Last year tasting, La Dive Bouteille @ Chateau Breze was such a hypo-thermic experience that great men were felled, women lost toes, and glasses cracked in the Arctic temperatures. Was it going to be as frigid as last year?
I piled on the clothes. I had sheepskin liners. And long underwear. Three cashmere sweaters. Down, hats. I was prepared. Because last year? Now tasting hundred of wines on three levels of limestone cave where the cold and damp is injected into your bones, and the trousseau in your class turns into cubes of ice? Kind of too cold.
In the first Loire room, I was roasting. I was sweating. The layers came off. It was deceptive. That was the only warm room.
Now that the atmosphere is done with; here's the wine.
Again. 2010. 2010. 2010. Your favorite Loire producers will sing. Also there's quantity. So buy up and make them happy.
Noella (R0)Morantin : Why did it take me so long to realize you can put a Ro before her last name and get one of our favorite grapes? Noella is the lovely woman who rents a good chunk of Clos Roche Blanche vineyards and with 2010 she seems to have found her voice. What you'll find is cot, gamay and some interesting takes on sauvignon blanc as well as Terres Blanches, a tasty pet nat.
Pascal Simunutti :Was there on crutches following a harrowing motorcycle accident. He finished the harvest only because Thierry Puzelat, Olivier Lemasson, etal pitched in and worked if for him. Only the 2009s were shown. Pineau d'aunis forever.
Thierry Puzelat: '09 and '10. So in either, what's not to love? I'm sounding like a broken record. Standouts? '10 Brin de Chevre, VV Gamay, Pineau d'aunis and P'Tit Tannique! (gamay + grolleau +long elevage)
Now, these are old favorites. Let me tell you the new. There were two amazing discoveries for me once out of the warm and into the cold cave.
Just when I said no more wines from the southwest, I stop by and fall in love with the wines from Philippe Wies, in Maury. I'm such a cynic. My first sip? And I wrote, seems to work well. Fruit mineral. One feels terroir there, how, I don't know. And good technique. Yes. Seems talented even though he has a cheesy label for La Petite Baigneuse.
The wines were fresh and elegant. The Triquette was carignan + grenache, had a nice sand in the mouth. Les Loustics 2009, elegant and soft tannic structure. Grands Largue '09 was Lledoner Pelut 60% et Carignan. Concrete and old barrels and talent. I'm sold.
Next one up, brace yourself, some little number from Argentina.
Vincent Wallard is responsible for importing Familia Cecchin into Europe. It is not here in the US, but it speaks hope for Argentina, a country, that for all I have seen, has forsaken real wine in its desire to become that country's kind of Tuscan interpretation of a Napa fantasy. This was my last wine of the day, as I was inching out of the cave, and into the real world. Holy shit, I said, as I tasted the malbec, and I have no notes on this, but not only was there no sulfur but there was no wood and these wines had a bit of age, but, I repeat, have no notes. But the wines were real and singing.
I can almost hear Patti Lupone, and I can see down the road, we can come out of mourning for poor Argentina, she's coming back.