Browse Tag



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)

Briands, Briords, Brinots

[2002]Ollivier 2002 Muscadet Sèvre & Maine “Sur Lie” Clos des Briords “Cuvée Vieilles Vignes” (Loire) — Naked rocks that press finely-woven pollen tissue into the palate. This is why one ages great Muscadet. (4/16)

Brand identification

Boxler 2009 Riesling Brand (Alsace) – A little sweet, a lot heavy, a fair bit alcoholic. There’s still plenty of honeyed minerality and bronzed musculature, with the stone fruit and gold of the site evident, but it’s just too boozy for my taste, and I’m not sure this is a quality one will want to live with for long. I’d say I was surprised by this result, but a legendarily hot vineyard in a big year…unfortunately, I’m not surprised at all. Dismayed because of what it portends for globally-warmed Alsace. Disappointed that this came from an extremely reliable producer. But not surprised. (4/11)


Krug Champagne Brut “Grande Cuvée” (Champagne) – Rich and heady, but really not all that complex or interesting. It’s like gilding and jewel-encrusting a turnip, frankly; yes, it’s all shiny and sparkly, but what’s the real point? It’s still a turnip, and doesn’t want to be gilt. The wine’s elegant, and maybe the point is that one should feel elegant while one drinks it, but that’s really much more about the drinker than it is the wine itself. (4/11)

Lhéraud less traveled

Lhéraud 1973 Cognac Petite Champagne (Cognac) – Forcefully classy. Like drinking fine pastries, with a boozy core. Is it as complex as an Armagnac of similar age? No, but it’s silkier. There’s your tradeoff. (11/12)

Rieston stop

Darroze “Domaine de Rieston” 1990 Bas-Armagnac (Southwest France) – Armagnac turned up to 11, or maybe even 12, in darkly-oaked intensity laden with succulent dried fruit. Showy and rather fantastic. It is not, I think, designed to appeal to lovers of older, more reticent and well-matured spirits, but it’s impossible to ignore and, frankly, very difficult not to like. (4/11)


Comte de Saint Victor “Château de Pibarnon” 2000 Bandol (Provence) – Halfway to excellence, but the halfsies are evident in the disjointed structural imbalances, which are slightly stewy and tending towards the fluffy at the moment. That’s not, I think, where this wine will end up. Otherwise, there’s blackened meat liqueur and herbal tincture…a pretty classic Bandol signature, with a rocky underbelly seemingly characteristic of this house. Wait on it. (11/12)

Bain capital

Alexandre Bain 2011 Pouilly-Fumé “Pierre Précieuse” (Loire) – Sweet, flabby, and more than a little bit insipid. I get that this is natural, but it’s horribly boring as well. Maybe it works as an apéritif. But it doesn’t even have the nervosity to be a German riesling stand-in. (11/12)


Laurent-Perrier Champagne Brut Cuvée Rosé (Champagne) – Pink, and tastes of it. Sharp, fruity, clean, soon dead. Next. (11/12)

Time for a Trim

Trimbach 2008 Riesling (Alsace) – A powerfully appealing vintage that has not yet closed down (if it ever will; these négociant bottlings sometimes do, and some of those even come out the other end tasting better…2001 was an example, though it’s well past its prime by now). Vibrant ironfruit, perfect structure. If this all sounds like overenthusiasm, note that what it lacks vs. better rieslings is complexity; this is a direct shot right at the heart of varietal rieslinghood in Alsace, but there’s no ricochet. (8/12)