Gringet & Quality Control; Or: il buono, il brutto, il cattivo
i’ve been lazy about this blog lately. i could say that i’ve been busy, but honestly i have not. There just hasn’t been anything to excite me. Sure i’ve had some outstanding wines as of late, but they were known qualities when i drank them.
So last sunday i had a few people over for dinner, including the wine DIGGER. For an apero i brought out a bottle i wasn’t familiar with, one that had just arrived from e-mail supercenter Garagiste. In the weeks prior i had opened a number of bottle from them and, with the exception of the 2008 “Le Clos de Vauriou” from Domaine Ricard 2008 i had been sorely dissapointed. A few were drinkable, a few found there way into the cooking wine shelf of my refrigerator, and one ended up being left nearly full on a restaurant table. Odds weren’t in my favor.
So the wine, A 2005 D&P Belluard Brut Zero was opened, i crossed my fingers because i sure wasn’t opening any of my miniscule supply of sparkling Huet. The wine comes to us from the Savoie appelation (a good source of well pricedsteely, high acid whites that are good for pairing with fatty/buttery white meats, such as Rombauer Chardonnay) and is vinified from 100% Gringet, a variety i have never encountered before. the wine spent 4 years on the lees before release, which can oftentimes mean the wine comes across as too yeasty and viscous. This wine had a touch of that, but maintained the cold minerality and stripped down bone dry fruit that makes Savoie so appealing for real wine drinkers. i was impressed that a shot in the dark came across so well and now i wish i had bought more.
Next up was a 2002 Domaine de Belliviere “Le Rouge-Gorge”. If you have read this blog at all you know that Rouge-Gorge is my epiphany wine and this one didn’t dissapoint. Seriously structured pineau d’aunis that shows a side of the grape that doesn’t happen in other pineau d’aunis. The strong spice that shows up in Belliviere’s pineau had started to mellow, becoming more integrated. Fantastic wine, but it was all downhill from here.
2004 Olivier Cousin Anjou “pur breton” was brett infected mess. It had been stripped of almost all of its characteristics relating to either variety or terroir and tasted completely placeless. Not in the least bit desirable, even for the extremely brett tolerant (like myself). But still, we had another low point to hit. Something that made the Cousin tolerable.
2005 La Grapperie L’enchanteresse. Another Garagiste blind purchase, but i wasn’t so lucky this time. Apparently there is a market for this wine because i bought two bottles, but lord i wish i hadn’t. i also wish i could say this wine was somehow flawed, but the four of us couldn’t find any fault besides this just being plain bad. Descriptors ranged from “rotting driftwood” to “old pickles.” One guest said the horrble dill pickle flavor was probably due to full cluster fermentation with badly underripe stems. Whatever it was, it was not good. To top it off it was way too heavy (14%) which gave weight to all the problems.