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Kermit Lynch bargain bin wines [split from KL's Oyster Bliss thread]

P.S. I've been eyeing that '03 Chateauneuf-du-Pape in the bargain bin for several weeks. What did you think? The clerk told me that it might be too "barnyard" for me, but I'm still curious. Ah, hell, I guess I should just try it.

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  1. I didn't pick up barnyard, but we weren't drinking it out of glasses that let much of the wine aerate and develop. It's quite smoky and full-bodied. It doesn't have the long finish of a great CdP, but is quite hefty upfront and ready to drink now. I noticed that the 2006 Gramenon Sierra du sud Cotes du Rhone is half-off or $15. This is the 100% syrah cuvee. Haven't tasted this vintage, but am sure it's worth a try too at that price.

    15 Replies
      1. re: banchory bolo

        I'm sorry I can't recall the producer of the CdP, but please do report back, would love to hear what you think of them.

        1. re: Melanie Wong

          The Gramenon Sierra du Sud is very tasty. It was initially a little closed up and with a startling acidity that made me think it would require food, but it unfolded into a round midpalate and a toasty finish with some cake spice and soft berry tones. A slight touch of brett, the band-aidy kind rather than the barnyard, easy to ignore if you don't like that. I'll be picking up another bottle or two, if they still have any.

          1. re: ernie in berkeley

            Thanks a bunch for the tasting note, ernie! From the acidity level and tightness, it sounds like it might benefit from a little time in the cellar.

            1. re: Melanie Wong

              It turns out that I didn't have the Sierra du Sud, but a CdR Villages from Gramemon, and there are a couple of each left in the bargain bin as of this morning. Kermit himself was there when I stopped in, and he said the producer follows biodynamics and, surprisingly, bottles in the April of the year following harvest, so they're bottling their 2008 around now. Most producers are probably just thinking about doing a first racking on their '08s.

              (edited to correct the bottling).

              1. re: ernie in berkeley

                Thanks, more bells are going off for me now. I think this may be the producer I met 4 years ago in SF, and if so, yes, the syrah was amazing quality for its region. Do you recall the price of the CdR Villages? Also, wanted to mention that KL is closed on Mondays, if anyone's thinking of popping in.

                1. re: Melanie Wong

                  Same price as the Sierra du Sud, $15 (regularly $30).

                  1. re: ernie in berkeley

                    As long as we're talking about the bargain bin, I didn't think the La Viarte Pinot Bianco was a good buy at $8.

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      I bought a bottle of the La Viarte Tocai Friulano at half price. Haven't opened it yet.

          2. re: Melanie Wong

            Going off topic here, but I opened the bargain CdP tonight. For everyone else, it's a 2003 Domaine de la Charbonniere Chateauneuf de Pape Cuvee Special Les Hautes Brusquieres. I've been going back to it over the past four hours, and all I can say is: wow, interesting. But not something I'd buy again! Started out soft and woody without much of a nose, but a strong animal/marrow midpalate. Funky. Did not like except as an experiment. (Sort of the way I feel about the music of Boulez. Interesting, but what's the point?) After a couple of hours it opened up a lot and I got more liquorice and pepper. I bet this will continue to improve, but I can see why it's in the bargain bin! It's weird. Nathan

              1. re: banchory bolo

                I had the CdP over the weekend. It was a little reticent on the nose at first, and the tannins were pretty aggressive. After a few hours they softened nicely. I didn't get more than a slight animalistic note, but I'm used to much stronger aromas of that kind in mourvedres (I guess this CdP might have a mourvedre component). It was excellent the second day, so this might indeed be one for the cellar.

                1. re: ernie in berkeley

                  The brett funkiness seemed to blow off in the glass after a few hours. It's also possible that I'm especially sensitive to it. I don't know that much about mourvedre, but I've read that the brettanomyces can cause significant variance from bottle to bottle. True?

                  1. re: banchory bolo

                    Yes, brett can vary widely from bottle to bottle in the same batch. Mourvedre's funk comes from the strong reductive capacity of the grape. Expose mourvedre to air and the funk cleans up quite rapidly. The bottle that we tried didn't have more than typical animale for CdP . . . but then again, I was eating fried pig intestines and that out-funked the glass of wine. :-)

                    1. re: Melanie Wong

                      Makes sense. Thanks! One learns so much here. :)

        2. Any reports on the May 2006 white burgundies discounted 20% by the bottle or 30% by the case? The cheapest one on here is the 2006 Roland Lavantureux Petit Chablis, now $11.16 per bottle, that we loved so much at last year's Oyster Bliss.

          And just for kicks, the March 2005 newsletter that offered pre-arrival sales of the
          2003 Domaine de la Charbonniere Chateauneuf de Pape Cuvee Special Les Hautes Brusquieres landed in my hands unexpectedly. Here's what it says about that wine: "I always pay attention to the progress, the order of serving the different cuves sin a professional tasting. Monsieur Maret poured Les Hautes Brusquieres last. It is shaped like Patti Smith's song Free Money. It starts out slow and builds nonstop to a raving crescendo. Fireworks, mouth-filling fireworks." $438 per case.