Cape Gazette
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Wine

The best Chablis will cellar at least 15 years

By John McDonald | Jul 08, 2013

Here’s wishing you the best Fourth of July ever. The way things are going it may be the last year it is celebrated. The very thoughts of that problem caused me to sample “large quantities” a la Beldar. Before you write to complain about my political stance, I want to let you know you won’t be the first to name me a “Conehead.”

Snooth ran a terrific article on Sauvignon Blanc priced between $10 and $20 June 20. Regulars know I am a big fan of Greg dal Piaz. In the article he writes up 12 samples. Should have subtitled column The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Nevertheless, a worthy read and some are available locally. Use Google for access. If you have any of the La Crema Monterey, Pinot Noir, 2009 left, drink it this year. We bought in at $17 in 2011 and it is around now from $24 to $26/bottle. The 93-point 2007 Domaine William Fevre Chablis Grand Cru les Preuses is still improving. We bought at $60, now at $80, and still a great buy. Window through at least 2018.   Keep in mind that the best Chablis will cellar at least 15 years. The 2010 was rated high 90s by all. Price went from $65-$85. I expect it comes back to low $70s, then buy in; will cellar through 2025.

The 2009 Domaine la Milliere Chateauneuf du Pape Vieilles Vignes recommended here in 2011 at $29, now selling for $40, and still a bargain. Ever since Tanzer, one of the toughest, honest critics wrote: S. Africa’s Hamilton Russell Vineyards, Valley Chardonnay, Walker Bay, 2008, with a 92, I have been following the label. The 2009 brought more raves. Can be found for $30 and the 2010 is its equal, selling for $28. Light golden colored, it opens to a complex bouquet. Oak-driven cedar, toast are assertive, but don’t mask the green apple and melon aromas. On the palate more complexity, ripe apple, melon, kiwi with toast,  hazelnut and more cedar. The balance is fine as I expect the oak to incorporate with time. Minerals and green fruit provide the astringency needed through a long finish. A very solid 93 points.

Reid asked about the 2011 Louis Latour, Corton Charlemagne, Grand Cru. I love Corton Charlemagne but at $100/bottle and more, it is not in my budget. Reid, let me say this - if you want to buy Corton take a look at the Latour 2006-10, all selling below $85 and rated 93-96 points, plus they are in their window except the 2010. I would say the 2007, 93 points and completely ready at $70, is your best QPR. Only buy what you can drink, as it will be passing peak 2013-14.  Complex bouquet of toast, green fruit and dried rose opens to grapefruit, pie spice and apple with a creamy round mouthfeel. Clean acid sustains a long finish that repeats the flavors. For the paisani, remember the highly touted 2006 Brunelli. I asked you to keep your powder dry when they were released in 2010 and selling for a ridiculous $100/bottle. Happy days are here again and many of the best are on the market now at $846/case. They are still young. The window opens in 2015. If you want to buy look for Serio Pacenti, Pellagrilli,  Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2006. High 90s. Originally tannic this wine is coming together nicely. Dark garnet color opens to cherry, flowers and spice. On the palate flavors repeat nose while adding a hint of tar. Coming into balance nicely with a lovely dry finish.  Please hoist a fifth to celebrate the Fourth. I would like to suggest Freemark Abbey Merlot 2010.

It goes great with all things barbecue. Dark garnet color, with a mixed bouquet of violets, black cherry, plum, dark chocolate and oak driven pie spice; it is smooth on palate with more black cherry and plum, balanced acid-tannin and a pleasing long, clean finish. Just starting into window should continue through 2018; 90 points if purchased under $20.

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