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Re: Wine Focus for December 2017: France!

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Fri Dec 15, 2017 1:57 pm

I see a few more Chinon in town but feel I need to do some research on the producer before buying.
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Re: Wine Focus for December 2017: France!

by David M. Bueker » Sat Dec 16, 2017 10:30 am

2007 Domaine Font de Michelle Châteauneuf-du-Pape - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape (12/15/2017)
2007 always causes a bit of trepidation with Chateauneuf. So many wines have been overripe, over alcoholic, overdone. Not so here. This is an elegant wine, with very classic herbal, leather, earth and dusty fruit flavors. It’s a little bit subtle, so needs food that is not aggressively flavored, but it’s a wine for drinking, and isn’t that what a wine should be.
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Re: Wine Focus for December 2017: France!

by Rahsaan » Sat Dec 16, 2017 10:59 pm

Typo
Last edited by Rahsaan on Sun Dec 17, 2017 12:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
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2016 Thivin and 2015 Fourrier

by Rahsaan » Sat Dec 16, 2017 11:10 pm

2016 Château Thivin Côte de Brouilly
I heard from several sources that this was showing well but it was just too raw primary grapey for me. Sure the materials were all there. Ripe dark juicy fruit and a fresh crisp structure that hints at lacy elegance. Checks lots of boxes. Except for the exciting inspirational one. Because the raw primary-ness was a bit dull. Will wait on other bottles.

2015 Fourrier Gevrey-Chambertin Aux Echezeaux
The nose is absolutely lovely. The pleasures of young fragrant Burgundy. Needs air to gain weight on the palate and then it becomes seductive and suave with finesse, grip and poise. Modern and forward in all the right ways. Yes please, may I have some more.
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Re: Wine Focus for December 2017: France!

by ChaimShraga » Sun Dec 17, 2017 6:06 am

Jenise, do you really find Matrot to be too fat or is that just a general bias against Meursault? I never found Matrot to be too fat, especially not at the lower rungs.
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Re: Wine Focus for December 2017: France!

by ChaimShraga » Sun Dec 17, 2017 6:09 am

I have a few Champagne TN's to share:

A. Margaine, Le Brut, Villers-Marmery Premier Cru, n.v.

Villers-Marmery is an anomaly in the Motagne de Reims district of Champagne, being an island of Chardonnay on a sea of Pinot Noir. Le Brut, formerly known as Traditionelle, is about 90% Chardonnay. It's comprised of a large portion of reserve wines, the most recent vintage taking up a just little over half the blend, which is a rare proportion for a small grower. The basic character is of ripe fruit, the ripeness providing a full body rather than sweetness, but that body is framed by a sharp cut and a chalky texture and counterpointed by a saline finish. So it makes for an appealing mix of that fruity forwardness and that mineral-laden backbone, a touch of plump fat and chalk/mushrooms notes.

And a whole slew from a Larmandier-Bernier tasting:

Latitude, Premier Cru, n.v.

This is made from young vines south of Cramant and it's primal and citric and in need of time. To wit, fifteen minutes were required to show more aromatic complexity and chalk.

Longitude, Premier Cru, n.v.

Made from all the Laramandier holdings in the Côte des Blancs: Vertus, Oger, Avize, Cramant. This is obviously where the real fun begins. Greater nuances and power, probably as good as an ‘average’ vintage Champagne.

Terre de Vertus Premier Cru, 2009

This is the kind of wine that is almost too easily labeled as intellectual. Which means it's too rocky and electric to drink casually and really demands you pay attention to it. Now, I wrote earlier that it's of Grand Cru caliber, but it's not quite as broad and complete as the Cramant. For one thing, it's a fair bet that while the Vertus vineyard this hails from is at least a match for an average Cramant vineyard, the family's Cramant holdings are hardly average. For another thing, it's a different style of wine, lean and angular and made with zero dosage, which makes it less approachable.

Rose de Saignee Premier Cru, n.v.

