Coronavirus Drinkathon – Part 5

Joe Gilmour Thoughts

2017 Bourgogne Aligote Le Clou 34 Claire Naudin-Ferrand

“Stimulation in body and cell.
For the good and misguided.
Desperation I’m under your spell.
Misunderstood and derided.

Gimme new kicks
I want to go deeper
Never been to keen a timekeeper
Show me new tricks
You can get me on the beeper
I’m a pure new pleasure seeker.”

There are as many ways to enjoy wine as there are wines to drink. The quirky. The drink so fast it could be apple juice. The serious. The difficult. The great disappointments. One follows one. Peak follows trough.

But pleasure, that’s important. A wine must deliver pleasure.

 This was what I was pondering when I thought about the 2017 vintage of Le Clou 34. The 2014 was one of the most staggeringly profound expressions of Aligote in the modern era.  To my mind better than Coche. Better than Ente. Better than Roulot. A true work of art. An Aligote of pleasure and profundity. A one off?

The 2017 is very good, but to me it seems to amp up the serious and forgo the swaggering drinkability of the 2014. It is a very nice wine but it is so painfully understated and refined that you want to drunkenly jab it with your elbow and tell it to cheer up a bit.

Save me from fading afraid.
The tears of a fool on parade.
Quietly turn into stone.
Make me flesh and bone

Joe GilmourCoronavirus Drinkathon – Part 5

Coronavirus Drinkathon – Part 4.

Joe Gilmour Thoughts

2014 Chatons de Garde Andrea Calek

For sheer drinkability, style and substance the wines of Andrea Calek take some beating. Whilst they do not offer a total absence of flaws, so much is delivered that complaing about that a hint of VA or some mousiness after day 3 seems a bit childish.

A deep core of dark fruit with a hint of bitterness but an abundance of mid-palate complexity to balance things out.

This cuvee, made from 100% Syrah has more than a passing resemblance to the mighty Thierry Allemand’s Cornas. As if the two were brothers, Thierry hard working and high achieving. Andrea staying out late at night and writing his homework on the bus on the way to school.

Joe GilmourCoronavirus Drinkathon – Part 4.

Coronavirus Drinkathon – Part 3.

Joe Gilmour Thoughts

After a quiet day at work, I thought I’d shift some of the tiles in our courtyard. That done, or er, well, on its way – I was thirsty.

A good chance to try, 2002 Meursault Clos Velle Darviot-Perrin. Into the premox dangerzone once more. Let’s keep our hard hats on.

First bottle was premoxed, not that badly, but enough to merit the sink rather than the throat. Second bottle lovely – not a high-def, powerful Meursault, but really gentle, lightly toasty and drinking perfectly now. Not old in the least. One forgets sometimes how well white Burgundy even of modest appellations can age. A really nice expression of terroir – nothing forced. I looked this up as I wasn’t sure where Clos Velle was. It is a the eastern end of the village, and a monopole of the Perrins, only half a hectare that yields about 250 cases or so. I like the quote from Steen Olson which I would agree with “Darviot-Perrin is sadly somewhat overlooked by many, and that is indeed a mistake.”

Joe GilmourCoronavirus Drinkathon – Part 3.

Coronavirus Drinkathon – Part 2

Joe Gilmour Thoughts

Is it the weekend? is it Friday? is it Monday? Who knows, everyday feels the same. Time to uncork another bottle.

2016 Beaujolais Pierre Cotton

Ever since Guy Breton recommended the work of Thillardon and Cotton as the best of the ‘new wave’ I’ve gone after his wines. To me, he combines some of the high-wire act of acidity and intensity of Dutraive with a bit more stability, fruit and juiciness. This to me was a perfect bottle of Beaujolais. It was everything one wants. In context, this is only the 3rd vintage out of the traps – Cottons’ first wine separate from his families estate was in 2014. His vineyards extend mostly around the cellar and around the high south-facing slopes next to Château Thivin. A good situation. This has in my opinion still has five years minimum to burn – on day 3 it was every bit as good, with perhaps just the tiniest hint of mousiness on the end. Really, here is a great talent. I bow my head.

