TN: Grand Crew Bellingham; Huet, Rhys, Ceritas, Breton, CdP

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TN: Grand Crew Bellingham; Huet, Rhys, Ceritas, Breton, CdP

Postby Warren T » Sun Mar 17, 2013 6:48 pm

The original theme was going to be "New World Wines that Marc might like; wines with balance and a sense of place," but this wound up being that plus some other wines I was dying to open and share with people who would appreciate them.

All the reds were brought out of the cellar and Audouzed for eight hours. The whites were Audouzed in the cellar for about 5 hours. The sparklers were popped and poured.

There were five flights: sparklers, whites, and three red flights. All were served blind with no clues to grape or region.

These were paired with various cheeses and charcuterie, and nice seared duck breast with mixed berry sauce, and other ala carte dishes.


Sparkling Flight

  • 2011 Eric Bordelet Poiré Granit - France, Normandy
    Great way to start the night. Everyone eventually arrived at cider, all guessed apple. Sweet fruit, mostly apple but pear arrives especially once the bag was removed from the bottle. Very solid cider; my favorite in this category. Mid-90's for a cider; solid 87 for this tasting.
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  • 2002 Huët Vouvray Pétillant Réserve Brut - France, Loire Valley, Touraine, Vouvray Pétillant
    Fun bottle. I don't believe anyone guessed Chenin Blanc. Some honeyed lemon fruit, lots of minerality, quinine. Very nice. (91 pts.)

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  • 1996 René-Henri Coutier Champagne Blanc de Blancs Grand Vintage - France, Champagne, Ambonnay, Champagne
    Jenise nailed it as a Blanc de Blancs with some age. Not nearly as nice as the bottle I opened six months ago (that one led me to buy some of the '04). Still very nice, not too oxidative, apples, brioche. Gentler mousse than my last bottle. Solid wine, but a disappointment for me after my last '96 Coutier. (88 pts.)

White Flight

  • 2004 Domaine / Maison Vincent Girardin Corton-Charlemagne Quintessence - France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru
    Nice start to the second flight. Everyone liked it, but it was not without controversy. Many guessed California. Everything is big in this wine; fruit, acidity, alcohol and oak. I think the latter two detract. However, it it still very enjoyable, with dense lemon and other citrus notes, apple, vanilla oak. This wine has many years ahead, and will be much better in 5 or 10, but premox fears may keep me from ever having one at peak (not nearly there yet...) (91 pts.)
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  • 2008 Rhys Chardonnay Alpine Vineyard - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
    This followed the brutish but good Girardin. Many in the room toyed with France as origin. Beautiful lemon, white flowers, good minerals, saline and butterscotch. Due to the saline and minerality, there was speculation from at least one experienced palate that it could be an oaked GC Chablis such as Fevre (never noticed that resemblance or salinity in previous bottles of Rhys). (91 pts.)
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  • 2010 Ceritas Chardonnay Porter-Bass Vineyard - USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley
    This bottle wowed by its purity and balance. Less oak the the previous two in the flight. White fruit and sweet citrus, young, long, restrained and clean. (93 pts.)
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  • 1995 Tyrrell's Sémillon Reserve HVD - Australia, New South Wales, Hunter Valley
    Jenise brought this. Blind, took a long time for anyone to guess the grape, and I don't think anyone came close to guessing the location (although I believe Patricia may have said NZ at one point). Golden yellow, smoky white fruited nose, lots of life left and very enjoyable, this made me confront my prejudice against Aussie wines. (90+ pts.)

Red Flight #1

  • 1993 Catherine et Pierre Breton Bourgueil Les Perrières - France, Loire Valley, Touraine, Bourgueil
    Nice start to the third flight. Weird cork; the top 80% was black and perhaps dried, but the portion in contact with the wine was sound. Smoke bomb, sweet pipe tobacco, raspberry. Not nearly as nice as the older bottle, and Jenise felt this was good but slightly flawed. I couldn't identify a specific flaw, and may have rated it higher were it not for the performance of the subsequent bottle in the flight. (90 pts.)
  • 1985 Catherine et Pierre Breton Bourgueil Les Perrières - France, Loire Valley, Touraine, Bourgueil
    My (and many of the group's) WOTN. Dusty stones, raspberry, truffle. Nice purity, amazing wine. Why don't I buy this more often to bury in my cellar? (93 pts.)
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  • 2002 Andrew Will Cabernet Franc - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley
    This wine suffered by following the aged Cab Francs by Breton from Bourgueil. Came off as hot and extracted, with chocolate and blackberry. Would have done well on its own with a steak or BBQ, or in a Napa or Washington wine tasting. Out of place for this tasting. (87 pts.)

