Friday 29 May 2009

Chablis and Gypsies

This post started off along the lines of: "I often forget how much I like Chablis"... but fortunately I caught myself just in time. What was I trying to say? That I've drunk shed loads of it in the past? That because it's so well known I tend to ignore it? That I'm too busy drinking other expensive wine? None of this is true, a crying shame in the latter case, and if not kept in check, who knows what guff could spew forth ....."I will never tire of Chablis, be it with oysters, sea trout or simply unadorned, as 'al fresco' refreshment sat 'au jardin' with the first rays of summer tickling my newly shorn lawn".

I'm becoming increasingly aware of certain pit falls with wine writing. It's hard to ignore what has been written before, and a lot of my wine formative years were spent gleaning information from lifestyle magazines. Part of the problem is a lack of vocabulary. Things have to smell or taste "like" something or perhaps "evoke" something from the memory. One writer's description of a certain grape variety will never leave me:

"Flowers in the boudoir, ginger biscuits in the oven".

How fabulously laden is that? But here's a thing, try and guess which grape variety, because, and this is partly my point, despite never having seen a boudoir or baked a biscuit, I get it. 
(Answer at the end of this post). 

A friend invited us to dinner this week but asked to remain anonymous, so I'll call him Mr G. We often look after his dog, let's call him Dog A. We had some lovely food and wine at Mr G's. These two Chablis for starters. The straight one was good: minerally, buttery and no oak. I don't like oak in Chablis, it's just wrong. The premier cru Beauroy was more intense with a mid palate taste of what I can only describe as a boiled pineapple sweet. It has a finer acidity than the Chablis and is altogether more 'nervy' and complex.

Next up we had a 2005 Burgundy from a famous Cotes de Nuits village. Pretty special this one but still young. It's all there, but still developing the gamey, manure flavours pinot noir gets as it matures.

Finally a real cracker from St Emilion.

I love the idea of a "contemporary wine-maker". This is marvelous stuff from the 2004 vintage. Every time I drink something from this vintage I'm impressed, it's seriously underrated..... Right, stop, "Every time.... I'm impressed"...... 
I'm doing it again. Here's the truth: I've drunk 4 bottles of Bordeaux from the 2004 vintage, they were all very nice and I've probably read elsewhere about it being underrated. 
Anyway, Chateau Quercy 2004: "Lying by the campfire being fed plums by a ravishing gypsy, she tempting and dark, you, curious but afraid, the music starts up, wild and intoxicating, resistance is futile".

The answer is : Gewurztraminer.
If you want to try for that boudoir/biscuit experience go for M&S's own label Alsace. It's particularly good at the moment, but I'm afraid they're all out of ravishing gypsies.

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