Browse Tag


Fat pants

[vineyard]Grosjean 2005 Pinot Noir (Vallée d’Aoste) – Stumbles and tumbles out of the bottle, showing a clumsy, almost sticky, light berry aroma with zingy acidity and a lot of disjointed seams of minerality. But as it airs it coalesces, melding fruit and stone, wrapping its structure about itself, and broadening the complexity of its finish. By the final glass, it’s a rather extraordinary study in the interplay of grape and soil. The lesson, I guess, is patience. (2/10)

Rovettaz main Ian, devil

[vineyard]Grosjean 2006 Cornalin Vigne Rovettaz (Vallée d’Aoste) – This is a wine that seems to propel itself along parallel tracks. On the left, there’s a rail of a gritty, steely structure; neither powerful nor dominant, but present and insistent nonetheless. On the right, a meandering weave of crisp (occasionally sour) flavors that are only related to identifiable berries by marriage rather than genetics, yet are unmistakably fruity nonetheless. For a reason I can’t quite identify, this wine reminds me of drinkable popcorn…not in flavor, but in contrasts of absorbent and crunchy structure, airy absence and lingering aftertaste. It’s much more interesting than it is good, but I suspect that this is a judgment that will prove highly malleable with time. (2/10)


[vineyard]Grosjean 2004 Cornalin Vigne Rovettaz (Vallée d’Aoste) – Aromatically difficult, and it seems like it should be more generous, so I may just have caught this at a bad time. There’s a tension between a sweet-fruited, earthy-floral core and a rougher, shouldery structure that reminds me a bit of the similar tension in Piedmontese dolcetto, but there’s decidedly more minerality here, and the structure isn’t quite as strident. Seems very promising, but now isn’t its time. (7/09)

Grosjean lady

[vineyard]Grosjean 2007 Gamay (Vallee d’Aoste) – Almost everywhere it’s grown, gamay is an appealing, “easy” grape, and where it’s lent complexity, the source is the terroir or meddling winemaking. Not so here, though I think the same is true of many Aoste wines; there’s no getting around the fact that this is a difficult wine. Reddish fruit takes on a grey hue as viewed through veils of layered minerality. Yet there’s a rough-hewn element as well, one that counters the rocky strata with an unevenly textured chunk of dirt-clad darkness. It’s a light wine, but it’s most certainly not a gentle one. I think age might bring greater clarity here. For now, the intellectual interest alone is enough to recommend this wine, though I can’t promise actual enjoyment; that will depend on the taster. (3/09)

Petite RV

[vineyard]Grosjean 2005 Petite Arvine Vigne Rovetta (Vallée d’Aoste) – Intense and vague. No, that doesn’t make a great deal of sense to me, either. But it fits. There’s a persistent, almost forceful feel to the wine, but what’s behind all the effort remains a little elusive. White-hued granite? Yes, and last-pressing yellow plum as well. But neither really stands out. The finish is long and solid, and I think there’s something that will eventually be appealing, but at the moment the appeal is mostly intellectual. (1/08)

Rovetta stone

[vineyard]Grosjean 2004 Torrette “Supérieur” Vigne Rovetta (Vallée d’Aoste) – Mostly petit rouge, with some cornalin and fumin in the blend. If twin red Burgundies were separated at birth, and one was raised in the woods by a poverty-stricken family to achieve no more than about a 6th-grade education, this is what it might taste like. Its mild red fruit is choppy, and the texture alternately sharp and muddled, with spiky acidity and roughly-treated earth constantly churning underneath. There’s a lot to like here, but it’s very hard to get to it through all the discontinuities and confusion. Will age help? I have absolutely no idea. (11/07)

Grosjean, petitjean

[vines]Grosjean 2005 Pinot Noir (Vallée d’Aoste) – A difficult wine, giving nothing in a spirit of generosity (and certainly not fun). Soil and granite, some dusty red fruit in the background. Indifferent. I’m inclined to like wines that are all about dirt, and maybe this just needs some age, but it’s a bit too cranky for my tastes at this stage. (9/07)