Sunday, November 21, 2010

Tasting Notes: A Bar Full of Beaus at JavaMonkey

(or “Cecilia ran off to San Francisco and all you get is this lousy blog post”)

Yes, Cecilia is off at a convention in San Francisco this weekend, so the blogging for this week’s JavaMonkey tasting gets left to me. As is usual on the third Thursday on each November, this tasting was all about the Beaujolais in honor of the release of the 2010 Beaujolais Nouveau.
Before the review, recent sporting events have led me to post this disclosure:

I paid regular market price for this tasting. I received nothing additional for it other than a t-shirt and hideous yellow tie that I won in a raffle. (And if you saw my impromptu traveling fashion show after the tasting, I think you’ll agree that I know how to rock the t-shirt and hideous yellow tie.) At no time did I ask for any compensation, nor did any of my associates. The rumors of a text message containing a proposed payment plan from someone representing me to one of Georges Dubouef’s boosters are completely bogus. As for the allegations that I cheated on a solitaire game once in college, I won’t address something that happened that long ago.

Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s get to the wines (hangover neutralizing Pho not included):

2009 Macon-Villages Chardonnay
The first thing I noticed about this wine was that something seemed… odd. What was it? Everything about it seemed like a pretty typical Old World Chardonnay. It had the nice golden color and the fruity, slightly tart nose. A little mineral there as it goes down. But something else… And then on my second sip, I got it.


I have no idea what, if any, oak this wine sees, but I wasn’t the only one who got a little bit of it at the very end of the finish. (After my infamous declaration of “popcorn” on the nose of a wine once in the presence of the winemaker, you have no idea how much better that made me feel.) It certainly wasn’t California Oak-Tree-In-A-Glass, but it might catch you off guard. I think this warrants some future research, preferably with the assistance of a good chicken and mushroom dish.

2010 Beaujolais Nouveau
Ah, the star of the party arrives! Fresh off its overseas flight from Paris (TSA pat-down not pictured) and into this fine establishment. With the red carpet rolled out, it elegantly strolled through the paparazzi and autograph-seeking masses and into my glass. What wonders would this French star have for me this year? I anxiously lifted the glass to my nose, swirling the red nectar and inhaled…

Cranberry. Bubble gum.

Yup, it’s a Beaujolais Nouveau.

Dan suggested that it would make a good base for Thanksgiving cranberry sauce. I concurred, and scribbled down that it might also make a good base for getting unwanted holiday house guests sauced.

Hey, at least we get wine schwag for drinking it.

2008 Brouilly Flower Label
The very first bottle of this at the tasting was corked. The next bottle was so weak that I’m pretty sure I saw some Italian Pinot Grigios kicking its ass outside Twain’s later that night. Other people seem to be pretty impressed with it, so I’m going to write this off as a bad case and hope to try it again sometime in the future.

2009 Juliénas Flower Label
While researching this wine, I came across an interview with Georges Duboeuf on Wine Review online where he states that the Juliénas is his favorite Cru. I can see why. This wine was surprisingly intense – inky color, tart dark fruit in the mouth, and a hint of earthiness on the finish. My first reaction was to compare it to some of the more intense Oregon Pinots I’ve had, though I don’t remember as much spiciness here as those tend to feature. If you’re jonesing for Beaujolais on your Thanksgiving table, skip the Nouveau and head for this one. (Or save it for yourself after you kick out the house guests for whom Nouveau was bought.)

2009 Morgon Flower Label
This one was supposed to be poured before the Juliénas, but we got crossed up. This was unfortunate, because I think that might have helped my opinion of it. My impression was that it was like a slightly more subtle version of the Juliénas. It didn’t have the earthiness, and the tart fruit was less pronounced. It’s probably the more food friendly of the two.

Cecilia is returning this evening, and I’m sure she’ll catch you up on her weekend of beer tasting and North Beach pasta touring in the coming days. I could fill you in on my weekend of futile attempts to rid the front yard of leaves, but I’m sure it wouldn’t be as interesting.

No comments: