Sunday Night Dinner: Freshness

(Note: As with 90% of my sunday night dinner posts, this dinner didn’t take place on a sunday)

Veal shoulder cooked by someone other than myself, but eaten entirely by myself.

When i was visiting with Bruno Giacosa’s winemaker, he said something that i have believed all along in regards to wine. When asked “when would you drink this?” about a bottle of Barbaresco he shot back with a “well does it taste good now?” We all responded with an emphatic “yes.”

“Well then, you could drink it now.”

He then launched into a rather lengthy diatribe against people with a systematic belief that wines are better aged, and that in his view many people would age the life right out of many bottles with this thought in mind. They’re different wines old and young, and people should learn to appreciate them as such.

i thought of this conversation when i was drinking not Giacosa, but a wine from Phillipe Pacalet last sunday saturday.

(Well Cory, why did a Burgundy remind you of this conversation with a Piedmontese winemaker? Is this post about barriques? Because if it is i’m out of here. i’m not going to listen to one more blogger go on about wood, you’re thinking. Good for you, i say. i wouldn’t either.)


Freshness is something that Pacalet’s wines have. In fact a lot of well made wines have “freshness” (i’m going to regret that phrase before the end of this, i just know it) when they’re young. i’m not just referring to “fruit,” that word that can either praise or slur a wine depending on your particular palate, but rather everything that makes a wine lively. High acidity, perhaps some tannins that haven’t been resolved, something that sparks the wine to life (if you have no idea what i’m talking about, drink some electric muscadet sometime, some fresh Olivier or Landron. Can you believe people age the life out of muscadet of all things?).

Perhaps it’s better to look at this through the lense of a bad metaphor (wine blogs are notoriously poor at this sort of thing, and i’m no exception). Imagine a fresh wine is like say, an unfinished puzzle and an aged wine is like a finished puzzle. The fresh wine has some parts filled in, the obvious part, but a lot of the pieces are scattered around, waiting to fill in the rest. there is still some challenge and curiosity to be had here. Now the aged wine is done, it’s a complete thing, but depending on the picture it may or may not hold any interest. it may be a done, dead thing, or it may still be interesting to look at (finished puzzles are never interesting, by the way, unlike aged wines which are oftentimes great. i told you this metaphor sucked.)

Still there is always something fascinatingly alive about Pacalet’s wines when they are consumed young that you don’t get with older wines, it sort of reaches out and shocks you. This is something i recommend.

Other wines:

2003 Overnoy Savagnin. You know, or should know, my feelings about Overnoy:
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2005 La Soufrandière Pouilly-Vinzelles. A wine i’ve never heard of, but am now glad i have. Shockingly fresh for an ’05, which i usually find too rich.

Les Cretes “Premetta.” This is a wine that has been laid to waste by sulfur. There isn’t anything else there! Just sulfur.


32 Days of Natural Wine is filling up fast. We have an all star lineup already, including Edward Behr, Joe Dressner, Lyle Fass, Jon Bonne, Eric Texier, Hank Beckmeyer, Kevin Kelley, Hardy Wallace, Jared and Tracey Brandt, Brooklynguy, Levi Dalton, Iris Lisson and some surprises that are surprises because i need to re-read all my emails again. Everyone is still welcome, though. The more the merrier.

Apparently i was in the New York Times talking about Bordeaux, a region i’m not really into. i will say that i do dig Jaugaret, Chateau le Puy, Château Moulin-Pey-Labrie and Chateau Aney, however, so i’m not completely dismissive.

Hank Jones, well you know:

And lastly, my friend Matt goes in for major surgery tommorow to correct problems related to an AVM. And i do mean major, so here’s to Matt, good luck buddy.


~ by Cory Cartwright on May 19, 2010.

6 Responses to “Sunday Night Dinner: Freshness”

  1. Check out La Serenissima a great boutique vineyard that produces a great wine in San Diego.

  2. Wow no dessert worth writing about with that veal shoulder? What a shame.

    • Your dessert was excellent. Now I feel bad.

      • you shouldn’t and happy to make anytime for you and emily. remember this is the first time i’ve read your blog;> love your writing.

  3. I can see how asking a winemaker “when would you drink this ?” might be a question not well received since it could be interpreted as “I don’t like this wine right now–when will it be better?” Maybe a better question would be “Can you tell me when you might expect these tannins to soften?” or “Since you’ve no doubt tasted many vintages of this wine can you suggest what effect several years of aging might have?” Aside from that, though, whether or not to dive in and drink a wine in its youth involves a lot of individual preferences. I’m not sure it can be recommended wholesale. There seem to be people who like the taste of certain wines when they’re young, wines that, in my limited experience (I’m no expert), aren’t offering up more than a fraction of what they can become. Example: Allemand Cornas. Some people seem to like it in its youth. I taste it on release and wonder whether it has what it will take to morph into one of the ten year old bottles that have left me stunned. I cannot predict–not smart enough. But I would rather wait to find out, than to commit the crime of infanticide.

  4. […] Last week i had some molten cake that was delicious and i forgot to mention it here. […]

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