Sunday, July 20, 2008

How To Beat The Rainy Day Blues



Up here in the north of South Korea we don't seem to get the full effect of the monsoons that annually hit the peninsula. What we get are the side effects which manifest themselves in rain. Lots of rain. This weekend has been something of a wash out in that it has rained pretty much consistently for 48 hours. The local river has burst its banks, the local building site is a swamp and plans to go flat(apartment) hunting in Gangnam have been quashed.
I have read books on wine.
I have played GTAIV.
I have studied Korean.
I have cooked a Vindaloo.
And I have opened a £40 bottle of white Burgundy. If you can't leave the house to buy something cheap one must drink what is at hand, no?

I bought this bottle as I was leaving my pre-Korea job to take advantage of a staff discount. I am a big fan of white Burgundy, be it the austere Chablis or the rich Mersault, and this particular appellation sounded like it would make a wine that worked my weak spots. I could have kept it for longer, let it age and mature and round out, but as a consumer who can only afford to buy single bottles, not cases, and lacking the luxury of space to store I am a drinker not a keeper.

And it was raining.

And grey.

Really, one needs a pick-me-up on days like this.

Corton Charlemagne Grand Cru, 2000.
Domaine Marc Colin et ses Fils,
France,
Bought for about £40. Unavailable in Korea. Probably. Maybe but it will be stupid, stupid money. The last Corton Charlemagne I saw here was selling for 1,000,000 won or £500.

I have talked before about expectation and wine. The belief that a bottle is going to knock you sideways and re-define your high water mark. A bottle that all other bottles will aspire to be. Well, this bottle neither disappointed nor set a new standard. It was not sublime, earth moving or life changing but it was exceptional, thought provoking and most importantly delicious. It was a very happy monsoon day drink.

For an eight year old drink it wasn't nearly as dark in the glass as I would have expected. It was a beautifully bright lemon with some evidence of legs. Looking youthful!

I don't know if I have got across how important it is to smell a wine. Not just for the purpose of checking if it has any faults or not but simply in terms of pleasure. Sticking your snout in a good glass of wine and taking a good old sniff is surely one of life's great pleasures. Smell is a route to memory and building memories based on great alcohol is surely more worthwhile than building a loss of memory on poor alcohol. Which I also occasionally enjoy indulging in.

This wine had a fantastic nose. My tasting note talks of pears smothered with hazelnut ice cream, sans botulism, with wet stones next to the river on a summer day. It had a beautifully evolved chardonnay nose with no off notes and superb vanilla integration which gave a creamy, buttery quality. There were apples, but not your green apples freshly bitten but apples in a Paris patisserie baking a Tarte Tatin. Yes, this could be my wankiest tasting note yet.

Smell is important then, but how did it taste? Not quite as good as the nose I am afraid. It was still fantastic though! It initially comes across with a real burst of flavour with fresh lemon and good acidity. The apples are there again but this time we are talking a Granny Smith with the nuttiness of the first bite into the skin. On top of this it felt reasonably full bodied with a real creamy mouth feel. The length was exceptional and developed a real nuttiness as evidenced on the nose.

Temperature really affected this wine and it certainly does not want to be served clap cold. Chilled for sure but too cold and it closes up.

It is a wine that seems to walk a tight rope between the austere style of a Chablis and the richness of a Mersault. It was fantastically refined and really was an absolute pleasure. Would that I could afford to drink more Grand Crus white Burgundy! It had plenty of life left in it that is for sure and I perhaps drank a little premature. I am not so upset.

Though, saying that, I am now sitting drinking the Las Moras Argentenian Chardonnay and life has less colour.

If I did tags on posts, this would be tagged under 'ponce' mostly.

1 comment:

Big Bliss said...

Absolutely your wankiest tasting note mate, but, nevertheless, sounds delish. I want some. Lots of it. Sadly my alcohol fridge is currently boasting 3 bottles for a tenner from Sainsburys Local and sod all else til the chap goes to tescos.

Furthermore, how come I didn't know about that google book search thing you linked to?! How genius is that? Ok, I know, I'm soo a late adopter.