Friday, November 09, 2007

Carousing with Domaines Ott

Nah, I haven't become a rap star. And I have to admit that in my wine drinking life, I have never quaffed a bottle of Domaines Ott Rosé.

But yesterday we had the Blanc de Blancs. That I had had before. It was during the summer a couple of years back, and Hervé was the most generous of hosts - as soon as night fell and the temperatures cooled, three or four of us would gather on his sprawling roof deck in Paris. And during these evenings, he once told me about the legendary Blanc de Blancs d'Ott. Of course, since Hervé's tales include half-mad cousins living in castles in the Pyrenees, lesbian antique collector friends tromping through Thailand's brothels, and other highly colorful vignettes, he made that wine, with its wafting dry herbs of Provence, sound so enticing, with cliffs overlooking the hot sea. So I found a bottle, that summer, in a wine store on the rue du Bac, and brought it one night.

Of course, it's now cold and drizzly in Paris.

Yesterday, after a photo exhibition opening, Arnaud and I found ourselves on the thin line between Paris's first and second arrondissements at right about apéro time. After ambling through the little streets around the rue Montorgueil, we alighted at the wine bar Wine & Bubbles.

Finishing a couple of glasses of NV Thiénot Brut (had never had this champagne before; it wasn't memorable but drank fine, with a good bitter kick at the end - better, in any case, than the Mumm Cordon Rouge they were serving at the opening beforehand), we ordered some rillettes, jambon de pays, foie gras and my eyes fell upon a bottle of 2005 Ott Blanc de Blancs on the list.

The nose was absolutely mute. Vigorous swirling sent a bit jetting out of the glass (oops), but no aromas seemed to beckon. On the palate, though, there was some complexity, and as the bucket chilled the bottle (it was a touch too warm in the beginning) it started to express its very minerally, iodine notes, with a measure of roundness from its mostly semillon body. No fruit, just mineral, saline, and dried herb notes.

I think this is a wine that needs more age (or a boat off of Hyères, or a roof garden with a rhapsodic host) to be truly expressive, but it was enjoyable. And as the room filled up with young skinny-jean-clad urbanites and a thick haze of cigarette smoke, it did start to seem almost like a rapper scene.

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