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May 31, 2008
This is a construction wine. A bubbly, sprightly reason to build things--roof decks, patios, an ark to captain through a lake of this wine--anything to uncork the thirst that this Champagne-style sparkler from Jura lives to satisfy. Clean and cidery with hints of Lemonheads and Mountain Dew, it's a bolder alternative to "table sparklers" like Cava. It's hair of the dog for Champagne lovers who have been on a years-long, credit-destroying bender with similar toasty brioche smokiness, grapefruit rind and golden apple flavors, and a dry, steely finish. Truth be told, though, that steeliness really starts to wear on me, and before I know it I feel like someone's switched my glass with Andre. Or, worse, that I'm surrounded by 20-somethings at a dinner party talking French politics and the fundamentals of grad school applications. It's my own little hell. I hate where I am, and yet there's no one I would rather be. Even on a hot summer's day with the AC busted, I'd want to drip with sweat, fume with fatigue, climb the rickety scaffolding onto whatever I've created, and drench myself with this bottle.
May 22, 2008
06 Domaine de la Pepiere, Vin de Pays de Jardin du la France Marches de Bretagne Cuvee Granit
This wine tastes like a dirty joke, an old sponge or loofah. Maybe that's why it reminds me of the Paris subways--I can't tell if it's me or them, but either way I'll need a shower when I get back to the hostel. The Pepiere Muscadet is a profound country red common to the south of France, which makes it all the more interesting coming from so far north. Yes, I said Muscadet, the designation that winemaker Marc Ollivier can't get onto this bottle. I know. You're thinking tart, summery white wine. And instead, here we have a meaty, musky blend of cabernet franc, merlot, and malbec. It should be Bordeaux. It is, really. With all the gnarly, gristly flavors that make us love red wine. It makes you wonder why so many other wines have to cost so much, have to take so much effort to produce--when this is all we really need.
May 17, 2008
02 The Eyrie Vineyards, Willamette Valley Pinot Noir Reserve
The math is complicated. But if you want to make a wine that shows the greatness of Oregon, it must taste like something only Burgundy could make... in Oregon. At a time, still, when the Old World is being defined by its redefinition of New World wines--adding more modern oak, more modern concentration, and even more modern price tags--the 02 Eyrie dares to go retro--pink pumps, bleached jeans, and all. And as the wine warms from cellar temp up, you feel like you could be riding your fixed-gear vintage Peugeot through the French countryside north from seasoned Pommard through the black angel of Vosne-Romanee and finally into the rotting corpse of Gevrey-Chambertin, all the while kids and grandmeres handing off Solo cups of local pinot noir. That is the voyage this wine takes you on--at once the most expressive and subtle Eyrie wines of the decade. It's a pinot everyone should aspire to make if they wanted to stop selling wine and start drinking their glut instead. Because, like the great 98 Tall Poppy, this is a wine you will love to hate. But its tart red cherries morph into pitless black cherry flesh, its funk into a mid-fall walk through the woods, its mouthwatering acidity into early-picked strawberries and sweet tarragon tea, its peppery finish into the fruit of Turkish tobacco. I don't know whether to be apologetic or thankful. Am I sinning, or is this redemption?
© 2005-2011 Nilay Gandhi