Joe GilmourCoronavirus Drinkathon – Part 2

Coronavirus Drinkathon – Part 1

Joe Gilmour Thoughts

What a shitty few weeks this is turning into, with no prospect of immediate improvement. This is the first of a few posts of odd bottles I’m drinking. Taking the opportunity to raid the cellar, flatten the curve of ennui, self-isolate some good bottles and boost the mood.

1999 Latour-Martillac Blanc

In my opinion, the spectrum of quality in Sauvignon Blanc is more compressed than for other varieties. At the top you may have say Vatan, Haut-Brion Blanc and at the bottom you may have various Sauvignon Blancs of dismal aspiration and industrial quantity. But in between, the difference between say, Francoise Cotat, Didier Dagueneau, this wine and Laville Haut-Brion is not that large.

This 1999 is drinking sensationally. The colour is bright yellow, almost luminous, the nose full of sharp apples, energy, fresh minty oak and excellent structure. It is fading a little on the finish, but it’s done its job superbly. Tough sell these days as the market for White Bordeaux is sadly not that huge. Why is this? I was thinking of Dagueneau when I had this, whose wines range from thrilling to deeply average.  A very overrated producer now but one whose wines sell inexplicably like loo-roll in a health scare.

2018 St-Joseph Lou Taissou

This is a wine of great quality, but on the first night it was too young and showing mostly exuberant fruit – on the second night it had much more savoury character, white pepper and Northern Rhone brio – a quite luxurious wine. From younger vines, so perhaps lacking some of the intensity that one might get elsewhere, but devastatingly stylish.

Joe GilmourCoronavirus Drinkathon – Part 1

Sir Mix-a-Lot

Joe Gilmour Thoughts

My early adventures in mixing my two favourite beverages, milk and apple juice didn’t go too well. Time has been a patient teacher though, and I’m getting better. Without the prying and suspicious eyes of other wine professionals, I’ve been practicing in the kitchen. Mixing wines.

Selosse Champagne too expensive for a Monday night? try 1 part Fino sherry to 2 parts NV Champagne. Want to keep hold of your 1996 Leflaive’s* for a special occasion, try a decent young Maconnais with a quarter of old Jura Chardonnay. Sacriligious maybe. Idiotic possibly, but an interesting experiment when you have many wines open of various things.

I think it’s easier to blend white wines then red, particularly as a way of marrying aged complexity with vitality.

I haven’t limited the experience to cheap wines either, I remember blending some different vintages of Vega Sicilia and finding the sum of the parts greater than any of the components.

It seems it’s a passion shared by fellow wine lover and lost soul Rudi Kuneriwan. Wanted and found by the FBI for one of the largest wine counterfeiting operations of modern times. Me, I think he just liked to blend old wines. He just took it too far. Quite a bit too far. I have a certain sympathy with the view of the Gray Report who says:

“Who would you rather spend an evening with: the forger Rudy Kurniawan, or the people who bought fake wine from him? Kurniawan, an Indonesian national with a great palate, would be so much more interesting. I can’t think of a worse way to spend three hours than beside some guy who calls himself “the Punisher” because he has more prestigious bottles in his cellar than I do.”.

Although anyone who calls himself the ‘punisher’ may well be a good laugh and Rudy does come across as a one-dimensional wine-nerd whose idea of chat consists of responding to whatever wine you describe with a superior one that he just drunk.

Some of his recipes went along the following lines: 1945 Mouton – 50% 1988 Cos d’Estournel, good elegant but quite understated wine – so, soup it up: 25% Chateau Palmer, 25% Californian Cabernet. Sounds quite nice.  Could it pass as 1945 Mouton? I doubt it.  Additionally – I would also rather drink unadulterated versions of the first 2 wines, than that melange. There is something to be said for the original after all. Part of the attraction of mixing two wines is that you can try them separately first –

If not, in a strange sort of way, philosophically, you’re not actually mixing wines anyway.

* Better bring a back-up.

Joe GilmourSir Mix-a-Lot