We had a great wine dinner this Sunday that was only slightly skewed and embittered by witnessing an early playoff exit by the Canucks. As I rode my bike home afterward down blossom-lined green streets through the balmy night, I couldn’t help but concede that summer in Vancouver really does begin when the Canucks’ season ends.
The first strange incident with our loose ‘bring a bottle of wine blind’ theme was that all seven of the wines were white – and maybe it was subconsciously spurred by warming weather. Second, four of the seven bottles were Muscadet. I’m not exactly sure of the mathematical odds of having four bottles of Muscadet poured in the same room, but it’s quite low. Take into account that it wasn’t a preplanned Muscadet party, and those odds are likely in the same realm with the odds of a professional sports team winning a playoff series after being down three games (it’s very low).
We had some very fine Muscadets including two from Michel Brégeon (one being the ‘Gorges’ bottling on a different site from 50 year old wines), ‘Clisson’ from Stephane & Vincent Perraud, and Landron. Domaine Landron may be the only one available in this market – it’s priced well at $24 and word has it that Tableau will be pouring it by the glass in time for patio weather. While not for everyone seeking a fruit driven white, Muscadet has an ethereal appeal expressed with minerality and texture. This wasn’t new to me, but what blew me away was how these wines were aging. The vintages were 2004, two from 2005 and one from 2009. The older wines were gaining subtle complexities, yet weren’t anywhere near what I would consider ‘developed’ or ‘developing’. The freshness was astounding. For a wine that is so often thought of something to consume young and on a patio in the sun, these wines were aging incredibly. It’s time to begin stashing some of these away.
My other revelation was the introduction I had to Ramonet – widely considered the top producer in Chassagne-Montrachet. The Ramonet brothers, Noel and Jean-Claude, are known somewhat as mavericks, neither with any technical training and known for taking risks in the vineyard. Apparently his Bourgogne is made entirely with Chassagne fruit and it was unlike any Bourgogne blanc I’ve tried – complex and hard to wrap your head around – there was an underlying and cooling spearmint character which I loved. The 1er cru ‘Morgeot’ had intensity and pedigree that could only really come from Chassagne or Puligny (or Meursault, yet it didn’t quite have the oak to be). These wines are brilliant.