Wrap Up

Stuff occasionally (actually way more than occasionally) gets swept under the rug over here at saignée because we really don’t feel like blogging everyday. But since i’ve been more excited about wines than i have been in the past few months, i’ll go ahead and share some with you.

2007 Angiolino Maule Sassaia: i don’t know how to pronounce this name, but no matter what this is the real sans-soufre supernatural deal (Eric Texier even tested this). Recently brought out of a cold cellar where it was placed to stabilize after initially coming out of the bottle a bit angry. A blend of garganega (best grape name ever) and trebbiano from Gambellara in the Veneto, this was the best bottle i’ve yet had from this producer.

2006 Jean-Marie Fourrier Gevrey-Chambertin Vielles-Vignes: I don’t even know why i mess with burgundy that has no stems anymore when wine like this is around (well i can’t afford any burgundy really, so the distinction is not really important). Old school, high acid, lots of stems, beautiful stuff.

2007 Francois Cazin Cour-Cherverny: Someone was telling me that the Touraine AOC was thinking of limiting the white grape varieties to sauvignon blanc in some sort of collosally misguided attempt at branding against New Zealand. Thank the lord that some growers like Francois still appreciate their heritage and make wines out of grapes like romorantin. Track some down because i guarantee it’s better than sauvignon blanc.

i was lucky enough to try all three cuvees from the great classic house, Montevertine in Tuscany over the past two weeks, thanks to Dagan Ministero. If you don’t know Montevertine, they are one of the most famous producers of IGT wines in Italy. Formerly an accepted DOCG producer, Montevertine broke from the region designation when Sergio Manetti, the vigneron at the time, decided that allowing growers to add white wine wine grapes to chianti was bastardizing the wines so he protested by accepting the lesser designation. While the rule allowing white wine (trebbiano and malvasia bianco) has since been rescinded, he (and his son Martino, who took over upon his father’s death) stuck to their guns to further protest the cheapening of Italian wine tradition. The estate makes all the reds from the traditional varieties sangiovese, colorino, and canaiolo. They have also forcefully resisted planting French varieties as others have done, famously saying “I find the use of these grapes shameful – write that down – because it implies that Sangiovese by itself isn’t good – that it needs help. That’s absurd! You don’t see the producers in Bordeaux looking elsewhere for grapes to improve their wines, and we don’t need to either. Sangiovese is second to none. Those who add these complementary grapes are distorting the image of Chianti, producing something that doesn’t reflect the heritage of our land. I’ll never use them. Never.” Good words.

2004 Montevertine di Montevertine and 2004 Montevertine “La Pergole Torte” were opened back to back to check in on them. Great year from one of my favorite old school producers, but definitely young. Do most people even know what real Chianti is supposed to taste like? If i had thes wines with a bit more with some osso buco as my last meal i would be content.

2006 Pian del Ciampolo: i visited what is now my favorite San Francisco restaurant, La Ciccia with Jake Skakun, where we drank (of course) a bottle of Dettori Bianco (which i have written about before HERE) and a bottle of Montevertine’s entry level bottling a 2006 “Pian del Ciampolo.” Where the other two wines are sprawling massive tuscan villas in terms of structure, this is a trattoria in a basment. Made all the better because Massimiliano and Lorella have made their restaurant just the type of place to open such a warm, inviting bottle.

2000 Chateau Rayas: i’ve been looking forward to finally trying a bottle of this. Opened with an international all star cast of customers from Spain, France, Canada, The Jersey Shore, and Baltimore. Evolved over an several hours into stunning Rhone wine. Like Guilhaume said “this is something diferent than Grenache. i agree.” In the meantime, while the bottle was opening up, we had a 2004 Rollin Pernand-Vergelesses 1er Cru “sous-fretille” and a 2006 Domaine Henri Gouges Nuits St. Georges 1er Cru Clos De Porrets Blanc. This was all sparked by a converstion about pinot blanc, which i dig in my white Burgs. The Rollin showed exceptionally well, the Gouges was youngyoungyoung.

And finally, PX from Michel Couvreur. Trying to wrap my head around this one. Razor’s edge balance on a thick wine. Need to track down more.

Question of the post: What are your thoughts on hops in beer? I’ve been noticing that a lot of producers overuse them to the point of distraction, like oak in wine.

~ by Cory Cartwright on February 8, 2010.

13 Responses to “Wrap Up”

  1. “Someone was telling me that the Touraine AOC was thinking of limiting the white grape varieties to sauvignon blanc in some sort of collosally misguided attempt at branding against New Zealand.”

    Yes, but the Touraine appellation is its own appellation. Cheverny, Cour-Cheverny, Vouvray, Montlouis, etc. — all Loire appellations — are different and have their own grapes. Cour-Cheverny can only be Romo.

