Thursday, March 11, 2010

Skurnik Wines, 2010 Grand Portfolio Tasting

Over 700 wines, 300 wine producers from across the globe and a curious and appreciative band of trade professionals gathered at Michael Skurnik Imports 2010 Grand Portfolio tasting on Wednesday, March 10, in New York City. Yes, this was nirvana. Here's a sampling.

Upon arrival, my first stop was with old friends from Burgundy and the northern Rhone Valley of France. Alexandrine Roy, Domaine Marc Roy, of Gevrey Chambertin presented her stable of villages wines from 2007 and one 2006. Elegance and purity exemplify the work of this dedicated young vignernon. Her 2007 Gevrey-Chambertn “Clos Prieur” received 4 stars in the April issue of Decanter. Bridget Roch, who with her husband, Gilbert Clusel, own the highly regarded Domaine Clusel-Roche in Cote Rotie of the northern Rhone. Gilbert stayed behind to finish pruning. Their wines are superb, particularly the “Grandes-Places.” The 2006 is sleeping in my cellar. I’m on the prowl for the 2007. Next comes Stephane Robert of Domaine Tunnel, who produces quality white wines from St. Peray and brilliant reds from Cornas and St. Joseph. I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Stephane and his wife, Sandrine at their cave in St. Peray. Not only are they making quality wines, but their generosity and graciousness are endearing. Domaine Colin Morey ‘s line-up of white Burgundy premier crus from Meursault, Chassagne-Montrachet and Puligny Montrachet showed charming freshness, purity and a harmonious blend of mineality, apple and pear notes, acidity framed by a touch of oak.

Others from France worth noting are Chateau Pibarnon (Bandol), Chateau Laulerie (Bergerac), Domane Lafond (Rhone), and St. Prefert (Chateauneuf du Pape).

For the past three years, I’ve attended the International Pinot Noir Celebration (IPNC) in Oregon where I’ve come to know many fabulous producers of Pinot Noir from around the world, particularly from Oregon and California. Many were on hand in New York. Failla’s Ehren Jordon is a pure superstar winemaker. His Pinot Noir and Syrah bottlings are produced with genuine French–like style. They are recommended highly. Other California stars included the “fantastique” portfolio of Peter Michael, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon at its best. The wow wines of Paul Hobbs Kent Rasmussen (long term cellar worthy). Rudy von Strasser of von Strasser winery in Napa was there to fulfill every Cabernet Sauvignon lover’s fantasy.

A strong band of brothers and sisters from Oregon invaded NY. Brickhouse, owned by Doug Tunnell, formerly of CBS news, poured his superb Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The affable Patricia Green presented her approachable line-up of Pinot Noir. To veterans of IPNC, Patricia is well known for her great t-shirt she sells at her winery. It reads, “Women Taste Better.” Who can argue? Penner-Ash and Cristom were there.

Now, I’ll jump back to the old world…Italy.

Powerful and traditional style Barolos from Domenico Clerico. These classic blockbusters were the stars of the day. Cellar them and forget about them from at least a decade or two. For the impatient, Cavallotto and Marengo offer more approachable gems from Piedmonte. From Montalcino, Alessandra Mililotti Ciacci showcased her charm and quality portfolio. Her Moscali has a solid gathering of Morellino di Scansono, Rosso di Montalcino and outstanding Brunello di Montalcinos.

Finally, there was a surprising discovery from the Iscaro Valley, the northern tip of Italy. Weingut Kofererhof's young winemaker Gunther Kerschlbaumer makes some of the most unique and tasty white wines you will find anywhere. The Kerner varietal was a new one for me. The jasmine and passion fruit aromas were intoxicating. His Riesling, Gewurztraimner, Sylvaner, Pinot Grigo, and Muller-Thurgau were pure delight.

The train is about to pull into Union Station. I need a glass of wine.

No comments: