Browse Tag


Durban engine

Leydier “Domaine de Durban” 2005 Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise (Rhône) – I keep waiting for someone to show me a better example of this wine, and year after year I come back to Leyder/Durban as the pinnacle. (I’m open to counter-suggestions, though.) The key, since my very first taste, remains a vibrant foundation of quartz-like minerality. Lots of wineries can do the perfumed sweetness, the orange blossom, the fun. The rocks are something special. And I can only guess that it’s terroir or some sort of particular cellar technique, because I find the same incredibly appealing quality in the winery’s Beaumes-de-Venise red. (9/10)

A fine fennel of fish

[vineyards]Soard “Domaine de Fenouillet” 2005 Beaumes-de-Venise “Terres Blanches” (Rhône) – Beaumes-de-Venise is the most ungenerous, unfruity, unyielding appellation in the Southern Rhône; it’s not the tannin (as in Gigondas) or the roasting (as in Rasteau), it’s the quartz-driven, completely mineralistic dominance of the fruit that renders the wines completely impenetrable to fruit-hounds. Here, it’s the essence of the wine, with a little dried-and-hard drapery of the blackest fruit, but without the proper balancing structure; as a result, it’s a little like putting rocks in one’s mouth, rather than drinking a beverage. Time might help, and this is certainly not a wine for youthful quaffing, but I just don’t know if this has a promising future. (5/08)

Venise beach

Perrin & Fils 2005 Muscat Beaumes de Venise (Rhône) – Very fruity, fresh, and fun, tending more towards the concentrated, bright, spring-like fruit elements than the more exotic flowers or perfumes. The best BdVs have a core of crystalline minerality which this lacks, but it’s hard to criticize this wine much. Even average muscat is still pretty good. (2/08)

Vignerons de Caractère “Domaine de la Brune” 2005 Beaumes de Venise “Vin Emotion” (Rhône) – The signature of reds from this appellation seems to be a hard, almost crystalline minerality – quartz-like, perhaps – that dominates both any varietally-derived aromas and general Southern Rhônishness. That’s true here, where the rocky foundation is barely brushed by smoked meat and blackberry residue. I find this wine fascinating. (11/07)