Monday, April 16, 2007

05 Darnaud Crozes-Hermitage, Les Trois Chenes, Rhone Valley, France

It's much easier to fall in love with a wine when it can be enjoyed, understood and adored without someone else intruding into your right to form your own opinion. I let Jay and Gary chop it up about 05 Burgundy and set to the task of ignoring their voices, blocking out light, and generally setting myself up in a sensory deprivation state so I could drink the wine.

The color of one of those dark, crayola/pantone purples that are so flawless and pure that they look like a industrial pigment. It apparently comes from cold soaking, which draws out intensity of color. Gemlike ruby rim. But I don't care much for the color of the wine - I'm not to that kind of completist appreciation yet.

Mm. Like this. I love a wine that is ripe, extracted, dense and tastes nothing at all like fruit. It seems so healthy. Not only that, but when a wine tastes like something other that fruit, it gives wine in general a sort of validation and exotic attribute. It's all meat, gamy meat. An oscillating mass of pungency, with layers peeling off as you wait for the wine to disintegrate. Spicy, bloody, iodine/iron, and just skimming along the very bottom, a tiny bit of black plum and a sort of brushiness to it - you know, the generic dried herb sensation.

Really fine-tuned - I think I use this to mean the wine is not only balanced, but explicit about being designed and executed to that design. Wines that don't taste like they made themselves. It sticks to itself a bit, and while not a imperious mouthful, still very dense and crowded with flavor. Amazingly enough, full of lively acid, which strings the dark meaty flavors out into almost raspberryish tanginess as it finishes. The conclusion is that it's clean, velveteen/nubuck slick and leaves you longing for another chance to listen in.

I let Gary re-establish contact and he tells me it's been open for 2 days, and that Darnaud is a superstar. I'm not yet sure if Gary uses that as an empirical term or if it's his own personal slang. I get the sense that Jay feels a little overshadowed because he only dropped by with a 7-year-old closeout Chenin Blanc. They both get up to leave, Gary leaving a couple of burned CD's of acoustic guitar in excelsis (not him, but he plays as well). I buy 2 cases of the Crozes.

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