Tasting Notes by George Heritier



es, as is usually the case this time of year, we’ve been drinking a disproportionate share of whites during the warm weather months. I mean, who wants to drink heavy reds with all this heat? OK, so we DO open some of them too, but we make damn sure that they are cooled down to around 56 degrees F when we pull those corks. Still, we do better than a 60/40 ratio of whites to reds from May through September. Some have already been noted in the last Underground installment, while the best of the rest is presented for your consideration below. You’ll find some new versions of old friends, and some new acquaintances as well, so read on, McDuff!

2003 Domaine Séguinot-Bordet Chablis2003 Domaine Séguinot-Bordet Chablis Vieilles Vignes, $23.49, 12.5% alc.: Wines from this producer are always welcome at Gang Central, and this bottle gives testimony as to why. Pale to medium straw in color, it offers flavors and aromas of wet stones, river water, under ripe apples and a hint of citrus; it has enough acidity to carry it along nicely, but it’s not as crisp as these usually are, probably due to the heat extremes of the vintage. Indeed, there’s a certain "soft" quality here that doesn’t bother me at all, and the wine shows good concentration and nice length on the finish. Best of all, it makes a fine match for smoked chicken on the back deck on a hot summer eve, so buy it in numbers and drink it now and over the next few years. Find this wine

2001Domaine Séguinot-Bordet Chablis Fourchaume,2001 Domaine Séguinot-Bordet Chablis Fourchaume, $19.99, 12.5% alc.: The first Premier Cru we’ve had from Séguinot-Bordet, and a very fine one indeed; Kim’s first impressions of this medium gold colored Chablis are "pine needles and smoke," and these flesh out with flinty, under ripe apples, quince and hints of bees wax, butterscotch and rainwater. Rich, and yet bone dry at the same time, this has excellent presence, good cut and a long finish, and is already showing some nice notes of maturity. This one is right where I like it, but others might want to cellar it for as long as five more years. Either/or... Find this wine

2004 Domaine Thibert Pere et Fils Mâcon-Prissé2004 Domaine Thibert Pere et Fils Mâcon-Prissé "En Chailloux," $19.49, 13% alc.: Another J et R Selections white we’ve been fond of in past vintages, this medium straw also lives up to the high expectations we had for it. A whisp of Creme Brulée and an undercurrent of stony minerality nicely accent the rich, pretty apple and pear fruit in both flavor and aroma, and a note of citrus-lime adds interest, complexity and appeal for this taster. Medium full body, with good cut and good length on the finish, this (like the other Thibert and Séguinot-Bordet wines) offers excellent QPR for what’s in the bottle. Find this wine

2001 Domaine Thibert Pouilly-Vinzelles2001 Domaine Thibert Pouilly-Vinzelles, $14.99, 13% alc.: Yet another J et R Selection / Domaine Thibert white that we’ve had a favorable experience with in the past, this pale gold runs the string by once again giving plenty of pleasure for relatively few dollars. On the nose, it gives rainwater, hazel nuts, butterscotch and Creme Brulée in moderate amounts; the Creme Brulée recedes on the palate, while the other components come to the fore, along with some under ripe apple, all on a crisp medium to medium full bodied frame. Plenty of length here, as well as some initial notes of maturity, and while this has plenty of aging potential, we’ll probably drink up the other four we brought home over the next year or two for the fresh character that they should retain during that time. Find this wine

Domaine Séguinot-Bordet & Domaine Thibert Imported by J et R Selections, Mount Pleasant, MI

2002 Monmouseau Sancerre, $14.99, 12.5% alc.: This medium straw colored Sauvignon is one of the flintiest wines we’ve had in a long time; it’s all flint, quince and under ripe apple, with good intensity, excellent cut and a nice long finish, all on a medium to medium full bodied frame. Initially somewhat austere, this just gets better and better as it opens in the glass, and offers great QPR for the tariff. I like it well enough to have brought more home after the bottle noted here. Find this wine

Imported by USA Wine Imports, Inc., New York, NY

2003 Karl Erbes Urziger Wurzgarten2003 Karl Erbes Ürziger Würzgarten Mosel Saar Ruwer Riesling Auslese, $34.99, 8% alc.: I quite enjoyed the ‘04 Erbes Ürziger Würzgarten Kabinett a few weeks back. When a bottle turned up in my department with a discolored capsule, the distributor rep, Mariann Valentino replaced it and gave me the bottle in question to take home, on the chance that it was not otherwise flawed, which happily turned out to be the case. Medium straw to pale gold in color, with lovely aromatics of honey, peach and apricot highlighted with some steely petrol, all of which echo and expand on the palate; sweet and unctuous, with enough acids to make it all work nicely and excellent length on the finish. Lovely wine, now and for some years down the road. I’d pour this one after dinner, but it would probably work with some spicy Thai or Indian cuisine as well. Find this wine

