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2005 Champalou Vouvray Le Clos du Portail

Tasting Notes:

Eyes: clear, deep lemon
Nose: clean, med intensity, honey, overripe apples, pear, slightly oxidized, touch of herbal (fennel)
Mouth: dry, med to med+ bodied, med- acid, med length, slightly sweet impression
All in all: Interesting, teasing, worth a try, very good quality; can drink now, but has potential for ageing.

I’m starting this new game at work where I ask whoever I’m closing with to pick a random bottle from the store given a reasonable price range, have them charge it to my card (I trust them THAT much, I know) so that we can both taste it while I can try it blind and perhaps attempt to guess the varietal given I’m not too embarrassed to do so. Best most expensive game ever. Woot woot. And it also gives them a chance to try a wine they don’t really want to pay for. So everyone wins. Sort of.

Initially, I saw that the wine that was picked was this beautiful deep lemon – beautiful only because everything I’ve seen lately has been boring pale lemon wines with boring noses to boot. What struck me next was the interesting nose – overripe apples (or what my colleague called “bruised”) were what I noticed first, with this super intriguing undertone of oxidized nuttiness that was almost sherry-like in character. We also detected a touch of honey, and my colleague also noticed some notes of fennel except I have no idea what fennel smells like so I just nodded. The ripe nose instantly made me think of a Spätlese, and the honey almost made me think of something late harvest-y that I had before (a colleague from another job even compared it to a Tokaji), but the palate made me think otherwise. Pretty much everything about the mouthfeel threw me off my initial suspicions. I did guess (correctly) the Old World at first, and then Germany (which was wrong). She hinted to me that the wine was from France. Then, she said that I was right having guessed that it was from the Loire. I then correctly guessed that it was Vouvray, and subsequently I rejoiced. Yes! Friday night success!!!

The acidity was just strong enough to keep it in balance, although I could tell that it was going. I’m both afraid and curious to see what would happen to the already ripe flavours and slight oxidized nose with some more age – that, and the acidity. I’d just say to drink it now, silly.

I’ve only ever had few Vouvray wines in the past, all of ranging qualities, but I’ve noticed that all of them having this sort of “teasing” quality, whether it be from the nose or the sweetness – and not that sort of “bad teasing” quality either, where sometimes you feel a wine straddles the line between several identities and doesn’t fully commit to a character – but instead, makes this intrigue an identity in itself (or maybe I’m just bullshitting). That being said: if this wine were a person, it would be Cersei Lannister. Oh God, yes. It’s perfect.

I guessed a 30 dollar wine, but it’s really 42. It’s a strange and intriguing wine worth trying if you have the bones, but I’m sure there are other sort-of-just-as-complex Vouvray wines that don’t break the bank. I think.

EDIT: I wouldn’t drink this anymore, unless some freak bottle-variation thing happened.

Producer: Champalou
Designation: Le Clos du Portail
Region: France
Sub-Region: Vouvray (Touraine, Loire)
Variety: Chenin Blanc
ABV: 13.5%
Vintage: 2005
Tasted: April 27, 2012
Price: $42 (Liberty)


DipWSET, Certified Sommelier, garbage person.

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