Mike invited a few of us out to Woo Jung in Ayer, MA to enjoy some excellent Korean food sitting on the floor at their long low table in the back. Folks brought outstanding wines, as always, and a good time was had by all (except my lower back!).
N.V. Domaine des Cavarodes (Etienne Thiebaud) La Bulette Pétillant de Raisin. This is a cloudy pink color, with a fair bit of crimson-colored shag at the bottom of the bottle. It smells of pink grapefruit, rose petals and a bit of barnyard funk. It has a mild fizz on the palate and is surprisingly fleshy in texture despite vibrant acidity. The pink citrus and light strawberry flavors are tangy and bright, and the whole thing is just really fun to drink.
1996 Billecart-Salmon Champagne Cuvée Elisabeth Salmon Brut Rosé. This is a beautiful golden color with pink hues. The aromas are a bit tight but rather fine-honed with scents of pomegranate, red berries, copper, toasted biscuit and attractive brown spices. It’s really lovely on the palate, with fantastic drive and vivacity, showing great cut and freshness to the tight-knit flavors of strawberries, citrus, green apples and mineral. It’s distinctive, classy and elegant, showing really fine length. It should have no problem aging, either.
2007 Rudi Pichler Riesling Federspiel Wachau. This is very stony and intense on the prickly nose redolent of diesel fuel, blue slate, gravel, minerals, pear, lime zest and white peach. It’s similarly taut and vervy on the bracing palate that tastes of lemon-lime, mineral, pear, and juniper berry. The finish is chiseled and refreshing, but will likely be a bit friendlier with some time in the cellar.
2000 Alfred Merkelbach Riesling Ürziger Würzgarten Kabinett Mosel Saar Ruwer. There’s a moderately dark color to this, but the aromatics are pretty and gently sweet, featuring dark peach, honeysuckle, wild honey, lavender and alpine meadow aromas that get better and better the longer you stay with it. In the mouth, it’s a bit soft and not quite as focused as I might like, but it’s full of nice peach, lime, honey and clover flavors. The finish is a touch blunt and lacking in elegance, but again I do like the taste profile a good deal.
2001 Joh. Jos. Prüm Riesling Wehlener Sonnenuhr Kabinett Mosel Saar Ruwer. This is just absolutely smoking good, starting with the finely-etched and inviting nose of white peach, kiwi, blue slate and airy white flower scents. In the mouth, it’s a delight—showing great density and intensity while also feeling effortless, airy and lilting, and focusing on delicious pear, lemon and light honey flavors. It has amazing staying power and presence, with perfect sweetness to acidity balance for my tastes. I can‘t get enough of it.
2003 Zilliken (Forstmeister Geltz) Riesling Saarburger Rausch Spätlese Auction Mosel Saar Ruwer. This is the palest wine in this set, and the nose is a bit reticent before slowly starting to release some gentle aromas of orange peel, lime, kiwi and diesel. On the palate, though, it is much more open for business, with immediate and giving flavors of white peach, grapefruit, pineapple and light honey that are pure, driven and classy all the way through. It’s really delicious, and will be a complete wine if the nose ever catches up to the palate.
1989 Von Schubert Maximin Grünhauser Riesling Abtsberg Auslese Mosel Saar Ruwer. There’s a robust golden-tinged color to this wine, which shows off a sexy, exotic bouquet of blue slate, petrol, marijuana baggie, peach and white gravel stones. It’s not over the top, but it’s complex and full of interesting dimensions. In the mouth, it has impressive lift and zest to go with the full-bore flavors of peach, pineapple and orange fruit. It’s not overly thick or viscous, showing more on the bright and tangy side, which is really nice. This is just nicely-done all around.
1985 Joseph Drouhin Beaune 1er Cru Clos des Mouches Rouge. This pale garnet-colored wine features an earthy bouquet of autumn leaves, wild berries, black cherries, dark chocolate, black smoke and a little bit of sous bois foresty undergrowth. In the mouth, the black cherry fruit is in the background and it’s the cool earth, toasted brown spice, black tea and singed iron elements that are at the forefront. It’s old-fashioned, subdued and grounded, but not at all austere or desiccated. Indeed, it’s decently giving and a nice pairing with the food.
