When I was in high school, some older kid I worshiped for no reason other than he was older gave me a cassette tape with Alvin Lee's Woodstock performance on it. It was a rendition of "I'm Going Home" that seemed to go on for hours. It was one of those not uncommon moments in 1960's music where a performer loses their mind on stage. Whatever I was supposed to appreciate about the track passed me by. I didn't get it.
And that's apropos of our inaugural Old/New mini-Vertical Tasting. Because we're tasting two wines from the Loire Valley's Domaine aux Moines, and I'm not sure I get these wines either. They can be austere to the point of hard to drink. I've seen them described as "ungiving and a little challenging." Alder Yarrow, wondered whether they might be "too racy" and suggested their austerity "never reaches the point of unpleasant." Winning praise indeed.
At some point after high school, someone whose wine knowledge I worship told me I should try them. So I did. And I found them like licking warm quartz (I grew up in the Arizona desert and you make some odd choices as a kid).
So why then return to the quartzy wines of the Domaine aux Moines, you might be wondering? Well, Monique and Tessa Laroche, the mother and daughter team who run the winery and make the wines, have an odd habit of holding back wines and releasing them for sale when they've reached maturity. How they can afford to do this when their total annual production is but 2500 cases is anyone's guess. But it allowed the Lab to procure a 1994 and a 2004 of the Savennières Roches-aux-Moines. So our first mini-vertical has a full decade between bottles, a "ten-split."
By the way, for those of you under 50, Alvin Lee's band was called Ten Years After. So the reference is also a clever chronological pun.