Every bottle has a story

I am not a wine expert, but with each bottle I try and share with friends, I learn more. Wine is an exceptional social drink; it is the marijuana of alcoholic beverages because it must be shared. I seek to share with you my thoughts and experiences as I drink the wine in my closet, as well as my enthusiasm for the finds that come my way and the excellent values that I find. I'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences too, so please share!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Dionysius smiled

During a recent excursion to Binny’s in Schaumburg, Ill., I was delighted to find so many high quality wines priced relatively inexpensively. By that I mean when you can find a 2005 red Burgundy for just $30, that’s a good deal. There was also a Puligny-Montrachet by the same producer, Joseph Drouhin. I showed this 2007 vintage to the fellow at the wine desk and asked if he was familiar; he admitted he was not, but said the producer had a solid record. I thought, what the heck, I’ll take it. I showed him the 2005 red Burgundy I found for $30 and commented that was a very nice price, to which he replied that with the 2005 vintage, you just about can’t go wrong with any of the red Burgundies.

I took a look at some other wines and was about to leave when the same guy asked me, “Did you take a look at this one? It normally sells for $100, but it’s the last bottle.” Frowning, I looked at the mark down. My eyes lit up! It was marked down to $30! “We were holding some of these for a guy, but he never came by to pick them up, so we put them out.”

I grabbed the bottle thinking that any white Burgundy that normally retails for $100 is an absolute bargain at $30. But what did I have?

In the car I called my friend Curt to brag about my find. But when I tried to tell him what wine it was, reading from the receipt, I was a bit flummoxed. “It’s Beaune Mouche something or other, but fercryingoutloud! It normally retails for $100 and I got it for $30!” We immediately made plans to have dinner the following night and drink this bit of luck.

Of course, you all know what the wine is based on the label scan I have with this post. But I didn’t know a thing about this wine until I got home and did a bit of research. And was I ever pleasantly surprised.

This 2006 Clos des Mouches from Joseph Drouhin is from the Beaune appellation within the Cote-D’Or region of Burgundy. It’s name is quite interesting. Literally, Clos des Mouches translates as “closed flies.” There are a half-dozen little flies on the label, but this translation probably isn’t accurate. Does it mean the vineyard is closed to flies? Or have the flies closed the vineyard? If someone can help with a better translation of this whimsical name for this wine, please do!

What I read about this wine indicated that when released, it was considered wound up a bit tight, that it would need some aging and probably wouldn’t be ready until at least 2010. From then it should be good until 2016. By virtually all measures, it was considered a 90-point wine. I was excited! So Curt and I planned our menu.

We settled on salmon filets that would be simply prepared by frying in a bit of olive oil. As sides, I sautéed in butter red, yellow and orange bell peppers with sliced zucchini, seasoned with one of those store-bought herb mixtures (sans salt). I also steamed some fresh asparagus, and we split a potato. A simple meal, but it was a perfect match with the wine.

My first sip nearly sent me into a state of euphoria; a crisp taste of honey and hazelnut with a lemon back that wrapped around your tongue with a bracing smoothness and just the barest hint of oak, coming through more like vanilla. And the finish rich and succulent, dry and fresh. There were subtle herbs, perhaps even a hint of melon. The color was beautiful like honey. The mineral quality gave it a clear, clean taste, and with the salmon and the sautéed vegetables, this wine was a match like no other.

Why can’t New World producers create Chardonnay like this? If some do, I haven’t found them.

This is another example of why you should speak to the folks at your favorite wine store, as there is no telling what extraordinary find they will direct you to.

Wine Spectator scores this wine with a 90. But I am giving this wine a 10 on my scale, the first wine of this blog to be rated this high. What a find! I feel blessed to have enjoyed this wine with a wonderful meal and a true friend!

1 comment:

  1. The fellow who sold me this wine e-mailed me to explain the wine's name. This is what he sent me:

    To answer your question, "clos" also means, "an enclosed garden or field." The French call individual vineyard sites "clos." So the name means "vineyard of the flies." I don't know why they call it that. If I find out, I'll let you know.

    Thanks Steve for that explanation!