Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Another wine! 2007 Olivier Leflaive Les Setilles

Hi again, I'm sorry it's been over a week! Things have been pretty hectic at work but that's no excuse. Tonight we're going to try a white Burgundy I bought at San Diego Wine Co. a few months ago, but just now got around to tasting. Now, I'm a huge fan of Chardonnay from Burgundy..Seriously..I'm always down to taste them, talk them up, critique them (not that I'm a real critic) and just generally enjoy them. Here's why; to me they embody what Chardonnay is without the "effects" so often added in other regions (California, I'm talking to you!!). They don't use heavy doses of oak, they avoid the giant butterball taste (malolactic fermentation) and therefore to me are more purely expressive of terroir and of what Chardonnay can taste like.

Onwards to the review!
2007 Olivier Leflaive Les Setilles
This beauty was opened a solid four hours before I tasted it. Yikes you say? I say..well..I say I forgot I opened it. Then I stuck it back in the fridge. So about 40 minutes before I tasted it, I pulled it out and poured it into a lovely Riedel (spelling?) Chardonnay glass. So a little bit about this wine. The grapes are sourced from Puligny-Montrachet (score!) and Mersault (SCORE!!) and then vinified in oak for eight months, followed by eight more months in stainless steel. Yea, you're drooling but it's cool, I am too. Let's see how it did.

On the nose, I got immediate hints of buttery richness, which to me screams partial malolactic fermentation. This isn't bad though, because right after that I picked up some delicate pear and peach notes, hints of lime peel, maybe some other citrus too but I can't be sure. Definite green-ness like one of those wheat grass thingies you see at Jamba Juice. I was impressed and pretty happy to smell these things, since they make my olfactory senses happy. When I sipped it, I noticed some minerality tastes, like a flint or shale thing going on. Very cool! Also there was the yummy acidity on the finish, making it a clean wine, compared to the Chards that just linger and linger making your palate feel almost oily. Some of the other notes I picked up included lime, a hint of oak, Granny Smith (should I capitalize that?) apple and a definite bit of buttery texture. I'm searching for other ways to describe the wine but am coming up a bit short. Basically what I'd tell someone who asked me was that it's a very well made white Burgundy. It's clean, has some fleshy undertones (from the malolactic treatment) but also keeps things light and is more terroir driven than a lot of California Chards. I really liked this stuff, I'll be picking up a couple more bottles especially for $14. The one thing I'd maybe nick it for was the quick finish, I would like a bit more of a lingering note of the lime/lemon/butter notes since they really contrasted each other in a balanced way on my palate. Oh and now that I remember, 13% alcohol, a touch on the high side for my preferences in white wines. I'd prefer my reds to be that high but not my whites.

So on to the admittedly childish scoring system. This wine gets an A-. Why? Well as I stated above, it's delicious with only a couple of very minor dings. I am really happy it was $14, and would gladly pay $20 for it. If you see it out there, I highly recommend picking up a bottle, then emailing me whether you liked it or not. It was better than a B+ wine because I felt the added value was there, i.e. I'd pay more than the list price for it. I know, it's a subjective way of scoring, but so is every other way too, I promise you. Next time we'll taste a red, I already have a couple in mind I'd love to share with you, my three or four readers. Also, I'm hoping to get a guest columnist in here to post a review of his/her own. That's all I'll say for now, I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and keep drinking the good stuff!

Beau Carufel

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