Browse Tag


Moine all Moines

[label]Laroche “Domaine aux Moines” 1991 Savennières-Roche aux Moines (Loire) – For the first fifteen minutes or so, there’s the usual Loire chenin consternation over potential corkiness…and anyway, the wine’s not showing much (aside from a papery albino-hood) during that time. With sufficient air – and some warming – more classic quinine and aspirin aromas emerge, though the texture particulates into something slightly sandpapery. Wax develops, then retreats, and the finish demonstrates a steady expansion from the first to the last glass. Highly unappealing, but I don’t necessarily mean that in a bad way; this is a wine that requires you to come to it, rather than vice-versa. (8/07)

Night Hippolyte

Hippolyte Reverdy 2005 Sancerre (Loire) – Dull and one-note, with vague suggestions of grassy-green fruit and rather obvious alcohol. This is heavy without being intense, and things get worse with food. (7/07)

Coulée hat

[vineyard]Joly 2002 Savennières Clos de la Coulée de Serrant (Loire) – Very dark and, like so many of Joly’s wines, apparently oxidizing at a scandalous rate. However, who knows what will actually happen to the wine? Recoveries can and do happen to his little philosophical experiments. The acid is powerful and somewhat dominant right now. There’s also plenty of candle wax, old almond, linen and dust to the wine, and the intensity and increasing freshness of the finish gives me a certain measure of hope for the future. But only a measure. (9/07)

Jolivet prison

Jolivet 2005 Sancerre Les Caillottes (Loire) – Thin, watery flavors combined with spiky alcohol and a flat, lifeless texture. What the heck went wrong here? (7/07)

Jolly old St-Nicholas

[label]Taluau-Foltzenlogel 1996 St-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil “Vieilles Vignes” (Loire) – Three different wines in one bottle. The first is heavily dill-infused, sour with pickled acidity and yet weirdly compelling due to its pulsing, earthen bass line. The second is balanced and structured, with graphite-textured tannin, fine acidity, and dark black fruit loaded with morels and soil. And the third is reticent, dominated by its structure, and rather boring to drink. What does this mean, in terms of the wine’s progress along its aging curve? I have no idea…or, rather, I have three different answers depending on which of the trio is on current display. My guess is that it’s still not ready, based on the way it seems to close up after extended aeration, but that initial burst of nastiness must be considered as well. (9/07)

Monty Pithon

[botrytized grapes]Pithon 1999 Coteaux du Layon St-Aubin Clos des Bois (Loire) – Very dark brown, so this is either advancing rather rapidly or there was a problem with the cork; I have more, so I’ll investigate soon. There’s a little bit of aspirin-influenced cream and paraffin still lingering, but most of this wine is given over to old citrus and dense, incredibly sweet brown sugar. It’s still lovely, but for how much longer? (7/07)

Nice Gammes

[grapes]Michon “Domaine St-Nicolas” 2005 Fiefs Vendéens “Gammes en May” (Loire) – Very light. Practically a rosé, and I think one should employ it as such. I assume this is gamay, because it shows the dusty-toned and slightly volatile aromatics of gamay I’ve tasted elsewhere on the fringes of the Loire, here with a clamshell mushroom character at its root. This will appeal to a very limited audience, and that’s a shame, because there’s a lot to like here. (7/07)


Roussel & Barrouillet “Clos Roche Blanche” 2005 Touraine Sauvignon “No. 2” (Loire) – Dense, palpable chalk in a thickening, sweet-seeming marinade. This is always a triumph of terroir over variety – sauvignon is only represented by a slightly green tinge to the finish…a sharpening and focusing, perhaps, more than an actual grassiness – but there’s more stuffing in this wine than usual, which may be a good or a bad thing depending on one’s tastes; one might legitimately wonder if the wine isn’t slightly overstuffed. There’s not much to dislike, however, and while it’s eminently drinkable and seemingly ready to go (not a typical performance for this wine), it will almost certainly develop more over the medium-short term. (7/07)

TN: Cotat tail

Pascal Cotat 2002 Sancerre La Grande Côte (Sancerre) – Perfumed hazelnuts and anise with molten quartz seething down the sides and then rising up again through the core. Very insistent, with strong acidity and a long finish. Gorgeous. (6/07)

TN: The big enclosure

[bottles]Joguet 2002 Chinon Les Varennes du Grand Clos (Loire) – Surprisingly advanced, showing beautiful balance and poise, but with aromas moving quickly from primary fresh twig, berry skin, and nutshells to something more engagingly earthy and decayed/autumnal. The wine has softened a lot since release, and while there’s enough structure that there’s no need to panic, the quick advancement is puzzling. I’d have thought this would take longer to develop tertiary characteristics. (6/07)