- posted 13 years ago
3 reasonably priced wines, all much anticipated, with one slight disappointment, one happily fulfilling expectations, and one home run.
So my Champagne dinner Saturday had started at 5:30, even with a long dinner I was home by ten. Waiting for Betsy to call after concert, I decided a glass of red would do. So I opened the 2002 Wayward Pilgrims of the Vine "the Shadow" Syrah (California). This is an Edmund St John wine, but that's only visible in the small print. I believe story was that Steve Edmunds wasn't happy with 2002 Syrah fruit, so blended various parcels and released when he felt more ready (but at $12, I guess he rebranded to not undercut normal releases). This got good buzz, but I was pretty disappointed at first. Rather generic Syrah - straightforward blackberry-blueberry fruit with a firm tannin level and decent acidic structure. Perfectly acceptable for the price, but not exciting. But retasted Sunday evening, a much more complex wine had emerged. Smoke and leather over meaty Syrah fruit, a sense of earth. I think I'll put my remainder away for a couple of years to see what happens. Very nice for price. B+
Sunday was a long day (I spoke at 4 consecutive masses at a church in Crestwood). Little energy for dinner, I took some defrosted chicken breast and rummaged through fridge, came up with celery and leeks to bake it with. Used a little white wine for moisture, then the same wine with dinner- the 2005 Thomas-Labaille "Les Monts Damnes" Chavignol Sancerre (I always struggle with how to list non-appelation places like Chavignol!). This was a bit of a disappointment- very typical, citrus (grapefruit) on the palate with an accent of flint, but without anything that stood up and grabbed my interest. A perfectably correct and acceptable Sancerre, but maybe a couple shades below what I expected from a favorite producer in a very good year. Still a solid B
Monday I picked up Betsy at LGA, came home to where I had dinner prepped. Did a very simple pork tenderloin with Calvados cream sauce (recent Bittman article in NYT- you brown the tenderloins, then slice and brown cut sides- very easy, very good), steamed broccoli, and new potatoes. I gave Betsy choice of big white or light red, she felt like red. I opened the much anticipated 2005 Pierre-Marie Chermette (Domaine du Vissoux) "Poncie" Fleurie. Big ripe Beaujolais, really lovely, excellent depth of fruit. Fruit is darker than I'm used to with Fleurie, but so tasty I don't care. Maybe doesn't have quite the sprightly grace of Fleuries like the '02 Coudert regular bottling, but makes up for it in depth, richness, and class. This is a wine that can please Beaujolais fans yet also appeal to those who sometimes find Beauolais too thin. A-
Grade disclaimer: I'm a very easy grader, basically A is an excellent wine, B a good wine, C mediocre. Anything below C means I wouldn't drink at a party where it was only choice. Furthermore, I offer no promises of objectivity, accuracy, and certainly not of consistency.