Sourced from the family's only Pinot Noir holdings in Vertus, this is floral, very Pinot ish. Still, despite its obvious sex appeal, it is very discreet. This is the only wine in the lineup that I would enjoy a great deal more with age, because it's really too demure to impress right now.

Les Chemins d’Avize Grand Cru, 2009

This is the newest single village wine in the portfolio, and 2009 was the first vintage. Again, a whole bedrock of minerals, but complemented by flowers, it's a sedate wine, less angles and knees and elbows sticking out than the Terre de Vertus

Les Chemins d’Avize Grand Cru, 2010

The year is cooler and I get more flowers, a more intense bouquet, while the body is leaner. Never mind the descriptors, the common thread of the evening is how Larmandier puts so much stuffing without loss of grace, all the while insinuating and hinting at nuances. The specifics are less important.

Vieille Vigne du Levant Grand Cru (formerly known as Cramant), 2007

The house’s crown jewel, this is a very full wine, so full that this time the minerals are buried under baked apples. In a way, it's paradoxical how such a backward and monolithic wine is also the most complete wine.
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Re: Wine Focus for December 2017: France!

by JC (NC) » Thu Dec 21, 2017 8:03 pm

A progression of red Burgundies (from different producers)

2014 Domaine Michel Lafarge Bourgogne/Pinot Noir. Labeled as 12.5% abv. Extra-long cork broke off as I tried to extract it but didn't cause much crumbling. Dark ruby, jewel-like color. To my senses, this is not particularly nuanced, but nevertheless, it's delicious. The raspberry/cherry flavors are like the topping on a sundae or fruit tart. It's very easy drinking.

2011 Gilbert et Christine Felettig Chambolle-Musigny. Labeled as 13% abv. Dark crimson color. Immediately comes across as having more depth and nuance than the Lafarge Bourgogne Rouge. It has some savory/herbal notes as well as dark fruit. It is a little drying on the finish. The fruit notes seem to ride on a top level while savory notes undergird the fruit.

2009 La Pousse d'Or Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru "Les Groseilles." 13% abv. Aromatic--violets and "purple" fruits. Mouth-filling presence on the palate with a long finish, Juicy and very inviting. Among the flavors are raspberry, chocolate or mocha, and possibly boysenberry. I had it with chicken thighs and baked potato. This had feminine touches but was not lacking in structure and tannin. It was best on the first evening opened.

In this instance, as price and category was elevated, so was the taste. I gave the village Chambolle-Musigny two more points on CellarTracker than the "bourgogne rouge" and the 1er cru two more points that the village appellation.
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Re: Wine Focus for December 2017: France!

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Thu Dec 21, 2017 9:59 pm

Warmed up to minus 10 so lets have a white ..what the heck! Thinking a 2015 Montclair Picpoul I just picked up downtown. Here is a previous note on a 2014 from Dom Bellemare.

2014 Picpoul de Pinet Domaine Bellemare.

Light yellow in color. Citrus, mineral nose, not too fruity. "Alvarinho" from across the table?
Initial entry thought is dry, good fruit balance, excellent mid-palate."Unripe white stone fruit". Crisp but not to zippy though. Good acidity on a lengthy finish, showed some nutty tones after 2 hrs.
Day 2 hint of some creamyness.
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Re: Wine Focus for December 2017: France!

by Patchen Markell » Sat Dec 23, 2017 6:35 pm

I keep forgetting to put my French notes here, so here’s one before the month ends! Burgaud 2009 Morgon Côte du Py, at a restaurant in Half Moon Bay, chosen to pair with Andrea’s cassoulet and my diver scallops with blood sausage and smoked potatoes. Ripe but brisk, still very primary, with blueberry, flowers, gravel, and smoke; still a bit of grip on the back end but not seeming especially stern or inaccessible, and makes an excellent pairing with both dishes — particularly with the smoked pork belly in the cassoulet.
cheers, Patchen
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Re: Wine Focus for December 2017: France!

by Tim York » Sun Dec 24, 2017 4:42 am

Alsace is a hybrid region which was incorporated into Germany twice as a war trophy in the last 150 years (from 1871 to 1918 and from 1940 to 1944). A lot of the architecture is Germanic as is the local dialect, although French is the official language spoken and written fluently by most of the population. From a wine point of view, the grape varieties used are nearly all German and are found in no other important French wine region. A notable exception is Pinot Noir which is making some very fine reds in Alsace nowadays.

