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Tag Archives: white Burgundy

Expensive wine 66: Guffens-Heynen Pouilly-Fuissé Tri des 25 ans 2005

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Guffens-Heynen Pouilly-Fuissé Tri des 25 ans 2005Great wines have great stories to go with them, even if the stories can be embarrassing. Such is the case with the Guffens ($80, purchased, 13%), although the story isn’t about the wine as it is the people involved.

Jay Biletti has been a long-time supporter of Drink Local Wine and an advocate for Arizona wine. I’ve judged with him many times, and he is a smart wine guy who is always fun to taste with. Several years ago, when Jay and I were judging the late Southwestern Wine Competition, we ordered a bottle of white Burgundy. It tasted and smelled quite funky. “It’s corked,” said Jay, who could plainly smell wet dogs and damp basements. “Oh no,” I said. “It’s just funky. White Burgundy can do that.” We went around with this for a bit, and Jay almost believed me. So we asked Diane Teitelbaum, whose wine knowledge is immeasurable and who was eating dinner with us. She took one whiff, and gave me a firm look. “Of course it’s corked, Jeff. What were you thinking?”

Hence the Guffens, which Jay brought to dinner in honor of that night when he was in Dallas this summer. Which was not corked. Really. It’s classic white Burgundy (chardonnay from the Burgundy region of France, in this case the Pouilly-Fuissé part of Burgundy). It’s still very young, and won’t reach its peak for at least another couple of years. The fruit (apple-ish?) is way in the back, and you’ll taste more white pepper and minerality than anything else. The oak is hovering over all, in exactly the way oak should hover.

Jay and I enjoyed the wine, and he was very nice when we told the corked story to the other guests. They didn’t even laugh too hard.

Mini-reviews 59: Hearty Burgundy, white Burgundy, Aldi, Gascogne

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Mini-reviews 59: Hearty Burgundy, whReviews of wines that don’t need their own post, but are worth noting for one reason or another. Look for it on the final Friday of each month. This month, mini-reviews of four wines I really wanted to like, but didn’t:

Gallo Family Vineyards Hearty Burgundy NV ($9/1.5 liters, sample, 12%): The wine your parents and grandparents drank in college (in a 50th anniversary edition) is more modern in style these days, with more ripe black fruit. But it still tastes pretty much like it did then, which is surprising, and, for better or worse, epitomizes the concept of jug wine.

Olivier Leflaive Bourgogne Blanc Les Sétilles 2011 ($25, purchased, 12.5%): Disappointing white Burgundy from one of my favorite producers — more like what California chardonnay tastes like when winemakers say they’ve made “French-style” wine. Oak isn’t integrated at all, though apple and pear fruit is evident.

Sunshine Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2013: ($7, purchased, 13%): Aldi store brand is one-note, citrus-aggressive New Zealand white that’s a step up from something like Monkey Bay but, oddly, not all that enjoyable when the bottle is empty.

Globerati Côtes de Gascogne ($6, purchased, 12%): Easily the worst made Gascon wine I’ve ever had — thin, lacking fruit, almost no terroir, and none of the white grapiness that makes Gascon wine so much fun. What was Globerati thinking?

Expensive wine 47: Etienne Sauzet Puligny-Montrachet 2006

23926During the publicity blitz for the Cheap Wine Book and the Kickstarter project (Q&A explaining how Kickstarter works; Kickstarter link; What the book is), I did a virtual talk show with a group in Napa Valley. One of the questions I got was why I drink only cheap wine; what did I have against expensive wine?

The Wine Cumurdgeon is so misunderstood.

I don't have anything against expensive wine. I even drink it myself when the occasion arises. My point is that we expect everyone to drink expensive wine, whether they want to or know anything about it instead of realizing the limitations involved. It's like learning to drive — you don't start with a Lamborghini, do you?

In fact, I told the people on the show, I look for the same thing in expensive wine that I look for in cheap wine — value. And the Sauzet ($50, purchased) delivers on this count over and over and over. It's chardonnay from the French region of Burgundy, and specficailly the area called Puligny-Montrachet. In this, the wines are elegant and always in such balance that it's almost impossible to believe.

Sauzet is just one of many excellent producers from the area. The 2006, which I've tasted three times, has changed — and for the better — each time. Always, it's a mix of green apple fruit, spiciness (cloves or white pepper?) oak nestled in the background, and the  minerality that defines this wine.

This would make a lovely gift for The Holiday That Must Not be Named, as well as for any dinner with someone you care about.

 

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