Imported by Chapin Cellars LLC, Springfield, VA

2004 Chateau la Cariziere Muscadet Sevre et Maine Sur Lie, $11.99: Muscadet is THE classic match for any shellfish, especially oysters and mussels, which makes sense in a way, since the Muscadet appellation is further west than any other in France’s Loire Valley; any further west, and you’d be wading in the Atlantic. All of the wines from this region bearing the name Muscadet are made from the Melon de Bourgogne grape, not exactly a "household" name in these parts, but those familiar with it hold a special place in their hearts for it. This particular selection is quite representative of the varietal, with its medium straw color and flavors and aromas that are something like a blend of river water, wet stones, under-ripe apples and citrus characteristics; the fruit almost seems rich and austere at the same time. It's medium full bodied, with excellent acidity and a long finish. I had the pleasure of tasting this and the Hermine d’or Muscadet Sevre et Maine Sur Lie with their maker, Joseph Landron a few weeks ago, and both the wines (completely organically produced) and the man were delightful to spend some time with. Besides shellfish, the Chateau la Cariziere will pair well with any lighter seafood. Find this wine

2004 The Furst Riesling Alsace2004 The Furst Riesling Alsace, $11.99: Anyone who’s never had a fine Alsatian dry Riesling is in for a treat, and here’s one that’s both delicious and quite affordable. Pale to medium straw in color, it offers green apple, quince and mineral flavors and aromas accented with a distinctive herbal undertone that struck my fancy when I first tasted it, and really sets the tone for the wine’s personality. It features zippy acidity, solid presence and a nice finish. And since Riesling is one of, if not the most versatile of all wines, red or white, it goes with a remarkably wide range of foods. Find this wine

Chateau la Cariziere and The Furst Imported by Eagle Eye Imports LLC, Bloomfield Hills, MI

2004 Domaine Weinbach Gewürztraminer Cuvee Theo2004 Domaine Weinbach Gewürztraminer Reserve Personelle, $29, 13.5% alc.: Find this wine
2004 Domaine Weinbach Gewürztraminer Cuvee Theo, $35, 13.5% alc.:
Find this wine

Both of these lovely wines show rich golden color and quintessential peach and litchi Gewürztraminer character that are more impressive than these simple descriptors would indicate; both have good weight without being heavy, an oily, voluptuous texture, with just enough acidity to make them both work, and very good length on the finish. These give the impression of sweetness upon entry, but they’re not really; nor are they terribly complex at this point, but both compensate in other ways and are sure to develop with some time in the bottle. These were tasted about one week apart, so the comparison is from memory, but nevertheless, I found both to be delicious to sip and savor over several hours.

2002 Travis Monterey Chardonnay2002 Travis Monterey Chardonnay Riverside Vineyard, $11.99: This medium straw colored white gives pure Chardonnay pear flavors, shaded with mineral, canned peas and asparagus that add to, rather than detract from the appeal; it’s unadorned by oak, having been fermented and aged entirely in stainless steel. It’s also unfiltered, so if you chill it down too much, it seems a bit cloudy, but don’t let that put you off; everyone I’ve poured this for has really enjoyed it. Medium full bodied, with good acids, a smooth texture and a long finish that combine to make for one eminently drinkable glass of wine. This is a big favorite at our house; we’ve already gone through a case in the last month, and now we’re working on a second! If you can still find this, buy it all up; the ‘03 is going to take quite a price jump (mid to upper teens), from what I’ve been told. Find this wine

2004 Castle Rock Central Coast Chardonnay2004 Castle Rock Central Coast Chardonnay, $9.99,13.8% alc.: I got a sample of this along with a number of the more visible Castle Rock reds, and was quite surprised at how much I liked it. Pale straw in color, and pleasantly light on the oak treatment, with straightforward apple, pear Chardonnay character, nice fruit that isn’t at all overripe and undertones of mineral and rainwater that add interest and complexity. Medium to medium full body and balanced acidity make this very food friendly, unlike so many fat assed, low acid California Chardonnays. Excellent QPR. Find this wine

2005 Crios de Susana Balbo Torrontes Cafayette, $15.99: Torrontes is another grape varietal that’s anything but a household name, except maybe unless you live in Argentina. Thought to have originated in the Mediterranean region, it is now grown on the Iberian Peninsula and in Argentina, where it has assumed something of a national identity, being the white wine most associated with that country, much as Malbec is with reds. For me, much of the appeal of this medium straw colored wine comes from the lovely floral overtones to the apple and tropical fruit flavors and aromas; it’s almost like drinking honey suckle and orange blossoms, with a hint of mint. The fruit has very good intensity, with subtle mineral undertones, good acidity and a long finish. A wine of immense appeal, this matches well with spicy Thai dishes, crab cakes and any full flavored seafood. Find this wine

Imported by Vine Connections, Sausalito, CA

2004 La Noble Chardonnay Vin de Pays D’OC, $8.99, 13% alc.: This isn’t just the best $9 Chardonnay in the house; it actually drinks better than a number of more expensive models. It shows solid varietal character, offering crisp apple flavors, with soft herb and mineral in support, unfettered by oak, and thus allowing the nice fruit to perfectly express itself. This will match well with a wide variety of the "usual" fish and fowl suspects, green salads or serve admirably for just sipping on the back deck. Find this wine

Imported by Hand Picked Selections, Warrenton, VA

Reporting from Day-twah,


Other Recent Wine Explorations

Home Alone in Day-Twah

Following Up Part Deux

Following Up

A Rosé By Any Other Name

More Red Wings and Red Rhônes 2006

5 From Palm Bay Imports

4 By Egelhoff

Back to July '06 Index

Back to the Underground Index

Back to the Top

© George Heritier July 2006