Monday, April 20, 2009

Wine for rain, wine for sun


I had never thought about it before, but there is something about the delicious minerality of a Puligny-Montrachet that goes well with the rain.

The other night I ran out with not one but two umbrellas (well, I was using one, and one had been loaned to me on some other rainy day, and I was returning it to its rightful owner, who would be on hand). Finally, despite wearing new shoes that kept wanting to remove themselves from my feet and go flying into a puddle, I managed to turn up at the set destination: a wine restaurant.

Once wet things had been cast off to some coat area, it was time to have a seat and ponder the wine list.

As the rain splashed lightly against the front window, a few minutes later, the sommelier opened a bottle of

1985 Carillon Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru "Combettes" - Well, as Tina Turner did not sing, I can stand the rain. In fact, the sound of cold patter on concrete was a great backdrop for this deceptively simple and increasingly enthralling wine. There's a term the French use that I like a lot: évidence. It indicates something's "of-course-ness." There was about this wine an ease of being, a raciness, a stony, high-handed purity, an évidence. It was youthful (not a drop of oxidation to its brisk yellow body) and a little shy until maybe a half-hour in. Then it bloomed. Blossoms under the rain.



A few days later, the sun was out. It was warm. A bunch of us decided to gather in the park, and I threw a slightly chilled bottle of López de Heredia into my bag, reasoning that the ambient temperature would warm it.

2002 López de Heredia Rioja "Viña Cubillo" - all part of my enthrallment with Riojas from this producer. Interestingly enough, I had had a bottle of this same, younger-drinking cuvée a week earlier at a wine bar: there, it was more austere, harder around the edges, tighter and more tannic. Here, under the sun, with a dog slobbering around (Peanut would eventually eat the Rioja cork) and people nibbling cut sausage, it was lighter in color (maybe the wine bar had been too dark), lighter-bodied, fresh and earthy. God, I said to myself as I cosseted it, it was such a pleasure of a wine to sip on a breezy, warm day. A wine for sun, clearly, with all its broodiness cleared away, replaced by a daringly rustic backwardness to it that had immense charm.

6 comments:

Samantha Dugan said...

Lovely, an absolutely lovely set of notes that make me long to be in Paris with salty cured meats, the smell of wet street and a glass of wine.

Vinotas said...

Oooh, that Lopez was great.

Joe said...

People have told me that the Cubillo in that vintage is variable, but it's never shown me anything but a smile.

Brooklynguy said...

Me too - I had the 2002 last night with brined pork chops and it was deLICious. fresh fruit, earth, all yum. people at the restaurant were fighting over the last bit.

sadly, the 2002 is basically gone here. is the 03 any good I wonder, or does it suffer from the same 03-itis that everything else seems to suffer from?

Sharon said...

I was just going to ask Joe if he'd had the 2003 yet...

Joe said...

Not me, sorry.