Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Nady Foucault visits Oakland

Well, not exactly, but two months ago I was lucky to have participated in a vertical tasting of Clos Rougeard at a friend's house in Rockridge. It's safe to say that much has been written out there about Foucault and his wines. Here is a good overview. Try Neil's post for a different take. I will stick to tasting notes as opposed to focusing on the specifics of elevage or vineyard site. Anything in quotes that is not otherwise attributed is something I wrote that, in retrospect, I either find revealing, witty, ridiculous, or perhaps some combination thereof.

A huge thank you to Michael Sullivan of Beaune Imports (Clos Rougeard's CA importer)for putting this together.

The tasting was divided into four flights:

Flight 1

2003 Clos Rougeard Saumur-Champigny

Ripe red cherry aromas. Pretty. Savory underbrush scents as well. Pure and intoxicating. On the palate, the wine was delicious. Elegant, red fruited, with good acid and a silken texture. A revelation (not in my original notes, but that it certainly was)

2002 Clos Rougeard Saumur-Champigny

Savory red fruit aromas have a more apparent green/herbaceous aspect. Maybe a bit stemmy smelling? Initially reserved, but opened up and revealed increasingly more elegance aromatically. Flavors were elegant, mineral and less defined by fruit as the wine above.

2001 Clos Rougeard Saumur-Champigny

Macerated cherry aromas, a warmer vintage stamp to be sure. More fruit forward than the 03? I seemed to enjoy the flavors a bit more though. Darker cherry fruits, quite mineral and sturdy flavors. Plum skins.

2000 Clos Rougeard Saumur-Champigny

Elegant (underlined in my TN's). Burgundian. Stem smells are pleasant and not dominant. Pomegranate seeds. Similar flavors as the aforementioned aromas, with perhaps a bit more of a bitter snap to the fruit.

For this line-up, I learned afterwards that grapes used in the 2003, 2002 and 2001 were actually 100% de-stemmed.

Flight 2:

2004 Clos Rougeard Saumur-Champigny

Rich cherry aromatics. Red and dark. Great fruit. Pure, tasty and very lithe tannin structure.

2005 Clos Rougeard Saumur-Champigny

Smells of liqueur scented dark cherries. BIG. "A big, bad, delicious drink." Once again, I'm impressed by the fine tannins.

2006 Clos Rougeard Saumur-Champigny

Cooling, root beer-ish/menthol driven aromas. "Not quite the purity and freshness of others, but what do I know. A touch bitter."

2005 Clos Rougeard Les Poyeux Saumur-Champigny
Completely something other than the Clos wines. Big dark fruits, with a nicely ripe quality. "I could sniff this all day." Assertive dark cherry and plum flavors, with tannins that are definitely more prominent but still very balanced. MINERAL. Where is this headed?

Flight 3:

2004 Clos Rougeard Les Poyeux Saumur-Champigny

Deeply perfumed dark cherry. And pits. Rich, ripe round on the palate.

1996 Clos Rougeard Les Poyeux Saumur-Champigny

INTENSE aromas. A bit leafy dark fruit. Hint of dried tomato. On the palate, lots of presence. Mineral. Life. REALLY TASTY. Wine of night?

2003 Clos Rougeard Le Bourg Saumur-Champigny

A bit toasty smelling. Red fruit, espresso grounds, savory leafy aromas. Very big, very savory, very mineral. A tenuous balance of intense flavors. "Like the best Leoville Barton you could hope for in the modern era."

2000 Clos Rougeard Le Bourg Saumur-Champigny

Intense red fruit, pomegranate seeds, a hint of a stemmy and herbaceous quality similar to the 2000 Clos. Intense but mellowing red fruits on the palate. Elegant. Also similar to the 2000 Clos on the palate, with much more mineral and less bitterness. "In a transitional stage" - Michael Sullivan, importer

Flight 4:

2003 Clos Rougeard Breze Blanc Saumur

Smells like quince. Sparkling, pure tangerine scents. Ripe and pure. Yellow skinned fruit on the palate. Tasty, perhaps a bit short.

2002 Clos Rougeard Breze Blanc Saumur

A bit more honeyed smelling? Orange fruits, smells like a less sweet marmelade. Intense, with stronger presence and acidity on the palate. Quite tasty. This should drink well for a long time.