Life on the road was intense. I changed hands and beds once more. Hooked up with my friend thegoddessofwine (yes, I know, but she's Linda, what are we going to do. She is the goddess as well as an amazing sommelier.) We were also meeting ma fille Francaise.
who really should have won le meilleur sommelier de France, except she wasn't wearing une petite talon(high heels! more on that farce later). The three of us are, and hopefully always will be....
photo by Annaick le Mignon
Our first stop was the Renaissance tasting, Nicolas Joly's roving biodynamic wine show. This is one of the years best tasting. The level of high quality wine far outnumbers any other show I go to. Nicolas, by the way, was the first person I bumped into.
Nicolas cracks me up. In fact over the next few days when I lapsed into oh-poor-me, I would think about him and start to belly laugh. Which in proper France brought side glances of shock and fear.
Near the coat rack we embraced and then he started to pick up exactly where we left off last February as if no time had past. Last year it was Haiti and the economy. This year the planets were in a different place and it was about Tunisia and Egypt. You see, the planets were are all lined up somewhere underneath Orion's belt and long underwear. Last year it was doom, gloom and brimstone.This year it was the planets and Tunisia. All was good. I went into the tasting in a fine mood, laughing.
Every one and his mother and uncle who ever lived in the United States was in that room. In fact, France was owned by the Americans this year, many of them looking to be the next Joe Dressner, if that could ever happen.
When Joe started out there were discoveries. Now, there are none. You're just not going to discover some savant shlep who's family has been making wine in a cave in some unknown appellation for six generations anymore. What you'll find are new kids on the block who are renting vines or others who have already recycled through importers, looking for love in all the wrong places. But yet, yet. ...we tasted.
What touched us? I hooked Linda's arm, Pierre André.
"Chateauneuf?" she asked. Quelle horreur! No.
In insisted. She was happy.
Jacqueline, Pierre's shy daughter took over years back. Old world here. This stuff is beautiful, refined even her white in the scary 2009 vintage. It was fresh!
2007: Fresh and depth.
2006 80% grenache with the rest syrah, mourvedre, cinsault etc, the wine is elegant, fresh, lovely and...balanced.
2005 More tannic, and that old fashioned shit called garrique. Bring it on.
2004 Shut down. One direction. Okay.
Alsatian producer, Francois Barmes, Barmes Buecher. New to me. Glad we took the chance. Especially because he's got some vines in Hengst and Rosenberg. Lovely wines.
2008 Rosenberg: grapes were washed over stone. This is the one that grabbed me.
(honorable mention goes to Josmeyer, very over-looked winemaker in this market)
Highlights for me were:
Stella di Campalto wines from Montalcino. Gorgeous and inspiring rossos and brunellos.
In Bordeaux? Sure! 2008 Gombaude-Guillot of Pomerol as well as the 2008 Ch. le Puy (roasted fennel, limestone/star). 2008 was difficult but the people who worked organically/biodynamically seemed to sing.
I continue to love the Clos Canarelli from Corsica, especially the cuvée from anfora. The 2009 Oray which is pie franc, planted en foule was roasted plum and delicious.
The Tourraine's Clos Roche Blanche, ah..my DRC. The '10 sauvignon is just gorgeous with a high dose of elderflower. When I had the '10 gamay, tannic, structure and velvet.
Pineau d'aunis alert! In '10 there is a CRB red Arpent Rouge! There hasn't been one since 2006. (My wine of the year for 2007).Right now it's rough, and angular but it will come together and Didier is just going to bide his time til it's ready.
Pithon Paille, Joe Pithon's comeback wines have hit their stride. '09 Les Treilles was angular and austere, like peroxide washing the teeth but you have to trust me, exciting if too young.
More Muscadet moments were had at Guy Bossard. 2010 gneiss, licorice on acid. limpid.
Orthogneiss- quieter, more restrained.
Granite: floral, fruity, hints of vermont mountain.
There was a muscadet for every mood. Terroir is really fun.
Les Sablonettes? Oui.Christine & Joel Ménard make better and better wine every year. Look for them in 2010. From their cabernets, Le Petite Blanc to the Diable and the Pivoine
Then, contemplating it all, I looked over at a New York sommelier, tasting at Agnes Mosse. She is used to grand cru for breakfast. She looked as giddy as a princess who went to dance with the common people.
Have to say, am loving tasting 2010. Just loving it.