TN: EWG tastes Umami: 2009 Bojos, Chidaine, Baumard, Rioja

EWG TASTES UMAMI - Umami Burger, Hollywood, CA (1/30/2011)

The EWG rolled to Umami Burger for a night of comfort food and wine geek selections. Loire whites, 2009 Beaujolais and Rioja was the theme. I enjoyed the apps we had with the salad and the smashed potatoes being most memorable. I also like my burger though I think medium rare leaves them too drippy and I will try my normal medium for my next taste. Its hamburger, not steak even if it is made from fresh Wagyu.

Our white wine flight was strong across all four. The Loire Valley is just a great place for whites that I enjoy. Never a big fan of Beaujolais and often perplexed with the wine geek adoration with its obvious fruity character, Gregg tossed some of the 09’s in my face for some comparison tasting. I’m still struck by the obvious fruity character of the wines regardless of their structure. I’ll never be a lover but a couple of these were impressive, especially in light of their cost. The Brun is clearly an excellent wine. The Rioja’s were all over the map ion several ways but the Prado Enea stood out and is my WOTN, even over a wine from my birth year. The two Clos de Sainte Catherins were a fun comparison. The 04 showed the best qualities of that strong vintage and should be an excellent drink for many years to come.

Loire Whites

  • 2009 Château La Tarcière Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine Sur Lie - France, Loire Valley, Pays Nantais, Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine
    Big sweet nose of bright pear and minerals. Lemon slatey palate with light minerality. Clean with a finish that bites like fresh lemon juice. Another winning Muscadet.
  • 2005 Gérard Boulay Sancerre Monts Damnés - France, Loire Valley, Upper Loire, Sancerre
    Sweet grapefruit nose with notes of wool, pee and minerals. The palate is real light on its feet, expressive yet almost weightless. Notes of pear integrated with strong sharp acids on a palate cleansing finish. I really like the wines from this house. Excellent.
  • 2008 François Chidaine Montlouis-sur-Loire Clos Habert - France, Loire Valley, Touraine, Montlouis-sur-Loire
    On the tight side the nose gives up some banana like notes. Rich, concentrated and weighty. The acidity picks up with air and there seems to be a touch of RS tucked underneath the structure. A strong entry that should only get better. Leave it along for a few years if you can.
  • 2008 François Chidaine Vouvray Le Bouchet - France, Loire Valley, Touraine, Vouvray
    Lanolin/wet wool aromas dominate the nose at the moment with some citrusy type notes coming out later on. Sharp palate with strong tart acids. Concentrated in the midpalate showing light touches of sweetness and citrus. Very well put together though really tight right now. The sweetness in this one seems to be well integrated with the fruit like the Montlouis. I liked this one today for its lighter touch in comparison to the other but it also should be better in a few years as the fruit opens. Very good.

2009 Beaujolais

  • 2009 Marcel Lapierre Morgon - France, Burgundy, Beaujolais, Morgon
    Soily boysenberry nose. Clean and tight showing nice rocky minerals. The tannin is a bit drying but that is a minor quibble for an otherwise very good wine. Needs a little more time.
  • 2009 Joseph Drouhin Morgon - France, Burgundy, Beaujolais, Morgon
    Huge nose of sweet blackberry jam. Lots of rich sweet berries on a lightly tannic palate. Much more forward than the others and one of those that makes me wonder about the wine geek fascination with Beaujolais. I suspect if this were from a non-European place it would be criticized for its obvious huge sweet fruit. Appears to be a bargain at its price. One to drink while the other more structured entries age.
  • 2009 Jean Foillard Morgon Côte du Py - France, Burgundy, Beaujolais, Morgon
    Ripe nose with notes of teriyaki and balsamic vinegar, almost like a Belgian sour beer. Tight and tannic, drinking chunky and uneven for me. This needs some air and showed a very late touch of heat. This one seemed to be in a funky place to me.
  • 2009 Domaine des Terres Dorées (Jean-Paul Brun) Morgon - France, Burgundy, Beaujolais, Morgon
    Now we’re talking. This is a wine that could get me into Beaujolais. Gregg said he opened it the previous day so it may have caused it to show better than the others. Earthy boysenberry nose similar to an Oregon Pinot with a hint of cracked pepper. Very structured with the acids hitting at the midpalate. Terrific acid and mineral core underneath the still somewhat tight fruit with plenty of tannin on the finish. Excellent but leave it rest for a few.


  • 1968 Viña Valoria Rioja - Spain, La Rioja, Rioja
    Very bright in color for such an old wine with little in the way of bricking. Notes of tea and cherry on a youthful nose. A soil Burgundy like note adds complexity. Bright and clean with big acids and somewhat drying tannin. This could use a bit more fruit but it still doesn’t seem 40 years old. Very well taken care of.
  • 2001 Bodegas Muga Rioja Gran Reserva Prado Enea - Spain, La Rioja, Rioja
    The nose shows spicy American oak with a strong dill note. Bright and fresh palate, very pretty. Strong fruit concentration showing off some blackberry notes today in front of beautiful structure. Lovely today with a long future ahead of it. It kept me coming back for more.
  • 2004 Bodegas Muga Rioja Torre Muga (Reserva) - Spain, La Rioja, Rioja
    This was very hard to get a read on as it was the most shut down wine I’ve tasted in quite some time. There is a touch of spicy French oak on the nose and the tannins feel fairly harsh. Just tight with a capital ‘T’ all around.

Baumard Clos de Sainte Catherine

  • 1990 Domaine des Baumard Coteaux du Layon Clos de Sainte Catherine - France, Loire Valley, Anjou-Saumur, Coteaux du Layon
    Good to see your thoughts echoed in other’s notes. ‘AustinWineSalon’ seems to show the same experience we had. Fat nose of peach cobbler, dried apricots and earth and then vegetal notes coming out with air. The palate felt a bit fat and soft with notes of fig. Very round in the midpalate. Seems like the acidity wasn’t high enough this vintage to really support the fruit.
  • 2004 Domaine des Baumard Coteaux du Layon Clos de Sainte Catherine - France, Loire Valley, Anjou-Saumur, Coteaux du Layon
    Rich and weighty with a sweet core of fruit but plenty of stitched in acids making this seamless to the finish. The sugar is nicely integrated making it more pretty than thick. Beautiful with a long life ahead of it.

Posted from CellarTracker

If a French wine is fruity, it is because of its superior terroir. If a non-French wine is fruity, it is because it is grown in the wrong place/overripe/irrigated/bad soil/industrial yeasts/other problem yet to be found. [wink.gif]

Exactly. [thankyou.gif]

Classic! [highfive.gif]

That said, I generally like the French notion of balance over New World intensity, but that’s more about technique than geography. It’s pretty apparent that the hierarchy of French vineyards and vintages largely concerns (fruit) ripeness.

Maybe Beaujolais gets a pass due to retaining acidity? Haven’t had any '09s so I don’t know what the situation is with acid, though.

I would agree with your first paragraph. I just wish more people acknowledged that fruit concentration is a big part of good wine and better vintages in Europe are often marked by bigger, riper fruit.

As to your second statement, I’m sure that is a big part of it. The drum beat of big sweet fruit flavors being a negative in some wines yet not getting mentioned in others because they are part of a certain accepted lexicon of wines gets tiresome. As you allude to in your first post I think the acidity gets ignored in a New World wine if it has big fruit but is hailed from Older World areas as setting it apart. I notice this most strongly with Beaujolais since Gamay seems to have an inherent fruitiness in the absence of secondary notes that doesn’t always agree with me. I would think many wine geeks of a certain leaning would normally agree with that.

Naturally! I do like those coarse, poorly bred, unsophisticated California Zinfandels (or is it Zinfendal? whatever) when it comes to Burgers.

I’m a French wine guy, and I really dislike the one bottle of that '09 Drouhin Morgon that I’ve had. No matter where it’s from, way to ripe and fruity for me at this point. Definitely not something I’d claim is due to superior terroir, hopefully it’s just baby fat and will go away.

Cris, thanks for posting the notes, I was really sorry to have missed it.


I was joking a bit there, though I think there’s a small grain of truth to it.

Droughin being a larger negociant, what do you think the odds are they aimed for a fruit-bomb via yeast inoculation and controlled fermentation?

Naturally, and seriously, the Drouhin was my favorite of the flight. And I actually liked the Sancerre, so you know it isn’t “classic.”



The 2009 Drouhin Morgon is certainly one of the most ripe and primary of the 30 or so Beaujolais I have had from the vintage. I am guessing it will settle down to show more character but it will always be about the fruit.

I see that John Gilman has given this wine 94+ points which seems at odds with my experience and my knowledge of his palate, though I have not read his tasting note. Is there any chance there are different cuvees of this wine?

Funny David! Actually the Sancerre is usually pretty classic from Boulay and that bottle was starting to show the funkier aspects of Sauv Blanc versus the cleaner younger notes.

No surprise on the Drouhin though. It was a fruit bomb. [wink.gif]

That Gilman score is a shocker. As I mentioned to David, it struck me as a fruit bomb though it wasn’t heavy.

Re: Drouhin, I haven’t drunk much of their Beaujolais (I’ve really been focusing or 5 or 6 of the smaller growers there once I got serious about the region about 5 years ago). But I’m a big fan of many of their Cote d’Or wines and they’re the opposite of fruit bombs. Well, they can have very deep fruit, but are more about balance and texture than overtly ripe and fruity wines, which is why this one surprised me so much.


Robert: There is a difference of opinion among those more knowledgeable than me. Mr. Gilman was thoroughly charmed by the Drouhin lineup whereas another person who would be in a position to know seemed to feel that Drouhin bought co-op (presumably yeasted or otherwise spoofed) wine and slapped their label on it. My vague recollection is that Drouhin owns vineyards in Beaujolais - although what percentage of their overall production is domaine or “closely watched/controlled” vineyards versus their total production, I have no idea.

