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WTN: bad cop - good cop

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Mark S

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WTN: bad cop - good cop

by Mark S » Sun Aug 01, 2010 7:41 pm

After having a downright nasty Francoise Cotat Sancerre 'les Culs de Beaujeu' 2004, who played the part of bad cop to a T, including the acidic facial wash and unutterable grunts of squeezing the mouth dry of pleasure, I sought a friend in the good cop, the brothermate from 04 also but from the les Monts Damnes vineyard. Ah! Blessed thistle! What a difference. The grapefruit and lime zest is still there, deliciously vibrant. Excellent! A/A-
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Re: WTN: bad cop - good cop

by John Treder » Sun Aug 01, 2010 8:51 pm

At the risk of starting a flame war --
I'm unfamiliar with your particular wines, but I've had similar experiences with more frequency in French wines than in California, New Zealand or Chilean wines.
Why could that be?

I've seen plenty of bottle variation in CA wines, and enormous producer variation in wines from the same vineyard. But to me, French wine always seems to be a bit of a crapshoot. Is it just me?

John
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Re: WTN: bad cop - good cop

by Rahsaan » Sun Aug 01, 2010 9:56 pm

John - Santa Clara wrote:I've had similar experiences with more frequency in French wines than in California, New Zealand or Chilean wines.
Why could that be?

I've seen plenty of bottle variation in CA wines, and enormous producer variation in wines from the same vineyard. But to me, French wine always seems to be a bit of a crapshoot. Is it just me?


The easy answer is that French producers are more 'traditional' and less likely to put out a standardized industrial product that will taste the same everytime it is opened. But I think that is over-generalizing.

One issue is knowledge/experience. I have a lot more knowledge and experience with French wine than with Chilean wine. So it is a lot easier for me to buy a French wine that I know I will like as opposed to a Chilean wine. The reverse will be true for other people.

Another issue is stability. Right now there are lots of high quality small producers being imported from France to the US (like the Cotats mentioned above). The wines are great but like any artisanal product they are fragile and once they get abused by all the tiers of the US alcohol system, they do not always show their best. So buying artisanal French wines in the wrong US stores is definitely a crapshoot. Kind of like ordering fish in a diner. It may be a higher grade product than the crappy burgers but the crappy burgers are probably more reliable and more likely to be in 'good shape'.

Yet another issue is ripeness. French wines are less reliably ripe than California wines. But whether that is good or bad or a crapshoot depends what you are looking for.

And to go even further, there is a certain prestige for places like Bordeaux that allows high volume importation of crappy wine. People will buy because of the label. Go into any mediocre wine shop and you'll see what I mean. But this is also tied in with my point above about shopping in the wrong stores.
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Re: WTN: bad cop - good cop

by Mark S » Sun Aug 01, 2010 10:15 pm

John - Santa Clara wrote:At the risk of starting a flame war --
I'm unfamiliar with your particular wines, but I've had similar experiences with more frequency in French wines than in California, New Zealand or Chilean wines.
Why could that be?

I've seen plenty of bottle variation in CA wines, and enormous producer variation in wines from the same vineyard. But to me, French wine always seems to be a bit of a crapshoot. Is it just me?

John


Crapshoot? Not sure, anymore than wines from anywhere. Rahsaan hits a good point in that there will be more inherent differences in artisinally produced wines than in 100,000 case lots made for the supermarket market. All I know is that I had the Culs de Beaujeu earlier in it's evolution (maybe around 2007?) and it was delicious: all grapefruit tang, light in weight, and fresh, and this most recent iteration it came across as an acidic mess lacking fruit, joy-less to drink. So I popped the Cotat's 'better' cuvee, the Monts Damnes and was glad it performed to it's pedigree. I'm not sure this 'proves' anything other than the better wine came across as better, and that maybe the Culs is either on the downslope of life or I caught it during a bad time. Wine is humbling like that in that we never truly know the answer.
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Re: WTN: bad cop - good cop

by AlexR » Mon Aug 02, 2010 3:13 am

Is it really surprising that 'les Culs de Beaujeu' should be a bad-ass wine?

"Cul" = "ass" in French...

