Notes on Alain Lorieux Expression 2005, Bernard Baudry Les Grezeaux 2004... and the best drink made in California comes from a Clover

It's me again, back from California, mopping up the remains of WBW 44 by finding those tasting notes I omitted from my last post.

Since that post I've been down to San Diego, up to LA, and back to San Francisco, eating amazing food all the way, and probably gaining some extra weight after these two full weeks of eating out (that's okay -- that's what airplane bugs are for).


When visiting California, the wine is, in every case except at the carbon-footprint-reducing Getty Center Restaurant in Los Angeles, international in scope. The Getty takes a stand by offering only local wine. So it was at the Getty that I launched into a half bottle of Qupé Syrah from the Central Coast. It made me think more of Australia than Rhône -- whose grape varieties this winery has claimed to dedicate itself to. It was no Château Montelena (an exceptional wine that deserves a separate post here), but the 2006 was not devoid of charm either. In the end, it was like too many Californians I drink: too expensive and not my style. Or, for short: $$$, NMS

(I must've started sounding like a broken record saying this because while in San Francisco someone handed me a glass of Sanford Pinot Noir Vin Gris from Santa Barbara (the first winery shown in the movie Sideways) and it was an extreme counterpoint to Qupés everywhere, yet it that did little to improve my notion of the charm in West Coast wine.)

Oh well. There are bigger and brighter things for someone like me to gravitate to when in California. Like the image above taken from the Bay Area's Blue Bottle Cafe, a place that epitomizes the movement I might call next-wave drip coffee. This movement extends from coffees made from French presses (Bodums) to Eva Solo brewers (individually filtered cups), to vacuum siphons, Chemex coffeemakers and the crazy Rube Goldberg thing pictured above that uses gravity, no heat and a little time to brew ice coffee. And finally there's the ultimate: the Clover. And California's got more retail Clovers than any state in the union.


One coffee from a Clover coffee brewer had me thinking that my favourite espresso from a Synesso machine was all wet. Perhaps not better, but so different.

If a caffè macchiato is like a Tannat-walloping Madiran, a Clover drip coffee is an elegant Irouléguy -- delivering the same goods ultimately but in an aromatic and charming way with a huge front and mid palate and a gently bitter finish. Irouléguy wines are what I want to drink at dinner this summer; Clover coffees are how I want my summer mornings to start.

Unfortunately, the closest Clover I know of is at the Dalhousie Bridgehead in Ottawa. I'm sure they are lurking in the streets of our towns, ready to spring up soon. Or else I'll be springing up in Ottawa. Watch for them/me.

So wine analogies aren't a theme on this blog, wine is. Without further ado:


Please click on an image for links to additional product information.

Alain Lorieux Expression Chinon 2005

Eyes: Colour is deep purple.

Nose: Licorice and stewed fruit.

Mouth: Creamy and very aromatic; pithy but juicy too with a nice bitter note. Very tannic. Characteristic "green pepper" but it's more leafy, musky and minerally than the stereotype might suggest. A lean angular structure -- not too overwhelming on the palate, with med body but dryiing tannins leave a strong impression.

Stomach: With food, it's a spicy and alluring dinner wine. Tuna and fresh tomato and herb pasta with lots of olive oil is perfect with it. This echoes the vegetal elements of the wine. A lively acidity support this Chinon at the table.

Alain & Pascal Lorieux, Cravant-les-Coteaux, Chinon, France. 13.5%.

Bernard Baudry Les Grezeaux Chinon 2004

Eyes: Colour is bright fuschia, lighter around the rim and vibrant purple at the centre.

Nose: Dried herbs, alcohol and fruit compote -- a very sharp and astringent perfume.

Mouth: Much fruit, black cherry with its pits covered in cream and with a bright acidity. Mineral and tannic -- a typical combination that conveys the earthy spice of the Loire terroir. Smoothness on the finish, average length, light to medium body overall.

Stomach: A juicy cut of beef and mushrooms with thyme and orange and yellow peppers. A more alcoholic impression than most (even though it is a quite low 13) and as an outcome of that, seems to demand heartier fare.

Coteau de Sonnay, Cravant-les-Coteaux, Chinon, France. 13%.


Joe said...

I had the regular Baudry for WBW4. Your Les Grezeaux write up does not convey a lot of enthusiasm given the steeper price tag - any comment? I'm a very charming macchiato/Madiran kind of guy...
Welcome back!

Marcus said...

Probably just that the 05 vintage was superior across the board for Chinon producers.

Marcus said...

And thanks for the welcome!

Joe said...

Of course - don't follow the Loire vintages that closely, thanks.