Tasting Notes: Dionysos Imports – Welcome Home, Autumn!

Tasting Notes: Dionysos Imports – Welcome Home, Autumn!

Posted on Oct, 10. 2010 by

Categories: Wine

Our tasting room was full once again on Wednesday, and the wines lived up to my hype. Personally, I’ve been waiting for this kind of breakthrough tasting all summer…it’s cooled down, we can actually enjoy the reds and relish the whites, and I just get this kind of electricity coming from thoughts of the months to come. To say I love this time of year would be putting it lightly. On to the reds!!

So, down to brass tacks: Kevin from Dionysos had 6 French wines and none of them sucked. That’s not to say that some weren’t better than others, just that I wouldn’t kick any of ’em out of bed. For my money, though, the middle of the lineup was where it was at:

2008 Dominique Mugneret – Bourgogne Hautes-Cotes-de-Nuits
Member Price: [private_member] Grand Cru: $16.50 • Premier Cru: $17.25 [/private_member]
Retail Price: $22.50
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The ‘Haut Cotes’ is Burgundy’s backyard. Venture westward over the vaunted hills of the Cote d’Or proper, and you’re in the ‘High Slopes’, where the way of life is different for winemakers than it is just a few miles east. Here, it’s an annual struggle to get the ripeness you need. In great vintages, they can thrive. In poor ones, where even Burgundy proper has problems with ripeness, these wines are the embodiment of acidic nervousness, drinkable only with food (and even then, a challenge). Well, 2008 was, as Will has noted previously, a problematic vintage, which left me skeptical about a Hautes-Cotes. I was pleasantly surprised (and, honestly, a bit incredulous) when I tried this wine. Whatever they did, they did it right—there’s ripeness, extraction, earthiness, but it never loses that lovely electricity that the Hautes-Cotes is famous for. It oozes class, composure and enjoyment, truly a Burg for everyone. Love this wine. Love it.

2008 Domaine Rimbert – Saint-Chinian, Travers Marceau
Member Price: [private_member] Grand Cru: $13.50 • Premier Cru: $9.90 [/private_member]
Retail Price: $10.35
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As I mentioned in my earlier email, we’ve been drinking this wine at home like it’s going out of style, and I can’t think of a recent bottle that I’ve been happier with as far as cheap, accessible everyday drinking wines go. This is from a relatively obscure part of the Languedoc, Syrah-based, but it’s not like any other Syrah you’ve had. This is the antithesis of Aussie and Cali Syrah, a light, fruit-based wine with finesse and vibrancy, but also plenty of guts. I think everyone needs to try this wine, on its own, without food, without other wines, just the wine. Give it a couple hours. Let it breathe, let your palate adapt, and I guarantee that that last sip will make you wonder how in the hell this is only ten bucks! Then, you’ll open another one.

2008 Clos Mont Olivet – Cotes-du-Rhone, Monteuil La Lavade
Member Price: [private_member] Grand Cru: $11.00 • Premier Cru: $11.50 [/private_member]
Retail Price: $15.00
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I’m a huge fan of Mont Olivet, have been ever since I tried a decade-old Chateauneuf-du-Pape of theirs and was met with the most splendid bouquet to ever grace my nose. That having been said, I’ve never been blown away by the Monteuil La Lavade. It’s always been solid, but forgettable. Well, whatever happened in 2008 changed that. We tried their 2008 CdP, which costs more than twice as much, right beside this; I kept going back, time and again, and this kept coming up the victor. I couldn’t explain it, couldn’t fathom it, all I can say is that the CdP needs more time…but this wine is just face-rockingly great. Like a baby CdP, so much depth, so much brambly earth and extraction and none of the inaccessibility from rough tannins that a young CdP often gives you. Since Mont Olivet didn’t make their flagship CdP Cuvee du Papet in the difficult 08 vintage, my guess is that, in turn, the La Lavade got some Chateauneuf fruit as a little gift. In any case, you need this wine. There’s nothing better at 11 dollars, right now. No hyperbole, just truth.

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