Friday Tasting Bar
3-6 p.m. $5 fee (waived for club members)
I get invited to a lot of tastings and go to few. But on Monday there was a small tasting of some new, non-Burgundy wines from Burgundy specialist Becky Wasserman. Even with Jason out of town and me working, I felt I needed to go to this tasting. And I am glad I did!
It was a small event, with maybe 6 different producers but the quality across the board was great, so much so that I bought 7 new wines we have never sold before. Quantities available were generally not large so I figured it was buy them now or I might miss out.
But of course, I need to sell them, and what better way to entice you to buy than pour them for you? So today we will pour three of the wines I liked enough to buy some quantity of, in the hope that you will like them as much as I do.
2015 Jean Baptiste Souillard Syrah - Northern Rhone, France
$28.99 Soul Wine Price $24.65
If more syrah tasted like this I would drink more of it. Words like purity, balance, soul, complexity, structure sprang to my mind as I tasted it. And all at 12.5% alcohol! It doesn't seem possible that a wine of this depth and gravitas be just 12.5%. But I am glad.
Importer Becky Wasserman says of Souillard's wines:
"Jean-Baptiste's wines are like nothing else we've had from the Northern Rhône -at least recently. As to the reds, they are absolutely captivating. In this first vintage, though they are unmistakably Syrah, there is none of the primary violets and black fruit, nor any of the bacon. They are so much more than that. They unfold tirelessly, a 'catch me if you can' between a very whole-cluster-Burgundy faded rose petals and magnificent, hyper-tense, savory. On the palate, the flavors are all savory, salty, with bright acidity and great structure."
- Size: 0.1 ha (0.25 ac)
- Variety: Syrah
- Vine Age: Planted in the 1980s and 1990s
- Terroir: Two parcels in the Drôme (southern limit of Northern Rhône), soils clay over sand
- Viticulture: Lutte raisonnée
- Vinification: Partial whole cluster, indigenous yeast fermentation, 3 weeks' maceration with pump-overs in stainless steel tank. 13 months' aging in older oak barrels, unfined, unfiltered.
2017 Domaine Serol Eclat de Granite - Côte Roannaise, Loire Valley, France
$20.99 Soul Wine Price $17.85
We have sold Gamay from the Roannaise before, so I am a bit familiar. Still my palate was delightfully surprised by the almost electric liveliness of this wine. The gamy in this far flung part of the Loire, the closest appellation to the river's source, comes from vineyards planted in high acid volcanic soil atop granite bedrock which is more typical of top vineyards in Beaujolais then the Loire. That does not mean I think this tastes like Beaujolais, I think it deserves to stand on its own as a distinct, and delicious expression of the gamay grape. And at a price that means I will be drinking it regularly.
- Size: 8-10 ha (19.77-24.71 ac) depending on the year
- Variety: Gamay St. Romain
- Vine Age: Planted from the mid 1930s to the mid-2000s
- Terroir: Mix of elevations and exposures, with soil of granite rocks and fine granite gravel
- Viticulture: Certified organic, under official biodynamic conversion
- Vinification: 40% de-stemmed, 9 days' maceration and indigenous yeast alcoholic fermentation in temperature-controlled cement tanks, pneumatic pressing. 6 months' aging in cement tank, racked as needed, light filtration.
2016 Jérôme Bretaudeau V Sens Rouge - Muscadet. Loire Valley, France
$30.99 Soul Wine Price $26.35
Before the internet we had to really dig to find information about a wine. No click, click. But even with the internet I could not find much info on this wine; no web site, just brief mentions of this wine mostly in Europe and not even a mention of this particular wine in a profile by a leading Loire knowledgeable wine writer. What's a wine merchant to do? Well, I know what to do; tell you that when I tasted this wine, I thought it a pure, gorgeous expression of cabernet franc. But there was an otherness to the wine, and that otherness turns out to be the 30% merlot that is blended into this wine. This does not make the wine bigger or darker but does add a dimension of texture and a length of flavor that I really was taken with.
50% whole cluster, 50% de-stemmed, alternating layers to insure infusion. Maceration in closed 350L wooden foudre for about 12 days with no punch-downs or pump-overs during this time. Aged for one year in foudre with marc. No fining or filtration
- Size: 1.5 ha (3.71 ac)
- Variety: 70% Cabernet Franc, 30% Merlot
- Vine Age: Approximately 15 to 20 years, massal selection
- Terroir: Granite and white/pink quartz soils. Gentle southern/southeastern exposure.
- Viticulture: Certified organic, official biodynamic conversion