2012 Domaine Frédéric Mochel Riesling Altenberg de Bergbieten Cuvée Henriette - France, Alsace, Alsace Grand Cru (12/23/2017)
This wine tasted quite evolved for its 5 years showing a well developed fragrant and spicy bouquet sprinkled with kerosene and a medium+ plus palate, subjectively dry but with a touch of RS, quite rich fruit, discreet minerality, a burnished undertow, fragrant overlay, soft texture and fresh acidity. Very good.

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Re: Wine Focus for December 2017: France!

by Joe Moryl » Mon Dec 25, 2017 11:43 pm

I guess this could go under Bob's Christmas wine thread, but since it is French, I'll post it here.

2006 Pommard 1er Cru Clos de la Commaraine, Louis Jadot: Looks like a Pinot, and a still youthful one at that. Nose is pretty restrained at first, opens a bit after a couple hours. Some earthy cherry, maybe a bit of blood/iron, seems fairly primary. Mid weight, decent finish, but nothing to get too excited about. I used to drink Burgundy more often, but given the price that wines like this fetch, I am mostly looking elsewhere.
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Re: Wine Focus for December 2017: France!

by Tim York » Tue Dec 26, 2017 12:35 pm

I have already posted these TNs on Bob's Christmas thread but I think it's worth repeating them here. Interestingly all but two of these wines come from my "northerly inland" category and none from "Atlantic".

I find that N.Rhône is essentially northerly in character with a brightness rare in the Mediterranean rim and would go so far as to say that, for me, Syrah only produces really great wines in a relatively cool climate like this, greater warmth tending to lead to greater vulgarity, IMO of course. Hermitage produces perhaps the fullest and richest of the N.Rhône reds.



Christmas Eve dinner with boudins de noël and Brussels sprouts, Stilton cheese and apple based dessert followed by chocolates -

NV Louis Roederer Champagne Brut Premier - France, Champagne (12/24/2017)
Robust yet elegant bubbly with quite rich fruit, minerals and roundness. Paired well with boudin de noël. Very good.

2007 Domaine de l'Oratoire St Martin Côtes du Rhône Villages Cairanne Cuvée Prestige - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Côtes du Rhône Villages Cairanne (12/24/2017)
This was a delicious Cairanne at its peak IMO. Full/medium bodied, harmonious, full of mature berry fruit and sprinkled with minerals, spice and a little leather and showing still fresh acidity and ripe backbone. Less spectacular but, for my palate, lovelier than most CndP. Good with boudin de noël and stood up to Stilton cheese. Very good.

2013 Mas Amiel Maury Vintage - France, Languedoc Roussillon, Roussillon, Maury (12/24/2017)
As always a fresh and vigorous port type wine, medium+ bodied full of bright raspberry tinged Grenache fruit, minerals, fresh acidity, gentle sweetness and backbone. Excellent with Stilton and chocolate dessert. Very good.


Christmas Day dinner with fish egg starters, foie gras, stuffed capon, assorted cheeses and buches de noël. Champagne with the starters was so popular that the Bollinger SC earmarked for the foie gras was already consumed (I didn’t even get a glass), so I hastily took out a pink which was not ideal -

NV Bonnaire Champagne Cuvée Prestige - France, Champagne (12/25/2017)
A lovely medium/light bodied Champagne with fine white fruit and biscuit aromas and flavours together with delicate minerals and acidity and fine bubble. Very good.

NV Tarlant Champagne Rosé Zéro Brut Nature - France, Champagne (12/25/2017)
A nice medium bodied pink bubbly full of fresh red fruit and minerals but lacking in richness and roundness to be ideal with foie gras. Might rate it higher with a different pairing. Good.

