Friday, July 27, 2012

Grand Grains

We hadn’t met up with The Flippers for several years, so being invited to spend a couple of nights with them meant that a number of good wines would be consumed over that time.  We took a little selection to be shared, knowing that not all of the bottles would be opened, as our hosts would broach several of their bottles too.  Of the numerous bottles opened, two grand wines from their cellar stood out. 
A 2007 Francois Lamarche La Grande Rue Grand Cru was a treat.  A monopole site across the lane from Romanee-Conti could not be ignored.  Anything from around this site has all the credentials of greatness.  La Grande Rue will never challenge Romanee-Conti of course, and the 2007 vintage not necessarily auspicious.  One could expect the cool wet year characteristics to dominate.  Or would they?  How much does terroir account for in a wine, and against what the weather brings?  The wine was a surprisingly harmonious and complete one.  Possessing well-ripened fruit, without any hint of coolness, except in its elegant size.  Sweet fruited, balanced acids and moderate tannins, but with real substance allied to accessibility.  The bottle drank well and it did not last long at all.  A grand Grand Cru wine in the end.

The other noteworthy wine in a group of excellent drinks was a 1998 Hugel Alsace Tokay Pinot Gris ‘Selection Grains Nobles’.  Golden mahogany colour, the aromas and flavours of dark stonefruits, marmalade, caramel, wild honey and barley sugar, all intertwined and refreshed by superb acidity providing all the tension required to meet the sugar.  Botrytis, fruit and development all showing, with weight and unctuousness.  I can see the pickers selecting the grape ‘grains’ for this wine.  The life and liveliness suggested this will continue to show well for another decade at least and out to shame the poor showing of the recent 1997 Ch. d’Yquem we opened with The Chairman.        

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