An evening’s variably satisfying drinking with some friends

We had some friends around earlier tonight and decided to open wines of general drinking standard. Some where very noticeably better than others.

Riesling Grand Cru Sommerberg L31E 2002, Albert Boxler

[image image_id=2131 title=”Riesling Grand Cru Sommerberg L31E 2002, Albert Boxler” align=”left” ]
Whilst this has some pure fruit and refined minerality on the nose there is also a slightly dirty, cardboardy character as well; it is not corked but this not in entirely good condition. I do like its precise, very well-defined minerality though. The palate also has hints of that dirtiness which do distract from the other, quite lovely, characters of this wine. There is a lot of limey fruit and the minerality is really complex but the main character of this palate is its screaming, and quite painful, acidity. It is in perfect balance, though, and I love acidity even if it hates my stomach. Sadly this wine is not up to the very high standard I’ve come to expect from Boxler, but it is not really his fault; there is something a bit wonky about this bottle.

La Grola 2006, Allegrini

[image image_id=2129 title=”La Grola 2006, Allegrini” align=”left” link=”true] Lots of bitter cherry fruit on the nose. This is rather nice and I feel if I was presented it blind that fruit character would allow me to instantly guess it was Italian. I like it that it is not frighteningly alcoholic, it is a balanced, accessible nose even if it is not terribly complex. The palate has ripe but a touch bitter fruit which matches its slightly tough tannic structure quite well. There is good acidity as well. It has reasonable length with the bitter cherry fruit and acidity persisting. However, despite these good points it is still not terribly complex. Whilst this is certainly clean and fruity, it is a wine for people who like a bit of rough.

Cornas ‘Domaine de Rochepertuis’ 2004, Jean Lionnet

[image image_id=2127 title=”Cornas Domaine de Rochepertuis 2004, Jean Lionnet” align=”right” ] The plummy fruit on this nose is very attractive but quite understated, there is also the vaguest hint of greenness but it is not very prominent so this isn’t a problem. Indeed, these aromas together with its earthy tang make this quite complex; I like this nose quite a lot. More plummy fruit on the palate with some tannins which are a bit tough and very Cornas-y. The acidity is also very present and fits the Cornas model well. That hint of greenness also shows but it is not a problem in the slightest, it adds to the considerable complexity of this palate. I really like its long finish which shows its complexity of flavours very well. This is good stuff and was quite the bargain.

Riesling Grand Cru Altenberg de Bergheim Vendanges Tardives 1998, Domaine Marcel Deiss

[image image_id=2133 title=”Riesling Grand Cru Altenberg de Bergheim Vendanges Tardives 1998, Domaine Marcel Deiss” align=”left” ] This wine is from the period after Jean-Michel Deiss had lost his marbles and started making truly awful wines, so I’m worried before even tasting this. Oh deary me, this nose is unfeasibly dull. All it has is a bit of candied citrus fruit and a hint of oxidative baked apple character. That is it; this great vineyard from a great vintage making a wine that smells so utterly one dimensional shows there is a serious problem with the winemaking strategy. Hell’s bells, the palate is also quite dreary. There is a bit of sugar, the suggestion of acidity and slight hints of that candied fruit and nothing else. It should have powerful minerality and far more complex, late harvest fruit action. I’d like a lot more acidity too. This is another totally shameful performance by Deiss, it is light years away from the quality it should show and which he is quite capable of delivering if he put his mind (which is clearly deranged these days) to it. Rather than a complex, engaging, sex-tastic wine those of us who didn’t refuse to drink any more (which I did) had to slog through this vinous wallpaper of mind-buggering tedium. I’m perfectly willing to admit that M. Deiss is not my favourite person. He stopped making brilliant wines in order to produce baroque, over-blown wines of horribleness all justified by the most cretinous, asinine philosophy I’ve been forced to tolerate to since I read a religious philosophy book. The fellow is an arse and should have his vineyards confiscated. Sub-interest. Really very sub-interest.