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Re: WTN: bad cop - good cop

by Bill Hooper » Mon Aug 02, 2010 5:41 am

I have experienced more bottle variation with the Sancerres of the Cotat cousins than with any other producers anywhere (especially up until 2005.) Ambient yeast, old barrels, lack of cold-stabilization, long lees contact, minimal sulfur, and minimal filtering means that I´ve had some bottles referment, some that tasted of biological beasties, and some that were oxidized (in these ways they share a lot with Nicolas Joly.) Despite these things, I will order a bottle without hesitation, but with elation every time I see one because when they are on, Pascal and Francois both make the some of greatest wines in the Loire if not the world. Their respective wines speak of an authenticity and art and excitement that is rarely found in CA or Chile, and that I´ve never encountered in a NZ wine (though aged Dogpoint Pinot Noir comes close via a different route. :) ) All said, I have not had a single problem with either 2006 or 2007 from Cotat(s).

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Re: WTN: bad cop - good cop

by Chris Kissack » Mon Aug 02, 2010 7:23 am

I've had both the 2004 Culs de Beaujeu and the 2004 Monts Damnés from Cotat in the past 12 months and they were both delicious.
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Re: WTN: bad cop - good cop

by Carl Eppig » Mon Aug 02, 2010 10:26 am

John - Santa Clara wrote:Chilean wines.John


I don't want to start a war either, but to suggest that Chile is less of a crap shot than France is a little difficult to swallow. I could count one of two French wines in my lifetime that were bad cop, but only two out of hundreds of Chilean wines that were good cop. The the two nice Chileans were made by foreign producers.
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Re: WTN: bad cop - good cop

by Dale Williams » Mon Aug 02, 2010 12:27 pm

Mark S wrote:After having a downright nasty Francoise Cotat Sancerre 'les Culs de Beaujeu' 2004, who played the part of bad cop to a T, including the acidic facial wash and unutterable grunts of squeezing the mouth dry of pleasure


I'm confused, having put a bottle of this in queue a month or two ago based on your note saying it had lost its acidity? I'll open soon in any case, but loved the wine last year.
I agree that the Cotats might be a bit more prone to bottle variation, but the vast majority ring my bells.
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Re: WTN: bad cop - good cop

by JC (NC) » Mon Aug 02, 2010 1:03 pm

I've had one Cotat that was oxidized but others of similar age that were still vibrant.
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Re: WTN: bad cop - good cop

by John Treder » Mon Aug 02, 2010 1:45 pm

Rahsaan, Mark,
>> I have a lot more knowledge and experience with French wine than with Chilean wine. <<
And my knowledge and experience is with California wines, especially small wineries in Sonoma County. I do have more experience with Chilean wines than French.
And I'll admit that most of my early-consumption buys of whites are from a mediocre high-volume chain (BevMo).

>> Wine is humbling like that in that we never truly know the answer. <<
Indeed.
I get most of my wine from small producers (< 10,000 cases) in Sonoma County. It's fun and indeed a crapshoot for me, even though I go to the wineries and try to get an idea of how they work.
I keep looking in the stores for French and other imported wines, especially whites, that cost about the same or maybe a bit more than the Californians I like. But somehow, I'm not ready to spend > $30 for wines that, on a one-bottle test, aren't any better or even as tasty as the $10-$15 bottles from right here. I guess that's why I think it's a crapshoot when I get into unfamiliar producers.
It doesn't stop me from trying, of course!

John
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Re: WTN: bad cop - good cop

by John Treder » Mon Aug 02, 2010 1:46 pm

Carl,

Well, yes, Chile does seem to have great expertise in mediocrity.

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Re: WTN: bad cop - good cop

by Rahsaan » Mon Aug 02, 2010 1:59 pm

John - Santa Clara wrote:And I'll admit that most of my early-consumption buys of whites are from a mediocre high-volume chain (BevMo).


You're not far from a lot of great retailers in the Bay Area with great selections of French wine.

Of course you're also not far from tons of great California wine, and if that's what pleases you then I'm sure you won't go thirsty.
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Re: WTN: bad cop - good cop

by John Treder » Tue Aug 03, 2010 1:54 am

I know how close I am to tons of great California wines. Perhaps that's what makes me so picky about imports - it's really hard to pay 50% more for a bottle that's equal in my estimation to a good local wine.

I do try to grab a few bottles of this, that and the other imported wine every month or so. I want to keep myself from becoming too ingrained in the Californian styles. Perhaps it only reinforces my cross-grained stubbornness. :mrgreen:

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