For those of us out here in the hinterlands of Northern California, Louis/Dressner wines are a rarity and a treat. I've seen a grand total of two bottles of these wines for sale in the Sacramento area, so the idea of not only tasting a bunch of them but also getting to meet Joe Dressner as well as a number of the vignerons who produce the wines was too good to pass up. Accordingly, my pal Ray and I left Sacto at 11:00 this morning, headed for K&L Wines in San Francisco and the Real Wine Assault.
The event was great. 12 producers pouring all kinds of fascinating wines from various regions of France. I didn't take notes, but there were several wines that were really memorable. Among them:
- A vertical of Pinon Vouvrays that was absolutely amazing. They were pouring their Cuvee Tradition from 2004, 1992, 1988, and 1976. This was a one-stop lesson in how Vouvray can age. I have a hard time describing them as the flavors and aromas were pretty unique in my experience. The 1988, in particular, was just stunning. The '04 was listed at $17, and it was apparent that your $17 and some patience will give you something very special. This was the highlight of the tasting for me, and a real revelation.
- The '99 Pepiere Clos des Briords Muscadet - Yum +++ and priced at an astounding $16.
- The Fleuries from Alain Coudert - He poured a very fine 2004, that was recognizably gamay, but with much more body and complexity than I usually associate with that grape. He also poured his 1999 that was marvelous. It was almost pinot-like in its flavor profile, with a bit of smoke on the nose. Still beautifully balanced with plenty of length, it was one that kept you wanting more. Red wine of the day.
There were a bunch more that included wines from Domaine du Closel, Eric Texier, Clos Roche Blanche, and more. Only disappointment for us was that we missed out on most of the food (provided by the Slanted Door, the Cheese Board, and the Hog Island Oyster Farm). This was partly our fault, though, for getting in a little late and then spending our time obsessing on the wines.
On the WIWP end of things, it was great to meet Walt Nissen and the one and only Joe Dressner. Also met (on his way out the door) Bill Futornick and got to talk to Larry Stein. Overall, a really great event and a rare treat for us Left Coast types. I'm finally starting to get some idea of what those New York people are talking about. Now if someone in Sacramento would just start carrying these wines.....
Letterman asked Zevon if his condition had taught him anything about life and death. ''How much you're supposed to enjoy every sandwich,'' Zevon answered. (From a 2003 NYTimes article on Zevon by Jon Pareles.)