Notes from last night's dinner:
1998 Domaine Zind Humbrecht Pinot Gris Clos Windsbuhl - a rich peach/apricot
nose, excellent balance and length. We discussed whether or not there was a
small amount of residual sugar present, but it was impossible to tell. It went
beautifully with seared foie gras on a bed of tiny fresh chanterelle mushrooms.
1983 Ch. La Lagune - the best feature of this wine by far was the delicious
nose of cigarbox and fruit, quite bright, and in the mouth, at peak, still
showing some soft tannins, but given the levels of fruit I feel that this wine
will not get any better than it is now, and in fact might have been a tad
better balanced a couple of years ago. Nice with cold terrine of foie gras and
1992 Mas de Daumas Gassac - a nice bit of cedar, leather and plums in the warm
nose. Dark wine with firm structure although drinking well now. Good length.
This vintage had mediocre reviews on release. Pshaw! Went beautifully with beef
tenderloin, bleu, and lamb loin coated with toasted almond and garlic paste, as
well as with soft blue cheese afterward.
Reads like a good evening. 8-)
Because of your post, I've had a peek to see what Daumas Gassac I had
stashed away. I see I have some 93 and some 95 but no notes. Anyone
have any idea of optimum times for drinking? In the absence of any
other information to hand, I'd guess at now or the near future for
both of them - but informed advice would be welcome.
I hear some of the older vintages of red are good. My experience with
the 95 was very disappointing, and with just about every year since
Having said that, I do like Daumas Gassac whites, 2000 tasted recently
was very good. Not the best in Languedoc, but very good. I say that
despite the fact that most people I know here in France despise Daumas
Gassac. Never mind the self-importance of the owner and the arrogant
claims in his primeur offers, I cannot help liking his white. But the
reds are WAY overrated, even badly crafted. IMHO.
Salut/Hi Mike Tommasi,
when I was at Vinexpo a couple of years ago I went to the stand and tasted
my way through their wines. Like you, I've seen a lot of negative comments
from some of the French contributors to frbv. I agree with you that their
whites are very interesting. However, I feel it my duty to say that I did
quite like their reds. I wouldn't say they lived up to the excellence that
the owner claims for them, but frankly no wine could!
Reading between the lines, I sometimes get the feeling in frbv that the
negative comments are more in reaction to the exaggerated claims than to
the actual quality of the wine itself.
Just my tuppence worth after a shattering day which started with breakfast
for our guests, continued with shopping first in Argentat for meat and then
in Brive (Market, supermarket and trade supplier), continued with making
plum jam from 11 lbs plums, (and lunch) and stuffed peppers for 15 (mainly
for canning for later) and then finished with preparing the meats for two
terrines to marinate overnight, which between them will serve 120 people or
so. The evening ended with a chines-ey meal (no wine as usual) just for the
two of us, and sogging in front of the TV, doing a stupid quiz. Tomorrow is
another day as we compose and cook the 6/7 terrines, as well as cook supper
for two of our guests. (I think we'll give them stuffed peppers).
Then on Monday, we're off to Montignac to conduct a tutored tasting of
Bergerac wines - which reminds me that I have to print out the tasting
sheet and notes. It's good to be retired and take life easy!!!!
If true, Ian, they have no one to blame but themselves. If one will proclaim
oneself the "first growth of the Languedoc," then one should be willing to
bide by the negative comparisons with frist growth Bordeaux. Having said
that, I will freely admit to hearing the hype but never tasting the wine. ..
Note to self: put to rest the fantasy of retiring to run a Gite in rural
Indeed, Ian, but who has ever accused you of being retiring? Will we get
notes from this foray?
Salut/Hi Mark Lipton,
Exactly. You make my point perfectly. The reactions are due to these
ludicrous claims. I sometimes wonder whether winemakers ever really
consider what effect that kind of bombast really has. I suppose there must
be some gullible souls who taste the label rather than the wine, but being
pretty cynical by nature, I read such claims with the same lack of belief
as I do those of generals who claim "our victorious troops have advanced a
further 200 kms into enemy territory without sustaining a single casualty".