1999 Delas Frères Hermitage Marquise de la Tourette - France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Hermitage (12/25/2017)
Rich and quite full bodied with round cherry tinged red fruit, good depth, some secondary signs of evolution such as a hint of cabbage on the nose, smooth texture, good balancing acidity and ripe structure. Very good.

1997 Paul Jaboulet Aîné Hermitage La Chapelle - France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Hermitage (12/25/2017)
Jaboulet in the 90s was notorious for bottle variation and my two bottles of this wine illustrate that. The previous bottle showed signs of premature demise but this one was close to my ideal for Hermitage. Just as rich and full bodied as the Hermitage from Delas served before it but infinitely fresher, more refined and more complex with a delicious fresh edge to its fruit, silky texture, mouth-watering acidity and fine structure and length. Excellent.

1989 Hugel Gewurztraminer Sélection de Grains Nobles - France, Alsace (12/25/2017)
This wine proved very popular round the table evoking "wow" type reactions but I confess to some disappointment which I relate to my not unqualified admiration for the grape. It was suave, sweet and not cloying with the usual combination of lychee, ginger and exotic spices. A little obvious and lacking in freshness and subtlety IMO but very good of its kind.
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Re: Wine Focus for December 2017: France!

by Robin Garr » Tue Dec 26, 2017 3:02 pm

E. Guigal 2013 Gigondas ($32.99)

Dark ruby color, with reddish-violet glints against the light. Pleasant, typical Southern Rhone aromas, raspberries and black plums and just a hint of stewed plums lead into a full, ripe flavor of plums and berries, adding a bold, distinct impression of freshly ground black pepper that comes up and fills both the nose and palate. Good fresh-fruit acidity provides balance, and tannic astringency becomes increasingly obvious in the long finish. This is a very good, balanced, table wine, on a continuum with Chateauneuf-du-Pape and made from a similar blend of 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah, and 10% Mourvèdre. It carries its 14.5% alcohol with grace. U.S. importer: Vintus LLC, Pleasantville, N.Y. (Dec. 16, 2017)

FOOD MATCH: This is a red-meat wine, perfect with steaks or roast beef. It made an extremely good match with a sample of the new Impossible Burger.

WHEN TO DRINK: It's good now, but the tannins would likely benefit from cellar time to evolve into something more complex. If you have good cellar conditions, try holding it until at least 2021.

VALUE:
At Wine-Searcher.com's $32 average retail (which matches my local price), it's a wine for a special occasion. It's a good one, though, and what special occasion is more appropriate than the winter holidays?

WEB LINK
Here's Guigal's Gigondas info sheet. Importer Vintus wines offers this useful fact sheet on E. Guigal 2013 Gigondas.

FIND THIS WINE ONLINE:
Find vendors and compare prices for E. Guigal Gigondas on Wine-Searcher.com.

For lots more wines from Gigondas, check out this Wine-Searcher info page and list of wines and vendors.
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Re: Wine Focus for December 2017: France!

by Rahsaan » Wed Dec 27, 2017 12:10 am

Joe Moryl wrote:I used to drink Burgundy more often, but given the price that wines like this fetch, I am mostly looking elsewhere.


Sometimes I feel that way, about the price. But then even in mediocre bottles there is something about the elegance and finesse of Burgundy that is irreplaceable and always somehow redeeming. So I keep coming back!
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Re: Wine Focus for December 2017: France!

by Joe Moryl » Wed Dec 27, 2017 6:10 pm

Rahsaan wrote:
Joe Moryl wrote:I used to drink Burgundy more often, but given the price that wines like this fetch, I am mostly looking elsewhere.


Sometimes I feel that way, about the price. But then even in mediocre bottles there is something about the elegance and finesse of Burgundy that is irreplaceable and always somehow redeeming. So I keep coming back!


I know what you mean, but I didn't find anything irreplaceable or redeeming about the Jadot. Don't get me wrong, it was an okay wine, but other weekend bottles were more interesting and delicious for less money (2008 G. Gagliardo Barolo and 2016 Zararte Albarino Rias Baixas, FWIW).
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Re: Wine Focus for December 2017: France!

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Thu Dec 28, 2017 8:42 am

2016 Zararte Albarino Rias Baixas,..Very nice one eh Joe.
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Re: Wine Focus for December 2017: France!

by Tim York » Sat Dec 30, 2017 2:25 pm

I approach the end of the month with a couple Loire chenins, one of my favourite wine types, and a Morgon from a cult producer who achieves a rare refinement from the Gamay grape.

2014 Les Mains Rouges -Fabrice Gendrot Chinon - France, Loire Valley, Touraine, Chinon (12/27/2017)
Medium bodied, dry and well focused showing bright white fruit, minerals and underlying roundness but slightly marred for me by a boiled sweet touch. However it was very popular round the table. Good wine but hardly worth its c.19€ price tab.

2008 Domaine de la Taille aux Loups Montlouis-sur-Loire Remus Plus - France, Loire Valley, Touraine, Montlouis-sur-Loire (12/27/2017)
I described a bottle consumed in 2012 as close to my ideal for young Loire chenin. Five years on my enthusiasm has dimmed somewhat and, though it shows no signs of age, it seems to have lost some of its exuberant charm. Medium+ bodied it shows quite complex aromas and fruit dominated by pineapple and quince with flinty minerals, underlying roundness and marked crisp acidity typical of the vintage giving a saline backbone. Very good but no more.

2013 Jean Foillard Morgon Côte du Py - France, Burgundy, Beaujolais, Morgon (12/28/2017)
This is very different from most Morgon. I guess that Foillard must use macération carbonique to achieve the caressing texture and pure expression of fruit, sweeter than usual in Beaujolais, together with fine minerals, moreish acidity and enough grip. Medium bodied at most and probably not for the long haul unlike some more traditional Morgon. Very good.
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Re: Wine Focus for December 2017: France!

by Rahsaan » Sat Dec 30, 2017 7:50 pm

Tim York wrote:2013 Jean Foillard Morgon Côte du Py
This is very different from most Morgon. I guess that Foillard must use macération carbonique to achieve the caressing texture and pure expression of fruit, sweeter than usual in Beaujolais, together with fine minerals, moreish acidity and enough grip. Medium bodied at most and probably not for the long haul unlike some more traditional Morgon. Very good.


Tim, from your note here it appears that you do not drink much Foillard. He does indeed use carbonic maceration and has a style very similar to Lapierre, Breton and Thévenet (among others), although for me his wines stand out among that group for being a bit more seductive and pleasing (not sure I could think of any other way to say it).

2013 is not a robust vintage, and I just bought some more to drink now. But (depending on your tastes), I would not be afraid to let Foillard rest in any vintage. The wines do unfold and evolve (if not to the same extent as Burgundy).

On the topic of 'traditional Morgon', I wonder who you have in mind? Some of the more structured Morgon (Bouland, Jadot) have never been to my tastes. They seem to take all the joy out of Beaujolais without achieving the elegance of Burgundy. I am a big fan of Chamonard, who I understand does some carbonic maceration, although maybe less than other neighbors and seems to be firmer than Foillard/Lapierre et al. but also more charming than Bouland/Jadot.
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Re: Wine Focus for December 2017: France!

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Sat Dec 30, 2017 11:22 pm

Nice imput there Rahsaan, have some 2013 Chiroubles put aside .
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Re: Wine Focus for December 2017: France!

by Rahsaan » Sat Dec 30, 2017 11:39 pm

Speaking of Beaujolais, I have a note to add. During Christmas dinner with the family I was happy to find the 2014 Chignard Juliénas Beauvernay in my uncle's wine rack. I was all over it, enjoying the crisp refreshing lace of the fruit. Not a deep or a rich wine, but lovely poise. I figured the rest of the table would prefer the other richer wines on the table, but was happy to see some of them also sing the praises of the '14 Chignard.
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Vouvray

by Rahsaan » Sun Dec 31, 2017 12:52 am

2002 Huet Le Mont Demi-Sec
I know a lot of people have found these premoxed but I still couldn't resist taking a gamble (urged on by the encouragement of the friendly retailer).

