Aging Gracefully

Posted on Posted in Articles, Chateau Soucherie, Occasional Thoughts

A subject quite close to my consciousness obviously … and these three old friends each demonstrate the elegance of age built on the foundation of youthful strength and excellent breed.

We entertained two fine gentlemen today for lunch at Mad Rose Ranch. Doug Ness and Kyle Volk of Missoula Wine Merchants shared our table. A couple of examples of true and pure old style Burgundy sang an almost religious chant that was suitably adapted to a quiet afternoon of conversation. Jean Faurois, part of my very first team of Burgundian producers was as fine a vigneron (note: autocorrect turned vigneron into “big worm”) as I have ever encountered. The Vosne Chaumes 1990 was impeccable, far from the showboat wines of today, so very “soyeux” (that perfect French word for the silk of sensation) but with a verve that mocked its 28 years of age. The Grands Echezeaux 1983 from Robert Sirigue, a wily Burgundian true to the cliche of that character, was stunning in its sensuality, a triumph in a vintage plagued by difficult conditions that turned most wines into awkward and flawed vehicles marked by notes of rot and unhealthy brown robes. Light in color, yes, but complex, earthy and flat out sexy. Still spicy on the palate and tannins hinting at approaching dryness made this wine intriguing and delicious. It makes one long for the “old days”.

Finally, the 1988 Coteaux du Layon Chaume from Chateau Soucherie was a fitting homage to our late friend, Pierre-Yves Tijou. We really must appreciate this marvelous Chaume vineyard more than we currently do. The note of bitter orange zest that frequently marks this wine is a complexing factor that distinguishes this wine and makes any residual sweetness not much more than an afterthought. The ‘88 had turned a deep golden-amber, a strikingly beautiful hue. It drank dry with fine length and subtle charm.

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