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January 30, 2011

06 Domaine Parigot Pere et Fils, Meursault "Les Vireuils Dessous"

I'm not a renegade, but I've spent most of my life questioning why things have to be any one way. I like rules, I just hate following them. The older I get, the more I find my revolutions not really being about doing any new, but instead just going back to a certain way I remember things being. And when it comes to chardonnay, I can only revolve back to Burgundy, where this Les Vireuils--a wine like millions of bottles made in and around Meursault--reminds me why. There are better wines, tasted in white rooms or clay caves, but few patently more memorable. We could have had another wine tonight. Sure, we could've tracked down the 2002s. We could've gotten one from a vineyard less easterly-facing and quickly ripening as Les Vireuils, talked about the spice and cellar potential. But we don't have to. We get to just enjoy this. This wine has an incalculably floral aroma, like a springtime spent rolling in lilacs and pollen with your dog before you realized you'd spend the rest of your life working. We'll get back there. This wine is sure of it. Buttery rich, sure, like fresh cream in a room of dry potpourri, which is less a taste than an assurance. Go play. And if the sun burns you, sleep in tomorrow morning. There are days of light to come. There's life after life. We'd bottle it if we could.

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January 29, 2011

07 Cayuse Vineyards, Walla Walla Valley En Chamberlin Vineyard Syrah

Nothing's really happened to the wine over the year I've been drinking it. In fact, it's really still not much different than the 05 Cailloux. Same burnt, sulfury dark fruit. Smoky, mysterious. Not particularly different than dressing a deer in the field during a forest fire. Except that I asked my friends, who don't normally drink these wines, if they liked it. One said, "yeah." The other: "Yeeeeeaaahhhhh." So you have it. This is a tremendous wine. A syrah that, if you know syrah, you'll get. You won't necessarily want it, but you'll get. Maybe, if you think hard enough, behind all these carnal flavors that, if you wait, will blow off into more natural fruit by the next morning, there's even a bit of orange. You won't care. You'll just sit there. And you'll leave your glass and order a gin tonic instead. Or you'll sit there and, when someone turns to you and says, Miss, I think this is your scarf, you'll turn, eyes glazed, mouth open in anticipiation, "Yeeeeaaahhh."


Anonymous Eric landon said...

Sounds like an interesting wine from a great region. Have you heard of Blaufränkisch, its a Syrah that we wrote about from Austria. I love an interesting Syrah.

11:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love these wines. En Chamberlin got the big write up this year - however I feel as if En Cerise is far superior - En Cerise is by far my favorite Cayuse wine. I have drank all these wines in multiple vintages - if you have the chance try the En Cerise!

11:07 PM  

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January 09, 2011

NV Pierre Delize, Vin Mousseux Brut Blanc de Blancs

One of the first things I learned about Champagne (and sparkling wine) was to watch the bubbles. A steady stream shooting straight up the middle meant quality. One of the two great myths about wine (the second, that "legs" mean quality--unless your idea of quality is high alcohol and sugar). For the most part, bubbles aren't really about the wine. They're about the glass. Sparkling wine is evenly carbonated. There's no drop that has more bubbles than another. (Sounds obvious now, doesn't it?). And so the bubbles are in fact more related to something called a point of nucleation. Where everything explodes. Nature craves chaos, and if bubbly could have its way, it would shoot out in every direction all at once (which, incidentally, is how I feel when I drink a glass of Krug). It's our job to rein it in. Even the clumsy can dance. Even the colicky can sing. And, so, you give even the most vibrant of vin mousseux a platform, a clean bed to bounce on, and it will usually abide. A clean glass with a small etch or divot in the bottom, and you will usually get your "steady stream." Science aside, there's some pretty serious poetry to this. Because this humble, yet elegant Delize chardonnay--that I'm drinking out of the same hand-polished Riedel sparkling wine glass I drank Cristal out of after proposing to my proof-that-life-does-work-out fiancee--looks as good as that glass of Cristal. Which brings me, perhaps, to what sparkling wine has taught me more than anything else. We are only as good as those we are surrounded by. We can be firecrackers. We can be flat and limp of spirit. Dry, austere. Sweet. We can tickle. We can strip the enamel off your teeth. Some say we give them headaches. But in the right company, we all make sense. I hate your friends. You hate mine. And it doesn't matter because they're not here. It's me and you. And, for what it's worth, I like that. I like that it's us. I like that you can have your life, and I can have mine. I like that as dull as others might find me, you see some sort of beauty in it. I like that I admire you because most of the people I know are nothing like you. In this room, here we are. As perfectly whatever as the other needs to be. No, don't ask your mom about me. Don't text 6989 to find out if I'm your match. And who cares if I'm a Gemini, anyway? This is working. This is sparkling. This is how it's supposed to feel on our lips, on our tongues, in our guts with our eyes closed.


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