Tag Archives: white Burgundy

Two old-fashioned French wines for the holidays

In which the Wine Curmudgeon enjoyed two reasonably priced wines from Burgundy, a red and a white, that didn’t taste like they were made with the wrong grapes or came from California. In this case, old-fashioned does not mean outdated or not worth drinking. More, after the jump:

Expensive wine 41: Francois Raquillet Mercurey La Brigadiere 2005

Francois RaquilletThe Big Guy was on the phone. “I’ve got a wine you need to try.” Given The Big Guy’s fondness for white Burgundy, the Wine Curmudgeon’s guilty pleasure, who was I to argue with him?

Though, when he brought the bottle over,  it didn’t look promising, The wine was a closeout, stuffed on a back shelf in one of Dallas’ local chain stores which would soon go out of business. It looked like it had seen better days – worn label, lots of dust – but The Big Guy and I are nothing if not brave.

I broke out the glasses, and poured. We sipped. We sipped some more. And then, at more or less the same time, we smiled that goofy wine drinker’s smile that means we had found something very nice.

The wine was a François Raquillet Mercurey La Brigadière 2005 ($30, purchased – thanks, Big Guy) and don’t worry if you’ve never heard of it. Neither did the three wine people I asked – the woman who knows more about wine than anyone I know, the master sommelier, and the guy studying to be a master sommelier.

Which made the Raquillet that much more fun. It’s a white wine from Mercurey, a part of Burgundy better known for its reds, and how it ended up on a store shelf in Dallas is a mystery. Our best guess, as we drank the bottle, is that someone ordered a case and never picked it up, so the wine sat on the shelf for five years until The Big Guy came along.

The Raquillet had classy green apple fruit, as well as a spicy, white pepper sort of thing going on. It was a bit richer than I expected (probably from oak aging), and had a long, subtle finish with some limestone. It was more sophisticated than Chablis, which it sort of resembled. But it was unique and a wonderful wine.

And a wonderful value, assuming you can find it. I know you can’t in Dallas, because The Big Guy went back and bought the four or five bottles that were left. In this, I’m breaking one of the blog’s rules, which is not to review wines people can’t buy. But I’m doing it because the wine’s story is as good as the wine.

Mini-reviews 34: Chateau Malescot, Hess, LangeTwins, Henri Perrusset

Reviews 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:

Château Malescot St. Exupéry 2005 ($28, purchased): This cabernet sauvingon blend from Bordeaux is exceedingly capable wine, and given that it comes from one of the vintages of the century, it's practically a steal. Having said that, it doesn't taste especially French, but more California — a plummy, peppery aroma, lots of red fruit, chalky tannins and a long finish. My brother, who sometimes contributes his thoughts on pricier wines for the blog, would probably enjoy this as a birthday present.

Hess Collection Sauvignon Blanc Allomi Vineyard ($18, sample): Interesting and solid white wine from Napa Valley, which doesn't taste like too many other sauvignon blancs. That means a touch of oak that gives the wine a little more richness to go with with California grassiness and some citrus.

LangeTwins Moscato 2010 ($13, sample): This sweet white California wine is clean and fresh, with aromas of orange blossoms and lime. But there isn't much in the middle, and the finish is short — it leaves a sweet aftertaste without any acid to compensate.

Domaine Henri Perrusset Mâcon-Villages ($20, purchased): Yes, $20 is a lot to pay for a French villages wine, but this comes with the Kermit Lynch imprimatur. So it's worth it. This chardonnay from the Macon region of Burgundy is almost elegant, which is very surprising for a basic level bottle. It has lots of apple and citrus zest, but also an underlying layer of richness that is not often seen on villages wines.

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