A pair of bottles tonight at the OPPOSITE end of the spectrum, a 2YO big-house Bojo-Villages–which is timely given the recent Third Thursday and the plethora of Nouveau-recoilers–and a typically big, refined, 10YO flagship Meritage from the artist formerly known as Clos Du Bois in Sonoma. An odd juxtaposition on the table–I know–as you literally COULDN’T pick two more dissimilar wines, but here we are. Somms everywhere are shuddering in their sleep, cringing at the food-pairing possibilities or alignments, but those are all wasted tears: Relax! I’m just drinking a couple bottles of wine!
I have a good stash of the Marlstone–vultured from clearance shelves as the brand died–including several from the 2011 vintage, one which has seen recent popular interest, despite my admonitions in that regard for almost a decade. This one, however, shows all the signs of the reasons the vintage was originally mocked, and who knows if it will ever blossom. Tight and dumb on opening, nose took nearly an hour to express ANYTHING, and even then it wasn’t exactly bursting with grandeur. Fruit wound sullenly around brash structure, the half-bottle gassed and pumped overnight now shows signs of oxidation and fatigue, though it IS a bit more balanced and if you squint real hard, you can envision another decade *possibly* flushing out cloaked drama. Rich, while fiercely tannic, the nearly-legal Cab-quotient making a bold statement in left-bank tones. We will see. You KNOW this bottle will pop up again on these pages.
The Gamay presents a shockingly opposing nose: green stemminess layered with lily-clad ripe floral and elegant Jolly Rancher berry. Deep cherry fights off carbonic austerity with some success, as the whole package comes off rich and well-stuffed. Absolutely beautiful in the mouth, rather polished and succulent while still violently abrasive in terms of acid and chalky bitterness. This is a Beaujolais you can sell to Californians, or at least I dream of that potential. Probably still too *weird* and oddly-nuanced for most of their palates, but man, is it pretty.
2011 CLOS DU BOIS ‘Marlstone’ Cab/ME/Bec/CF 82/11/6/1 Alexander Valley Sonoma 14.5
2019 JOSEPH DROUHIN Gamay Beaujolais-Villages Beaune Burgundy France 13.0