Extravagant Mosel Riesling, fervid Chablis with some red Burgundy to follow up sounds like an experience every lover of good times would revel in. However, as I rarely travel on the London Underground at rush hour and that the resultant proximity to more and smellier people than even Berlusconi invites to his bunga bunga sex parties provokes my paranoia to scream with petrifying ferocity, I did not arrive at my drinking engagement with James and Peter in the most balanced of states. It took all my powers of oenological obsession to focus on the drinks and give them the respect they were due. They were certainly all meritorious of respect apart from, alas, the bottle I contributed. My sense of personal achievement for the evening could well have been distinctly flaccid.
Fortunately, the goodies were clearly good and sharing such things with enlightened company can even perk up a disturbed melancholiac like me. By the end of the evening I was feeling charged with mirth and even the murderer-packed train to horrible, horrible Woolwich seemed merely eccentric rather than being intimidating to the usual inordinate degree. Anyway, I’ll get on to the notes.
Riesling Spatlese Graacher Himmelreich 2003, Willi Schaefer
European wines from 2003 are a mixed bag. It was frightfully hot and some lack acidity or, far worse, have any hint of harmony, elegance or refinement baked out of them. This nose is a shade on the buxom side, with the fruit heading slightly in the direction of exoticism, yet it lacks nothing in terms of attractiveness or class. Even those delicate slate mineral aromas one seeks in decent Mosel Riesling have not been obliterated by over-ripeness. Yeah, smells good. The palate is suffused with lavish fruit of voluptuous character and I’m finding it rather enjoyable. It has just enough acidity to keen it racy, same with its minerality, even if it not one of the stomach-scalding, linear experiences I rather like. There is a lot to smile about here, and it is very pleasing that it is in an accessible stage of development; it’ll keep, though.
Chablis Premier Cru Vaillons 2002, Domaine Francois Raveneau
I am not fortunate enough to drink Raveneau Chablis terribly frequently, but when I do I often find something slightly vegetal and damp about the set of aromas they present which remind me more than a little of Savennieres: this is no exception. I suppose vegetal and damp don’t sound particularly winsome descriptors, but this nose is freaking tits. It is not like most Chablis, it flirts with being actively unclean, yet the interplay between distressed lemon fruit, rich minerality and those damp tones create a whole olfactory experience which I cannot help but love. Certainly complex and definitely outlandish. These unconventional characters also define the palate and result it in being an absolute winner. The lemon fruit might have a bit of fungus growing on the skin, the stone flavours have some mud that has not been washed off them and I wonder if all the incredible acid has been collected from the emissions of ants provoked to defend their mound, but they work, really they do! This is drinking fantastically well with wonderful, outlandish, sky-larking with the whole idea of what Chablis should be. Brilliant. Although this was better.
Nuits-Saint-Georges Premier Cru Les Perrieres 2006, Domaine Robert Chevillon
My first sniff of this worries me no end. Whilst the damp and vegetal aromas in the Raveneau worked with compelling style, the mouldy edge of dusty filth this nose presents makes me think there is a problem with this bottle. I popped one of these a couple of weeks ago and it was the cat’s arse, Nuits suffused with hedonistic pleasure, I’m not getting many hints of that from this bottle. Yeah, there is some fruit, but its not right. The palate is also funky and off-putting. My drinking associates suggest it is just a bad wine rather than being faulty, but given my recent experience I am prepared to think it is just this bottle and will not sell my remaining bottles to the hard of tasting. We gave up on it pretty bleeding sharpish.
With these next two Chambolle Premier Crus I’m not going to fart around and will cut right to the chase and delineate their essential characters.
Chambolle-Musigny Premier Cru Les Chatelots 2007, Domaine Arlaud
The sensuous character of the 2007 vintage and winningly charming personality of Chambolle combine in this wine to give me the impression of singer (styled by a French chum as a bimbo ethno-latino) Shakira, especially when she does that wolf-howl thing for her She-Wolf song (which I find distinctly erotic).
Chambolle-Musigny Premier Cru Les Gruenchers 2001, Domaine Fourrier
2001 is a leaner, less buxom vintage, but still one I fancy the nips off. Consequently, it strikes me as being much like Milla Jovovich who I lusted after when she appeared in The Fifth Element (a deeply European science-fiction film). Just goes to show one doesn’t need massive bouncers to be desirable – I don’t have massive bouncers.