Cape Gazette
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Wine

The most mineral-driven white Burgundy is Meursault

By John McDonald | Jul 09, 2012

Hope all is well aupres les vignes. The Grove is jammin' and I'm happy I'm only working four days down there. This heat has me beat, and Chief Justice John Roberts has me flummoxed. What a jerk he is. Tax my rosy red butt.

Thomas Jefferson is rolling around in his grave. Probably thinking, "I warned you, folks."

He said, "I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people of all property - until their children wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered."

Coupled with a nice thank you note, I was gently chided for getting the vintage wrong on the Kuleto Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, naming it a 2009 rather than 2008. Jean Jacote was quick to email me. He is correct, but the review stands. The 2008 I sampled was an excellent glass of wine.

Meursault may be the most mineral-driven of the white Burgundies. If you enjoy the bright, crisp, mineral dry style of Meursault and can afford a $60 price tag for a fine Premier Cru, take a look at Joseph Drouhin Meursault Perrieres 2008. Clive Coates and Burghound’s Allen Meadows are two writers whose opinions are worth following. Coates writes that in good vintages the Perrieres is approaching a Grand Cru, and Meadows calls it ”the most persistent and elegant other than Chevalier or Le Montrachet.”  Rare atmosphere indeed! Look for white flowers (some apple blossom, acacia and honeysuckle), honey, citrus and background notes of toast. The flavors persist through the mid palate and the very long, clean finish. I rate it 93 points when priced under $65.

The Culprit 2010 has hit the shelves. Better than 2009, which I really enjoyed, this blend shows lovely red-purple; it opens, with time in the glass, to ripe raspberries, black cherries, wood-driven spice and silky tannins. Well structured with appropriate balance. Fruit and tannin persist through long finish. Culprit 2010 will improve in your cellar. The impatient need to decant and pour from the decanter to open this beauty. The raspberry finish is delightful. I served it with lamb and a fresh raspberry sauce. Recent buy price under $100 for six;  92 points McD.

Chateau de Beaucastel, one of 2009's highest rated, are on sale under $81. Hold fire, it should come down into $65 or less plus or minus inflation.. Way overhyped by big writers, WS 96 points, and there’s a ton of production with 4,000 cases imported to date. Wine will improve through 10 years; keep 25.  It is lovely and was reviewed here on release.

DeLille Cellars Grand Ciel Cabs should be on your list. Since 2004, they have been knocking it out of the box. One reason I haven’t written them is Tanzer and WS are all over them on release, driving prices through the roof. Go here to see results of ratings on pricing: www.wine-searcher.com/wine-105372-0001-delille-cellars-grand-ciel-cabernet-sauvignon-red-mountain-usa. You’ll find an instructive chart that is typical for most highly touted wine. Still, placing your name on DeLille Cellars' mailing list will provide access early, before wordsmiths create demand. Good luck and happy shopping. Remember you must use a local wine shoppe because the Dullards in Dover have mandated no shipper can deliver. A pox on their “Deldots,” sometimes referred to as heads.

I enjoy reading Snooth. Go here for an interesting article on the lesser-known Burgundy Villages: www.snooth.com/articles/6-villages-of burgundy/..

The article is well written and the pix are terrif. Space restrictions prevent me from producing this much info. If you don’t own a computer, the library is a great investment. Join there and read away. 

Ending with a bang seems appropriate this week. Following are two bang-for-your-buck, road-less-traveled beauties. Michel Chapoutier, who is best known for reds, has a 94-point RP, 90-point Schildknecht white Rousanne on the market for $150/case, Domaine Bila Haut Les Vignes Des Bila Haut 2010. Chapoutier, a big-name star in the Rhone, is making an even bigger name for himself. The 2010 whites have a complex, lovely bouquet of peony, honeysuckle, grapefruit and raspberry. The balance is dry, juicy and slightly saline. Nice cleansing, refreshing finish. The Bila Haut red is also a 93-point, mostly Syrah-driven wine.

Finally, Gotes del Priorat 2010 is a Carignan and Grenache blend. Half is aged in new French oak, Lovely bouquet of fraises du bois, raspberry and spice box with hints of lavender. Fine tannins on the mid palate lead to a repeat of the aromas through the finish. A bit softer than most Priorat, these are still huge and powerful.  Should cellar well through 2020. Rated 92 points when bought under $20. The 2009 are slightly better, in my opinion.

Hope you all had a bang-up Fourth and enjoyed a fifth or two. Younger readers should note, a fifth refers to 750 ml bottles of alcohol.

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