Notes from a Loire tasting (Rézin Acid Trip)
Notes from a recent tasting -- dubbed a "Rézin Acid Trip" -- of mostly Loire wines represented in Quebec by Rézin ( www.rezin.com ). Most are private imports (meaning they have to be purchased through the rep) though the Fixin and the Coteaux-du-Layon are sold at the stores of the provincial liquor monopoly, the SAQ. All prices are in Canadian dollars (C$1.00 = US$0.90 these days) and include sales taxes.
FLIGHT 1: WHITES
>Touraine 2004, Brin de Chèvre, Le Clos du Tue-Boeuf ($21.15
)100% menu pineau. Pale yellow with a hint of green; lemon yellow highlights. Nose of lemonlime and grass evolving to linden; persistent minerals and ash. Bright almost biting acidity. Intense, mouth-filling flavours. Long and racy. (Buy? Yes!)
>Chapeau melon 2004, Vin de table, Domaine de la Sénéchalière ($24.70)
Declassified Muscadet. The name's a pun on the grape variety (melon de bourgogne) and the French word for bowler or derby (chapeau melon), one of which is depicted on the label. Reticent nose: lemon, minerals and chalk, developing spice notes. Bit spritzy. Subtle and elegant with a long sourish finish. Turned sweeter and less interesting as it warmed. (Buy? Maybe.)
>Sancerre 2003, Gérard Boulay ($30.00)
Textbook sauvignon blanc nose: lemonlime, gooseberry and a hint of cat pee. Rebarbative, almost acrid, on the palate at first. Softened over 30 minutes, the flavours turning rainwatery as the wine gained balance and even elegance. (Buy? Maybe the 2004.)
>Sancerre 2004, Les Monts-Damnés, Gérard Boulay ($40.00)
More intense in every dimension. Lemony, chalky nose with a hint of violets. Brighter, fatter and fruitier than the simple Sancerre. Long. A different beast from a spritzier glass drunk at Bû ( www.bu-mtl.com ) a couple of weeks earlier. (Buy? Yes!
>St-Romain 2004, La Combe Bazin, Domaine de Chassorney ($49.50)
Golden yellow, almost like a dessert wine. Intense nose: rich, honeyed with a bit of cheese. Tropical fruitish on the palate (guava, roast pineapple), oily texture but fairly high acidity. Long, lemon-scented finish. The seeming oxidation is apparently the house style. (Buy? Probably not.)
FLIGHT 2: REDS
>Fleurie 2004, Yvon Métras ($35.25)
Medium maroon, slightly cloudy. Subtle nose of meat and red fruit gaining smoke and berry notes. On tasting, delicious was the first descriptor that sprang to mind. Fluid and fresh with lacy tannins, bright acid and pure flavours. Long caressing finish. Dangerously easy to drink. Expensive, but what price perfection? (Buy? Yes, oh, yes!)
>Cheverny 2003, La Caillère, Le Clos du Tue-Boeuf ($28.25)
100% pinot noir (not a blend with gamay as is often claimed). Medium red, slightly cloudy. Almost caricatural pinot noir nose of cola, red berries and spice with an ashy undertone. Elegant, finely structured. Bright but not aggressive acidity and a long herb-scented finish. (A faint but lingering musty aroma and taste developed as the wine breathed; the Rézin rep suspected it was the sign of a bacterial infection.) (Buy? Maybe the 2004.)
>Fixin 2002, Clos Marion – Monopole, Fougeray de Beauclair ($44.00)
Medium red, totally clear (in sharp contrast to most of the other reds). Acetone/plastic quickly blew off, leaving a subtle, fresh nose of red berry, earth, leather and some oak. Mouthfilling, savoury, intense and tight. Balanced overall. (Buy? Maybe, in the hope it develops in the bottle.)
>Touraine 2004, Guerrerie, Le Clos du Tue-Boeuf ($22.00)
A gamay-côt (malbec) blend. Medium red-purple. Plum, spice, fresh herbs with ash and wood notes. Dusty, earthy, minerally, complex and savoury. Structured as much by acid as by tannins. Dry finish. (Buy? Yes, yes!)
>Cahors 2002, La Fage, Cosse-Maisonneuve ($24.25)
Dark red-purple, nearly opaque in the glass. Merde, sweat and alcohol segueing to plum and violet. Dry and drying on the palate. Tannic and acidic. Mineral flavours up front, fruit in the background. Fluid texture. Lots of character. (Buy? Yes and the top-of-the-line Les Laquets on sale at the SAQ too.)
>Touraine 2004, In Cot We Trust, Thierry Puzelat ($30.75)
100% côt (malbec). Purplish. Berries (some of them with a bit of mould), spice and plum/prune gaining floral (iris?) notes. Rich yet light on the palate, with zippy acidity. Strawberry and pepper flavours. Tannic, drying finish. (Buy? Yes, a bottle or two.)
FLIGHT 3: SWEET
>Coteaux-du-Layon-Villages 2003, Clos de la Guiberderie, Philippe Delesvaux ($30.25)
Golden. Dense, layered bouquet of honey, wax, dried orange peel and fresh herbs. Drier than expected, medium bodied with a fluid texture. Rich flavours, balancing acidity. Lingering finish. Straddles line between a table wine and a dessert wine. My best 2003 chenin to date. (Buy? Maybe.)
> My best 2003 chenin to date.
Better than Clos du Bourg Vouvray moelleux '03?! :O
Anyway, fine tasting. In retrospect, the two Sancerre entries stand out among the whites (weakness for Sauv. Blanc over here? Maybe, but it's hard to get enough Chenin, too); for the reds, the Fleurie and Cheverny impressed most, especially for QPR.
re: Mr F
>Better than Clos du Bourg Vouvray moelleux '03?! :O
Um, yes. YMMV, of course. The Delesvaux seemed truer to form (a good thing in 2003) than the Huet, at least at this early stage in their development. (And, you know, they're within spitting distance of each other pricewise, since the Delesvaux is 500 ml.) One or the other of us has to avail ourselves of a bottle of that '96 Le Mont 1ère Trie Moelleux while it remains on sale at the Signature. It'll still be infanticide but justifiable from an educational standpoint. Hmm, I know: doing anything on July 13?
>In retrospect, the two Sancerre entries stand out among the whites (weakness for Sauv. Blanc over here?
I liked both, especially the Monts Damnés (and who can resist a name like that?), though I don't know what to make of the huge difference between the bottle at the tasting and the bottle at Bû. Anyway, I'll be buying a little of each and multiples of the Brin de Chèvre.
>for the reds, the Fleurie and Cheverny impressed most, especially for QPR.
The QPR moniker applies only to the latter I assume. Now I understand why you perked up when you spotted the Cheverny on Leméac's wine list -- the 2004, wasn't it? Sorry we didn't indulge your pinotphilia. My two faves of the red flight were the Fleurie and the Cahors, followed closely by the Guerrerie.
One of the interesting things about this tasting was the participants' reactions. About a third liked most of the reds and whites, another third the reds only and the last third the whites only. And even within colours, peoples' preferences were all over the map. Unusual for us.
I think the Fleurie is excellent QPR at $35, because I would happily pay that much for a bottle or two...if it could be had at all.
As for the sweet chenins, yes, I do prefer the Vouvray at this moment. Could it be that it's closer to its drinking window? Or is it just that I was a little tipsy/palate-fatigued when sipping the Huet? :) Anyway, the Delesvaux was certainly very nice, but it didn't have me checking my bank balance like some other wines I could name.
re the 96 Huet: I have a SAQ gift card that I plan to use toward a bottle. If it should appear at a tasting before I get the chance to do that...well, no complaints.