Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Wednesday For The Public

After checking out of our fancy pants hotel and waiting for what felt like forever, for the car we were headed south to The Wine Country to prepare for our big tasting with the Beaune Imports winemakers. We got turned around once on the freeway, (freaking sleep deprivation retardation) and got stuck in some wretched traffic but we got to the store with what I thought would have been enough time to chill the wines and type up the tasting sheet…I thought.

So Michael Sullivan had sent a bunch of samples our way to support the tasting and I had planned on using those for the event…the problem was that all of the samples were brand spanking new vintages, stuff we didn’t have just yet…some were not even available yet. I spun it in my tiny brain that we would just focus on the winemakers and style of winemaking and not list the wines we were tasting. Now in theory this seemed like a good idea to me, we would pour the samples, save our stock, (of older vintage wines) and maybe make money on one of these tastings for once, but once I showed Randy what I had in mind the look on his face let me know that there was a flaw in my reasoning. Turns out in my effort to save the store money I forgot to think about the fact that people get kinda pissy when you pour them something then tell them they can’t buy it.

Randy was right of course, and we set about grabbing wines off the shelf, pulling wines out and putting wines in the fridge while Randy redid the tasting sheet. Randy saved my ass and anyone that felt a bit of a hiccup in the beginning of the tasting, my fault, my error in judgment….truly sorry about that.

Once things got rolling the tasting was a massive success. The winemakers loved the interaction with the customers and the good sized crowd that attended seemed to love the wines, the people that made them, the importer that makes the available to us and the store where they got to have such a rare experience. Every time I got near the tasting room I was descended upon, surrounded by grinning faces telling me this was the best tasting we had ever done. Humbling, truly humbling evening for me. I even had a blog reader, Jess from Colorado in attendance, just so happened she had a meeting in LA that week so she was able to go and even ended up being invited and joining another regular reader, Vicki, for dinner…how freaking cool is that?! Was very cool and I even got to introduce Jess to Michael Sullivan, told her to blame him for this mouthy-unafraid-to-speak-her-mind, mess who’s ramblings she reads. Pretty amazing to stand there, listen as these two very cool people said some down-right heart swelling things about yours truly….took all I had not to cover them both with thank you kisses.

My wines of the night were kind of all of them, I already love those wines but I think the ones that really knocked me on my ass were those from Domaine Chandon de Brialles. There was a purity to them that just grabbed me, a finesse and elegance…not unlike Claude, the winemaker…that stopped me in my tracks. Somehow she is able to coax this core of fantastically clean fruit that seems to sachet across your palate and leaves you with the flirtiest little smack on the finish….alluring, her wines were simply alluring. So if I HAD to pick, I would say I was the most intrigued by those but seriously, all the wines were pretty amazing.

NV Agrapart 7 Cru Blanc de Blancs
NV Agrapart Rose Les Demoiselles
NV Agrapart Cuvee Terroir
2008 Moulin de Gassac Guilhem Blanc
2008 Moulin de Gassac Guilhem Rouge
2006 Mas de Daumas Gassac Blanc
2007 Mas de Daumas Gassac Rouge
2007 Chateau Sainte-Marie Bordeaux Superieur
2008 Chateau Sainte-Marie Entre-Deux-Mers
2006 Domaine Trevallon
2008 Domaine Mouscaillo Limoux Chardonnay
2007 Domaine Mouscaillo Pinot Noir
2007 Roland Schmitt Pinot Blanc
2008 Roland Schmitt Pinot Gris
2206 Roland Schmitt Gewurztraminer Grand Cru Altenberg de Bergbieten
2006 Chandon de Brialles Pernand-Vergelesses 1er Cru Ile de Vergelesses Blanc
2005 Chandon de Brialles Volnay 1er Cru Les Caillerets
2006 Domaine de Montille Pommard 1er Cru Les Rugiens
2006 Domaine de Montille Volnay 1er Cru Les Taillepieds
2006 Chateau de Puligny-Montrachet Chassagne-Montrachet
2006 Chateau de Puligny-Montrachet Puligny-Montrachet
2006 Deux Montille Meursault Casse Tete

Twenty dollars, this was a twenty dollar tasting and on top of it Michael and the winemakers kept breaking into the boxes of samples and pulling out more things for people to try. Without a doubt one of the best tastings of the year. Did not go off without a hitch but it went and everyone ended up having a great time.

