasted with the food, the wine becomes softer, more complex and yet is still every bit as fresh. Showing young but delicious, even now. About $22.
(Interestingly, the color is pale garnet with some browning at the edges and yet nothing about this wine is indicative of age.)
As I taste, I learn:
The Bonnes-Mares is good wine but, I prefer the Arbois (regardless of price). And, at the current price of the Roumier wines, I can buy a case (or more) of the Poulsard. A no-brainer, for me, if there ever was one.
A recent ‘94 Togni, cab. made me rethink my position on how herbaceous a wine can be before I say no; the Gorrondona did likewise; isn’t it interesting how our tastes change?
BTW, Hondarrabi is also spelled Ondarrabi, but don’t look it up in the Oxford Companion – its not there. Oh, how I delight in finding something Jancis missed/dismissed – please, forgive me my vanity.