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Robin Garr

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WTN /WineAdvisor: Global warming and wine (Joguet 05 Cuvee Terroir Chinon)

by Robin Garr » Wed Feb 21, 2007 1:20 pm

Global warming and wine

The growing drumbeat of warnings about global climate change, a.k.a. "warming," is becoming increasingly difficult for any rational person to ignore. Last week the respected American Association for the Advancement of Science joined the chorus, declaring global climate change "a growing threat to society."

For wine lovers, the evidence is in the glass. As we've noted in past articles - "Global Warming in your glass," Oct. 9, 2006, and "Alcohol: Creeping upward?," Feb. 18, 2002, among others - heat-wave vintages around the world have fostered idiosyncratically inky, powerful wines from many world wine regions.

This gift of nature has played directly into increasing market demand based on high ratings by U.S. critics - particularly Robert M. Parker Jr. and <I>Wine Spectator</i>'s writers - who seem to prefer fruit-forward "blockbuster" wines to more traditional styles focused on earth and elegance.

Hot vintages like 2000 and 2003 in Europe and 2001 in Northern California have yielded wines of critical acclaim, and prices seem to rise in tandem with alcohol levels and fruit extract. Meanwhile, the world of wine lovers is falling into opposing camps, separating those who love the jammy style from those who prefer the subtle complexity of more traditional wines.

With this as background, the higher-end wines of Europe's 2005 vintage are coming into the market, heralded by critical acclaim declaring it one of the greatest vintages ever. Based on my own negative reaction to some of the big, fruity but bizarrely atypical 2003s from Burgundy, the Northern Rhone and the Loire, I'm reserving judgment.

But that said, my first exposure to a 2005 Chinon - the usually earthy and elegant Cabernet Franc-based red wine of the Loire Valley - has me wondering. The <b>Charles Joguet 2005 "Cuvée Terroir" Chinon</b>, a Kermit Lynch import that's a perennial favorite for me - proved to be inky dark, surprisingly tannic, and atypically robust at a hefty 14% alcohol. Pleasurable, yes, but very idiosyncratic, prompting me to wonder if 2005 is shaping up as another 2003 in the Loire.

Joguet seems to think so, putting it with a merchant's positive spin on the winery Website: "Pure Gold for the Winegrower! A first assessment of the 2005 wine harvest: ideal climate and record degrees ... Could it be a sign of the global warming that we hear so much about these days? For our vines, in any case, drought and generous sunshine have once again placed this vintage in the firmament of great Loire wines. ... The first grapes analysed on 16 September heralded a record 13 to 14.5 (percent alcohol), as well as a somewhat high acidity level: a bit more time was needed to achieve the ideal balance."

Maybe. I'll be watching the '05s, and passing along my impressions. But based on this early taste, I suspect this may be one of those vintages in which I check the Usual Suspects' ratings ... then buy the wines they rate 89 and below.

<table border="0" align="right" width="170"><tr><td><img src="http://www.wineloverspage.com/graphics1/jogu0206.jpg" border="1" align="right"></td></tr></table>Charles Joguet 2005 "Cuvée Terroir" Chinon ($18.99)

Very dark reddish-purple color, unusually inky for a Loire Cabernet Franc. Earthy nuances of red clay and dust dominate the first sniff, but abundant red-berry fruit quickly follows the mineral opening. Medium-bodied, full in flavor; snappy red fruit and soft but substantial tannins shaped by a surprising 14% alcohol make this an impressive red wine but a rather idiosyncratic Chinon. U.S. importer: Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant, Berkeley, Calif. (Feb. 6, 2007)

<B>FOOD MATCH:</b> The Joguet Website suggests pairing it with <i>rillettes</i> (potted meat), fresh goat cheese or poultry. It was a great match with chicken Musakhan, the Palestinian-style chicken dish baked with onions and sumac that I featured in the Feb. 8, 2007 <I>Wine Advisor FoodLetter</I>.

<B>VALUE:</B> Particularly under upward pressure from publicity about the quality of the 2005 vintage across France, it's hard to quibble with the upper teens for a wine of this quality, particularly if you also liked the fruity, powerful 2003s.

<B>WHEN TO DRINK:</B> The producer suggests drinking before 2010 and says there's no need to wait. I'm inclined to agree, although the tannins might be a bit smoother after a year or two.