In the end I was glad for it. Because it was a lovely lovely bottle. The fruit in the middle is still decently plump and could obviously evolve (much) further. In theory. But in practice, tonight there is a lovely combination of mellowed yet-still-succulent fruit and vivacious mineral finish. Hard to complain about this bottle. And easy to be excited.
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Re: Wine Focus for December 2017: France!

by Tim York » Sun Dec 31, 2017 7:01 am

Rahsaan wrote:
Tim York wrote:2013 Jean Foillard Morgon Côte du Py
This is very different from most Morgon. I guess that Foillard must use macération carbonique to achieve the caressing texture and pure expression of fruit, sweeter than usual in Beaujolais, together with fine minerals, moreish acidity and enough grip. Medium bodied at most and probably not for the long haul unlike some more traditional Morgon. Very good.


Tim, from your note here it appears that you do not drink much Foillard. He does indeed use carbonic maceration and has a style very similar to Lapierre, Breton and Thévenet (among others), although for me his wines stand out among that group for being a bit more seductive and pleasing (not sure I could think of any other way to say it).

2013 is not a robust vintage, and I just bought some more to drink now. But (depending on your tastes), I would not be afraid to let Foillard rest in any vintage. The wines do unfold and evolve (if not to the same extent as Burgundy).

On the topic of 'traditional Morgon', I wonder who you have in mind? Some of the more structured Morgon (Bouland, Jadot) have never been to my tastes. They seem to take all the joy out of Beaujolais without achieving the elegance of Burgundy. I am a big fan of Chamonard, who I understand does some carbonic maceration, although maybe less than other neighbors and seems to be firmer than Foillard/Lapierre et al. but also more charming than Bouland/Jadot.


Thanks a lot for those insights, Rahsaan. You are right that I don't drink a lot of Foillard. They are seductive wines as you say but I find the prices a bit discouraging, c.30€ at a caviste for this bottle IIRC. I have also greatly enjoyed Lapierrre over the years though I had some bottles which went off due to excessive temperature fluctuations in my Belgian cellar.

Re traditional Morgon I have in mind several much more robust examples which I have had over the decades which had matured into something much more like Burgundy, e.g. a 1982 BBR bottling drunk about the turn of the century. The Jadot offerings are of this stamp but I have never had any more than about 5 years old and I don't love them at that stage.

I have enjoyed Morgon in a lighter vein but without the Foillard/Lapierre class from Aucoeur, Souchons and Michel Guignier. The first two cost c.7€ at Foires aux Vins!!

Germaine and I wish Gesche, Nicholas and yourself a very happy New year. Your too short visit was one of our highlights in 2017.
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Re: Wine Focus for December 2017: France!

by Rahsaan » Sun Dec 31, 2017 11:43 am

Yes, Foillard is not cheap and many of the top Beaujolais wines have gone up considerably in price. I still find it worth the money (and am happy for them to get a decent price for high quality wine despite their ‘un-prestigious’ appellations). But everyone has his/her own calculations and preferences for where to allocate wine dollars.

Happy New Year to you as well Tim, visiting you was also one of our highlights!
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Re: Wine Focus for December 2017: France!

by David M. Bueker » Sun Dec 31, 2017 12:12 pm

Joe Moryl wrote:I guess this could go under Bob's Christmas wine thread, but since it is French, I'll post it here.

2006 Pommard 1er Cru Clos de la Commaraine, Louis Jadot: Looks like a Pinot, and a still youthful one at that. Nose is pretty restrained at first, opens a bit after a couple hours. Some earthy cherry, maybe a bit of blood/iron, seems fairly primary. Mid weight, decent finish, but nothing to get too excited about. I used to drink Burgundy more often, but given the price that wines like this fetch, I am mostly looking elsewhere.


I do not think I have ever seen that bottling. Pommard is such a frustrating village.
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