Michel Lafarge 1999 Bourgogne Rouge, $18
My third of three bottles, this starts out with a nice nose of Pinot cherry, roses and pleasant earth. Pinot cherry follows on the palate with more great earth, though it seems a bit diluted at times. It’s light-bodied with a silky smooth texture and good acidity. Excellent match with wild sockeye salmon served with a mango/avocado/cilantro spread. The next day, it seems more closed aromatically though the flavors are still good. My other two bottles were outstanding; this, I thought, fell into the “good” category. I suspect I either left it in the cellar too long or it’s in a closed phase, something I’ve noticed with a few other ‘99 Burgs. Importer: C’est Vin, Inc.
Henri Bourgeois 2002 Sancerre Rouge La Porte du Caillou, $18
Opened this after finishing the Lafarge and the contrast was interesting. This has a much more effusive and delightful nose of cherries, strawberries, roses, cinnamon and minerals, followed on the palate by ethereally light-bodied yet ample flavors of very tart cherries and strawberries, cinnamon, earth and minerals. It’s silky smooth with vibrant acidity, and is perfect with wild sockeye salmon baked with a maple/soy/ ginger glaze. Importer: Monsieur Touton.
Alphonse Mellot 2004 Sancerre Rouge La Moussière, $42 restaurant price
The color is darker than the typical Sancerre rouge and this tastes a bit more extracted, a little less floral and a little more earthy, as well, but the wine is not in any way New Worldy and is very nice. There is good cherry fruit, some black as well as red, with lots of nice earth. It has good acidity and is very versatile with food. It’s an outstanding match with duck breast as one might expect, yet it’s light enough to go with an asparagus/goat cheese appetizer (I know that sounds weird for a red wine, yet I liked the combination), and at the same time, has enough body to stand up to a grilled flat-iron steak. Importer: Elite Wine Imports, Lorton, Va.