Yeah... So I can then get down to tasting the wine. And I found it very
good. But on the basis of pretty deep ignorance on good wines of the area.
If only Vinisud (or whatever it's called) took place at a time that was
remotely possible for us, I'd like to discover more.
Chortle. Largely self inflicted! The terrines are going to be the starter
for the new season dinner of a sort of club I belong to. The stuffed
peppers were because we had them from the greenhouse, together with the
tomatoes, and buying a whole shoulder of pork brings the price down, and
the quantities were just perfect for both the terrines and the peppers. The
jam was a last minute addition - when we were shopping in the market, we
saw they were ready. The problem with seasonal produce is that once you've
missed them it's too late till the next year, and having had neither
raspberry nor blackberry, we were short of jams for the next season. But
any normal person would have resisted personfully and waited till later.
Not many people. I don't often rub shoulders with the insane.
No point really. A friend of mine runs the Dordogne walks for an American
holiday company called "Country Walkers". Five or six times a year, a group
of from 8 to 16 of your compatriots - theoretically all able to walk 10-20
miles a day, arrives here to be looked after hand and foot (not a pleasant
job when you've just walked 20 miles!) for a week. They pay large sums of
money, and if they were a trifle optimistic about their ability (weighing
300 lbs and aged 65) to walk up hill and down dale for a week, they get
ferried with far better grace than I could ever muster. On the Monday after
their arrival I conduct a "tutored wine tasting" of Bergerac wines, which
appears to be quite popular, especially amongst the non-teetotallers. In
effect, what it does is to help to create a sense of unity and camaraderie
amngst people who hadn't known each-other two days ago. I couldn't pretend
that the event is particularly rigorous, though. We can have all levels of
wine tasting experience with expertise from zero to top level. I try to
explain things that they are unlikely to have been taught in the States,
and regard my job as being mainly to give them the confidence in their own
abilities to taste so that they can express their thoughts and opinions.
We have 4 dry whites around which I explain a little about the major
differences between US and French approaches to wine making, as I've picked
them up here and elsewhere, and so on. We then taste the wines, and I try
to encourage them to say what THEY think about them, rather than listen to
what I have to say. That takes an hour and a half, and we then pass to the
table with one of the whites, to see how it changes when drunk with food.
The tasting then continues on a slightly different level with two reds
being served with the meat course, (and drunk as well as tasted) and then
we serve a sweet wine with the cheese (shocked the hotel at first, until
they tasted the combination!!) for those who want to compare the match of
cheeses with red wines and with sweet wines, and that will carry over to
I provide a sort of tasting grid, giving a few suggestions as to vocabulary
often used to describe wines, and perfunctory notes on the producers whose
wines we are drinking, and more general notes on the region and on
It's all quite fun and without wanting to brag, they always say they have
learnt something - even the more experienced. But the most important thing
about it is that Jacquie and I get an afternoon away, AND an excellent free
We also are afflicted with the seasonal produce problem. Having just grown a
or two of heirloom tomatoes, we now find ourselves scrambling to use them, as
are just too damn good fresh for us to want to cook any. And of course there's
the extra bushel of non-heirloom tomatoes for that. Several different salsa
frescas later, we are finally nearly caught up (though with still a dozen green
zebras awaiting consumption). Later on, when the cabbage-y things (bok choy,
savoy, broccoli) come in, we'll be faced with another glut. Oh, the trials and
tribulations of gardening! ;-)
It does sound like quite a nice event. I do wonder what the teetotalers make of
it all, though...
Salut/Hi Mark Lipton,
Well there was one (AA) TT person, and he was very nostalgic. But I do my
best to de-mystify wine tastingh, and so most seem to take to it OK. They
were a lovely bunch this last lot.