Today’s Taste .:Delanger~Pieri~Produttori di Carema
Thursday is always fun. Distributors from all over the State come in and try to get us to like their offerings in the hope that we will buy their juice for the weekend. Sometimes the Chinese take out is better, sometimes not. On offer today were some really good wines and we dug deep into the wallet and extracted a few greens to buy the following wines:
Domaine Colin-Deleger Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru – ‘En Remilly’ 2006
I am a total sucker for white Burgundy. To me these wines are the benchmark for chardonnay and are some of the most exciting and brilliant wines from any wine producing region. You have oft heard the Realtors quote ‘location, location, location’; well much the same is true for Burgundy but interject the word ‘producer’ as well. When you have great location and a great producer you end up with one of the finest wines in the world. The Colin family have been making great wine in Burgundy for decades and this offshoot of the famous family does not disappoint. Combine that with the location of their ‘Remilly’ clos and you have everything…almost. At a typical price of over $120 it’s not exactly wine to buy when the in-laws are over. At $79.00 it becomes a veritable steal.
Start off with the color – pale yellow straw, translucent like a beautiful opal. The bouquet lifts up with hints of gasoline, paraffin wax and jasmine.That aroma pervades the first lip smacking taste and then you get the acidity equation – crisp ripe apple, a touch of tangerine skin and pickled grapefruit skin. What draws you into this wine though is its depth – think the BP Gulf Well, except in this case the fish are happy. As I started this description I boldly took a sip of the wine…the taste is still in my mouth - that’s well over three minutes. I suspect that this wine could last another 6-8 years in bottle but then you might lose some of what makes it so different from all the others – you might gain and extra gulp of gasoline but you will lose the granny smith. I tried to buy the last 4 cases at the importers but I suspect I may only get 18 bottles. Six for me and the rest stays in the store – $79 for a very brief period. (Market price is $115.00 – if you can find it)
Pieri, Rosso di Montalcino 2007
Here’s the skinny on Brunello. If you don’t have the money you don’t have to buy it. Yes its delicious, big, steak devouring, but the prices in recent years have soared. So think Bordeaux – the 1st growths all make ‘seconds’. Even they can’t sell $2,000 bottle wines every day, and so they make a less expensive wine with their ‘declassified’ first growth grapes. Think Pavillon Rouge to Margaux. So now think Rosso di Montalcino. With that background knowledge, take the lesson one step further. If Pavillon Rouge were the primary wine and only in a fantastic vintage were they to make Margaux, the Pavillon would be a pretty good bottle. I call it the ‘step-up’ wine – Agostina Pieri really makes Rosso. Only in exceptional years does he make a Brunello, but so good are his Rosso’s that he is still the only producer to ever win the Gambero Rosso’s coveted Tre Biccieri for a mere Rosso di Montalcino. We tasted the 07 this morning and it was outstanding – as one critic put it ‘ a bottle full of grace’. At $30.00 this is just too good to pass up.
From Brunello look a-likes to Barolo stunt men. Barolo wines come from the region south of Turin in Italy’s northern Piedmont region. Hark back to the comment I made in Colin-Deleger’s wine about location – that’s the key to great Barolo; its all about the mountain side, the elevation and the sun. Far up in the northwestern region of Piedmont, crouching under Mont Blanc and the Swiss Alps is the Carema DOC. This wine is also 100% Nebbiola, grown on huge pergolas and tied down to prevent stem damage during the fierce winds they get rolling off the Alps. The pergolas also elevate the grapes so they bronze in maximum sunlight. But the wine is Carema not Barolo – think poor cousin with a Porsche Turbo not a Ferrari! The wine we tasted this morning has all the brut masculinity of a great Barolo but it added a dimension that I, as I age, have more affinity toward – accessibility. These are wines that can hold up to any food you throw at them and be drunk the same day you buy them. Unlike Barolo these wines do not need to lie in the cellar until your teeth fall out. Buy them now, drink them tonight – fast food hits fast wine. $32.00 for a look-a-like Barolo – are you kidding?