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Bill Spohn

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WTN: Venoges Fevre Bize Argiano Bertani Zind

by Bill Spohn » Tue Jan 08, 2019 3:38 pm

We held a blind tasting lunch recently at a local cooking school – the wait staff and kitchen staff were all students and the restaurant was like a practicum they rotate through.

2002 de Venoges Champagne Brut – both initial sweet and acidic notes in the nose, which resolved into apple and caramel that both carried over on palate. Finished cleanly.

2004 Domaine William Fèvre Chablis Grand Cru Les Preuses – pale colour with some yellow, lemony nose with lime hints. On palate, a clean mineral presence and creamy texture. Good bottle!

1997 Domaine J. Chamonard Morgon Le Clos de Lys – unfortunately, I believe that the wine was not decanted, which may have been fine for the first to pour, but by the time it got to me it was a cloudy mess – looked like pink Koolaid with a handful of diatomaceous earth thrown in, and run up on a paint shaker. We have had discussions about whether sediment can change the perception of a wine on palate if mixed in, and I think that it can. In any case this wine was notable only for the pronounced celery in the nose and a lean acidic disposition. There was some improvement in the glass and it became less objectionable, but it may have been a bad bottle. Too bad.

1989 Caves São João Dão Porta dos Cavaleiros Reserva – mahogany colour with a rich nose of dark fruit and spice, some fruit on palate but on the low side, and lots if terminal acidity.

1999 Quinta do Crasto Touriga Nacional Douro – still fairly dark, with dark fruit and meat notes in the nose and on palate, fully mature with good but not excessive acidity. Drink soon.

2009 Simon Bize Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Cru Aux Guettes – slightly funky Burg nose with good fruit level, cherry nose with some spice, and forest floor elements, good heft and length. Batting above what you’d normally expect of a Savigny – very good!

1997 Triacca Chianti Classico La Palaia La Madonnina – mellow nose of black olive and red fruit, in the mouth well fruited with tomato hints, and a balanced medium length finish. Good.

2009 Tenuta delle Terre Nere Etna Rosso – another mahogany wine with some nice spice tar notes and good fruit with some wood. Made from Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio, it was a rustic but interesting wine.

2013 Argiano Brunello di Montalcino – this producer is one of the largest in Tuscany, and has in recent times been producing pretty modern style wines – not sure if it had anything to do with new ownership from 1992 when it was bought by Cinzano or not. It was sold again in 2013, and I haven’t opened anything since so we shall see. This wine was showing a surprisingly bricky colour – possibly a hint at early maturation? Nice mellow fruit, a tad too much oak (they apparently give it a year each in French and Slavonian oak before putting it in concrete) and the tannins aren’t too hard. Will have to keep an eye on this.

1967 Bertani Amarone della Valpolicella Classico – my first thought as I stuck my nose in this glass was PORT! The ripe nose was very Port like with concentrated sweet fruit, but then I tasted it and it was dead dry. Recalculation needed. Got to Amarone fairly quickly. Started to discern some leather and soy notes, plus some Glossettes, a chocolate covered raisin brand I hadn’t thought about much less tasted in the last 50 years! Dry in the mouth and with excellent length. It should be noted that this producer does periodic releases of old vintages and therefore the tasting note on a bottle that was filled 50 years ago will be different from the same wine bottled five years ago but held in large barrel before that.

2005 Zind-Humbrecht Pinot Gris Heimbourg – light amber wine with an unusual nose that included a good hit of saffron and honey. On palate, apricot with nutmeg hints, very smooth and a long balanced finish. Haven’t had this for several years but it is holding very well.
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Re: WTN: Venoges Fevre Bize Argiano Bertani Zind

by Rahsaan » Tue Jan 08, 2019 6:09 pm

Bill Spohn wrote:1997 Domaine J. Chamonard Morgon Le Clos de Lys – unfortunately, I believe that the wine was not decanted, which may have been fine for the first to pour, but by the time it got to me it was a cloudy mess – looked like pink Koolaid with a handful of diatomaceous earth thrown in, and run up on a paint shaker. We have had discussions about whether sediment can change the perception of a wine on palate if mixed in, and I think that it can. In any case this wine was notable only for the pronounced celery in the nose and a lean acidic disposition. There was some improvement in the glass and it became less objectionable, but it may have been a bad bottle. Too bad.


Interesting. I'm a big fan of Chamonard and have enjoyed some ethereal aged bottles, but at 20+ years I suppose one has to be ready for anything.

Bill Spohn wrote:2009 Simon Bize Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Cru Aux Guettes – ...good heft and length. Batting above what you’d normally expect of a Savigny – very good!


I'm not sure what you normally expect of Savigny, but it sounds like the 09 ripeness boost pushed this one forward.
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Re: WTN: Venoges Fevre Bize Argiano Bertani Zind

by Bill Spohn » Tue Jan 08, 2019 6:22 pm

The person that brought the Chamonard had heard that it was very good and may also have tried it. Either way, by the time it got to our end of the table it was anything but, which is why I thought it might just be a bad bottle.

