Monday, November 26, 2007

My lone Loire Valley Disappointment in the past several months

The 2005 La Grange Tiphaine l'equilibriste Montlouis had all the makings of a great wine: it is produced from old vine Loire Valley Chenin Blanc, by a talented winemaker (Didier Delecheneau), in a very solid vintage in Montlouis. Unfortunately I found this dessert wine to be out of balance. Way sweet, not enough acidity to balance it out, and even hot. At 12% alcohol for a Chenin Blanc dessert wine, the heat - now that I take the alc into account - does not surprise me. The flavors were of cooked apples in a lot of allspice, cinnamon and sugar. There was a spiciness that immediately made me think of botrytis, as well as a pungent brand of Montlouis, funky horseradish type of minerality which I find in Chidaine's Montlouis wines. It is one of the rare types of minerality that sometimes KO's me and is just too much. Riesling from Rangen in Alsace has had a similar effect, as has a red wine from the Mt Etna region in Sicily. Maybe it's the volcanic soil in those two wines? Anyway, I had l'equilibriste with apple pie at dessert, hoping that the sweetness of the pie would balance out the wine as is often the case with dessert and dessert wine pairings, but not even a delicious home baked apple pie could save this poor Chenin Blanc. Oh well. I still quite enjoy La Grange Tiphaine's Bel Air Sec, Les Cassieres, Rose and Cot. And I still need to try his Becarre Cab Franc.