Browse Tag


How Bizard

Bizard-Litzow “Château d’Epiré” 2007 Savennières “Cuvée Spéciale” (Loire) – I have given up aging Savennières, and though I’m happy to drink someone else’s, the relentless early descent into oxidation and/or silage across producers and vintages has defied all reasonable explanation (aside from the scourge of the still-unsolved premature oxidation that affects wines here and there, which would explain one issue, but not the other) and completely soured me on the effort. Which is a real shame, because I’ve had beautifully aged versions from these same producers in the past, and because I don’t exactly adore young Savennières either. Here, for example, is ceramic leaf and candle smoke, a desiccation that supersedes whatever actual residual sugar (if any) might remain, and a long but ultimately pointless blank slate of a finish. There’s texture to spare, though it’s planar, and that’s what would normally give me confidence that at some point in the future there would be a blossoming. But whether due to forces external or internal – that is, the taster in question – I’m not willing to hold these any longer, just to see how many years before their drink-by date they fail in a blaze of misery. (9/11)

Pangée Gupta

Nana, vins et cie 2005 “La Pangée” (Loire) – Like drinking squeezed berries out of an ashtray. Look, this is really more about me than the wine; I don’t like pineau d’aunis. This is only about half that (the rest gamay), but it still ruins everything for me. There are, inevitably, exceptions here and there (many of them from Domaine de Bellivière), but in general this is a grape I need to avoid, because to me it tastes of bitter, stale, wet cigarette ash. (Except of course when it doesn’t. Which is aggravating. Are there no certainties? No, no, of course there aren’t.) (9/11)

To Grand Mont’s house we go

Druet 1997 Bourgueil “Cuvée Grand Mont” (Loire) – Beautiful. Rounded green-black berries, tarred and then ground into fine mineral dust. Satiny, but with a rough country dusting in the interstitials. It’s hard to really express all that’s going on in this wine, but there’s a lot, and not all of it is televised; sitting down and reading the preface, footnotes, and even the index is also required. Long, gorgeous, absolutely at peak. (9/11)

Bri or someone else

Ollivier 1998 Muscadet Sèvre & Maine Sur Lie Clos des Briords “Cuvée Vieilles Vignes” (Loire) – The oldest Muscadet in my cellar leaps forward a year with the demise of this bottle, but I have the feeling it’s time. It has certainly broadened, with the shells and rocks coalesced into a wide plain of sea-washed albino carapace, and there’s a throb of something that’s almost fruit-like that hasn’t been present at any previous point in this wine’s evolution. But the finish carries a whipcord of oxidation that shortens it a bit sooner than I’d like, and so I think this wine has journeyed about as far as it’s going to travel. At least, this bottle has. Since I have no more, I can’t speak to its, um, fellow travelers. (9/11)

Gathering none

Mosse 2008 Anjou Rouge (Loire) – Attractive, though I think I lean more towards the whites from this property, as the reds tend to begin and end their stories in comparative simplicity. There’s something to be said for that, but it would be unnoticeable in context were the whites less compelling. Anyway, enough about the whites. This is crisp, reddish in fruit with explorations in both rust and violet directions, and direct, with a ferric swirl and a structural insistency. Near the end there’s powder and white smoke. Maybe there’s a new pope. (9/11)

The heart of a Cowboy

Tessier 2004 Cour Cheverny (Loire) – This wine, of which I bought a small quantity, has struggled since purchase…or perhaps I’ve struggled with it…but, as is typical, the last bottle turns out to be the best,and the most full of promise. Chalk and wax, as if it was a chenin from elsewhere on the river, but here strictly textural rather than also aromatic. Also, liquefied bones add a sort of wet “structure,” and there’s an acidity that seems to be slightly warm, almost simmering, rather than cooling as it often does. Then, flowers are opening…still pale and timid, but promising full blossom one year. A lovely wine, still little, but I suspect there’s much more story yet to be told. (9/11)

She knows white, too

JM Raffault 2010 Chinon Blanc (France) – Mineral-driven (no surprise from Loire chenin), though as Chinon rather than one of the more popular chenin appellations, the rocky take’s quite a bit different. Dry – I don’t mean in the sense of lacking sugar, though it does, but in the parched sensation provided by the wine’s stony starkness – with a bit of wax and a sort dense flesh of monotonality. It’s better than that, though. I’m struggling to find the correct descriptors here, as one might notice. (8/11)

Effraied to die

Nicolas “Domaine de Bellivière” 2006 Coteaux du Loir “L’Effraie” (Loire) – Drinks as if white flowers have been slammed, repeatedly, into a limestone wall. Soft and hard at the same time. I’m not sure what to think about its future development, but it’s a pretty intriguing drink now. (8/11)

Sheep in paradise

La Pépière 2008 Muscadet Sèvre & Maine Sur Lie Les Gras Moutons “Cuvée Eden” (Loire) – Perhaps not the ideal time to be drinking this, as its bones and acids are showing without a whole lot of the flesh that was there at release. Finishes very long and with growing intensity, so there’s definitely promise. (8/11)


Soucherie 2009 Anjou Blanc “Cuvée Les Rangs de Long” (Loire) – Dusty chalk and ambered old lemons, burnished and then allowed to corrode, then polished without removing the corrosion. In other words, it seems more appealing than it really is, and starts out promising much, but as it lingers and attention focuses the appeal begins to diminish. It’s still fine, but it’s not promising much of a future. (7/11)