Savigny - I expect middle weight, a tad of rusticity in many cases and less weight than this one had. You are probably right about the vintage factoring in.
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Re: WTN: Venoges Fevre Bize Argiano Bertani Zind

by Jenise » Wed Jan 09, 2019 5:45 pm

Bill, you're right, didn't decant. Our waiter only brought two decanters to the table, I asked for another for this wine but it never came. I had the first pour of the Chamonard, and while it was clearer than yours it was by no means the wine it should have been. This is the first of three I opened. Check out these recent notes from my friend Alex and another guy on Cellar Tracker:


12/31/2018 - ALEX G. LIKES THIS WINE:
Served this blind, and I had intended for it to be earlier in the lineup. Delicious as this is, it of course seemed short following '85 Richebourg and '02 Amoureuses. Then again, I found myself going back to this glass quite happily.

11/14/2018 - ALEX G. LIKES THIS WINE:
I've had this wine 4 times now, twice in Paris and twice in the US. I refrained from writing any notes about it because I wanted to make sure it was "that good" before I cornered the market on it. My cellars are stocked and so I can be honest: this is a seriously delicious Red Burgundy experience at a modest Beaujolais price.

The spice is epic, glorious aromas. When I served it blind to a friend, his first comment was "this has to be Vosne-Romanee, nowhere else has this spice." This is a library release, and by far the best and most memorable Beaujolais I've ever had the pleasure to drink. Wonderful, mature, complex and delicious, I look forward to sharing my remaining bottles with friends and family.

Sincere thanks to the winemaker for creating this beautiful wine, and having the foresight and discipline to store it for the long term.

9/5/2018 - NARUNP LIKES THIS WINE: 92 Points

Faded red cherry color, widened rim, opaque core, unfiltered. Straightaway without any air, this offered up floral aromatics of rose petal and jasmine. Also wonderful lychee scent, orange zest, candied strawberry compote, sous bois. Later on, it gave up blue flowers, particularly violet and lavender. The palate is well integrated. Med plus acidity, slightest traces of tannic structure, definitely felt less than the professed 12.5 abv. Cranberry, tangerine, grapefruit. It took about an hour to flesh out and start to sing. Sweet red fruit. Pommegranate, dry cinnamon bark, milk chocolate, Greek yoghurt, and Japanese Caproco soft drink.

This is the oldest and most enticing Beaujolais I've ever had. The bouquet in particular was just seductive. This is for a classicist, strictly. Amazing discovery on the back street off Rue de Catherine in the centre of Bordeaux. 92.
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: WTN: Venoges Fevre Bize Argiano Bertani Zind

by David M. Bueker » Wed Jan 09, 2019 5:59 pm

Bize is a top notch producer. SLB is not a handicap for them.
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Re: WTN: Venoges Fevre Bize Argiano Bertani Zind

by Jenise » Wed Jan 09, 2019 8:49 pm

David M. Bueker wrote:Bize is a top notch producer. SLB is not a handicap for them.


Right. That's Bize, as in Lalou Bize Leroy.
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: WTN: Venoges Fevre Bize Argiano Bertani Zind

by Dale Williams » Wed Jan 09, 2019 11:19 pm

I didn't think Lalou had any relationship with Domaine Simon Bize ( cousins but several generations since shared ancestor)?

Bize ranks with Pavelot and Chandon des Brialles as my favorite SLBs (since the sale of Ecard)

Haven't had the '97, but there was a re-release of the '98 Chamonard a few years back, I've enjoyed every time. Too bad about lack of decanting

nice notes
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Re: WTN: Venoges Fevre Bize Argiano Bertani Zind

by Rahsaan » Wed Jan 09, 2019 11:48 pm

Dale Williams wrote:... there was a re-release of the '98 Chamonard a few years back, I've enjoyed every time. Too bad about lack of decanting


Yes, that's the older vintage I had. Never decanted and always delicious (although of course some bottles were more vibrant than others).
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Re: WTN: Venoges Fevre Bize Argiano Bertani Zind

by Jenise » Thu Jan 10, 2019 3:26 am

Dale Williams wrote:I didn't think Lalou had any relationship with Domaine Simon Bize ( cousins but several generations since shared ancestor)?

Bize ranks with Pavelot and Chandon des Brialles as my favorite SLBs (since the sale of Ecard)

Haven't had the '97, but there was a re-release of the '98 Chamonard a few years back, I've enjoyed every time. Too bad about lack of decanting

nice notes


No, didn't mean to imply that Lalou has anything to do with making the wines, just that there's a family connection. Wasn't Simon her brother? I know his son Patrick is now in charge. And I agree with you about SLB's--Bize might be my favorite of the group. I've yet to have one that didn't wow me.
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Re: WTN: Venoges Fevre Bize Argiano Bertani Zind

by Dale Williams » Thu Jan 10, 2019 10:51 am

I think there were several Simon's in a row, before Patrick. I thought Lalou's husband was nephew of penultimate Simon, but could be wrong. I do think the Bize wines are better QPR than Leroy Narbantons (great both times I've tried, but $$$$$). Despite recent price increases I still find Savigny to be one of best value villages.

Rahsaan, those '98s had a lot of sediment, while not necessary to decant certainly benefit from at least standing up a while. I have one left, and if I was taking somewhere I'd double-decant right before serving

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