Saturday, February 9, 2008
Wine, Whiskey, Beer
There were times when I was drinking Loire Vally biodynamic guru Nicholas Joly's 2002 Coulee de Serrant Savenniere that I could have sworn I was having a beer. The color of the liquid was a fine medium amber you see on many lagers. And the palate was often so overpoweringly yeasty and hoppy that, had it been a blind tasting, I might have been fooled into believing I was being served something from Belgium. Other times, it seemed I was sipping a whiskey, so full and spicy was the nose.
And I do mean sip. Joly's Chenin Blanc doesn't go down like silk. It provides a lot of resistance, with an almost brutally tart acidity, and causes you to pucker up. Everyone who's ever talked to me about these wines has told me they were profound. That's the word they always use. Profound. Indeed, they are; they make you think; they cause you to pause and contemplate their seriousness. The wine lacks, however, an easygoing enjoyability. It's Tolstoy, as opposed to Dickens. I felt like I should be in a darkened study thinking only about the wine, and about nothing else.
These comments are not meant to be criticisms. The wine is a great one. But even as wines approach greatness, they tend to leave something behind. Perhaps it's a bit of lighthearted fun. And everyone likes to have a little fun whey they drink wine.