WTN Ducru Beaucaillou, Chivite GR, Saintsbury

The place for all things wine, focused on serious wine discussions.

Moderators: Jenise, David M. Bueker, Robin Garr

WTN Ducru Beaucaillou, Chivite GR, Saintsbury

Postby Jenise » Fri May 12, 2006 2:23 pm

1997 Ducru Beaucaillou
St. Julien, Bordeaux

Covert said this is at it's best right now, so I opened my remaining bottle (and cringed over the price I paid on release--$60!!!) last night to pair with a lamb/red wine/herb meat loaf. Must be his chardonnay chasers--I thought the wine was just okay: significant herbaceousness on the nose and palate in place of the delicate spice that I remember and loved about the '00 (the last Ducru I had), medium body, mild fruit on the mid-palate that segued into a plain grain/cereal flavor just before the short finish cut things off. Not great.

1988 Chivite Gran Riserva 125 anniversary
Navarre, Spain

Faded garnet color. Sweet dusty potpourri nose and, on the palate flavors that reminded me of the canned Queen Anne cherries my grandmother used to love--kind of like a Rioja if you stripped the spice and orange elements out. On the finish, an interesting grapefruit rind note that hinted at a bitter note to come that never did. Not sensational, but good and worth the $20 I recently paid for it.

2003 Saintsbury Vin Gris of Pinot Noir
Carneros district, California

A casualty of sloppy cellar management, but a lucky one because though the sweet pinot wallop is gone it's become quite a complex and interesting little wine. Flavor's more pomegranite than the typical Carneros cherry cough drop, and it shows nice structure and even some tomato leaf--almost more like Santa Barbara than Carneros. Bob liked it so much he asked me to buy the current vintage and lose them for a few years.
Last edited by Jenise on Fri May 12, 2006 3:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
Jenise
FLDG Dishwasher
 
Posts: 25809
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2006 3:45 pm
Location: The Pacific Northest Westest

Re: WTN Ducru Beaucaillou, Chivite GR, Saintsbury

Postby Hoke » Fri May 12, 2006 2:33 pm

Saintsbury is one of those wineries that constantly impresses me, Jenise. Thanks to an old friend (who used to rep their wines) I've had numerous older bottles of the Saintsbury. The Carneros designation (as opposed to the lighter Garnet, which is not intended for aging), has a consistency of quality over the years that is quite impressive.

I used to scoff quite a bit about the suspect ageabililty of California Pinots. Saintsbury is perhaps the single best example that could prove me wrong.

It's not fat or showy or flashy as some Russian River Pinots are. It's not grandiose and over the top as some current Pinot proponents would fashion Pinot into. And it's certainly not the pretty and perfumed Santa Barbara version either. But with some age the Saintsbury Pinots are, like the one you cited, immensely pleasant and worth cellaring.
User avatar
Hoke
Achieving Wine Immortality
 
Posts: 10116
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2006 2:07 am
Location: Portland, OR

Re: WTN Ducru Beaucaillou, Chivite GR, Saintsbury

Postby Jenise » Fri May 12, 2006 2:46 pm

Hoke,

My first wine mentor, a gay dentist everyone called Dr. Bob, was kind enough to pour an aged Saintsbury Reserve from his own cellar at the first tasting of California pinots I ever went to. Good thing, because I'd have never been able to appreciate what that rather monotone cherry cola flavor would turn into had he not. I have some in the cellar myself.

I like all your descriptors of what these wines aren't--spot on. There's something quieter and more stately about them.

Say, I presume that Saintsbury has benefitted like all pinot producers from the recent uptick in pinot popularity, but where do they fit into the affections of geeks? It's not a name that seems to come up often--I have the impression that the instant-gratification types would consider Saintsbury's style boring. Is that so?
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
Jenise
FLDG Dishwasher
 
Posts: 25809
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2006 3:45 pm
Location: The Pacific Northest Westest

Re: WTN Ducru Beaucaillou, Chivite GR, Saintsbury

Postby Dale Williams » Fri May 12, 2006 2:54 pm

Jenise,
your experience with the '97 Ducru sounds about like mine.
I wouldn't have thought of aging a Saintsbury rose either, but glad it worked out.
I've never had a Saintsbury Carneros more than maybe 6 years from vintage, but the '95 Reserve was excellent a year or so ago.
A good friend, knowing I liked Saintsbury, emailed me that HDH had some '94 at a good price. When I looked, it was $20 for the Garnet, I told him pass!
User avatar
Dale Williams
Compassionate Connoisseur
 
Posts: 7716
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2006 5:32 pm
Location: Dobbs Ferry, NY (NYC metro)

Re: WTN Ducru Beaucaillou, Chivite GR, Saintsbury

Postby Hoke » Fri May 12, 2006 3:09 pm

Jenise:

When it first came out, and for several years, Saintsbury was clearly one of the leading wineries for good Pinot Noir. But as other wineries came on line, and Pinot became more splashy and gobby and jammy, and Saintsbury quietly continued in its own style, which is, as you said, more dignified and restrained, less dramatic when young, and therefore less interesting to the over-the-top hedonists.