<B>PRONUNCIATION:</B>
<B>Chinon</B> = "<I>Shee-nohN</I>"

<B>WEB LINK:</B>
Charles Joguet's in-depth Website is offered in French, German and English. Click the name of the language you prefer.
http://www.charlesjoguet.com
For a detailed sheet on the Cuvee Terroir, including notes on the 2005 and other recent vintages, see
[url=http://www.charlesjoguet.com/en/les-vins/les-cuvees-desc.php?cuv=2]http://www.charlesjoguet.com/
en/les-vins/les-cuvees-desc.php?cuv=2[/url]

<B>FIND THIS WINE ONLINE:</B>
Check prices and locate vendors for Charles Joguet Chinon on Wine-Searcher.com:
[url=http://www.wine-searcher.com/find/Joguet%2bChinon/-/-/USD/A?referring_site=WLP]http://www.wine-searcher.com/
find/Joguet%2bChinon/-/-/USD/A?referring_site=WLP[/url]

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Mike Filigenzi

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Re: WTN /WineAdvisor: Global warming and wine (Joguet 05 Cuvee Terroir Chino

by Mike Filigenzi » Wed Feb 21, 2007 2:31 pm

FWIW, Robin, I had the '05 Les Petites Roches and did not find it to be too much over the top. It was a bit more lush than I expected, but still identifiably cab franc and not at all jammy to my taste. 13.5% alcohol.


Mike
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Re: WTN /WineAdvisor: Global warming and wine (Joguet 05 Cuvee Terroir Chino

by Jenise » Wed Feb 21, 2007 2:41 pm

Exciting report! I've really been looking forward to the 05 Loires and Joguet is one of my favorite Loire producers. I've never seen this bottling before, but I'll be looking for it. Thanks.
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 /WineAdvisor: Global warming and wine (Joguet 05 Cuvee Terroir Chino

by Robin Garr » Wed Feb 21, 2007 2:57 pm

Jenise wrote:Exciting report! I've really been looking forward to the 05 Loires and Joguet is one of my favorite Loire producers. I've never seen this bottling before, but I'll be looking for it. Thanks.


I hope you like it ... as I said, it's concentrated and powerful, but very atypical Chinon to me.
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Re: WTN /WineAdvisor: Global warming and wine (Joguet 05 Cuvee Terroir Chino

by Robin Garr » Wed Feb 21, 2007 3:00 pm

Mike Filigenzi (Sacto) wrote:FWIW, Robin, I had the '05 Les Petites Roches and did not find it to be too much over the top. It was a bit more lush than I expected, but still identifiably cab franc and not at all jammy to my taste.


Thanks for the data point, Mike. I've got a Bernard Baudry '05 Chinon Les Granges here, resting after its journey from the East Coast, and with Dressner's mark on the back, I can hardly imagine it would be spoofy. I only got the one bottle, though, so don't want to risk opening it for a month or so.
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Re: WTN /WineAdvisor: Global warming and wine (Joguet 05 Cuvee Terroir Chino

by Bruce K » Fri Feb 23, 2007 11:00 am

Thanks for the review. I find it equally alarming that a Chinon would come in at 14 percent. My question is whether 2005 was as hot in the Loire as 2003 was (I had not heard that), or whether Joguet is now making a point of picking grapes at greater levels of ripeness or doing other things (whatever that may be) to increase alcoholic strength. If the former, maybe folks in England and Scotland should be looking for the right terroir to grow Cab Franc. If the latter, that's a lot easier for someone like me -- just avoid Joguet, or at least this bottling.
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Re: WTN /WineAdvisor: Global warming and wine (Joguet 05 Cuvee Terroir Chino

by Rahsaan » Fri Feb 23, 2007 11:12 am

Bruce K wrote:My question is whether 2005 was as hot in the Loire as 2003 was...


I don't know about all the different weather indicators and how they varied across appellations, but generally speaking from my trip to Anjou for the 05 harvest, the consensus was that it was just as hot as 03 but with a bit more rain. To grossly oversimplify.
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Re: WTN /WineAdvisor: Global warming and wine (Joguet 05 Cuvee Terroir Chino

by Robin Garr » Fri Feb 23, 2007 11:17 am

Bruce K wrote:Thanks for the review. I find it equally alarming that a Chinon would come in at 14 percent. My question is whether 2005 was as hot in the Loire as 2003 was (I had not heard that), or whether Joguet is now making a point of picking grapes at greater levels of ripeness or doing other things (whatever that may be) to increase alcoholic strength. If the former, maybe folks in England and Scotland should be looking for the right terroir to grow Cab Franc. If the latter, that's a lot easier for someone like me -- just avoid Joguet, or at least this bottling.


