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David Bowler, my employer, held his fifth annual BBQ this weekend and the event was a lot of fun. An excellent assortment of food was prepared by the team from Savoy Restaurant (70 Prince Street, NY, 212.219.8570), but the real star was the awesome selection of wines. Within seconds of walking in the door, I was double fisting two large Riedel Burgundy glasses. One contained a beautiful Kabinett from a young producer with a cult following named A.J. Adam. The other glass contained the 2005 Didier Dagueneau Blanc Fume de Pouilly Silex. While saying hello to everyone, I stumbled across a table with a vertical of Cornas from the legendary Noel Verset, vintages 1995-2000. I immediately slugged back my Dagneau to free up a glass. The 1995 and 1996 were both firm and elegant wines, but the latter seemed to be the weaker of the two. 1997 was not considered to be a top vintage, but the Verset is full of lush fruit. Bigger and more structured, the 1998 was perhaps the most impressive wine of the flight. The 1999 does not have the firm backbone of the 1998, but it is densely packed with black fruits. I have drunk the 2000 Verset before and it has always been extremely enjoyable. It does not have the rich body of the 1998 or 1999, but it is certainly no lightweight.

Noel Verset’s wines are very traditional in style and represent a style of winemaking that has basically disappeared. Throughout much of Noel Verset’s life, Cornas was a poor village that was known for producing rustic, country wines. Men like Verset were a product of this era and their wine making was very simple. Not all of Verset’s wines were great, but they have always reflected the conditions in which they were made. Noel Verset did not try to “correct” a wine from a difficult year, rather he let the vintage  shape the wine. Kermit Lynch once said Verset had the best vineyards in Cornas, but that Auguste Clape was the best winemaker. Clape may have produced better wines on a more consistent basis, but Verset’s bottles, flaws and all, were truer examples of the vintage. I feel fortunate to have caught a glimpse of this nearly extinct style of winemaking.       

After snapping out of my Verset trance, I made my way back to the main wine table and parked myself on a nearby bench. I am a veteran of such events and I did not plan on missing a single bottle. There were many outstanding wines. I particularly liked the 2002, Vatan, Sancerre, blanc and the 1999 Domaine Thenard, Montrachet, grand cru. Several wines from Jacky Truchot were opened including a delicious 2005 Morey-Saint-Denis, 1er cru, Les Blanchards. I thought I saw every bottle as it was opened, but Bruce Sanderson of the Wine Spectator went floating by with a 2001 Truchot, Charmes-Chambertin. Other producers included Roulot, F.X. Pichler, Clos Saint-Jean, Jean-Claude Bachelet, Raveneau, Knoll, J.J. Prum. There was one downside to this party, however. I had to go back to reality the next day.

 


Comments

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I wish David Bowler would have invited me there as well. That seemed like an amazing event the barbecue party, my friends and I threw one in my home as well, we invited people from all over the neighborhood and enjoyed.

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04/24/2017 23:40

Glad to see that you are carry a bottle of wine with BBQ it's seems like you are celebrating a party, and often me and my friends enjoy together same as you.

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05/08/2017 06:29

Many wine lovers would totally lose their minds feeling envious to you! I am glad to experienced that. If I was there, I would definitely ask for a bottle of Vatan, Montrachet, and 1999 Domaine Thenard. These wines are just three of the best tasting wines in the world! Even my fellow wine lovers would totally agree on me for that. Next year, I'll be blocking my schedule for next year's wine bazaar!

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