A Few Recent Tastes LXXVI - Offline Edition

A few fellow wine geeks got together amidst busy holiday schedules to open some random bottles. No theme, just hanging out and relaxing. Notes did not track any sort of evolution subsequent to opening but of course I got to some sooner rather than later after their opening.

2017 Egly-Ouriet Champagne “Les Vignes de Vrigny” Premier Cru Extra Brut (100% Pinot Meunier). Kind of curious yellowish red hue, nicely buffed shine, the pétillance fades quickly so it looks like a still wine after sitting in the glass for a second. Toasty, bready nose with some salinity, red berry scents, clean unto empty, leaves a scrubbing sensation behind. Light-bodied, strong fizziness keeps it lively. Fruit demure and retreats in favor of general toastiness. Palpable mineral and crushed stone foundation. Dry but not witheringly so. Credible. (Disgorged November 2021)

2013 Champagne La Rogerie Avize “Héroïne” Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Extra Brut. Golden straw color, squeaky clean and shiny, bright. The nose offers a touch of brioche at first than lemon peel, minerals, licorice, the fruit a straightforward peach, apricot blend, slow dissolve. Light-bodied with a very strong pétillance, tight and tends to shorten. Lightly honeyed, lemon peel. Dusty minerally undercurrent. Passion fruit, apricot, pineapple and peach, energetic. In the end it does not lack for generosity. Toasty finish. (Disgorged 09/2021)

2019 Domaine aux Moines Savennières Roche aux Moines. Light straw hue with decent shine, some brown nuances, nothing out of place here. Shoulders squared nose that just gets in your face with a creamy texture, lemon curd, building smokiness, pear, apple, apricot fruit scents, good sort of relentlessness. Medium-bodied, firm with give, has good flow. Would consider this a demi-sec style of wine, there is some residual sweetness. But has the acidity to match. Honeyed aspect buttresses the peach, apricot, apple fruit. Good fullness through the finish. Ready to go but should age.

2020 Alice et Olivier De Moor Chablis Bel Air et Clardy. Light green straw color, moderate shine, nothing really out of the norm. Blowsy nose of apple, pear, apricot fruit, light powdered sugar, minerals, very good push and follow-though, holds your attention. Light-bodied with a consistent firmness, the acidity is blunt and not that subtle. Big citrus component, zesty. Hands off to minerality and the bite continues. Can be very tart at moments. Fruit starts getting tropical. Plenty of personality and energy, may need to calm down a little.

1998 Château Yvonne Saumur (Chenin Blanc). Lightly bronzed, not that dark, tends to pool more than shine, strong rims. There’s a yeasty, doughy quality to the nose which flattens the mixed citrus and peach, apricot fruit, more lanolin and beeswax than honey, oily feel in your nostrils, again the lack of lift tends to diminish the positives of what’s there. Medium-bodied, pretty good acidity and there is a sense of forward movement in spite of the dry, tacky mouth feel. Saline and salami notes tend to dominate the attack. The fruit has moved on to dried fruit character, apricot, peach, pineapple. No sweetness left. Oil, wax triumph over a receding florality. Here the doughiness not as overt, maybe just fits in better with the whole. In some ways you have to give it credit but it’s holding on for dear life.

2018 Domaine Donatsch Chardonnay Graubünden, Switzerland “Unique Malans”. Clean light straw gold, steady shine. Very openly knit and airy nose, wet stone and lemon peel, peach fuzz and pear skin, everything is subtle and understated. Light to medium-bodied, has steady grip with a thickish acidity. Lemon to lime citrus cruises through. Lighter minerality. Crisp peach, apricot, pear fruit with more snap than juice. It’s neutrality is a big plus.

2021 Peter Lauer Riesling Mosel Ayler Kupp Spätlese No. 7 AP #7. Quite shiny white straw color, transparent, reflectivity compensates for lack of hue depth. Smoky nose with honey and brown sugar for balance, tarter white citrus, crisp apple, pear, apricot scents, some florality, strikes one as on the drier side of the Spätlese spectrum. Medium-bodied, the acidity is okay and doesn’t seem particularly strong. Still, it has good erectness and bite. The fruit “orchard” but veers into tropicality. Like the honey patina. After a few sips it is clear that it’s main attribute is its energy. The finish goes on and on. I would say it can age but it is in balance now and not sure what you’d get down the road beats that.

2017 Clos Cibonne Côtes de Provence Le Pradet lieu-dit “Château Cibon Cuvée Hommage a Marius”. Pale onion skin pink and I mean really pale, transparent if without much shine. Nose shows something like grain alcohol then toasty oak, slowly fades in favor of raspberry, strawberry fruit covered in a floral dew, odd experience given history with other bottlings from the house. Medium-bodied, stern attack that comes off as tannic. Citrusy and floral, much prettier than the nose. The red berry fruit steady if not spectacular. Releases well into the finish. A wine to arguably decant. Not sure what to make of it in the end. 90% Tibouren, 10% Grenache.

2014 Pascal Cotat Sancerre Rosé. Pale pink, not washed out, pools well without giving up shine, doesn’t look it’s age. Muscular nose of citrus, tea leaf, dried lemon peel, red berries, tends to hover more than lift, lingers for an extended period. medium-bodied with a drying firmness. Acidity gives it sustained pop. More tea and herbaceousness, the berry to cherry fruit maintains a solid core. Finishes with a scrubbing salinity. Just starting to peak, many years ahead.

2015 François Cotat Sancerre Rouge. Ruby to a light violet, fresh and youthful, no real drop off at the rims. Nose of forest floor, leather, tree bark, lavender, the mixed berry fruit is there but yields fully to the swirling melange of all else. Medium-bodied with a lot of sappy grip. Thick raspberry, blueberry fruit with lots of layers. Tarry earth, leather, loam, seems about in its prime drinking window, good balance between fruit and tertiary notes. This is a really good wine that can go for years still but can be drunk now without reservation.

1990 Charles Joguet Chinon La Varenne du Grand Clos “Franc de Pied”. Reddish purple core to rust red and orange, very good clarity for its age, has some vigor. The nose is not that expressive but gets right down to the basics, leather, damp earth, merde, the fruit shading redder and brighter, the bell pepper is not that obtrusive. Medium-bodied, acidic and tart right out of the gate, gets you back on your heels. The berry, cherry fruit offers a surprising syrupy texture. Minimal greenness, remarkably forward. This is doing quite well.

1985 Paul Jaboulet Aîné Hermitage “La Chapelle”. Purple to sunset red, showing good vibrancy, not in visual decline. Tar and leather battle with lavender and tobacco, the cherry to currant fruit is concentrating, retaining more sugar than juiciness, has credible length for its age. Medium-bodied with resolved tannin, the fruit has strength and not suffering from undue dryness. Tar, leather, sausage, salt, has a very nice tertiary profile. There is a sort of roasted quality to it. Finish is on the short side. I like it.

2002 Château Magdelaine Saint-Emilion. Fresh scarlet to purple hue, unblemished with transparency, looks youthful yet. Getting a strong mint, menthol aspect to the nose, fruit not the star but able accompaniment, on the red side, at this juncture not getting much tertiary notes. Medium-bodied it that, smooth and polished, tannin pulses more than cloaks. Tart cherry, red currant, blackberry fruit which rolls with ease into the finish. Acidity pokes out and extends the finish. Cedar, tar, tobacco, some slate. Miles ahead of it. Approximately 90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc.

2000 Cuchet-Beliando Cornas. Gauzy black core, opaque, the rims a dark dried blood to rust red, looks matured. The nose feels folded into layers, dense and hard to pick apart, potpourri, muddy earth, damp leather, the plum, currant fruit getting close to prune territory, no real citrus nor olive presence, in some ways curiously primary. Medium-bodied, closer to light than full, tannin has resolved whereas the acidity still has kick in it. Doubles down on the fruit here, to the point where it gets chunky and close to clumsy. Leather, cedar, lavender, black earth. Blood iron, minerality provides a boost but missing a citrus element. No overt flaws and more marked by what’s missing than what is present. Strong finish. Could use a more feral edge. But can’t fault the fruit. Good, not great.

2012 Paolo Bea Umbria IGT “Rosso de Véo” (100% Sagrantino). Blackish purple core, broad garnet red rims, very youthful looking. Any volatility easily dismissed, then close to overripe cherry, plum, dark berry fruit, leather, loamy earth, touch of peanut shell, kind of hyperactive. Medium-bodied, rough, turbulent mouth entry that gets softened by the credible level of fruit. Still shows that funk and concomitant chewiness. I like it but I also expected what I got. Any roughness was in its own way pleasurable.

1986 Château Climens Sauternes-Barsac 1er Cru (100% Sémillon to the best of my knowledge). While fully amber it displays fine clarity and shine and looks vigorous in the glass. In the nose the sweetness of the dried apricot, peach scents tempered by a whisky like note and smokiness, orange marmalade, some doughiness but not overt, not horribly complex. Medium-bodied, even smokier here unto toasty, caramelized molasses. The peach/apricot joined by pineapple and papaya. Candied orange peel and pressed flowers. Holds its shape nicely without showing strong acidity and finishes cleanly. In good shape but if I had any I’d drink sooner rather than later. 375 ml bottle.

Alas, in the tumult I didn’t get to write up a few wines, including a 2021 Tiberio Trebbiano, 2014 Vaccelli Ajaccio “Granit 174,” 2019 La Porte Saint Jean Saumur “Les Pouches,” and 2018 Foillard Morgon 3.14. And a 1983 Hubert Lignier Morey-Saint-Denis was corked or otherwise flawed.


The various bottlings of Clos Cibonne we drink out west last a mere 10 min on our 100+F days. It’s like some Provencal version of Gatorade. If we could infuse it intravenously, we would, but I think gulping it is faster (since we don’t have to follow all the crazy safety rules when needles are involved).

That Climens sounds great.

Thanks for the notes. Surprised about Cuchet-Beliando. Do you think longer ageing may show its feral side? Seems still very primary based on your note.

This is the only Cuchet-Beliando wine I have had. So I don’t have any real sample set to extrapolate from. That said, I kind of doubt it. Two participants had the 2000 a few years ago and said they preferred that. Could be bottle variation, this was professionally stored since purchase. Sometimes you just have to accept the fruit and that the longer term tradeoff is not there.

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The last time I had this, at least ten years ago, it was amazing. That it is holding out and performing is a testament to great winemaking. Shame about modern Jaboulet.