Interesting questions, Bruce ... as I mentioned in the thread, I have another '05 Chinon from a Dressner producer awaiting tasting, but I really need to be patient rather than opening the single bottle while it still may be travel-shocked. It's tough to generalize from a single sample, of course, except that Joguet's 14% abv (in its "low-end" cuvee!) pretty much speaks for itself.

I'll defer to Rahsaan since he's got info from the scene, but if I hadn't read his post, I would have said that 2005 was similar-only-different - hotter than normal, not quite as torrid as 2003 but even more dry, to the extent that botrytis just about didn't happen in the region. That's a concern for the sweeties, of course, but not for the reds.

In any case, there's no real doubt that it was a <i>hot</i> vintage.

As for Joguet, I'm with Jenise in that it's an old-time favorite, and I'm not going to write off the producer on the basis of a single sample. But it did really surprise and bother me to open a Chinon like this.
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Re: WTN /WineAdvisor: Global warming and wine (Joguet 05 Cuvee Terroir Chino

by Carl Eppig » Fri Feb 23, 2007 11:18 am

Hate to keep beating this drum, but is there anyone that believes that global warming is more of a factor in increased alcohol than hang time? I'm sure that even the folks in the Loire Valley get to read RP.
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Re: WTN /WineAdvisor: Global warming and wine (Joguet 05 Cuvee Terroir Chino

by Rahsaan » Fri Feb 23, 2007 11:27 am

Robin Garr wrote:I'll defer to Rahsaan since he's got info from the scene, but if I hadn't read his post, I would have said that 2005 was similar-only-different - hotter than normal, not quite as torrid as 2003 but even more dry, to the extent that botrytis just about didn't happen in the region.


As you said, the general statement is that it was hot. But other stuff probably varies within. Vouvray may have had less botrytis than 03 or 90, but where I was in Anjou it was awfully hard to make dry whites.

But despite the generous rich nature, I think 05 will probably appeal to fans of "classic" Loire vintages more than 03.

Will have to taste more in the upcoming months/years..
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Re: WTN /WineAdvisor: Global warming and wine (Joguet 05 Cuvee Terroir Chino

by Robin Garr » Fri Feb 23, 2007 11:31 am

Carl Eppig (Middleton, NH wrote:Hate to keep beating this drum, but is there anyone that believes that global warming is more of a factor in increased alcohol than hang time? I'm sure that even the folks in the Loire Valley get to read RP.


You may have noticed that I mentioned this in the article at the top of this thread. Certainly global warm^H^H^H climate change and Parker-pleasing viticulture go hand in hand. But certainly it's becoming difficult for any reasonable observer to doubt the mounting evidence that something wacky is happening to the environment and that human intervention over the past two centuries is a likely factor.
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Re: WTN /WineAdvisor: Global warming and wine (Joguet 05 Cuvee Terroir Chino

by Robin Garr » Fri Feb 23, 2007 11:34 am

Rahsaan wrote:As you said, the general statement is that it was hot. But other stuff probably varies within. Vouvray may have had less botrytis than 03 or 90, but where I was in Anjou it was awfully hard to make dry whites.

But despite the generous rich nature, I think 05 will probably appeal to fans of "classic" Loire vintages more than 03.


Agreed on all points, and my current malaise may well be related simply to having picked an offbeat example to start with. Still, Joguet is a Kermit Lynch import and a longtime favorite, and I would consider Kermit one of the least likely importers to fall victim to the Parker siren song.

Will have to taste more in the upcoming months/years..


I'm up for that! :)
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Re: WTN /WineAdvisor: Global warming and wine (Joguet 05 Cuvee Terroir Chino

by Carl Eppig » Fri Feb 23, 2007 1:05 pm

Robin Garr wrote:Certainly global warm^H^H^H climate change and Parker-pleasing viticulture go hand in hand.


Agree, but hope you don't mean that hand in hand is fity fity. One degree of temperature is leagues away from three degrees of brix.

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