2004 Jacques-Frédéric Mugnier Nuits St. Georges 1er Cru Clos de la Maréchale. There’s an absolutely lovely bouquet to this—powerful and concentrated, with appealing aromas of mixed berries, cola nut, carob, dried funk and animal hide coming together really nicely. It’s moderately plush on the palate, with a fine-knit linen sort of feel to it and some fairly gripping tannins at play. Blue and black berry fruit flavors meld together nicely with plum, mineral, green leaf and purple flower notes and are carried along by a solid twist of acidity running beneath. I like it, for sure, but am inclined to suggest a few more years in the cellar to further integrate the tannins.
2003 Clos Rougeard (Foucault) Saumur-Champigny Les Poyeux. This is very, very nice, indeed. The nose is cool, refined and gentlemanly, with great complexity and layering to the aromas of tobacco leaf, jalapeno pepper, soft menthol, fireplace ash and cocoa bean that slowly unfold to reveal core bits of cranberry and raspberry fruit underneath. On the palate, it delivers immediate pleasure, but in a cultivated and cultured package featuring mid-weight flavors of blue and purple berry fruit, chocolate and menthol supported by small-scale tannins and a fine acidic backbone. The warmer vintage shows a bit on the fleshy and more rounded finish, but I simply love this wine. And it was even better on day 2.
2004 Clos Rougeard (Foucault) Saumur-Champigny Les Poyeux. The nose of the 2004 is just spot-on—intense, elevated and direct, but also regal and beautifully-crafted, delivering lovely aromas of meaty black raspberry and black cherry fruit to go along with green pepper, tobacco leaf and classy earth tones. In the mouth, it’s juicy, pure and finely-lifted, with a cooler demeanor than the 2003 and more of a dark-fruit orientation. Although it’s loaded with dark fruit and earth flavors, I find it reflective and serious, not quite as warmly welcoming as the 2003. This will be the longer-distance runner of the two, but I think I bucked the outspoken trend of the group in preferring the 2003 by a very slight margin today.
2002 M. Chapoutier Ermitage Le Méal. This wine presents a big, plush, warm and friendly bouquet loaded with aromas of sweet barbecue sauce, crushed raspberries, pressed red flowers, limestone and all sorts of garrigue notes. On the palate, it’s a pretty solid effort for the vintage, I’d have to say--showing fairly full-bodied and concentrated with lots of blackberry, blueberry and hickory smoke flavors showing thick and pasty. It does taper off at the back end of the palate and the finish is more abrupt than one would want, but otherwise it’s actually drinking pretty decently right now.
2000 Michel & Stéphane Ogier Côte-Rôtie. This was an absolutely great showing by this wine, in my opinion. It pushes out earthy and muscled aromas of cooled bacon fat, white pepper, hung meat, tobacco and cranberry fruit that are right in my wheelhouse for Cote Rotie. What I really like is that the earth and fruit proportions come across in equal amounts, with both having great character and depth of aroma. In the mouth, it shines even more brightly for me, with wonderful red currant, cherry and licorice rope flavors riding atop earth and forest leaf and flower tones that are just dynamite together. It has great acidity, solid tension, fine structure, contained tannins and a polished finish that pulls it all together. This was my wine of the night.
2001 Pierre Gaillard Côte-Rôtie Rose Pourpre. The nose here is a bit more old-fashioned and not as welcoming to me, though there is impressive complexity to the aromas of black olive brine, rubber, sea foam, sour dark cherries, singed iron, cracked pepper and scorched earth. In the mouth, I like it better, where it is cool, earthy and classically-styled, with flavors of black olives, white pepper, black cherry, blackberry and iodine. It’s just a manlier and more serious wine all around, and I just didn’t quite connect with it on this night.
2009 François Chidaine Montlouis-sur-Loire Moelleux. This wine is still pretty young and raw. Right now, I think it’s showing just the tip of the iceberg aromatically with its core aromas of light honey, fig paste and wool. In the mouth, it’s brightly underpinned by acidity and is surprisingly controlled and direct, with only moderate sweetness and limited unctuosity. Pure flavors of fig, peach, cane sugar and light botrytis spices are very pleasing but lacking a bit of depth and complexity right now. Give this one 4 or 5 years.
2007 Peller Estates Cabernet Franc Icewine Niagara Peninsula. For some reason, I never got a chance to try this one. Too bad.