Red Flight #2

  • 1998 Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe Châteauneuf-du-Pape La Crau - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
    An old and still current favorite (along with the '01 Charvin which followed). Elegant mature CDP. Fruit giving way to secondary elements on the nose and palate, with dark berries framed by iodine, garrigue, moist earth. A little Southern Rhone funk. Perfect balance of generous fruit and acidity. Still tannic; improved in the glass through the night. (92 pts.)
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  • 2001 Domaine Charvin Châteauneuf-du-Pape - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
    Seemed decades younger than the '98 VT that preceded. Another favorite of mine, enjoyed by all. A very polished CdP. Sweet dusty nose with cherry and strawberry, moist autumn leaves, garrigue, soy sauce, lavender, iron-laced minerals. No hint of barnyard. Balance and poised (92 pts.)
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Red Flight #3

  • 2006 Rhys Pinot Noir Alpine Vineyard - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
    Black raspberries and some herbal and floral notes. Still very young. Great balance and cut; well liked by the group, including the avowed europhiles. (90+ pts.)
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  • 2007 Rhys Pinot Noir Family Farm Vineyard - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, San Mateo County
    Clearly needs more time to strut its stuff. Raspberry and strawberry, brown spice and mushroom. Once again, good acidity and fine tannins. Enjoyed by the group, but could have used a formal decant rather than Audouze method. (90+ pts.)
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We ended with a nice 1996 Château de Fargues Sauternes, which we paired with seared foie gras with fig jam. When I woke this morning, my kitchen was severely hung over, but fortunately I was not.
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Re: TN: Grand Crew Bellingham; Huet, Rhys, Ceritas, Breton, CdP

Postby Jenise » Mon Mar 18, 2013 1:17 pm

What a fun night, Warren; it was incredibly generous of you to open all those bottles, and I was glad I could sneak a bottle in. Given your theme it was irresistable to spring that one on Marc. I just wish it had been a better bottle.


2011 Eric Bordelet Poiré Granit - France, Normandy
My notes say, "Sweet--not candied, but more than off dry, fruity, not sure it's grapes." It was indeed delicious.

2002 Huët Vouvray Pétillant Réserve Brut - France, Loire Valley, Touraine, Vouvray Pétillant
Took a few seconds to adjust to this minerally, bone dry wine, after the Poire Granit. I enjoyed it very much, but thought it a bit further along the maturity curve than 2002; would have guessed it be no more recent than mid-90's.

1996 René-Henri Coutier Champagne Blanc de Blancs Grand Vintage - France, Champagne, Ambonnay, Champagne
Savory nose. An initial aroma of baked potato morphed into brioche with time in the glass and an interesting note that's sweet and musty like a cave-aged gruyere cheese. Disappointing mouthfeel, however; fewer bubbles than one would like, and they lacked persistence.

2004 Domaine / Maison Vincent Girardin Corton-Charlemagne Quintessence - France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru Deep gold color. Big, blousy pineapple-y Burgish nose, but more California oak and alcohol on the palate with a bit of tropical mango. Made us check the label: 14%! In 2004? Not a bad wine, but atypical for the vintage and appellation and not showing GC qualities for me; I'd rate it a bit lower than you, merely very good at about 88. And what's up with that Kinko's label? :)

2008 Rhys Chardonnay Alpine Vineyard - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
Steely, saline nose of a good Chablis, but fruitier. Rich and distinctively floral on the palate suggesting a well-bred California chardonnay. Excellent.

2010 Ceritas Chardonnay Porter-Bass Vineyard - USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley My first Ceritas, and what a flawless beauty!!! Splendid acidity supports a panoply of quietly powerful stone fruit and citrus. One of the best chardonnays I've had in a long, long time, and though I don't do points much I'd actually rate it a bit higher than you did, like 94-95. Will reward further cellaring. Outstanding.

