20061113

Domaine Labrande 2001: mini review

I'm writing mini reviews in anticipation of the annual Quebec-centric Guide du Vin compiled by local wine chronicler Michel Phaneuf. And I am finding that I love the process. There's something about the earnest organization involved in maintaining constant tabs on wine production from around the world that really is exhilarating, in a geeky way. Lately I'm realizing that a lot of people do this very well, not just Michel Phaneuf or say Jancis Robinson.

Alice Feiring is one of the most fiercely dedicated chroniclers of natural wine produce. She just put up a two-part post explaining her most recent "dog and pony" show where natural wines like those of Clos Roche Blanche went head-to-head with Yellow Tail in a blind taste test. The way she explains the events, you'll find yourself laughing when you least expect it. She is always a very funny read, often poignant and a real writer. But with posts like these ones, it's clear that chronicling the wine she loves, vintage after vintage, is what drives her.

Turning to Quaffability, a blog I refer to a lot yet for some strange reason do not feature in my link list [I've added it now], you get another picture of the committed wine chronicler. After publishing his blog for over a year now, John G realizes that his regular and long-term attention to the wines he enjoys gives him a chance to assess the history of a wine. Casillero del Diablo, an everyday wine I've sampled myself over the years, gave me a real shot of recognition when I read it. This is what it's all about.

Domain Labrand Cahor 2001Domaine Labrande Cahors 2001 $12.65 (on sale)

Baldès owns the land, Clos Triguedina is the estate, yet this Québécois op Labrande is the name that appears on the label. I remember recognizing it as a bargain in the late nineties, and its quality-price ratio has only gotten better. The 2001 is as strong as the 2000, and drinking well now. The current vintage is spicier -- there are intense aromas of star anise, orange peel in throes of a tannic grip, earthy spices, and nice fruit. It's fairly full in body and loves food.

Ranking: 2 (but drink now like it's a "1" if you want to enjoy the bright anise tones)

***½

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