A goodly part of the Sainstbury philosophy comes from the nature of David Graves. He achieved what he wanted to achieve, and then simply continued doing what he did. Graves doesn't need to be a celebrity. He doesn't think he needs to charge astronomical prices just because he probably could. And I honestly believe he simply doesn't care if he's wealthy or famous. He doesn't feel the need to constantly drive volume higher, or get bigger and bigger awards.

So Saintsbury is very much in the eye of those people who like good sound wine, but you don't hear about it in the media rags nearly as much as you used to...they've moved on to newer, flashier, trendier wines.

But Saintsbury still makes a hell of a good wine, and that's what Graves is focused on.
User avatar
Hoke
Achieving Wine Immortality
 
Posts: 10116
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2006 2:07 am
Location: Portland, OR

Re: WTN Ducru Beaucaillou, Chivite GR, Saintsbury

Postby Jenise » Fri May 12, 2006 3:38 pm

Hoke wrote:Jenise: When it first came out, and for several years, Saintsbury was clearly one of the leading wineries for good Pinot Noir.


Exactly how I remember them. Dr. Bob--who also owned a huge slew of Burgs and tasted at (not just near, but AT) DRC every year--was quite a fan, and he taught me to appreciate pinot in all it's forms just as he did.

It's cool of you to mention David Graves by name and reiterate his philosophy, btw. Thank god there are winemakers like him in the world who create their own definition of quality and stand by it come hell or highwater, and they deserve recognition for that.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
Jenise
FLDG Dishwasher
 
Posts: 25809
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2006 3:45 pm
Location: The Pacific Northest Westest

Re: WTN Ducru Beaucaillou, Chivite GR, Saintsbury

Postby Rahsaan » Fri May 12, 2006 3:38 pm

Saintsbury quietly continued in its own style, which is, as you said, more dignified and restrained, less dramatic when young, and therefore less interesting to the over-the-top hedonists.


Good god, what does this say about me, I haven't had the top-end (Brown Ranch?) but what I did taste was certainly too dramatic and flashy sweet for my tastes. Maybe you're speaking about within the idiom of CA pinot noir?

A goodly part of the Sainstbury philosophy comes from the nature of David Graves.


What about Dick Ward, what's his role in the operation?
Rahsaan
Wine guru
 
Posts: 6853
Joined: Tue Mar 28, 2006 9:20 pm
Location: Chapel Hill, NC

Re: WTN Ducru Beaucaillou, Chivite GR, Saintsbury

Postby Hoke » Fri May 12, 2006 4:28 pm

Maybe you're speaking about within the idiom of CA pinot noir?



Well...yeah, I sorta thought that was understood, Rahsaan. How else could you talk about CA Pinot Noir, except within that idiom? Surely you don't compare Beaune and Nuits and New Zealand to Carneros and Russian River and Sonoma Coast and Santa Barbara? All different worlds.

For the benefit of anyone who doesn't know me, whenever I approach a wine I'm looking for three primary things that express (or don't express) themselves in some way: The grape, the place, the winemaker. I express it differently sometimes as the variety, the terroir, and the human element, but it's really the same thing.

Any good wine--any wine worth remembering and talking about and keeping in your sensory memory bank, evidences those three elements in some way (even if the ways are not necessarily clear and transparent).

So when I talk about Sainstbury Pinot Noir Carneros, I'm talking about the grape variety of Pinot Noir as it expresses itself in Carneros and under the hand of the winemaker/owner(s).

I look for the common characteristics that Pinot Noir should show. Then I look for any elements that might reflect or communicate the terroir (and by terroir I think it's obvious I mean ever tightening concentric circles of specificity, as in New World, West Coast, California, North Coast, Napa/Sonoma, Carneros for example). Then I consider the wine as a reflection of a person, the winemaker, and his or her decisions, as in how the grapes were grown, how the fruit is process, how the wine is made, and how it is aged. What does the winemaker or owner want the wine to be? As an example, if you take exactly the same grapes from exactly the same vineyard and divvy them up equally and hand them to two different winemakers, would you come up with two different wines? I think you would, because the wine should reflect those two 'visions' of what the wine should be.

