Friday, July 10, 2009

2003 Côte Rôtie Domaine de Bonserine "La Sarrasine"


The recession isn't all that bad. Especially if you have a job, don't have any debt, and can save some money. In a way, I'm all for it. I'm young, I rent, and frankly, in Southern California, even though I have a good job (and save a lot of money each month), prices for housing are still a little bit out of reach. Renting is a bargain for the time being. The recession is bringing an inflated bubble back a little closer to reality--and into reach of a new generation of home owners. It also has a silver lining, in that apparently, wine that is over 25$ isn't moving all that well. You always have to take these "proclamations" from the media with a grain of salt, but I have been seeing a lot of crazy deals out there, and this wine is one of them. I don't think that I have ever seen a Cote-Rotie that is less than 40$, much less a single vineyard designated wine. And this wine got a 93 from the Wine Spectator. WTF? It was $18.99. Someone, due to the recession I'm guessing, is having trouble moving through this wine. Or actually, I should say was...because K&L is out now. But not before I picked up a few bottles. I figured that at 19$, even if it wasn't that great, it was something good to have around.

I drank this wine with my neighbor (who also happens to be my landlord), and his wife. (Yes, that's how I spend my Thursday nights...I'm so cool that I hang out with my 60 year old landlords). He happens to be a bit of a Bon Vivant and is a great cook. I've eaten better at his place than at quite a few restaurants. He smoked line-caught coho salmon in a smoker, and then topped it with a mustard sauce (which was pretty great), fried up some fingerlings, and made a salad with green beans, walnuts, fresh tomatoes, and a goat cheese dressing. We also had a cheese plate, and some chocolate that he made. Let's just assume that this was a lot better than whatever I was going to make (and I'm no slouch, just not as refined as him). Great meal. So how was the wine?

The wine was a bit on the austere side (and in my neighbor's words, "Burgundian,") which is funny, because 2003 was a super hot year in Europe. This wine takes a while to open up and then gains additional depth and complexity as it opens. The nose is all blackberries (maybe plums and blueberry too), coffee, mocha, and twinges of herbs. On the palate, the wine has a lot of blackberry character, but it's well-supported by more savory elements. The wine is smooth, with juicy acidity, and just a bit of edge from the tannin. The wine has a fair amount of weight too, but is made in an elegant style. This wine was drinking very well right now. If you're more a fan of California though, it's a more reserved style of Syrah. B+/A- UDPATE 8/19: Had a second bottle, which was much better than the first. It was a much better expression of this cool climate (well, as cool as 2003 could have been in Europe). Very similar to the first bottle, but with more poise, more tannin, and more blueberry character. Lots of roasted coffee character too.

We also had some of the 2006 Adelaida Version Red Blend, which was an interesting counter-point to the more austere Cote Rotie. This wine was juicy and fruity, with good structure, and a nose of spices and cherries. It was on the sappy side, but not an over the top fruit bomb. I was digging this wine; it was great. Still probably a bit pricey compared to some of the stuff you can get out of Spain for the level of quality, but enticing to drink, and at a price of free, you can never complain. B/B+

7 comments:

CabFrancoPhile said...

Darn, K&L is sold out of La Sarrasine. Cote Rotie for under $20, and I spent around $25 on a lowly Cornas! (I'm not really complaining, it was actually quite good.) I'm keeping my eyes open for these sorts of deals. Between the hype for current vintages--it's always the best ever, I'm told--and the recession, I'm hoping to find good deals on these sorts of French wines for older vintages. The Chinons, Bandols, and Crozes Hermitages of the world with a little age showing classic characteristics at good prices would be very educational for me.

Jeff said...

Yeah, they're sold out...but there are going to be other wines that will pop up. I hope that we get to see some more stuff like this. It's crazy to me that older vintages sometimes sell for less than the new ones. K&L has a lot of Cru Bourgeois in particular where you can buy the already aged stuff from the late '90s for about the same price as newer release '05. The other thing that I've noticed is that Costco is getting a lot of wine that they previously wouldn't be able to get, but now they can because they can still sell it. I think the Hecula is probably like that. I don't think they would have been able to get their hands on something like that.

What Cornas did you have? I have had only a few, but they have all been good. You didn't have the Empreintes by chance did you? I thought it was pretty good, I paid more than 25$, but that's what it is now.

CabFrancoPhile said...

Yes, it was the Empreintes. I see you blogged on it about 6 months ago. Same experience for me, and right in my price range on sale. Definitely preferable to the purple people eater style of Syrah that's so typical in Santa Barbara and Paso. Although some of the cooler climate Syrahs have good acidity and aromatics despite their size.

enobytes said...

Great review we had the wine last night and will concur, although I did get it at K&L on 7/10/09 and paid $18.99. Your landlord sounds like a great cook, although I found the smoked salmon w/mustard sauce an unusual pairing. I guess Kevin Zraly is always right "You know what is good? What you like never let anyone tell you different." I liked your review enough to look back at your clam’s story. Living in the NW is great, and you can actually afford to buy property, although we miss San Francisco we don't miss paying rent. My latest enjoyable unheralded wine is J.Rickards 2006 Alexander Valley Petite Sirah "Brown Barn Vineyard" sure to be a monthly pick over here at Enobytes. Macdaddy_M

Jeff said...

You must have gotten at a different store than the Hollywood one? When I looked online, it was sold out. I paid 18.99 too. The salmon wasn't like a smoked salmon that was cold, it's sort of like BBQ. You cook it with smoke for around 10 minutes. So it's just like salmon that would be steamed, only it has a smoky flavor. So the mustard isn't that weird...pretty normal French thing to do with a cooked salmon.

enobytes said...

Jeff we live in PDX so the wine came from the bay area, I knew you meant grilled salmon cooked over hardwood. I was an exec chef for Kimpton & Back Bay restaurant groups. 80s thru the 90s. I would have paired it with a Willamette Valley Pinot Noir with a little weight to it, maybe Patton Valley or Montinore.

Jeff said...

Right on. Yeah I agree that a Pinot or a white would have been a better pairing...but I didn't know what we were having...the Cote Rotie went OK because it was a lighter style. It wasn't the best match that I've ever had though.