It is so nice to have a drink after being locked up for a week that I will have several. Nice to see a friend and the partner, too.
Condrieu 1992, Guigal
Mid-yellow colour, not too bad for its age. It doesn’t smell that oxidised, either. It smells quite strongly of melon, but also vaguely meaty, which is a touch odd. It is quite mineral, too, which is nice, and there is a touch of obvious oak, which is surprising for a wine of this age; it must have been hellishly oaky when it was young. The palate has lots of weight, some minerality, and quite a lot of oak, but it tastes fucking horrible. The oak is completely nasty and it seems very blowsy and flabby. Guigal’s wines are always too freaking oaky and rarely have good balance. OK, a 1992 Condrieu is not a fair thing to judge his wines by, but I’ve had enough to know that the man is an unspeakable swine who does horrible things to lovely grapes. This one, for the record, is utterly vile.
Riesling Auslese Brauneberger-Juffer Sonnenuhr 2000, Fritz Haag
Greeny-yellow colour. Lovely slatey nose, very mineral. Great fruit, too, citrus and some peach. This smells quite ripe and is hilariously complex. What a lovely nose, to summarise. The palate has incredible harmony, taut linearity with good sweetness and incredible minerality. This is really beautiful, very long, oozing with style and bursting with class. Really a damned-good bottle of wine.
Saint-Aubin Premier Cru Sous la Roche Dumay 2004, Jean-Marc Boillot
Fuck me this has an oaky nose, I wasn’t quite expecting that. Smells a bit hot, but there is minerality and baby vomit there too; this is real white Burgundy. The palate is hellishly oaky, too. Lawks, this isn’t really in balance, the acidity is a quite harsh and the oak is really quite frightening. Some minerality, but really not that complex. I have been impressed by Jean-Marc Boillot’s minor wines in the past, but I am not sure that I really like this.
Cahors Cuvee Reservee de l’Aieul 1995, Chateau Eugenie
Bloody hell, what is this nose? It smells of horse-shit, coriander and vomit. Liquorice, too, and a freshly-used lawn-mower. It may be really expressive on the nose, but it smells shamefully bad. After the horrific excitement of the nose the palate is almost dull. There is a metallic character to it, and a lot of acidity, but no fruit, nothing nice, almost nothing nasty too. I’ve been presented this blind as a ‘comedy wine’, I don’t see anything funny about it.
Nuits-Saint-Georges Premier Cru Pruliers 1993, Gouges
A beguiling nose of meatiness, soft red fruit and earth. This is seriously complex. I love its rich, soil character, and the fruit, too, and also the complexity. Yum. The palate is really tannic, but bursting with totally lovely flavours. This may be masculine, but it is a real charmer; a charismatic body-builder. Very long, real style, great length. This is freaking triple-A. I’ve been told this is a ‘food wine’, but that is a concept I detest.
Cote Rotie 1997, Bernard Burgaud
Another wine presented blind. A very fragrant, giving, easy nose of dark fruit and spice. Northern Rhone Syrah, probably Cote Rotie, I’d guess. Nice style to the nose. The palate doesn’t quite have the fruit that is showing on the nose, but it has a great texture. The tannins are noble, but quite ripe and silky. It has a really good earthy character. This is really lovely. Burgaud? Really tits wine, from a proper vintage. 1998. Ah, I was so close.
Bull! To judge Guigal by his whites, and an old Condrieu at that is simply not fair. It would be the same as judging Voge by his St Peray; I just had the pleasure of drinking some 1982 and 1976 La Mouline and to call them over oaky or unbalanced is just plain wrong; They were lovely. The recent wines I’ve tried from the Guigal vineyards were all top bunny; You may not like their bigness, but to consider them vile or over-oaky is as misguided as the moronic fools (I mean this in a nice way) who once declared La Chapelle 1996 over-oaky on first release. Great Cote Rotie can age wonderfully and oaky in youth does not mean oaky at maturity.
I admit Peter led me astray into too violent a rant against Guigal, I’ve had some good wines made by him. However, I would stand by my suggestion that his wines are too big. Cote Rotie should be an elegant, refined, beautiful wine; I don’t think I can honestly say I have found those characteristics in the admittedly few single-vineyard wines of his I have had. If you feel you can correct me with a few examples from your rich and broad cellar I would, of course, try them with an open mind.
As for being a moronic fool, what can I say? I blame the medication and generally being mad.
Hmm! “Cote Rotie Should be…” Sounds pretty prescriptive to me. Is the world a finer place for diversity? You may prefer Burgaud and the nobility of his tannin most of the time, but the infrequent joys of the buxom and hearty should not be overlooked also.
And also, you were rude about the 1996 along time before you were really crazy. So there!
Prescriptive? My disclaimer clearly states that, “When it comes to wine there is an objective reality out there and I know what it is”. I am happy to try more muy expensivo Guigal’s (at someone else’s expense, naturally), but I feel confident in saying that I think I will continue to prefer Burgaud, Jamet, Clusel-Roch (the partner has just scored some of their lovely, lovely 05s) and anyone else who values beauty over mere size. I like buxom, on occasion (you may recall la belle Galvani), but I think Guigal’s single vineyards are monolithic rather than having the buxom charm of huge tits. The de Courcel 03s I raved about a period of time ago are buxom, when we tasted them with the winemaker he was not offended by my “Bien loché” comment, I love them.
On a related note, Jeremy mentioned Voge and I have had a few in recent year, including some of the 1995 Vieille Fontaine we purchased. All have been bloody awful. Just big with no refinement and a frankly harsh tannic structure. OK, you may say the Cornas should not be refined, but I prefer Lionnet Rochepertuis to any other Cornas. It also has the advantage of being affordable as well as refined. The partner scored a case of his final vintage (2005), so we can try some in the future just to demonstrate that I am ultimately right.
I am happy to admit I was wrong about Lash 96; I have enjoyed it on many occasions since that fateful day where I opened my mouth and put my foot right in it. But, I am also keen to point out that I was right to say the 95 was a lot better. Tried the 03? It is supposedly back to form.
Blaming me for leading you astray in your Guigal rant really won’t do. I recall defending his single-vineyard wines, admittedly on the basis only of tasting them out of cask all those years ago, when I though they were wonderful. I also pointed out that, given the severity of the Guigal rant, it is a good think that you have no money to be sued for. That said, in general rants are to be encouraged. They are thoroughly entertaining, so please keep them up. And if you are wrong (very rare, of course), have the courage of your convictions, stand your ground, and never give in, no matter how foolish you may look (it works for Geoff, after all).
Oh well, I would also welcome any opportunities to try Guigal single-vineyard wines. Be honest, we all would.