Thursday, February 17, 2011

Random Whites Roundup, February 2011

Now it's time to cover some whites I drank recently.

Ilarria Irouléguy Blanc 2009
This white Irouléguy, a 50/50 blend of organically grown petit manseng and petit courbu, is one reason why I'll be posting more soon-ish on the wines of Southwestern France. It starts with tropical fruit on the nose (guava, passion fruit) and then, intriguingly, it goes all orchardy on the palate, showing crisp white fleshed fruit and grass/straw/herb characteristics. Bee sting acidity is nicely intertwined with minerals and a fleshy yet tightly coiled body that's very dry, even austere. This has superb length and self-confidence, but it's somehow unshowy to boot. I should have bought more! Fun fact: petit courbu is the same grape as Txakoli's hondarribi zuri.

Stéphane Tissot Savagnin Arbois 2004
Hmmm, not entirely sure about this Tissot. I get full fathom five brine, acidity that lashes the tongue like a cat o' nine tails, nuts clattering across the counter, lemon pith — yes, this is forceful rather than delicate, and it showed better on the second night, as it has relaxed somewhat. Still, it's awfully aggressive. I'm not your go-to guy on all things Jura but I like Montbourgeau's more delicate expressions of oxidized whites more, although perhaps this just needed more time (or less, not sure).

Brick House Chardonnay Ribbon Ridge 2008
Oaked New World chardonnays rarely thrill me, but this Puligny-esque effort from Oregon's Brick House almost does due to its bright acidity, well-structured flesh, creamy yet firm texture, and — the most important thing to me — its strong mineral signature, which really brings home the complexity on the finish. I wouldn't say this is lightly oaked, and for my personal tastes (and because it limits food pairing choices considerably) I would like to see less, but on a more objective level this is really very good. Also, it's far from drowning in popcorn butter. I would guess that the oak-derived flavors of nut and vanillin will be still more well-integrated in the coming years, as this has the balance for some aging.

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