Thursday, January 28, 2010

Brads Top 10 wines of '09, 5 & 6

Photo Credit: David Owen

5. 2008 Genius Loci Cuvée Desireé – One of the fun things about working with Michael is seeing how what he does differently from Illahe affects his wine. In 2008 he began using oak to age his pinot gris. Is it the oak that gives it the broad, accommodating mouthfeel, while still allowing for a strong pillar of acid to support the tent of happiness it creates on the tongue? That can’t be the only answer; one answer is excellent attention in the vineyard, a nice, warm spot for pinot gris, and wise choice of yeast. I’m sure that Michael’s time with Brian O’Donnell at Belle Pente helped him understand the different methods of gris-making, since Brian uses a traditional Alsatian method, and Michael something in between that and a modern stainless method. Michael coddles this wine, giving it a high self-esteem and a can-do attitude that springs forth with flavors of peach, apple, and truffle.

6. 2001 Cristom Marjorie – Cristom never ceases to amaze me. 2001 was supposed to be an off year, yet this wine, eight years out, was packed with deep flavors, in the prime of its life, and was downed at a party in about 20 minutes. I was the only person at the party. No, not really, it’s just a popular wine in a heavy bottle and it continues to be what Oregon pinot noir is all about—complexity, depth, and style. Cristom always seems to me to have a raspberry or blackberry jam aroma that is very pleasing. As we work with native and whole-cluster ferments, Cristom’s wine reminds us that everything’s going to be okay. Let’s keep small domaine wines as an important part of ecotopia, please.

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