Last night Miki-san and I attended the Semester 2 kick off of In Vino Veritas. Phil and Guillaume Desport, a young winemaker from Bordeaux, coordinated the tasting. The theme was an introductory course on wine tasting, formatted as a blind tasting of two whites and two reds, all representative of their particular region. Most of the bottles were good, standard and affordable wines, with the exception of the Bouchard Père & Fils, which is a very reputable domaine out of Bourgogne with a long history of quality and numerous grand crus and premier crus bottlings.
Another great tasting but just one grievance (sorry Phil), which drives me crazy everytime I run into it… OVERLY-CHILLED WINE! In this case the two whites were way too cold. Many within the wine industry are jumping onto the bandwagon of drinking all wine (white and red alike) at room temperature, around 65 degrees Farhenheit or 18 degrees Celcius. I’m a big advocate of this, although I can certainly understand slightly chilled whites and of course even more chilled dessert wines and sparkling wines. Some sommeliers will even preach to you for hours about the precise temperature at which each particular wine should be drunk. But for a professional tasting, especially a blind tasting, and when selecting wines for purchase, the wine should NEVER be chilled. It’s simply not possible to fully evaluate a wine below room temperature. The acidity is exaggerated, as are any tannins. Moreover the flavors and aromas will be closed and not able to fully express themselves. It’s simple chemistry. It’s like comparing a tango to a slow waltz. Both can be beautiful dances but which one is more lively and expressive? The same is true with the dance that goes on between the molecules that interact within the glass. Thus, the colder the wine, the slower and less expressive the dance. Again this doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Everyone has their own taste and I always preach for people to drink what they like, not what experts tell them is good. But for the purpose of evaluation, please always stick to room temperature.
2007 “La Moussière” Domaine de la Moussière (Alphonse Mellot)
Varietal: Sauvignon Blanc
Appellation: Sancerre, Loire Valley
Tasting Notes: Straw yellow in the glass. A green nose with aromas of green apple, grass, and flowers. A dry, medium-bodied, very acidic, and vibrant palate. There are flavors of still ripening mandarin orange, a background of dried apricot and a citric finish, all accompanied by a smooth, light texture.
Rating: 12/20 (WS 88)
Blind Notes: I narrowed it down to Loire or Bordeaux and knew it was a sauvignon blanc.
2007 “Reserve” Willm
Tasting Notes: Lightly burnt straw yellow in the glass. A very floral nose with aromas of honey, peach, tropical fruits and in particular lychee. This wine is very fruity, dry to off-dry and full-bodied with a syrupy texture. There are flavors of white peach and lychee.
Rating: 14/20 (WS 88)
Blind Notes: I nailed this one dead on.
2001 “Haut de Poujeaux” Chateau Poujeaux (Philippe Cuvelier)
Blend: 55% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon
Appellation: Haut-Medoc, Bordeaux
Tasting Notes: Mahagony, reddish-brown, clouded by light sediment in the glass. An alcoholic nose with aromas of black fruit, blackberry, vanilla, light hints of barnyard, and a little spice and leather. A dry, very acidic, slightly unbalanced wine with bitter tannins and a medium body. In the mouth there are flavors of dark chocolate, mushrooms and black fruit.
Blind Notes: I narrowed it down to Bordeaux or Rhone and pinpointed the cabernet sauvignon, but wasn’t sure if the second grape was merlot or grenache.
2005 “Beaune du Chateau” Domaine Bouchard Père & Fils
Varietal: Pinot Noir
Appellation: Beaune Premier Cru, Cotes d’Or, Bourgogne
Tasting Notes: Light ruby red and clear in the glass. Alcoholic aromas of spice, mild pepper, raspberry, flowers and pronounced cherries. A dry, balanced, tannic wine with a smooth and silky texture. The palate in dominated by strawberry and black cherries.
Rating: 15/20 (WS 89)
Blind Notes: I nailed it.