Friday, May 7, 2010

Tour of France at Sherlock's

When Hubby and I got tired of the Taste of Decatur shenanigans a couple of weekends ago, we went for a sure thing: the free Saturday afternoon wine tasting at Sherlock's in Decatur. As I've mentioned, one of my New Year's resolutions was to drink more French wine. The topic for the tasting was "Tour of France." Yes, I believe this was meant to be. We didn't do food pairings for this one because it was on the run.

The wines (all from France, so I'm just giving region):

2007 Kuentz-Bas Pinot Blanc (Alsace):
Pear, pear, pear, and smoke. This unassuming wine needed some Brie.
Rating: Good

2006 Leon Vatan Pouilly-Fume (Loire Valley):
The nose was tangerine with a hint of coffee (yes, really!), and melon and fig on the palate.
Rating: Good

2006 Chateau Marjosse Blanc (Bordeaux):
I swear, this one had a hint of muscadine on the nose, but Hubby didn't get it. Maybe because it wasn't "funky muscadine." Yes, I've just alienated all the muscadine wine makers here in the Southeast. But I liked the wine! Nice, silky texture with green apple and lime on the palate.
Rating: Very Good

2006 Chateau Haut-Vigneau (Pessac-Leognan, Bordeaux):
This red had nice fruit and some complexity.
Rating: Very Good

Okay, now I get to go on a little rant of my own. Sherlock's has some sort of agreement with the J. Sanders winery such that it's sort of their house wine, and it appears at every tasting. I'm starting to suspect that the nature of this agreement has something to do with blackmail because the wines are just not very good. I decided to give them one more try at this tasting because I love Cotes due Ventoux, but, well, you'll see:

2008 J. Sanders Bourgogne Blanc (Burgundy):
Light bodied, and made me pucker with the tartness at the end.
Rating: Meh

2004 J. Sanders Cote de Nuits Village (Burgundy):
Looked good on the tasting notes, smelled okay and like grapes, but didn't deliver, especially on the flat finish.
Rating: Meh

2008 J. Sanders Cotes du Ventoux: Grenache, Syrah, Carignan, and Cinsault
I don't know how you mess up a blend with such great red grapes, but they did. The fruit was overpowered by bitterness.
Rating: Moo*

The bottom line is that Sherlock's has great wines and a decent selection of beer, and they even got Kwak for us when we asked for it. Just stay away from the J. Sanders.

*Rating system, from best to worst is: Excellent, Very Good, Good, Okay, Meh, Moo


Dan said...

I've never known quite what to make of the J. Sanders wines. Technically speaking, Sanders isn't a winery so much as a n├ęgociant, while Cottin-Freres is the bottler. I imagine they're buying up juice from a variety of small producers and blending it to whatever generic standard they seek. Even more intriguingly, all of the tech sheets are "signed" by Steven Spurrier, the famous wine consultant who put together the "Judgment of Paris" wine competition in 1976 (depicted in the great oenophile movie "Bottle Shock'd", a far better offering than "Sideways" IMHO, but I digress). Who knows. These Sanders wines ought to be reminiscent of the budget-friendly and tasty standard fare in any decent French bistro, but I agree that often they fall flat.

Susan Cross said...

Aha! So now I know who Random O. is. I am no longer a wine drinker -- prefer vodka or single malt scotch but with wine tastings being so 'in vogue' I wonder if I might not try again. You have inspired me.