Thursday, September 25, 2008


Over on Wine Disorder, MarkS wrote, in response to a tasting note about a Cour-Cheverny:

I don't find romorantin that [sic] unique: to me, but then, many grapes tend toward similarity. Very strongly chenin blanc-like, with maybe a dollop of godello.

This was kicking around in my head yesterday evening. I mean, it's not rare for people to start talking about typicité, often with some debate. But what about unicité? Are grapes' tastes unique? Should they be?

Of course, no one is going to confuse a Gewürz with a Riesling or a Roussane with a Viognier, but are there more similarities than differences?

I suppose that another factor to add to the lot is age. Does great age on wine efface varietal characteristics for an overall "old wine" taste? This is a theory I have heard stated, and it is somewhat convincing. I think back to the lineups of stickies at the end of the three Académie des Vins Anciens dinners I've been to. I don't know if I could have pulled out a Sauvignon from a Sémillon from a Chenin or a Muscat. But then, I was drunk at the time.

The other angle would be to question if it could simply be, as MarkS seems to suggest, that "lesser" grapes are somehow more "same" than nobler, complexer, "more" unique ones.

If such is the case, Pinot d'Aunis is the king of grapes.

*Oh, and a bottle of Chinon to anyone who can identify the cultivar in the photo up top.


Gavin said...

Given grape size, bunch size and colour, maybe it's Gewürztraminer. Hmm... then again, it could be pinot gris. I'm not sure. Pinot Gris usually has very small bunches like this. This would be a small bunch of Gewürz.

Joe said...

Small bunch, very uneven ripeness. Interesting.

Old chenin still tastes like chenin, only better.

Really old zinfandel tastes like Bordeaux, though who knows what's actually in the bottles.

Sharon said...

Gavin, but they're red?

Joe, reminds me of a 1929 St-Emilion that tasted like a Burgundy. Fabulous wine, though. Maybe everything gets amped down one notch.

Zinfandel —> Bordeaux
Bordeaux —> Burgundy
Burgundy —> Loire
Loire —> leek juice

Joe said...

Loire-->leek juice.

Harsh, harsh.

Also, I've never had leek juice.

Sharon said...

A great loss to the leek-juice drinking community.

Actually, I shouldn't be so categorical. Recently, B. Baudry was telling me about how a '47 Chinon drunk a couple of years ago was sublime.

This dovetails with Arnaud's mother's story: they drank (also) '47 Chinon at their wedding in the mid-70s.

Joe said...

OK, it's Bourgeuil, but I can attest that '47 Clos Senechal is one of the wines of my life. On several occasions. Miraculous, and hadn't morphed into anything but itself.

Sharon said...

Producer known?

And how nice to be able to experience one of the wines of one's life several times! Like some double-, triple-, quadruple-take of ephiphany.

Next time, try it with flamiche.

Just kidding.