1995 Tyrrell's Sémillon Reserve HVD - Australia, New South Wales, Hunter Valley
Electric yellow leaning toward radiator coolant. On the nose, lightly petrol with Pine Sol. Smokey fruit with a lanolin mouthfeel. Showed well for an 18 year old new world white wine, but not as well as other old Tyrell's semillons I've tasted. This one wasn't nearly as multi-facted as one has a right to expect, and the acid's losing ground. Your points are too generous, I couldn't give it more than 85.

1993 Catherine et Pierre Breton Bourgueil Les Perrières - France, Loire Valley, Touraine, Bourgueil
The flaw in this was visual, the cloudiness that wasn't in the '85. There wasn't a specific flavor problem but cloudiness usually mutes flavors somewhat, and another bottle might show better. Nonetheless, it was very good to excellent and enpointe for a Loire cab franc (I went straight to that in the guessing, if you recall) with great spice. It together with the mole salumi (that's the Mexican sauce, folks, not the critter) was the best wine-food combo of the night.

1985 Catherine et Pierre Breton Bourgueil Les Perrières - France, Loire Valley, Touraine, Bourgueil
But yes this was the better of the two wines by far. Agree on WOTN. I listed all the characteristics you did, plus 'earthy' and the completely resolved tannins.

2002 Andrew Will Cabernet Franc - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley
Vitamin B, extracted, hot and sweet, medicinal, peppery. Not a bad wine, but a misfit in the company.

1998 Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe Châteauneuf-du-Pape La Crau - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Can't improve on your comments but would add that everything about this wine is why VT is one of my favorite CdPs. This has a great future ahead of it; it's still evolving. Excellent plus.

2001 Domaine Charvin Châteauneuf-du-Pape - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Bright and harmonious with lavendar and a handful of spice with some orange rind and clove. (My first guess was Donjon). This was Provence in a bottle. Excellent plus.

2006 Rhys Pinot Noir Alpine Vineyard - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
What you said! A treat.

2007 Rhys Pinot Noir Family Farm Vineyard - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, San Mateo County
A step up in complexity from the last wine with firmer tannins. Raspberry and other red fruits, Asian spice and forest floor. Reminded me of the smells around me while in a grove of old Redwoods in California a few weeks ago. You sent me home with the remainder of the bottle which we tasted last night; it was having one of those off sophomore days which means it will pop back out today or tomorrow and show the most complete version of itself yet which says a lot of good about the future of this wine. I'd go higher on the points than you did with this one, 92 or 93.

1996 Château de Fargues Sauternes Smokey overtones (which is unusual, to me, in Sauternes) with notes of date, styrian pumpkin oil and chestnut honey, which really nailed the match with the fig jam we put on the foie. What a wicked way to end the night!

Thanks again for your generosity. Enjoyed meeting Patrick, Elizabeth, Richard and (Pat?) too; fun people.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: TN: Grand Crew Bellingham; Huet, Rhys, Ceritas, Breton, CdP

Postby ChaimShraga » Mon Mar 18, 2013 3:47 pm

How long does a Huet Petillant usually age?
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Re: TN: Grand Crew Bellingham; Huet, Rhys, Ceritas, Breton, CdP

Postby Dale Williams » Mon Mar 18, 2013 4:41 pm

ChaimShraga wrote:How long does a Huet Petillant usually age?


Well, the 64 has been pretty good both times I've tried in last 5-6 years!

Other than that, oldest I've had is about 10-12 years- 2002 recently, 1998 a few years ago. No hurry on either .
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Re: TN: Grand Crew Bellingham; Huet, Rhys, Ceritas, Breton, CdP

Postby Mark Lipton » Mon Mar 18, 2013 4:46 pm

Dale Williams wrote:
ChaimShraga wrote:How long does a Huet Petillant usually age?


Well, the 64 has been pretty good both times I've tried in last 5-6 years!

Other than that, oldest I've had is about 10-12 years- 2002 recently, 1998 a few years ago. No hurry on either .


The problem that I have is that they're so tasty young, I never get around to aging any. :cry:

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