Trung invited me, Tom and Mike down to his club to play a round of golf two weeks back. Although it was misty all morning and downright torrential by the 14th hole, we still had a great time. We retired to Trung’s for lunch afterward to eat some of his delicious coq au vin and lots of other fine foodstuffs he had in store for us. It was Mike’s birthday, so we treated ourselves to some wines (which was as convenient an excuse as any).
N.V. Pierre Moncuit Champagne Brut Grand Cru. My understanding is that most Moncuit non-vintage wines are actually made without reserve wines, so they are products of a single vintage. I’m not sure what vintage this was from, but the cork had MF04 printed on it, which is probably an indication of disgorgement date. In any event, it has a fresh, lively bouquet featuring scents of lemon peel, soft chalky soil and yeasty bread dough. In the mouth, it is just a notch rounder than crisp and it supplies a nice fresh feeling of lift to its flavor profile of tangy hard lemon candy, grapefruit and clementine. It has a nice, even foam through the mouth and pumps out a lot of flavors that vibrate along its acidic spine. For all that, it has a moderately creamy texture to give it more of that rounded quality just when it needs it.
2004 Scott Paul Cellars Pinot Noir La Paulee Willamette Valley. On the nose, this wine exhibits a lot of lifted crushed berry aromas to go with scents of evergreen pulp, brown sugar, brown spices and something like a note of musky sarsaparilla. In the mouth, it is more rounded and gentle than the crisper nose would lead one to expect, though it does sport an airy feel to it at times. It is rather spicy, with light acidity pushing the fine berry flavors pretty nicely. Some gentle tannins make their way in on the finish, where there is also a bigger sense of acidity to lend a fresh character to the after-taste. I think everyone liked this wine for its balance and elegant but persistent flavors.
2000 Hartford Court Pinot Noir Velvet Sisters Anderson Valley. This wine smells of grape stems, raspberries, cherry cola and pruney spicecake. In the mouth, it is rich and a bit sweet-fruited, but it is not over the top. It has a bold, masculine, ropey feel to it, and dense flavors of black raspberry, dried dates and spices give the wine a lot of stuffing. Thankfully, it also has some freshening acidity that gives it just enough lift to find a comfortable arm slot. The tannins are more noticeable than in some of the other wines on the table, but they don’t really interfere with the wine’s overall personality or mission. Frankly, I’m often disappointed by Hartford Court wines, but perhaps I have been drinking them too young, as this 2000 was big but enjoyable.
2006 Moric Blaufränkisch Neckenmarkter. This is a Trung hand-import from Austria, if I recall correctly. It is a deep reddish plum color. It features a really unusual and unique nose of kirsch, candied cherry, dark berries, dark mocha paste, soft rubber bands, mint leaf and white pepper. It continually changes and shows different facets of its personality, making it hard to pin down (in a good, intriguing way). In the mouth, it is lushly forward at this stage of its development—with dark juicy berry flavors on the attack. The tangy acidity holds back a bit, waiting for the mid-palate to start filling in. Despite the arrival of that tangy element, it stays medium-weighted and has some sneaky muscularity to it, but is otherwise softly lush with full fruit and glycerin. There is no real tannin interference until some light chalky impact on the finish, giving the impression that this can probably purr along fine for a while.
2005 Jacques Puffeney Arbois Vieilles Vignes. The bouquet of this wine is really unique and distinctive. On the one hand, it is cool and serious with a sense of mystery and hidden secrets. On the other hand, it opens up just enough to reveal very pleasing aromas of cherry pie, red flower petals, young leather, forest greenery and a distinctive iron ore streak. It just somehow gives off an air of an intellectual wine or certainly a wine for hard-core wine geeks—I’m not quite sure how or why, but it just has that vibe. In any event, once it gets in the mouth, it just punishes the taster for having had the temerity to have opened it so young. It is verrrry young and is dominated by massively drying tannins and a rigid backbone at the moment. It does give a glimpse into the clean pure fruit hiding beneath, but it is just way too soon to be drinking this. It shows a lot of dark character, with plenty of dark cherry, cool leather and juicy acids, but that all needs like 10 years to overcome the tannins. Right now, it’s just an infant with enormous potential.