So in a macro sense, I suppose you can say I compare Burgundy Pinot to Carneros Pinot, because it's all Pinot, right, and everyone knows that Burgundy is the, you should pardon the expression, sine qua non of Pinot? But the other two elements have to be considered as well, and that goes far beyond a simple Burgundy/Carneros paradigm. Of course, if you've already decided that you have a template for what Pinot should be, then you'll always be using that, consciously or unconsciously, as your model to which you compare everything. Shame if that's the case in one so young though. :)

As to Dick Ward---I talk about what I know (or think I know), and I know David Graves somewhat, having visited the winery and talked to him there, and elsewhere as well, and delved into his vision and philosophy. Plus I know him through the eyes of several people who were close to him. I don't know Dick Ward well, however, so I can't very well refer to him much. Simple as that.
User avatar
Hoke
Achieving Wine Immortality
 
Posts: 10116
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2006 2:07 am
Location: Portland, OR

Re: WTN Ducru Beaucaillou, Chivite GR, Saintsbury

Postby Paul Winalski » Fri May 12, 2006 4:40 pm

Thanks for the reviews, Jenise.

Is the Saintsbury Vin Gris of Pinot Noir the same wine that they used to call their "Vincent Vin Gris?"

-Paul W.
User avatar
Paul Winalski
Wok Wielder
 
Posts: 4028
Joined: Wed Mar 22, 2006 10:16 pm
Location: Merrimack, New Hampshire

Re: WTN Ducru Beaucaillou, Chivite GR, Saintsbury

Postby Jenise » Fri May 12, 2006 4:50 pm

Paul, yes, that's the wine. Same Van Gogh style label. I think this bottle says Vincent on it somewhere but the more formal title leaves that out.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
Jenise
FLDG Dishwasher
 
Posts: 25809
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2006 3:45 pm
Location: The Pacific Northest Westest

Re: WTN Ducru Beaucaillou, Chivite GR, Saintsbury

Postby Rahsaan » Fri May 12, 2006 6:50 pm

Of course, if you've already decided that you have a template for what Pinot should be, then you'll always be using that, consciously or unconsciously, as your model to which you compare everything. Shame if that's the case in one so young though.


Yes yes, of course, everything must be understood in its idiom. But it is still meaningful information to know that a wine is extremely ripe for Jasnieres but still might not be thick enough for someone who likes wines from the Languedoc.

Which is of course how people can arrive at overall stylistic preferences that lead them to focus on certain particular regions.

Not that it need be all about thickness or thinness, sugar or minerals, I can appreciate a range, but I think you get what I'm saying..

And, your note is even more instructive to help place Saintsbury in perspective.
Rahsaan
Wine guru
 
Posts: 6853
Joined: Tue Mar 28, 2006 9:20 pm
Location: Chapel Hill, NC

Re: WTN Ducru Beaucaillou, Chivite GR, Saintsbury

Postby Covert » Sat May 13, 2006 4:11 pm

Jenise,

Hope I didn't steer you too wrong; hope it was at least at the right time to drink it. It's been a year since I had one. Almost opened one last night as a replacement for the Mouton, which sits in my fridge. But we wanted something a little more special.

Dale never did agree with me regarding the beauty level of the '97s. He finds a lot of them green and herbaceous. I tend to like that aspect, I guess. But I should open another Ducru soon to see if it too suffers from '88 Mouton progeria syndrome, or if our tastes vary more than they used to - maybe from my advancing age. :)

I'm on my way to my brother's annual outdoor bash. Might have a wine story or two from that.

C.
Covert
NOT David Caruso
 
Posts: 3434
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 10:17 pm
Location: Albany, New York

Re: WTN Ducru Beaucaillou, Chivite GR, Saintsbury

Postby Jenise » Sat May 13, 2006 4:51 pm

Covert,

Re green and herbaceous, I can quite like that in a wine--hence my love for 100% cab franc--but this one was at odds with Ducru's true character (as I understand it from 89, 95 and 00) and it didn't have enough of the other things I want in Bordeaux in general or have liked in many of the 97's in particular. I can understand where a bottle a year ago would have been much nicer, it certainly would have had more of an offsetting core of fruit.

