Tuesday Betsy left for concerts in Maine, I grilled sausages and fennel, warmed up some kabocha/chickpea mixture, and opened the 2003 La Vieille Cure (Fronsac). Modern, fleshy, some mocha, initially I’m thinking not bad for the style but with just a bit of air some heat begins to come out and this seems a little volatile. There’s some drying tannin on the finish, my first sip a B, my last a C+/B-.
Wednesday I had lobster, corn, and salad, and the 2011 Terre Nere Etna Bianco. I actually thought I had chilled a bottle of the Vigne Niche, but this was the base bottling. Light to medium bodied, medium crisp, citrus, white fruits. Nice enough but the all Carricante bottling would have been better with the bug. B
Thursday I had a board meeting, no wine with dinner. Friday was sauteed rainbow trout with garlic chives and the 2004 Louvetrie Fief du Breil Muscadet.
I’ve had plenty of Amphibolite Nature and straight Muscadet bottlings from Loivetrie/Landron, usually enjoyed, seldom been wowwed though they are faves with people I respect. This wowwed me. Quite full, great acids, impressions of oyster shell, citrus, and salinity. Nice length, this can play ball with the 04 Briords. A-
Saturday I was near Grapes the Wine Company and stopped by to pick up some orders. A Skurnik rep I know in passing was there and I sampled the 2012 Liquid Farm White Hill Chardonnay. My first Liquid Farm, and I thought very good (I bought one bottle to explore further). Good acids for CalChard, no really apparent wood, some rocks, pear, and citrus. There was also a Groffier Passetoutgrains that I thought showed more Groffier than PTG- rather dense, well done but not my style.
Dinner was grilled butterflied leg of lamb (marinated 9 months), squash, and green salad; wine was the 1989 Ch. Soutard (St Emilion). For a sec I thought corked, but the mustiness blew off. Red plums, currants, some tobacco and leather. Good length, balanced, not the most complex claret but showing well at 25, ready to go. B/B+
Sunday was a gorgeous day: walked the dog, drove nephew who had spend Sat night to soccer, and then got first CSA of the year. A day of chores, and then Betsy returned from Maine. Dave was in Woodstock and Lucy has paws, so Betsy cooked the Father’s Day meal. As she cooked, we celebrated her return with the NV Ch. de L’Aulee Touraine Brut. I thought this a bit disappointing- sweet applesauce, some flinty notes, some backbone but too sweet for me. A little lighter dosage might have made this more attractive. B-/C+
Oh yeah, earlier in the day I had opened a red. I had low expectations of the 2013 Katlyn Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve (Central Valley, Chile) and so opened as I needed to jumpstart vinegar crock after a harvest. Expectations fulfilled, and vinegar crock refilled. Confected, with a harsh green herbal note, vanilla, and a definite sweet note. C
Anyway, back to dinner. Main was seared duck breast with sauteed grapes over a purslane salad, with barley and cauliflower with anchovy, capers, and thyme. The grape “sauce” was delicious, but I find sweet sauce with duck can complicate pairing, so decided to pass on the 1ers and go basic- wine was the 2001 Michel Lafarge Bourgogne. Yes, 13 year old Burg from an iffy year in the Volnay area. Some browning on edges, but nice sour cherry/plum (umeboshi) fruit, good acids, holding on. Actually as we sat on patio the fruit sweetened into more of a classic black cherry style, with earth tones. Not super complex but fun and drinking well. B/B+
Grade disclaimer: I'm a very easy grader, basically A is an excellent wine, B a good wine, C drinkable. Anything below C means I wouldn't drink at a party where it was only choice.Furthermore, I offer no promises of objectivity, accuracy, and certainly not of consistency.