Thursday, January 21, 2010

Brad's Top 10 Wines of 2009, 3-4

3. 2001 Henri Gouges Les Pruliers, Nuits-Saint-Georges, Burgundy – This wine had everything a Burgundy should have and enlightened me further about old world/new world wines. The flavors of the area are hard to match, and I would never try, because we simply have different grapes and different programs. I particularly loved this bottle because after a two-hour tasting in Christian Gouges’s cellar in 2006, it took me two bottles to get back to something as great as I had tasted there. He whipped out a 1973 that was powered with mincemeat, spices, and dirt. Earth itself doesn’t migrate into your wine according to the best evidence I have, but earth flavors exist in these wines and are nice in the deux mille un mixed with aromas of raspberry and delicate small flowers in the spring air. Surround in a bit of oak (neither Gouges nor many of the Burgundies I know are powered by oak) and wait 8 years, and you get wines like this. The real thing.

4. 2004 Evesham Wood Seven Springs –Speaking of aging, if there is one winemaker that looks forward to the magical 5-10 year window of pinot noir maturity, it’s Russ Raney. And, lo, I just happened to have a 5-year-old sitting around. I remember 2004 since it was the first year I made wine. I was making Illahe (which wasn’t called Illahe) at Vitae Springs Vineyards in South Salem, and Forrest Klaffke came by on a warm day. He looked at my brine bins with crushed pinot in them and I asked his opinion of the vintage. He said “Normal.” So, in a normal vintage, Russ produced this spectacular wine—easy to drink after five years, with an aroma of ash wood, a box of nails, ferns, and strawberry compote. That’s true complexity. He harvests earlier than almost anyone, following the heuristic that 105-110 days after bloom is the sweet spot, and this always seems too early until five years later. Buy cases!

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