I don’t know bumpkis about baseball.
Never have. I prefer sports where guys hit each other at high-velocity (football, hockey), or where the mere act of finishing a game is near-miracle of aerobic survival skills (soccer). As for all of the numbers that flash up on the screen when someone comes to bat? I don’t call that fun with stats, I call that torture; forget beating or water-boarding, you wanna get details on terrorist attacks from a suspect, submit them to an endless series of baseball games… that ought to get them talking in a hurry.
But Phillies fever is (rightfully and deservedly) sweeping the local populace out my way, and I do appreciate how hard it is to hit a baseball thrown in the major leagues – it might be the most difficult thing to do in all of professional sports. So I know the value of a homerun – and “home run” is an apt descriptor for the results of the recent Frederick Wildman twitter tasting event with Burgundy producer Olivier Leflaive.
I have such a troubled history with Burgundy; in my opinion, there is no more inconsistent a wine experience on offer for so much money as there is in the vinous produce from rolling hills of the Burg’. At this point, I think I’d have better luck in playing craps than in buying Burgundy wines, and to this day it is just about the only wine region that I won’t touch with my own money without a close friend experienced in Burgundy wines at my side in the wine shop (fortunately, I know a lot of experienced wine people).
And yet, there exist producers like Olivier Leflaive that can steer you so right so often – for a (sometimes steep) price, of course. But if you have the cash, you’re in for a treat when it comes to Leflaive, particularly the 2008s…
Leflaive’s 1er Crus are The Real Deal for lovers of food-friendly, balanced, but weighty Chardonnay, and they help to set the set a benchmark to which all other Chardonnay’s worldwide are compared (whether or not that’s fair or accurate is a matter of opinion, of course – and I’d love to hear yours!).
It helps that an engaging and irrepressible Olivier Leflaive was on-hand via video (see inset TasteLive.com screen print from the event), of course; but one certainly doesn’t need that to dig the wines for what they are, which in a word is “excellent.”
Here are my takes on the selections, before this love-letter action gets out of hand:
07 Olivier Leflaive 1er Cru Charmes (Meursault): Brioche, Butter & Butt-Kickery (but you ought to expect it at this price-point!) $103 A #
Not my favorite style of Chardonnay, but it’s so clearly well-made that you have to give it props (sort of like when the opposing team makes a great play – not your thing, but you have to admire the ability). The balance between the creaminess and acidity, coupled with the complex aromas of nuts, bread, citrus, and melon… well, it just kicks-ass, even if the price might actually kick your wallet’s ass.
08 Olivier Leflaive 1er Cru Clos St. Marc (Chassagne-Montrachet): Elegant; like buying yourself a license to be royalty for an hour. $90 A #
Now this wine is more my style of Chard. I don’t know if it’s the marly/limestone soils, but the citrus aroma and flavor is so pure on this wine it’s like they discovered the idea of a perfect citrus aroma that Aristotle would have had in mind when he wrote Book Delta of the Metaphysics. The finish is long enough that you could measure it in minutes without the use of stopwatch. The addition of herbal aromas and deft balance make it one of the most elegant wines I’ve tried all year.
Now for the slightly-less-expensive but still very, very good non-Cru wines of the tasting lineup:
- 08 Olivier Leflaive Meursault: More nuts than a box of Planter’s, more flowers than granny’s garden, & more balance than Nik Wallenda $52 B+ #
- 08 Olivier Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet: Like a non-Photoshopped Men’s Health cover model – not an ounce of discernible flab on it. $57 B+ #
So I may not be a baseball convert, but I’m becoming more of a Burgundy convert; I just wish I had the cash to bankroll the conversion!
(images: 1winedude, tastelive.com)
9 thoughts on “Baseball and White Burgundy (Tasting Olivier Leflaive Selections)”
Dude you are lucky to get to taste those wines. But you better pray if Timmy Lincecum faces your Phillies!
Indeed I am, Steve.
As for the Fightin' Phils – I am no student of baseball, but something tells me that the Phillies need fear no man right now! ;-)
I think you hinted at this in your post, but venturing into the land of red Burgundy is like walking through a minefield. If you're not careful, you can easily drop $60-$75 on something that tastes like rosewater with some cherry flavoring dropped in it. I tend to leave that area to my wine friends that buy/collect it, and are willing to share.
Also, part of the joy of baseball is the statistics. My wife and I have a game, where when an announcer rattles off a statistic with four or more variables, you have to drink. If he gives five variables, it's two drinks. For example, "Roy Oswalt hasn't given up a hit (1) in his last three starts (2) at night (3) at Wrigley Field (4) in a game preceded by an off day (5)" would cost you two drinks. Depending on how good the statistician is, you could be sloshed by the fourth inning.
OMG, Richard – that drinking game is *brilliant*!!!
Dude you definitely are on the right path…not that you need me to tell you that….great post. Wish you all the best.
Thanks, man – I know I still need to get back to you re: NJ spa & wine trip. Things have been… manic! But we're still very interested in the sojourn!
Joe: The Giants are lean and focused, without the excessive flab of lots of runs on the scoreboard. Fans of crisp, elegant baseball enjoy them.
I think it's fair to say the Phillies are balanced. But they are indeed a Big Red.
we adore this post. i just alerted my buddy donny about it because he cares for this kind of info too!
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