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[stained barrel]

No filter, no cry

There comes a moment in every young wine writer’s life when they dabble at becoming Robert M. Parker, Jr. When knowledge of wines crosses the Rubicon into a vastly more satisfying (and self-satisfied) knowledge of wine, and the urge to proclaim their understanding suddenly becomes overwhelming.

With fair frequency, the very next moment in every young wine writer’s life is someone with vastly more knowledge explaining that they’re wrong.

I’m pretty sure my own era of ranting from a illusory mountaintops happened around the turn of the millennium; I was convinced I was on my way to being a Master of Wine (I wasn’t), I had done the work of tasting and study (but not nearly enough), I knew stuff (only some), and I had regular outlets through which to bestow my undoubtedly brilliant and precious insights on an eager audience.

Reading my work from those days is now a matter of silencing endless groans of embarrassment, and there are more than a few things I wish I could permanently expunge. But what I really wish is that I’d preserved the admonishments and corrections from (mostly) patient correspondents. I could make copies and forward a parcel to each new writer as they enter their own personal Enlightenment, accelerating the arrival of their own personal Disillusionment.

Most eventually pass through this boastful phase and move on to a truly satisfying era in which excitement and energy are drawn from unknowns, from yet-unsolved mysteries, from new horizons. An unfortunate few remain Parkeresque, driving anchors deep into their epistemological turf, cementing them into permanence, and screaming bloody murder at heathens and apostates who dare question their god-like authority.

And so it was that I prepared for the worst as the following pull quote scrolled past my not-quite-awakened eyes this morning:

Enough about sulfur already. More wines are ruined by filtration.

“Uh-oh,” I fretted. For the author is still young, and occasionally inclined to shout. Keep Reading

Where fools dert to tread

Coudert 2005 Fleurie Clos de la Roilette (Beaujolais) — Was there a Tardive in 2005? (Checks.) There was. And yet, this clings, and clings well. It’s not robust, it’s not vibrant, it’s not singing. It’s pale and wizened and rather beautiful. It’s a beloved memory, well-preserved. (4/16)


IMG_8292Jean-Marc Burgaud 2005 Morgon Côte du Py (Beaujolais) — From magnum. The knock against Burgaud is that they start hard and stay hard. (Insert your own joke here.) That’s somewhat true, eleven years down the road, but then a Côte du Py should be structured. Still, it’s only somewhat true; the wine’s aromatically accessible, its darker reds softened to an early autumn sunrise, showing half gamay freshness and half pinot noir sophistication, with aged underbrush imbuing the fruit. Will it age longer? Almost certainly, though note the bottle size. Will it get better? I’d wager on another five years with confidence; after that, it depends on one’s taste. (4/16)


Lapierre 2007 Morgon (Beaujolais) – Tense. It’s really a very attractive wine, but there’s an overt nervosity beyond the usual Lapierre liveliness…so much so that I’d consider drinking it sooner rather than later, because it seems like it’s about to fall from its tipping point. I could easily be wrong, of course, and since I’m still holding bottles of this from the much-earlier 2000s that are doing fine, history suggests that I am. (8/12)

d’folie of youth

JP Brun 2011 Beaujolas Rosé “Rosé d’folie” (Beaujolais) – Candied redfruit, both crisp and gummy. It’s prettier than that, and more floral, but it’s not the best example of this wine I’ve tasted. Possibly slightly heat-tinged? There are no obvious signs, yet the freshness that usually accompanies the wine is lacking here. (8/12)

Coquelet-o…gamay come & me wan’ go home

Coquelet 2009 Beaujolais (Beaujolais) – The razory, sharp sort of “house style” at Coquelet is here mitigated by the corpulence of the vintage, creating something neither razory nor corpulent, but in fact much more recognizable amongst its peers…albeit from different vintages, because in this one said peers do somewhat frequently veer into rotunditry. So: bursting mixed berries, a bit darker than the norm, a dusting of soil that’s almost-but-not-quite peppery, and a fulsome finish still nicely crisped by acidity. I could drink a lot of this. In fact, I have. But I think this was the last bottle. (8/12)

Colonel Potter

Brun “Terres Dorées” 2009 Morgon (Beaujolais) – Surprisingly open, given that from this year, site, and producer I’m expecting little other than a dense wall of go-away. Instead, there’s dusty morel and sappy blackberry, an almost shockingly nervy structure, and the promise of more insight as the glasses pass into digestive oblivion. (Well, you know what I mean….) I don’t know that it couldn’t go longer, but I do know that it’s nothing to be scared of at the moment. (6/12)


Brun “Terres Dorées” 2004 Beaujolais Blanc (Beaujolais) – Dead. Frankly, well past dead and into decomposition. Blame the closure. (6/12)

The home of Russian currency

Coquelet 2009 Chiroubles (Beaujolais) – In a boozy, stumbling stage, tripping over its concentrated, lavishly Languedoc-like berries. Time will tell – from others’ cellars, as this is my last bottle – if it comes out the other side, but I’m not optimistic. The structure is already fraying, there’s a little bit of brett, and the alcohol does stand out. That said, with a few hours’ air, this blossoms into a slutty fruit bomb of a wine, which – while not exactly typical of anything except the vintage – would be difficult for anyone but the terminally puckered to not at least kind of enjoy. (5/12)