Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Joel Taluau Saint Nicolas de Bourgueil Vielles Vignes 2005

I first had this wine on October 12th, 2008. I even inexplicably called this a "Bourgogne..." as opposed to what it really is...a Bourgueil. I suppose that can be forgiven--an honest mistake for a neophyte. Kind of funny though. I then bought one other bottle on March 6th 2009 from K&L for the astoundingly low price of 14$. (Guess that it wasn't too hot of a seller at K&L. Haha...keep at it Napa Cab lovers...leave the good shit for me.) Anyways, I've been looking at this bottle of wine for the last 20 months and wanting to open it every time that I see it. I almost opened it the day that I had the 1989 Taluau, but figured that I shouldn't. When I saw this post, my first reaction was that there are people that exist in this world that have a lot more balls than me. My second reaction was actually in Alder's favor--mainly because I don't like having to defend myself, no matter how ridiculous I'm being. It's an uncomfortable position. I figured that this ballsiness and internet based muckraking was worth a toast, of course with something appropriate. It's what makes the internet fun. Alder suggests that Tuscany and Burgundy are havens from wine elitism...to which I say bullshit. Tuscany is fucking expensive, corporate, and arguably to a certain extent, the least exciting and interesting wine region in Italy. Funny what a proliferation of international varietals, big money, and the douchebaggery of tourists can do. Burgundy is the most expensive wine region on earth. So those are probably poor examples of places where elitism is missing from wine. The Loire, on the other hand, probably makes some sense as a place where wines are viewed less as a luxury good and something that is necessary to the table as a loaf of bread. Makes a ton of sense too--Loire wines are generally much more well attuned to a variety of foods, they're demonstrably cheaper, and they're generally pretty low alcohol. Compare that to your typical Merlot based Super-Tuscan...or your 50$ bottle of spotty Burgundy, and I think you'll see what I'm talking about. So, in the manner of beer commercials (and populist ones at that), Greg--"this one's for you."

The last time that I had this wine, it was tight and tannic, taking a few hours to really show its character. This time, it was on from the first sip. The tannins have faded into the background and mellowed this wine. Immediately, there are tomato, leaf, earth, and green aromas, followed eventually by cherries, blackberries and violets. The balance is as perfect as I can imagine; the wine flows across the medium-bodied frame into a long savory finish that is flecked with berry nuances. I sure wish that I had bought more of this wine. I don't think that aging it will do you much good if you have more of it. Only 14$. Just think--you could have 3 or 4 bottles of this wine from this "pedestrian" region, or you could have one bottle of spoofy corporate shit from a "better region." Hmm...tough choice. A


Cabfrancophile said...

What can I say other than sometimes I feel like an e-confrontation or e-intervention is needed sometimes. The thing that really gets me here is critics believing they are in-touch with everyone else. Parker views himself as the Ralph Nader of wine, for example. But when it comes down to it, he is providing PR for a luxury good, which is why he is invited to taste, non-blind, at many top estates. Tasting Bordeaux en primeur is the biggest sham in pseudo-criticism one can imagine.

Vinography is more of the same, just using a different medium. There's no shame in reviewing samples and accepting invitations to events. But that moves one outside the sphere of the consumer. If his goal is to de-snobbify wine, this is a strange way to go about it. Covering the regions with the money to afford PR is only supporting those regions that look to sell a high-margin luxury good. Why? It takes a high margin to afford press junkets and gala events.

Cabfrancophile said...

Back to the wine, I have a bottle of this tucked away. I am encouraged this is drinking well! I think I may let it sleep longer, though, as I have plenty of CA wines built for early enjoyment to work on. My gut instinct is to run this experiment out a few more years just for fun. If a 1989 was still doing well recently, I'll roll the dice.

Jeff said...

Oh...nice. I like this wine, and this producer, quite a bit. Very high QPR. If you haven't had it, I think that you'll like it. It's very Cab-Franc-y.