Recherché wines for dinner: Laval, Ganevat, Bruyere & Houillon, Pedres Blanques (and some Chablis)

A few of us had a nice dinner to celebrate a return to (quasi) normality in San Francisco. For me at least, it was the first wine dinner I’ve had in a restaurant since the beginning of the pandemic, and an opportunity to push out of my comfort zones. This dinner also featured the first orange wine of my life that I enjoyed drinking, but sadly I have forgotten its name and did not take pictures

2014 Georges Laval Les Chênes
100% organic, no dosage BdB from a warm terroir in Cumieres; citrusy and clean and linear on the attack, with none of the austerity one might fear from a no dosage wine; then a pleasing roundness as it reveals faintly honeyed oxidative notes on the palate; the vintage character probably contributes to this one’s approachability, and indeed the bottle was gone in 30m or so; this seems the inverse of Vilmart’s approach and boy do I prefer it by far; good plus

2014 François Raveneau Chablis Montée de Tonnerre
Not giving very much on the nose, but with almost painful amounts of density and extract and acidity and seashell minerality in the mouth; this is more stern and impressive than delicious, at least at this stage, and will need lots of time to come out of its shell; good with upside

2014 Dauvissat-Camus Chablis La Forest
Yin to the Raveneau’s yang, this gives delicious florals and citrus in a charming, easy package; it is fluid and gulpable and perhaps a little lost - just too easy and simple - next to the Raveneau and Ganevat, though there’s no shame in that; good minus

2004 Jean-François Ganevat Côtes du Jura 'Les Vignes de Mon Père’
A magical shapeshifter of a wine with a seemingly infinite store of complexities to discover; always starts with sweet ripe fruit before taking an unexpected turn, with each bite of something different, to reveal a new facet of itself; there is concentration and intensity here, like the Raveneau, but this is infinitely more charming; and yet this is weightless but not frivolous like the Dauvissat; what an introduction to Ganevat; very good

2016 Renaud Bruyère & Adeline Houillon Poulsard Arbois
Bit of a conundrum here; bright crunchy red fruit, but with the sort of bottle sweetness that one finds in say a '70s or '80s bottle of Bordeaux; rapidly turns dirty and mousy on the finish, which is another thing one might find in an old dirty bottle of Bordeaux; drinkable enough but not compelling - and for sure there are loads of actual old dirty bottles of Bordeaux out there that are cheaper; decent plus

2018 Pedres Blanques Vin de France
Evokes exactly the same sort of sappy, darkish, natural-tasting fruit that I get in the 2017 Bizot Vosne; this perhaps even more accessible and pleasurable, but if I’m being critical, it is lacking that extra gear of layered complexity to it; delicious and a steal at the price; good plus

Great set of wines and TNs. Thank you.
I love Laval when it’s on. Love it. But I’ve had oxidized bottles too often. Especially in that price range, it’s a bummer. But every positive note I see reminds me of the great bottles I’ve had and puts a smile to my face. Cheers!