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Aaron N. Tubbs

Dragon chaser.

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And so we start the red wines. It’s good to be here. The first chapter brings us to Burgundy and Côtes du Rhône! First, we start in the south of Burgundy.

Two Wines, Tasted Together: 2009 Louis Jadot Beaujolais-Villages and 2009 Georges Duboeuf Fleurie

Gamay is not my favorite grape. It’s fruity, floral, and tastes like grape juice. Jadot’s village wine was tolerable, but nothing special. Clear medium purple, it had a moderate nose of rubbing alcohol, strawberries, raspberries, preserves, grape jam, and rubber. On the palate, it’s a dry medium-bodied fresh wine with low soft tannins, excess alcohol, excess acid, and low intensity flavors of plum and tart cherries. “I know I’m drinking wine, but I’m not sure what it is.” It needs a lot more of a lot of things to make this interesting; the wine is boring and one-dimensional.

Slightly less watery, the Fleurie is a Cru wine from a single place, still 100% Gamay. If you’re used to drinking just Beaujolais Nouveau (which, to be honest, tastes like shit), this is finally something a little more interesting (to be fair, the village-level wine above is also better, and has longer ability to last on the shelf, but I still wouldn’t bother when Cru wine is only a dollar more a bottle). A little more interesting does not mean a lot more interesting, however. We’ve got a clear medium ruby wine here with moderate aromas of dark berries, vanilla, nail polish remover, baked fruit, and rose petals. It’s dry, medium bodied, smooth, with low round tannins. Too much tannins, in fact, and not much else to support it — this wine is pencil lead, bing cherries, and flowers in the mouth, with a medium finish and an empty everything leading up to that. This may be a better showing of the Gamay group than I’m used to, but this still is dull when it comes to complexity, balance, and flavor profiles, from my vantage point.

One Wine, Tasted Alone: 2008 Faiveley Mercurey

And, finally, to Pinot Noir. Thank God.

Watery garnet, it’s hard to emphasize how weak and watery this wine is, just based on visual inspection. On that alone, I’d argue this wine has no ability to age and should probably be consumed soon before it disappears altogether.

On the nose, there are very low aromas of alcohol, vanilla, strawberries and JET-A. It’s bone dry with an extremely light body, tart acidity, high amounts of soft tannins (weird, right?). There is excess alcohol, acid, and tannins … which is a shame, because there’s no sugar, complexity, or intensity of flavor to back it up. This wine is low on the flavor intensity scale, more the essence of wine than wine in fact. In the last few seconds on the palate there’s a quiet burst of some cherries and raspberries, but the nose has far more to it than the the taste. The second day, as well as a few hours of being open, brought a little more complexity around, but this remained and uninteresting Pinot Noir with too much of the wrong things.