Reviews of wines that don’t need their own post, but are worth noting for one reason or another. Look for it on the fourth Friday of each month. This month: a terrific red Burgundy for Black Friday 2019
• Joel Gott Pinot Gris 2018 ($12, purchased, 13.2%): This Oregon white is mostly OK for what it is, with some lime fruit and what tastes like a little fizziness. But there are better made wines at this price.
• Toad Hollow Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 ($17, sample, 14.1%): This California red from Lodi is $12 or $13 worth of cabernet, which is not a bad thing. It’s reasonably well made, with with brambly berry fruit and almost cabernet tannins (though the oak is out of balance). But $17? Only in the premiumization universe.
• Domaine Thenard Givry Les Bois Chevaux 2012 ($20, purchased, 13%): A Premier Cru red Burgundy, the second highest classification, that actually tastes like red Burgundy (French pinot noir) at a tremendous price. It’s getting a touch thin, but still has earth, some forest floor, and telltale lovely red fruit. Imported by Beverly Imports
• Joseph Drouhin Beaujolais Nouveau 2019 ($13, purchased, 13%): This French red, made from gamay, is a November tradition. The 2019 version from Drouhin is a little thin, but mostly Beaujolais in style and taste (berry fruit). Which means it’s missing the horrible ripe banana fruit that too many nouveaus have had in the past decade. Imported by Dreyfus, Ashby & Co.
Reviews of wines that don ?t need their own post, but are worth noting for one reason or another. Look for it on the final Friday of each month (though it posts today because of the holiday):
?Joseph Drouhin Beaujolais Nouveau 2015 ($8, purchased, 13%): Better than the last couple of vintages of this French red, in which it tastes more like wine than grape juice. But it’s still too soft and too full of that off-banana flavor that marks poorly made Beaujolais Nouveau. One day, perhaps, these wines will again be worth drinking, and I’ll keep trying them to let you know.
?Planet Oregon Pinot Noir 2014 ($20, purchased, 13.4%): There’s nothing really wrong with this Oregon red, other than I expected a bit more than it delivered. Look for lots of red fruit with some earthiness, but it’s light and too simple for $20 — even for pinot noir.
?Vistalba Tomero Torront s 2014 ($14, sample, 13%): This Argentine white is more sauvignon blanc than torrontes, with too much citrus and not enough of the soft white fruit that makes a dry torrontes so enjoyable. Having said that, it’s not unpleasant; it just doesn’t taste like torrontes. Given that, the price is problematical.
?Leese-Fitch Chardonnay 2014 ($12, sample, 13.5%): Solid and dependable grocery store chardonnay from California that follows the same template every year — just enough green apple fruit, fake oak, and heavy-ish mouth feel to taste the way it should, and consistency is a virtue when you’re standing in front of the Great Wall of Wine on your way home from work.
The Wine Curmudgeon's guilty secret is white Burgundy — chardonnay from the Burgundy region of France. Why guilty secret? Because white Burgundy is not cheap, and has not been so for years. It's not unusual for a very ordinary bottle that's worth $8 or $10 to cost $15 or $20; unless I get a sample (or splurge on a $60 bottle for a special occasion), I don't drink much white Burgundy any more.
So you can imagine my excitement when this wine, along with several other white Burgundies, arrived at the house. Joseph Drouhin is a respected negociant, and its wines are almost always well made. I figured, if nothing else, I could get an expensive wine of the month out of the shipment. And a couple of the bottles do fit that category.
But several weren't expensive, including the Macon ($13, sample). Macon wines are not complicated, don't get much oak (if any), and are made to drink now. In other words, they are Wine Curmudgeon wines. In the long ago days of the strong dollar and more sensible French export policies, there were half a dozen or so quality Macon-Villages wines for $10 or so, but the ones that still cost $10 are usually disappointing and the others aren't $10 any more.
Which makes the Drouhin all that more wonderful. It's one of the best values I've tasted in white Burgundy in years, and my tasting notes show that the producer actually cut the price this year. This is a very traditional wine, with hardly any fruit at all (lime zest?), no oak, and lots of minerality. So, no, it doesn't taste like came from California, but it's not supposed to. In this, it's a hint of what the 2009 vintage will ultimately deliver in Burgundy. Drink this chilled with roast chicken, any kind of shellfish, or on its own.
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