We did all go to dinner, Benley was amazing once again and watching French people with chopsticks was something I will never forget, oh and the magnums, the magnum of Dagueneau, Chateau de Puligny-Montrachet and Agrapart….the bottles of 1998 Trevallon, Failla Syrah, (Yes I dug a domestic Syrah…it was stunningly beautiful on the nose) Alliet Chinon and older vintage Vouvray…the wines were head spinning, the food was sick….sad part of the story, I was sick too. Ended up having to cut out early, I finished dinner and all, I’m no quitter, but the effects of the night before came slamming down on me like a ton of bricks. By the time I made it home three things were clearly apparent; I was going to lose the war with the chest cold I had been fighting since London, I was wrecked by two nights of too much and I was just a part of a really amazing, life changing for some, evening.

If anyone is interested in tasting notes let me know, I would be more than happy to post them but didn't want to muck up an otherwise not wine, wine blog with like tasting notes and junk.


Jessica said...


It was an AWESOME night and I thoroughly enjoyed myself through all of it! I didn't notice any stumbles and thought it was a great tasting - and the eye candy wasn't bad either! Here I was thinking "old french winemakers" - boy was I wrong.

I do have to agree with the Chandon de Brialles assessment - LOVED, LOVED, LOVED the Pernand-Vergelesses - I feel like I can still taste it and will defintely have you put that in my box to CO.

I hope you are recovering - took a mental health day myself yesterday - much needed after LA and then the weekend in Kansas. I feel like I haven't been home for months!

I'll call soon to "pick my box".


Ron Washam, HMW said...

My Gorgeous Samantha,

Man, I am so deprived of your kind of tastings up here in Sonoma, where they put the "par" in parochial. I know that Beaune has a parade of interesting and wonderful producers, and Michael's career as a chef is reflected in his imports' subtlety and grace and purity.

OK, but Trevallon? Doesn't belong in that list. It's the clunker.

And, damn, Jessica, can't us old guys be "eye candy?"

I love you, Samantha,

Your HoseMaster

Richard said...

Sounds like a great tasting. I wish there were more chances for non-trade people to have access to tastings on this scale. I was glad to see that the Failla Syrah showed well among the imports. As I've probably mentioned, Failla is one of my favorite producers, both for their Syrah as well as Pinot Noir. (No, I don't work for them)

Samantha Dugan said...

So glad you came, sorry that I didn't get to spend much time with you but hope my buddies didn't like wreck you and stuff. Really thrilled that you were there and got to meet Michael...like I said, "his fault". Some of those winemakers were wicked hot but, I like my men with a few more years on em'. Next time you are out we will have to share a bottle or two of wine!

It was quite the tasting, okay aside from the Trevallon...kind of baffles me that wine. Michael does indeed have a great palate, feel truly lucky that he was willing, (okay I may have drug him kicking and screaming) to teach me so much. Andy hey, I thought your candy was for my eyes only...

I wish we could do more events like that one, it is very rare and we were very lucky to have them. I totally dug the Failla Syrah, could not keep my nose out of the glass. We had the Pinot too but I found that it burned the tip of my tongue, freaking French palate of mine.

vickibarkley said...

Oh, yes, it was wonderful. Thanks, Sam, for putting on such a wonderful event! You are the Hostess with the Mostest!!

Etienne de Montille's Volnay.
I'm still dreaming about it. Oops-there goes my budget, and all those good intentions. But, hey, I don't care! This is wine!!

Samantha Dugan said...

Um, who's Andy? Dagnabit, that would be, "And hey" sheesh I am such a tard.

Wish I could take the credit, not mine to take but I am so glad you had a good time and yes, Domaine de Montille Volnay can be wicked haunting...