Thanks for writing this up Cris. While we agreed on some, I have a few different opinions. This was a very fun and thorough enjoyable tasting. Since Loire is a favorite, I was quite pleased by both the performance and the quality of the wines, especially the Chidaine and Boulay wines. The 2005 Gérard Boulay Sancerre Monts Damnés was quite rich. Not what I would describe as light on its feet. It was balanced and showed remarkable depth and structure. I’d place it somewhere in between E. Vatan and Reverdy in style, yet closer to the later. An excellent wine, but certainly not what one usually finds in Sancerre. Both wines from Chidaine were incredible. The 2008 Chidaine Montlouis Clos Habert is one of the greatest Clos Haberts yet. It is a kaleidoscope of flavors, with amazing depth and length. It’s stunning right now and hard to keep from popping corks. The 2008 Chidaine Vouvray Le Bouchet is another winner though I don’t have as much experience with this cuvee. The minerality was tremendous and clearly masked any RS, which I believe this wine usually has (demi-sec?). I think this wine needs a little time to integrate all the elements. I would give it 2-3 yrs.

On to 2009 Beaujolais which I was eagerly anticipating. After reading so many valuable TNs on the interwebs, I had a good handle on what needed air and what could be p’n’p. The 2009 Lapierre Morgon is a beauty. We popped and poured and it showed quite well immediately. Certainly not as fat as others in the flight, this wine is already elegant and graceful. Down the road this will turn even prettier. Next up the 2009 Drouhin Morgon which was also p’n’p. This was sweet, fat, unmistakable of the Beaujolais in that the fruit is clearly Gamay with that grapey soil meets dark spice element. Not sure what to make of this as I’ve never had Drouhin’s Beaujolais. John Gilman sure loved it so perhaps there is potential I’m not aware of. I’d be most interested to see how this evolves and like Cris said it is quite affordable. Now on to the two wines I was most excited about trying. The 2009 Foillard Morgon Côte du Py was double decanted seeing 5 hours in the decanter prior to the tasting. Having fallen head over heels for the 2007 and skipping the 2008 as it just didn’t carry the depth of 2007, I was really anticipating the 2009. I was not disappointing as I took my first whiff. Ahh…spice, brambly dark cherry fruits with a refined and marked Pinot character. This was nice, but clearly carrying lots of baby fat. This wine should eclipse the 2007 with time and will be an eye-opening ringer in upcoming EWG Burg flights. Our last wine is a wine I know well, the 2009 JP Brun (Terres Dorres) Morgon. Past wines have captivated me for its great structure and focused fruit. Brun’s Morgon is a food wine. So this wine got a slow O2 decant, in the bottle for 24 hours. This definitely was necessary as the wine still showed a bit tight. Some of the spice came through, but this has structure for days. The 2008 is drinking quite well right now. In comparison, this wine needs 5 years to begin to show its charms. It will compete with the best 2009s from Morgon once it reaches maturity. I can’t wait. Personally, these wines were a nice example of 2009 Morgon. I’ve had the Thevenet and feel it is showing the best at this early age. I’m happy to have a good chunk of these wines in the cellar and look forward to following their evolution.

Our next flight was Rioja. First up was the 1968 Viña Valoria Rioja . This was in one of those giant, big bad, heavy 750ml bottles, which seemed to be a current bottling. My first whiff gave nothing. When I returned, I got a whiff of what I thought was TCA. It’s tough to tell sometimes with older bottles, so I kept the glass nearby. Returning sometime later, still nothing on the nose and palate tasted very muted. I was certain this was mildly TCA’d but others were not convinced. Unfortunately, this never gave up the goods, so I marked it as damaged. On to the 2001 Bodegas Muga Rioja Gran Reserva Prado Enea. Oh yeah, this is not damaged! Wow this was beautiful. Just a tremendous wine with wonderful complexity, savory and leather saddle with supporting acidity and round tannins. Always evolving in the glass, the Prado Enea is just flat out wonderful Rioja. A touch of dill wood still needs to integrate, and I’m confident it will. This was my favorite wine of the evening just edging out the Clos Habert. One more Rioja to go. The 2004 Bodegas Muga Rioja Torre Muga Reserva was young, oaky, tight, closed up and unforgiving. Nothing to really say other than 5 yrs it might show some of its charms.

Both of the Coteaux du Layon sweet wines were nice, but I didn’t really spend a lot of time with either. The 1990 Baumard Clos de Sainte Catherine was as expected darker and deeper than the younger 2005. Showing rich honeyed notes and layers of stone fruit. I agree with Cris that this lacked acidity. The 2004 Baumard Clos de Sainte Catherine was indeed sweeter and very young. It should develop nicely as there seemed to be more acidity and focused fruit.

Good stuff!!

Mike, thanks for the speculation, that would make sense as it seemed very un-Drouhin to me. The opposite of Drouhin to me.

Gregg, thanks for the great notes, really interesting. Nice putting all those Morgons in the flight. Must have been interesting, again hated to have missed it.