  2. Sharon,

    I realize that Touraine is its own separate AOC quite apart from Cheverny/Cour-Cheverny. i was simply using this as an example of some of the spectacularly wrong-headed decisions that are leading to the death of some of the fantastic diversity of French wines.

    – Cory

  3. too much hops and you make beer for gewurzt lovers. Fuck hops

  4. […] View original post here:  Wrap Up « saignée […]

  5. I think that there are bad hoppy beers and good hoppy beers, just like there are bad oaky wines and (even though I’ve probably never had any) theoretically good oaked, and maybe even oaky wines. I’ve still never had them but Clos Rougeard shows some oak, especially while young, right? I’m not speaking from experience, though.

    A pet beef with me is the imperializing trend. The taking of every beer style and making it twice as strong in the guise of “kicking it up a notch” Parkerizeing, really. “Imperial Pilsner” — Fuck that really. No pilsner about it. 95% of Imperial Stouts suck ass.

    There are good hoppy beers out there, and not all in the citrus soup american-style hops. Here’s a couple I’d recomend:

    Thiriez Extra – French farmhouse ale super dry very low alcohol 4.5% ish. Chock full of earthy hops. Perhaps my favorite beer of all time. (Shelton Brothers Imports)

    Jolly Pumpkin Bam Biere – Very similar in style to the Thiriez only with more sourness/wild funk in the yeast.

    Russian River – The Pliny the Elder is very good for a double IPA (8%alc) one of the very few double IPAs that isn’t too boozy for me. But also pretty good are the Blind Pig and the Russian River IPA. The limited release funky stuff, is for my money significantly better, so don’t avoid those if you don’t like the hoppy ones.

    If you ever find yourself in the midwest, there’s a few american hopped IPAs that are pretty good in my opinion: Three Floyds Alpha King and Bell’s Two Hearted Ale.



  6. Oh and sorry for the extended beery bomardment today. I’ll talk less next time…

  7. I agree about the Hops. It’s classic American: why eat one burger when you could have 5 burgers compressed together along with 1lb of cheese?

    Barley wines that taste like hop-juice are just nasty. Hops, like anything, need to be balanced so as to allow the malts to show and so that the various kinds of hops used can actually express themselves. I agree w/ the Bells Two Hearted (great), and the Pliny the Younger. I also quite like Alesmith’s IPA.

    But, over-hopping goes far beyond the IPA. Just like over-roasting the malts on IRS. Plus, you can’t judge Imperial Stouts unless they have 1 year of age on them at least. Too much alcohol comes through otherwise. I’d recommend the Old Rasputin XII anniversary stout from North Coast for an example of the right kind of oak treatment on an imperial stout.

  8. Along with the excessive hops comes–what?–high alcohol, of course. Where have we heard this refrain before? Who is the Thierry Puzelat of brewing?

  9. the puzelat of brewing – brasserie fantome (http://www.fantome.be/)

  10. I believe that when it comes to hops there are three factors: craft brewers had to find a way to differentiate themselves (A LOT!) from the big guys (hops add flavor without weight), people starting loving them (IPA is number one beer category and has been for a while), and hops add a different flavor dimension to the beer (craft beer is all about experimentation). Sure, some brewers get it completely wrong but some get it completely right. My last point, craft beer is a 25 year old industry in this country (really only 15 years for the second, sustainable go around) so give us some time to work things out. Believe it or not, session beers are starting to become the king.

    • Chris, Thanks for the comment. It’s something I’m trying to wrap my head around as I drink more and more beers, and the more input, better.

  11. Great line up, a flight to make every real wine lover jealous I think. My favourites in this flight are certainly the Montervertine Le Pergole Torte (though a clear case of infanticide!) and Maule’s Sassaia (pronounced An-joo-lee-no Mow-li by the way). And a great blog too. Only just discovered it – seems we are quite on the same track and have the same ideas about blogging (only mine is in Dutch). Never write too often or too short. I think there is indeed – to quote a certain critic – enough ‘white noise’ on the wine web. Keep going!

  12. Agreed with Kevin’s sentiments. I’m anti hop overload 99.9% of the time, but somehow Pliny the Elder not only doesn’t bother me, I rather enjoy a glass of it from time to time. Mikkeler as well, out of Denmark, makes some interesting hoppy beers, including some single hop bottlings. But the European idea of hoppy is very different from the American (more accurately, Californian) idea of hoppy.

    About that ’00 Rayas…I know that I often lack your patience with bottles of wine, but following this wine for about an hour I think that it hardly budged and tasted very much like grenache. Then again I was probably a bit drunk at that point, so probably best to withhold judgement. Especially about an ‘important’ wine such as Rayas.

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