Sunday, March 22, 2015

Humble and clueless

I don’t know what to write about? I have tasted a Champagne, which I want share with you all, but I can find a subject.

But what’s the problem? I don’t want the tasting note to matter so much - because it doesn’t really interest me to write them anymore, if they are not part of a reflection. This is what I do – this is what this blog is about. Why should I compete with what’s already out there in the tasting note category?

But there is also another reason. I feel deeply humble when putting a judgment on wine. Paradoxically – the more wines I taste – the less I feel about expressing my judgment. I have seen how emotional I am around wine and how variables can change the outcome. I wrote about it here.  I have even seen how wine can outsmart the most skilled tasters and I have too much respect for the wine craftsmanship and for the producers I have met. But for sure – I am the paying costumer; I even have lots of experience, so why not express my opinion? Sometimes I want to – sometimes I don’t.

But I am probably deviating for the trend, which is moving in the opposite direction. We have endless opinion formers on wine these days. Sometimes I am astounded how quickly some people form their judgment and conclusion thirsty they are.

There is a Danish poet, author and filmmaker called Jørgen Leth, which I deeply admire. Together with two musicians; Michael Simpson and Frithjof Toksvig they formed a trio called; “Vi sidder bare her (We are just sitting here)”.  So far they have released 3 CD’s. The genre is Spoken Word (in Danish). Jørgen Leth has an almost hypnotic nasal voice, which are well known here in Denmark. Jørgens voice is accompanied by an almost dreamy cinematic soundtrack of subtle floating sounds. On the first CD there is a track called (translated) “Not a damn thing wiser”. Here is a part of the lyric, which I particular like:

“I like to be perceived as slightly stupid - I would rather express a stupid consciousness - a kind of non-intellect consciousness. So it’s the completely opposite from most people, who basically are clever and looking to announce their wisdom. This in an attitude I don’t have at all - not at all”.

On many occasions I feel like Jørgen Leth - especially when it comes to praise wisdom and judgement on wine.

So what now? What should I write about? Should we just get on with the tasting note – something everyone understands and not all of this Mumbo Jumbo?

Let’s get acquainted with a new Champagne from Cédric Bouchard, which I have bought a while ago, but not before now I got the chance to taste it. I tasted it with my friend Claus and we were both intrigued and fascinating from the first glass, but also agreed that the last glass was by far the best.  
2010 Roses de Jeanne / Cédric Bouchard “Presle”

Grape: 100% Pinot Noir (10 different clones)
Terroir: Hard clay soil
Vineyard: 0,2548ha – West exposure
Location: Celles-sur-Ource
Age of Vines: Planted in 2007
Aging: Steel
Dosage: Zero – always the case with Cédric Bouchard
Disgorgement: April 2014
Glass: Zalto White Wine

About a month ago there was an article on Cédric Bouchard in the Danish food & wine magazine: “Gastro”. The article highlighted the fact that Cédric is not a fan on oak and the autolysis character of classic aged Champagne, as both take focus from purity and the terroir character of the wine. Then the journalist reported some tasting notes, found them very interesting, but ended up concluding that he especially missed the autolysis notes.

I feel the complete opposite. I never miss anything, when I tasted Cédric Bouchard. I don’t mind oak – I can even appreciate the autolysis character, but unlike the journalist from Gastro I praise the diversity of Champagne and the fact that Cédric makes wines his way and no other way.

I get and praise the idea of comfort zones in wine (as you saw with “Daily drinkers”), as they are something, which takes a lot of time to reach, and we can find enormous rest within. However when reaching out to a producer like Cédric Bouchard we have to cross our anxiety zone. There is no alternative. This is a producer, which doesn’t make any compromises. Like or not. The first Champagne I tasted from Cédric Bouchard was in 2007.  It was the 2005 “Les Ursules”. I was on one hand fascinated – but also confused and I was definitely outside my comfort zone and close to my anxiety zone. Today that anxiety has turned into a warm comfort zone and if I should tell others about my love for WINE in Champagne, he would be one of the first I would serve them.

So – If I understand this correctly, the Presle vineyard was supposedly meant to be the base of Cédric Bouchard Coteaux Champenois project. When I visited Cédric in 2011 I noticed some oak barrels there, which he told us was an experiment for his still wines. Initially the still wine(s) were to be sold in very limited numbers of magnums. But for now – the first vintage have gone bubbly – let’s see what happens in near future.

I tell you it’s an intense Champagne this one. Like with Haute-Lamblé, I have to say that I am amazed that Cédric manages to make this kind of quality with vines of such young age. It even seems to have a solid soil footprint with enormous bite and intensity.  Like all other Cédric Bouchard Champagnes you don’t just sit and pick a fruit note here and there and outline a normal tasting notes. Because rarely you don’t find these common notes as lemon, pear and apple for instance. What you find is a wine composed of all kinds of racy edges – like here with Presle, which both plays with exotic fruit notes, gamey flavours, black currant and an enormous savoury spectrum. We had it both with and without food and it plays better with food as it has a very vibrant acidity and it’s one of the most structured Champagnes I have tasted from Cédric Bouchard.

I was just about to compare Presle with the other Champagnes of Cédric Bouchard. But does it really matter? Presle stands for something singular and unique - like the rest of Cédric's wines. BRAVO!!!.