Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Drunk at The Ten Bells

"Drunk," I should note, refers to the past tense of the verb "to drink." Not to a state of intoxication, as I rarely drink to excess while hanging out at one of my favorite wine drinking spots during vacation.

No notes were taken as I have a tough time being the guy with the notebook in a social gathering. Enough of an impression was formed with these wines to describe them in general, if occasionally abstract, terms. If some nuances go without mention as a result of my lack of notes, then so be it.

2007 Houillon/Overnoy Chardonnay Arbois

A bit reductive, salty jurassic chard fruit without the piercing beam of acidity of his Savagnin, nor the richness and depth of flavor that I was hoping for in a chard. In other words, this was something of a disappointment.

2009 Frank Cornelissen Contadino

Vibrant red fruit, up front acidity and a bit of a spritz of CO2, made this bottle a real palate refresher and a joy to drink. If memory serves, I was ready to call it quits after this second bottle of wine (split 3 ways) during night one of The Ten Bells visits. However, its deliciousness encouraged us to go for one more bottle and close out.the bar

2008 Les Champs Libres Foufoune Crozes Hermitage

This was the "one more bottle" referred to in the note above. A drink young Crozes that was certainly tasty, a bit smoky and spicy, if not quite as much of a vin de soif as the Etnaean beauty above.

2009 Domaine de la Pepiere Gras Mouton (1.5)

This is a bottling from Ollivier's recently purchased parcel on the Gras Mouton, a vineyard composed of gneiss, clay and a scattering of "amphibolite" (thank you, David Lillie). It is not as rich, dense and fruity as the Clos de Briords, instead a bit lighter, softer, more lemony. It has a gentler sense of minerality than the Briords. It was a great way to ease into an evening of lots of wine.

Frank Cornelissen Munjebel 5

Deep cherry and red plum fruits showed more of a tannic edge, certainly more extract, than the lighter Contadino bottling. Though I respected it, I enjoyed it less and therefore drank it less. Of course, we were also splitting the bottle with more imbibers, as well. Since I have minimal experience with this wine, I do not pretend to know where it is heading, though I suspect that there is enough of a core of fruit and balance to improve over several years before it heads south.

2006 Cos Pithos (1.5)

Ah, this one I'm glad we had a magnum to linger over a while. There is a combination of immediate succulence and weighty intensity, freshness and earthy savor, that makes Cos wines (when they are on) so good. Though this bottle is young, I found it to be on. It should be fun to follow over a decade.

1995 Francois Cazin Cour-Cheverny Cuvee Renaissance

If I recall correctly, most people really enjoyed this bottle, though there were some dissenters who found it to be over the hill. Creamy and appley aromas reminded me of middle aged Mosel riesling, though the sugar/acid/fruit/mineral balance did not seem to be as pitch perfect as it can be in those wines. While I enjoyed drinking this and learning a bit about where the '95 is in its evolution, the '02 vintage of the same wine (the only other Cazin CCCR I know) seems to be a superior wine at this point.

Thanks to everyone for coming out and partaking in the fun: Pam, John, Chris, gypsy jazz guitar Ben, Desor, even JP aka 'El Diablo de Tiburon.' It was good fun to meet many of you for the first time and to hang out to do what we do best....