Monday, April 13, 2009

Overcoming grape fears

Since last I wrote, I have continued valiantly affronting my prejudices. Now, of course, we all have grapes we don't like. I know some highly recommendable people who have, shall we say, issues with Cabernet Franc or Grenache. (Actually, the most common bête noire among wine-drinking friends seems to be the oft-maligned yet intensely wonderful (well, to me) Chardonnay grape. I will have to get proselytizing). That said, I must reluctantly remind one and all that I myself am known for not consuming hogsheads of Chenin Blanc or Gewürztraminer, say.

But as ever, I like to be on the frontlines – or down in the trenches, pick your military image – of my own preconceptions, flighting that fight. Because, really, it's a voyage of learning, now, isn't it? Well, along with getting tipsy, carousing, and having shared mini-epiphanies with friends.

This week, two towers crumbled right down to the dust. How's that for Ozymandias?

2002 Huet Le Haut-Lieu Demi-Sec - this wine knocked me off my feet, and I sat down next to Brad Kane and nodded with that half-smile that indicates great pleasure and surprise. My notes from the evening I tasted it have long since disappeared into some dumpster behind a tony midtown restaurant; suffice it to say that this wine opened my eyes in a particularly crystalline way. I wanted to cup it to me, but of course that would have warmed it up, so I just stared deep into it, then gradually drank it away.

2006 Jérôme Prévost "La Closerie" - Eeeew, pinot meunier. That was the thinking. But this was immediately more imposing than other expressions I have had of that grape. A rich, vinous nose met me as I leaned into the glass. Dark amberish color, with just a touch of walnutty oxidative overtones. I was enchanted by its smell. On the palate, however, at first, this was tight, hard in its lines; very low in dosage, it was clear. The apple, quince notes were pleasant, but they were somewhat pushed aside by a hard mineral finish. This needed more age, and first, more air. So I let it open up, expand in the glass. It did come into its own with some breathing, broadening, becoming more smooth. Being a few degrees warmer also did it a nice turn. It does need age, but it is already an impressive drink.


Estelle Platini said...

Thank you for the notes. It seemed so obvious to you that you did not even mention that the Prévost wine was a Champagne!
If you come across interesting Pinot Meuniers from outside this region, please tell us...

Dirty said...

I love that Huet. I had it in Jan and it was wonderful... I would love some right now.

Now if I could just conquer my fears of Pinotage...