Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Whites of France

Last night was another meeting of the WSET Tasting Club. Ok, so that isn't the official name but that's what we have for now. This was the first time that the whole group was able to get together since the class...and let me just say that this group is a riot. Well, so am I...I guess. At least Peter thought so since he hadn't heard me say more than 5 words during our 11 weeks of class :-).

The night started with a ridiculous spread of cheeses and charcuterie presented by Dona and her hubby Chris (thanks guys!) Then we headed to the patio for pre-tasting sips of Ken Forrester Sauvignon Blanc. I proceeded to be eaten alive by mosquitoes as I sat enjoying the wine and conversation, to the point that I actually thought I was breaking out in hives! No big deal, the wine was great and I'm not really a big sauvignon blanc fan. But I will give this one a 2nd glance in the wine shop, very fruit, crisp with high acidity but not the grassy herbal taste I'm used to with sauvignons.

Back inside we sat down to a placemat with 12 glasses and people began pouring out the wines in their paper bags (this was a blind tasting). We entered out wines on a spreadsheet when we came in and then they were wrapped. The spreadsheet was printed out so we could match the wines we tasted to what we thought they were. Funny thing though, we had 2 red wines in front of us and 1 red on the sheet. Found out later that the 2 reds were the same thing! If that wasn't funny enough, we had 7 whites on the list...but only 6 in front of us. The joke behind that was that 2 of the whites that we were tasting were the same thing AND 2 of the ones on the list were still in a bag on the living room floor!! They never made it into the tasting, HAHA!! We all got a good laugh out of that one.

But enough about the tasting shenanigans. On with the notes. There were actually 7 whites and 1 red, one of the whites was a champagne.

First up, a 2007 William Fevre Chablis. I brought this one, seeing as though I actually went to this winery on my trip to Burgundy, it was a natural choice. And a great choice. Chablis is the greatest example of Chardonnay in my opinion, with its dryness and high acidity, there is no oak aging so the fresh citrus fruit flavors and minerality come through on this one. Clearly I was able to select this one correctly blind.

2007 Sancerre -- Not your average sauvignon blanc, with flavors of apple and banana on the nose. The palate was surprisingly different with crisp grapefruit and lime. Medium on the finish but a great wine that is ready to drink now, but can age. My 'guess' was correct at first, then I 2nd guessed myself and got it wrong.

2007 Entre Deux Mers -- A youthful white with citrus, limey fruit on the nose. Dry with high acidity, this wine displayed the citrus flavors on the palate along with grass and mineral notes. I don't believe this wine will get much better with aging so I would drink it within the next year. This was my first taste of an Entre Deux Mers from Bordeaux and I was very pleased. With that being said, I didn't get this one right either.

2002 Les Pierres Girard Anjou Blanc -- At 7 yrs old, this already developed wine was a bit closed on the nose fruitwise, just giving honey, stewed scents. After a bit of swirling we got the intensity on the palate. Fairly high in alcohol and body, rich tastes of pear, pineapple, and apple came forth. A bit of almonds and minerals on the finish, I think this one has done all the aging that it's going to do.

Michel Turgy Reserve Champagne -- Since we could clearly tell this was a Champagne we actually tasted it first, but it was in the 5th tasting spot. Pale and lemon green in color, the nose of apple and yeast that are typical of champagne came through. With racing acidity on the palate and an intense taste of toastiness, yeast and melons. A very good example of a true champagne, some of the tasters believe this could actually get even better with age. I'm not one to age champagne, I say pop the bubbly when you buy it!

2006 Castelmaure Corbieres -- Well, when you have a white wine tasting and someone brings a red...it's not too challenging to blind taste. Medium garnet colored in the glass, this developing red had red fruit and smoke on the nose and the palate. While very balanced, the Corbieres offered no real depth in its flavors. Perhaps a bit more time in the bottle will allow development of richer and riper flavors.

2007 Trimbach Riesling -- Pale, lemon green in color this Riesling stayed true to form. Scents of honeydew melon and petrol floated from the glass before the swirl. On the palate were more citrus fruit flavors and even sort of the taste of petrol. Very well balanced with alcohol and acidity, this wine was very good and will get even better with a bit more age. My confidence was back up with this one, I got it right!

2006 Trimbach Pinot Blanc -- It was fairly tough to pinpoint what I smelled with the pinot blanc, I just knew that I smelled something. Good thing I was tasting with a group. Once someone pinpoints a smell, that's all you need. Wet wool, someone yelled out...and that is exactly the smell I got from this one. Very dry on the palate but a very intense taste of hay and pineapple with a medium finish. A good wine to drink as an aperitif right now or let it sit in your cellar for awhile and see what happens. As this was the only wine left on my list, there was no guessing or thought process involved in selecting this one :-)

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