Since I got bored with Bordeaux a long time ago, I haven’t been drinking so much Margaux and Haut Brion of late.
Just an interesting note to make: with Pinot, Nebbiolo and Grenache you are talking about thin skinned grapes. In fact, I think all suffer to some degree from an ability to generate stable color molecules. Clark Smith (who is the devil to many folks) highlights this is more technical terms. I am actually uncertain if Grenache has precisely the same problem, but I know it is common to blend a darker colored varietal into Grenache to protect it from browning young due to oxidation.
Probably the key is to find other thin skinned grapes as in my mind they shouldn’t yield as much extract that obscures the true character of the wine. I don’t think Cabernet Franc is as thin skinned (or color-challenged) as the others, but from Chinon it can yield these transparent sorts of wines.
Actually, it must to some degree depend on whatever floats your palate’s boat, because from my standpoint grenache and nebbiolo are at polar extremes in terms of acidity, and for me that is a key component of a wine - most grenache I try comes across as overripe, heavy-handed, and almost flabby sometimes, with none of the acidity that lends so much tautness and structure to a good neb.
BTW, I have to admit I was surprised that a few folks mentioned Austrian wines - maybe I just compose lousy TNs, but around here most of my Austrian comments sink like a stone, so I’ve always gotten the impression that the only people paying any attention to the area were Gerhard and myself .
I’m paying attention,Bob…and drinking Riesling and Gewurz from Austria,Germany and Alsace…right along with you…along with the odd soulless Monfo…
I’m 100% in your corner. If I could afford to drink nothin’ but properly aged Barolo and Burgundy, I’d consider myself in pretty good shape.
well… maybe I’d get just a little bored now and then.
I do consider the foods I like to eat. Somehow, the idea of Burg or Barolo with Thai food, well, I might puke. If there was no other reqason in the world for riesling and gewurz, this would be it.
I forgot to mention salads, cheeses, grilled fish. I might prefer a crisp sauvigon blanc or friulano or albarino or chenin or txakolina. But then the Piemontese came up with the brilliant idea of Barolo Bianco, so I can stick to my guns.
Seriously when talking about fine Burgundies the darkness of colour is no issue at all … I´d even be concerned if the colour is TOO dark …
It’s a fair question. After I had an Arturo Fuente Hemingway Signature as my very first “good” cigar about 15 years ago, I spent years trying to find a better one, and although I found some other good ones, I ultimately concluded I had been spoiled by starting at the top. To me there is nothing in red that comes close to Burgundy, Barolo, and Barbaresco except for Cote Rotie and Hermitage, and some Chateauneuf-du-Pape. (CdP doesn’t really get the credit it deserves among the rock-freaks who like elegant wines – at its best, there is nothing more sublime than super-old-vines grenache from a rocky site in CdP). Truly sublime Bordeaux are simply few and far between for me, it is a different kind of pleasure and one for me that is less interesting most of the time, although I still have a few Bordeaux favorites.
The 1991 Montelena is a terrific wine; the first one I was smart enough to buy by the case. Unfortunately only one or two bottles left, but this wine has shown well since the beginning and has miles to go.
I am still buying a six-pack of Montelena Estate every year. Together with a six-pack of Monte Bello, two mags and a jero, that’s about it for my California Cab purchases these days, maybe I will buy Karl Lawrence and Dominus and Forman now and again. But I haven’t had a great Montelena since the 97, and the recent ones are too thick and primary to impress; I have continued to buy on faith that they will come around.
All that said, I find myself reaching for cabernet- or merlot-based wines rarely, less than once per month. I would take a Giacosa Falleto or a Volnay from Lafarge or D’Angerville 19 times out of 20 over the 1991 Montelena. Just personal taste, and not a slam at all on the wonderful quality of that Montelena.