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Tasting Notes From the Underground

Article and
Tasting Notes by
George Heritier

Some bubbles and 2 roses

For years now, we've been telling people that Wine Probation doesn't have to suck. Just because you're on a tight budget, that doesn't mean you can't find good wines at reasonable prices. For the most part, we've been drinking some of the QPR All Stars detailed in a couple of recent Trade Tasting reports we've filed (Rosé Olé and Wines of Distinction from Madiran, Bordeaux & more), but a couple of times in the last month or so, I just had to say screw it and pony up for some things that needed tasting.

1993 Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Cuvee Royale BrutIn early August, I spent a week with my daughter Jessica Rose aka Dolphin Girl in Key Largo, Florida. I only bought one bottle of wine the entire week, because despite a reasonably good selection that was available, there were no real bargains to be found. That wasn't a problem, because the micro-brews were good. There was one bottle that caught my eye however, and I couldn't resist picking it up, based on the raves it has received from our good friend and colleague, Champagne Warrior Brad Baker. Here's what I posted on my Facebook page as I sipped on it over a few hours during my last night in the Keys:

1993 Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Cuvee Royale Brut

This baby isn't just hangin' in there, it's struttin' its stuff!  No wine for a week, and to enjoy this after that is a special treat. Do I have to take notes or can I justease back and groove with it?  (Some habits are hard to break and I ended up recording these impressions.)

Medium straw color ~ ample mousse and active bead ~ expressive hazel nut and pear, with nice minerality and what seems to be an interesting note of well integrated oak ~ excellent presence, concentration and acids ~ beautiful stuff ~ ~ no wonder the Champagne Warrior loves this so much! Find this wine

A funny thing about this wine; it was the last '93 in a bin of 2000s and it was marked at $23.99. I grabbed it and 6 Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPAs and checked out. As I was walking to the car, it occurred to me that I may have been overcharged and when I checked the receipt, sure enough, they hit me up for $28.99 for the bubbly. I went back in and had the following conversation with the woman behind the counter.

“Excuse me, but I was overcharged for this bottle.”

“No, it's in our system at that price.”

Yes, but the price tag clearly says $23.99”

“Maybe somebody changed the tag.”

“Is this your price tag?”

(Hesitates...) “Yes...”

“Look, it's obvious what happened here. It's the last '93 in a bin of 2000s. This is listed at the old price, both vintages have the same UPC and the scanner reads the price of the newer vintage.”

“I'm sorry, that's what it's in our system at.”

“In Michigan, where I come from, a retailer has to honor the price that's on the product.”

“Oh, really?”

It was obvious that she wasn't going to budge, so I let it go, figuring it was still a decent price for what should be a great wine and as it turned out, it was a great wine!


2008 Domaine Tempier Bandol RoseWe've been all about rosé this summer. The pink stuff has made up a good 50% or better of our wine drinking and there are excellent bargains to be found, as noted in the two links in the opening paragraph above. But I kept reading all these great reports about a perennial favorite of ours from Bandol, and finally couldn't stand it anymore, so our friend Jeff Mar at Holiday Market in Royal Oak hooked me up. As a bonus, I also scored another one of Kermit Lynch's stalwarts better known for their reds, and both wines are delicious.

2008 Domaine Tempier Bandol Rosé, $34.99, 11-14% alc.: Peach pink color, with an earthy, dusty minerality that dominates the aromatics and flavors, but there's a rich core of under-ripe watermelon and strawberry on the palate. Medium weight and then some; very smooth, with deceptive acidity and very nice length. Textbook dry rosé, and who'd expect any less from Domaine Tempier? Find this wine

2008 Charles Joguet Chinon Rose2008 Charles Joguet Chinon Rosé
, $19.99, 13% alc.: Medium salmon pink, with earthy, under-ripe (bordering on austere) strawberry and watermelon flavors and aromas. Very smooth in texture, yet with ample acids to work well with or without food; nice underlying minerality and fairly rich, despite the almost austere personality. Quite enjoyable with grilled, smoked chicken. Find this wine

Domaine Tempier and Charles Joguet imported by Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant, Berkeley, CA

Reporting from Day-twah,

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© George Heritier September, 2009