20061011

WBW #26 Where's Wino? Domaine Le Galantin 2001

spiegelau decanter carafe mystery red wine[Post updated with answers to Where Wino? contest]

Where's Wino? is "Basic Juice" Beau's innovative theme for this month's WBW installment. Check out the growing line up of nameless wines and placeless provenances on his site because this WBW is also a contest.

This time, winos need to figure out where's a wine coming from, which is quite a departure from the usual show and tell format of WBWs. Here it's the reader, not the writer, who is to determine which of six possible origins best fits the wine based only on its description. What follows is the description of the wine shown at left, my entry in Beau's roundup.

In order to figure out my where's wino, you probably need to pinpoint what wine I'm drinking. Start with the picture of it and then work you way down my notes to figure out the style or varietal, and then guess where the wine comes from. Good luck!

The uncorking: My first thought is wow. Immensely buzzy mouthfeel produced from what seems to be fruit and a ton of alcohol. I think this wine is lacking balance, unfortunately. A lot of heat, soupy on the nose and scorching on the palate. (Yes, indeed, the label says 15% -- am I allowed to reveal that?) I've already emptied this bottle into a decanter (check out how it looks sitting in a carafe in the photo I took -- it might get you closer to Beau's prize) because decanting these wines is definitely something you are likely to want to do. And so I now choose to wait a bit.

A half-hour later: Dinner, something I've paired to match the wine, is now on the table: merguez and couscous with vegetables. The wine shows some signs of yielding slightly to the hyper-sweet stewed raisins in the harissa-scented couscous and the flavourful garlic and spiced meat of the lamb sausage also try to tame this beast in a bottle. Gamier food would be more ideal but the lamb is pretty pungent. Yet the wine still comes off for the most part as a kind of very berry cocktail made primarily of cranberry vodka. But there is some echo of bramble going down, an interesting hint of clove and maybe some of that storied barnyard I am eager to experience. So this means I have hope that further aeration dials this red wine down a bit. Meanwhile it is medium-bodied, dry, with some length on the finish but more tannin and acid are needed for greater structure. The wine was about $20 and I wouldn't go out and purchase more of it.

5 hours later...: It has gotten rounder with more softened fruit flavours like cherries or even strawberries, but the alcohol is still too hot.

LATE BREAKING UPDATE

The day after: It's been more than 24 hours since I first tasted this wine. I sent my notes to Beau but now return to the remainder of this wine for a deluxe bacon double hamburger and shoestring potatoes dinner. The wine shows more complexity on the second night -- I get black fruits and olives this time -- but essentially remains on the outer edge of a wine I would open again. That's mostly because I find the alcohol not only interferes with dinner but also because it kills the subtler savouriness within the wine. I'm also not sure about what it does to the wine's structure. But it does seem to be a wine capable of evolving as I've seen somewhat, so perhaps when to uncork is a more significant question than if ever to uncork it again. I think I have seen how time plays out here. I wonder what five years or more would have done to this wine, and where it would've taken it, especially its heady alcohol. Perhaps its bouquet could've achieved balance with its power.

2 comments:

semi.superlative said...

um... how bout washington? is it possible you picked a west-coast wine? is that how this guessing game works?

in any case, i'd suggest that maybe the reader-guesses format doesn't provide as much of an incentive for responding as the blogger-guesses format... after all, you para-professional winos get to justify drinking two-day-old decanters all the time. we plebs are really limited by social propriety just to holidays and wedding receptions.

but maybe if you offered a reward...

g58 said...

Admirable initiative! You can really tell you are American.

But this is about guessing where a wine comes from, so I'll get back on topic.

It seems that only those who sent an entry to WBW 26 get to participate in the contest. (It's not my game, I'm just a participant.) So if you send off something quick to Basic Juice it might not be too late for you to play!

Sorry if I confused the rules for you.