September 2022 | Terroir Wine Clubby Caileen Brison
Gauthier Domaine du Bel Air “Grand Mont” 2017 Bourgueil
From Beaune Imports
The Grand Mont vineyard is one of the most prized in the Bourgueil appellation. Located just west of the village of Benais, where the Gauthier cellars are located, some of them under this vineyard, its gentle slope hides the fact that it is composed of solid chalky limestone, just porous enough for the vines’ roots to penetrate, seeking nourishment and much needed water from the bedrock. Covered with a shallow layer of clay, this vineyard’s tufa mineral character pierces through the resulting wines. Always rich and structured, they maintain a vein of freshness throughout their long lifetime that is totally captivating. Light-footed but powerful.
This middle tier wine from one of Bourgueil’s most esteemed producers presents as anything but middle tier. Immediately upon opening, the wine is restrained, but hints at notes of desiccated rose petals, violets, and alpine blueberries. The wine also presents notes of flint and has incredibly chalky tannins, all of which integrate nicely given ~20 minutes of air in the glass or in bottle. After some time has passed the wine opens to fennel seed, anise, and white pepper oil in a dynamic interplay of vegetal, spice, and floral tones. As the hours pass, the old-school Bourgueil vibe starts to ring through with suede, dark raspberries, quince, and an ethereal sort-of “purple” feeling. My favorite moment with this bottle was ~ 3 hours in and I suggest opening 30 minutes in advance. Serve alongside smoked or grilled fare, roasted herbal vegetables, or grass-fed red meat. Drink now – 2036, serve in all-purpose stemware at cellar temperature.
Blason D’Issan 2018 Margaux
From Chateau D’Issan
After a rainy winter and spring, slightly above the 30-year average, the sun came back magnificently at the end of June and flowering was good and homogeneous. Fine, hot summer July was warm and especially dry with some hot spells, which weren’t enough to provoke hydric stress in the vines after the abundant winter rains had built up sufficient reserves of water. August started with a hot period, which had no impact on our vines, and veraison is complete by the middle of the month. Sunny, sometimes hot days were followed by cool nights. This weather in September is always very good as our grape varieties finish ripening. The analyses carried out on 7th September yielded exactly the same results with the Merlot grapes as in 2009.
52% Cab Sauv, 48% Merlot, 35% new French Oak
This is an example of a fruit generous and food friendly Bordeaux – immediately upon opening, the wine throws aromas of plum skins, dark cherry, and red apple skins. These aromatics all sit alongside a more green profile of sage, thyme, and eucalyptus that act as carriers of aromatics. After several minutes to calm down, the wine transitions to more coffee, oily green notes, and a caramel mid palate that lingers with a darker blue fruited grip. While the wine still lasted well into day two, I prefer the brightness of day one and think this wine would do best out of the bottle over a dinner. Drink now – 2032 and serve in all-purpose stemware at cellar temperature.
Sigalas Santorini 2021 Assyrtiko
The winery of Domaine Sigalas is nestled between vines on the scenic plain of Oia in the northern part of Santorini. The 40 hectares of surrounding vineyards are cultivated in a sustainable manner and the winery’s annual wine production reaches 200,000 bottles. All wines are crafted with great attention for the varieties of Santorini and the neighbouring Cyclades. Domaine Sigalas is one of the most prominent exporters of Greek wines worldwide, and the winery’s renowned, award-winning labels are also available across Greece.
The soil (at Sigalas) is volcanic and thanks to this peculiarity it is one of the rare vineyards that were not affected by phylloxera. Most of the varieties here are ancient, with Assyrtiko being the dominant variety (covering about 70% of the land under vine). Assyrtiko is a virtuous “multi-dynamic” or versatile variety that is now considered one of the most important white varieties in the European vineyard.
Another beauty of a wine, showcasing that Greek wines can stand alongside some of the best wines in the world. On the pop this wine aromatics are tight, targeted, and linear, but they blossom so quickly to lemon oil, toast, and this pervasive sense of umami. The wine really shines from a structural perspective with a bracing front palate that seamlessly evolves to an oily and salty mid palate that lingers with this sense of yeast contact. There is a lot of silky minerality here that makes me want to pair this wine with grilled white seafood (or shrimp!) and vegetables. On day two the wine still showed quite well, but became even more umami and round. Overall, I prefer this wine on day one, though that’s no statement to indicate that day two does not show well. Drink now – 2032, serve just above refrigeration temperature, and serve in all-purpose stemware.