Hey, have fun at Mark's. Hope Diane brings some swell bottles.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
Jenise
FLDG Dishwasher
 
Posts: 25809
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2006 3:45 pm
Location: The Pacific Northest Westest

Re: WTN Ducru Beaucaillou, Chivite GR, Saintsbury

Postby Dale Williams » Sat May 13, 2006 5:27 pm

Covert wrote:Dale never did agree with me regarding the beauty level of the '97s. He finds a lot of them green and herbaceous. I tend to like that aspect, I guess.


Covert,

Hmm, while there are some green tannins in some '97s, it's not that or herbaceousness that really kept me from liking the vintage more. It's more a combination of rather low acids and some lack of concentration. I like some low-acid vintages like 1990, but firm tannins and big concentrated fruit gave those vintages some structure. I did
like some '97s (Poyferre, Poujeaux, Pavie-Macquin as well as some new-wave Right Bankers like Barde-Haut), but they seemed to be the exceptions. And I can't think of one now that's drinking better than a couple years ago.

Hope there's some great wine at your party. Looking forward to your impressions of the '66 Gruaud whenever you do open it.
User avatar
Dale Williams
Compassionate Connoisseur
 
Posts: 7716
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2006 5:32 pm
Location: Dobbs Ferry, NY (NYC metro)

Re: WTN Ducru Beaucaillou, Chivite GR, Saintsbury

Postby Covert » Sun May 14, 2006 3:09 pm

Jenise,

I think I'll very gently carry bottle of '97 Ducru up to camp with me next weekend and open it either the day before or after the '66 Gruaud Larose. I'll pay special attention to both wines and report what I find. I'm disappointed that the Ducru was not to your liking, and hope that my two bottles have not died a little. I liked the Ducru more than just a little last time.

The party was pretty uneventful, yesterday, other than it holding off the forecasted rain. It rained hard the day before and it's raining now. Rain is forecasted on the day of his backyard party almost every year and every time the day defies forecast. This year the Albany Tulip Festival was scheduled on the same day, so we were sure it would pour, since God likes to deluge that event every single year. He might be jealous of the idolatry shown to the newly-crowned Tulip Queen. But Mark has a more powerful God, Bacchus, on his side. Not only is wine the centerpiece of Mark's event, but he has rows of Concord grapevines out back from which he makes pies. (I have to give him credit for not trying to make wine for more than one year.)

Totally different cast of characters from last year since my brother switched from heading the Capital Defenders Office to the Capital Prosecuting Office. Not as colorful. Lots of wine variety but nothing really special. Not as much interest in wines from this new crowd.

Covert
Covert
NOT David Caruso
 
Posts: 3434
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 10:17 pm
Location: Albany, New York

Re: WTN Ducru Beaucaillou, Chivite GR, Saintsbury

Postby Jenise » Sun May 14, 2006 4:11 pm

Covert wrote:I think I'll very gently carry bottle of '97 Ducru up to camp with me next weekend and open it either the day before or after the '66 Gruaud Larose. I'll pay special attention to both wines and report what I find. I'm disappointed that the Ducru was not to your liking, and hope that my two bottles have not died a little. I liked the Ducru more than just a little last time.


I'll be really interested in what you find in that Ducru. There were some nice things going on in it, but there was enough wrong that it didn't add up to more than "just okay". And though wine appreciation is very personal, I can't imagine that we could bond so on wines like the 86 Chasse Spleen and 95 Branaire and then part ways on this one. Not with that big cereal flat spot where sweet fruit should have been. I expect you'll love the 66 Gruaud Larose--hope it's a good bottle.

Btw, did I tell you my friend and I located an absolutely perfect, pristine lot of 79 Gruauds, and they're cheap ($60ish)? We sampled two bottles (had to rule out a fluke, didn't we? :shock: ) and swooned over every drop.

Too bad about the party and the lack of colorful people. Some things can too 'clean', can't they?
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
Jenise
FLDG Dishwasher
 
Posts: 25809
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2006 3:45 pm
Location: The Pacific Northest Westest

Re: WTN Ducru Beaucaillou, Chivite GR, Saintsbury

Postby Covert » Sun May 14, 2006 8:18 pm

Re the '79 GL: Good for you! But you are making me go to bed jealous.

Re too clean: Yeah, I missed the Hell's Angels. Even they were curious about what good wine tasted like, and appreciated it.
Covert
NOT David Caruso
 
Posts: 3434
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 10:17 pm
Location: Albany, New York


Return to The Wine Forum

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot], Google Adsense [Bot] and 12 guests