Friday, July 2, 2010

Poulsard, Trousseau and the power of experience

Last night I went to San Francisco's preeminent wine bar, Terroir. I ordered a bottle of 2006 Jacques Puffeney Poulsard 'M' to share with my girlfriend. Surprisingly, it was not good. Not flawed, just aromatically flat, texturally dull, and frankly, disappointing. It improved and brightened up a bit once poured in a carafe and left alone for 45 minutes or so, but I couldn't help but feel a bit flustered by these two facts: that I didn't like a bottle of wine from Jura master Jacques Puffeney, and that a bottle of poulsard from the Jura exported to the US could be so heavy and dull.

Tonight, I just opened a bottle of 2007 Jacques Puffeney Trousseau. It is much, much better. Aromatically a bit funky and animale to be sure, as is the grape's natural tendency, but delicate, expressive, floral and nervy as well. I look forward to drinking the bottle.

To be honest I'm not sure how to conclude here, or if there is any lesson to be learned. That 2007 is a more classic vintage in the Jura? Yes, perhaps. That even your favorite wines will occasionally disappoint? Yeah, that will happen. Let's take a moment to remember that wines require some patience and if you have not had a particular wine at least 6 or more times, then perhaps you don't know it as well as you think you do. Or if you have never visited a region, maybe you aren't really in a position to judge its producers' viticultural and winemaking practices. And if you have never cultivated a vine, let alone any fruits or vegetables, are you really in a position to opine about viticulture?

I myself have not heeded these advisories, and am sure to occasionally not do so in the future. Nonetheless, I would like to attempt to make a more conscious effort towards keeping all of this in mind. And further, I will attempt to learn more from primary sources in the wine world. Not to dismiss the secondary ones (especially, better written blogs) but there is no substitute for acquiring knowledge first-hand, or at the very least through a respected farmer, winemaker or vigneron with experience.


Anonymous said...

Montigny les arsures is not a poulsard terroir, trousseau grows best there.

David McDuff said...


Based on your description, I wouldn't rule heat damage (no offense or blame to the guys at Terroir, it's much more likely a supply chain issue) out of the question. It's a far more common culprit than most people like to think, and a dulling of flavors and apparent gain of weight are both pretty common side effects.