Monday, July 27, 2009

All Roads Lead to Rome

I want to thank Alison Frichtl for hosting our wine tasting group's recent white Burgundy tasting. I usually do not make mention of other wines in our blog but it was unanimous that out of ten wines from the region, the Puligny-Montrachet La Garenne Etienne Sauzet 2005 was the true star. It stood out even among the other Puligny-Montrachet from the same producer. It had a floral nose with slight oak in the backround. The palate was full with lots of acid and succulence and the wine seemed to go down in waves with an extremely long glycerol filled finish. Whew! I am still thinking about it now.

These are the types of wines that bore into my brain. The last one to do this (aside from VELLUM) was a 2002 Quintessence de Corton-Charlemagne... with hints of crushed aspirin and long, long finish.

Since I dropped VELLUM nicely into that review:); it has recently come to my attention that I have never taken the time to assess what our wine really is to me personally. Nobody until now has asked what I think it tastes like and I cannot believe it has taken this long. I think it takes the right person to ask the right question!

Anyway, in an email to her I wrote this:

"The wine is St-Julien on the nose with fresh but austere red fruit, bramble, espresso grounds (or graphite) and cardamom. It has restrained French oak left to linger as a remote afterthought. The aromas evolve slowly and they make me think about what I am about to taste. The palate ties in with the nose and it is a transition without any surprises. I taste what I smell and the combination is heady. The acid frames the entire mouth and lets the powdery tannins fall gently front to back. The wine is seamless and perfectly balanced from tip to tail; integrating the tannin, acid and alcohol. The length on the finish is very long and comes in waves (going on three minutes now). The wine resembles some of the top estates of St-Julien."

It felt good to finally let it all out!...

These musings are not as easy to express as they seem. To look at one's creation is to critique oneself and this exercise certainly must be borne with a measured dose of humility! I suppose I only needed some coercion. Again, I want to thank the intriguing fan (from Alabama) who had the wherewithal to ask a simple but well put and well timed question.

Those are always the best.

-Karl Lehmann

As an aside, and to make the title of this BLOG relevant... a simple question that I have been longing to know the answer to: Is there any record that the Romans conducted wine tastings the way we do today?

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m*buckley said...

i'm afraid the answer to your question may be no...i couldn't come with anything definitive, but a VERY definitive piece of common knowledge is ancient Greeks/Romans always drank their wine diluted. "To drink wine unmixed was held drink even equal parts of wine and water was thought to be unsafe..."
A caveat to that is their wine may have been closer to strong liquor. And was almost definitely soured.
i read about some folklore that says right after the first winery was built, 4,000 years ago in Sumer,a traveler came by on a camel and asked for a taste of the new releases. wine tasting? stretching it.
You should look up the 'vinum' entry in 'a concise dictionary of greek and roman antiquities' (googlebooks).

your loyal research assistant,

Anonymous said...

Hello. Great job. I did not expect this on a Wednesday. This is a great story. Thanks!