In a prior Lab note, I speculated that a Nicolas Joly, Clos Sacrés we tasted over the full, Joly-prescribed five days might have been flawed. Not enough to render undrinkable, but certainly the bottle fell short of expectations. Last night, a few folks were working late at the Lab, so I decided to open another Joly wine. A Clos de la Bergerie, 2003.
This bottle made a strong argument for the previous wine's flaws.
This is beautiful Chenin Blanc. A light, yellow hue of gold. Honey, beeswax and quince with hints of citrus on the nose. A palate of yellow peach, clover and river stones. Good acidity and an almost waxy mouthfeel. A tinny, mineral finish that I now expect from Joly's wines (terroir?). Worth noting that after 3 hours open, a faint, oxidative element arrived on the nose and built into a discernible fino sherry character.
Last week, I was in Greenville, South Carolina sourcing equipment for the Lab. At dinner with a sales rep from Industrial Biology, Inc, I found another Savennières on the wine list. Domaine Damien Laureau, Les Genêts, 2002. Laureau is an up-and-coming winemaker in the Loire. I've heard great things about him and his wines, but I've not had a chance to taste them. We were told that ours was the last bottle in the "cellar." What good luck!
Fortuna, however, is a cruel mistress.
The wine was off. And the reason I mention it? It was "off" in a manner reminiscent of the Joly we drank in the Lab's first experiment. In fact, I would be very comfortable saying that both suffered from the same flaw. I'd be less bold about what that flaw actually was.
Our colleague from Brooklyn wrote yesterday about corked wines. Neither of these Savennières had that wet newspaper or dirty socks smell of cork taint. But they did have the muted fruit associated with corked wines. I suppose it's possible that each varietal expresses the TCA mold differently. Must corked Chardonnay necessarily smell like corked Chenin Blanc? They don't smell the same without the mold. Why shouldn't the same be true with it present in the bottle?