|Blur, noun. According to M-W.com, definition #2 for this word is: “something moving or occurring too quickly to be clearly seen”. So far it describes my life in 2012 perfectly. Holiday celebrations, wine tastings, family celebrations, a whole lot of live music, and professional obligations have held me in a vortex since the crystal ball dropped upon Times Square. One of those professional obligations happened to be joining The Thursday Tasting Group at their recent blind tasting of 2009 Red Burgundies. I know, I know, but somebody’s got to do it.
What is The Thursday Tasting Group? To the best of my knowledge, the TTG was formed in Berkeley sometime in the mid to late 1960s by a group of wine loving Bay Area folks who wanted to share tasting experiences and learn more about fermented grape juice. They meet once per month (in the early days, it was twice), usually on the 2nd Thursday at the home of one of the members. Though no charter members remain in the group, they have carried on all these years and their list of alumni reads like a who’s who of wine authority. Though I am not a member (John and Anya were at one time, David is still), I know many of them, and they are kind enough to invite me to their tastings. When your life is a blur, attending these tastings can be difficult, but when they taste Bordeaux and Burgundy I seem to have the time. Hmmm. Somewhere in the middle of my recent onslaught of live music, the stars aligned and I had a free night, coincidentally the same night as the TTG’s glimpse of 2009 Red Burgundy.
9 wines were to be tasted that night, our host decanted the wines over an hour prior to the tasting, and poured them back in their respective bottles. Wrapped up in brown paper bags, they were presented to a full house of 12 tasters. We were each given 2 sheets of paper: the first was a list of what wines were being poured (this would be known as a single blind tasting – in a double blind tasting, none of the wines are known). The second sheet was for taking notes, guessing the wines, and for personal ranking. After the wines are poured, no one speaks, everyone makes their own observations, and come to their own conclusions. Once everyone has finished, the discussion begins. The group goes over each wine, one by one, talking about them in detail. Once they’ve all been covered, each wine is ranked by the group. Tasters are asked to rank the wines, 1st to 9th (in this case), and the scores are tallied up. Once the wines have been discussed and ranked, the bags come off and we discover how our guesswork fared. This is usually a very humbling experience, but somehow, I was able to identify 5 of the 9 wines correctly. The consensus winner? The 2009 Santenay Premier Cru La Comme from Château Maltroye.
|We’ve been importing Jean-Pierre Cornut’s wines from Château de la Maltroye for well over decade, and our relationship is rock solid for a reason – quality. Cornut, a former aeronautical engineer, makes some of the finest red and white wines from the southern end of the Côtes de Beaune. Why? Perhaps his past career has left him its inherent meticulousness as Jean-Pierre runs a tight ship both in the vineyard and in the cellar. Combine that with a great vintage like 2009, and you’ve got a home run. Or, in this case, the wine of the night, chosen by The Thursday Tasting Group.
Blur; according to Wikipedia, are an English alternative rock band. Or at least they were in the 1990s. I kind of like their sound, but I’m off the subject, sorry. My personal blur of 2012 will continue this evening as I will be dining early with some good friends. After that, I’m meeting another friend for dinner before we hit The Fillmore for tonight’s Gomez show. Good thing I don’t know about any Saturday Tasting Groups out there that might be having a 2009 Red Burgundy tasting tonight. I wouldn’t want to miss out on the 2009 Santenay Premier Cru La Comme from Château de la Maltroye! – Peter Zavialoff
Tasting Notes: Bright color, electric dark magenta; candied berries, herbs, hint of tobacco leaf; has substance and structure – minerals, fresh lively acidity, expressive fruit, silky tannins; finishes fresh and alive, fruit and mineral on a slow fade, very nice! – PZ
PS, I forgot to mention that there was an Echezeaux in this tasting!