Saturday, October 24, 2009

Prieure Roch Vosne-Romanee Les Clous

Domaine Prieure-Roch
Les Clous
Pinot Noir

Nuit-Saint-Georges, France
11.5 or 12.5% (front and back labels disagree)
$48.99 [$68.99] -- Grapevine Market, Austin, TX

Color: Light, smoky strawberry peach
Nose: Strawberry, darker fruit, wet gravel, sour [something vegetal]
Body: Light
Front: Rose water, tire iron
Middle: Sour cherry, licorice
Back: Graphite, cedar, thyme
Burns clean?: Perfectly
Cap: Cork

An urging from a dear relative a few days ago sent me to the Grapevine Market, where eighty people on their lunch breaks were loading up carts with vast numbers of bottles of (sometimes) fabulous wine. This location is closing down, apparently, so they're selling off wines at a big discount. Thus it was that I was able to obtain my first, and possibly last, taste of real French Pinot Noir, from the relatively new winery of Domaine Prieure-Roch.

The color of this wine is stunning; it's very light, and in the glass it's like a peachy sunburst, almost going to clear at the edges. I can't quite describe the nose. A quick whiff and it's like most pinots, but less juicy fruity--then you stick your nose in the glass and way more interesting layers of things hit you. The palate is equally difficult to capture, though that's partly because I drink so few pinots. The tannins are incredibly soft, and I really like the sour and spicy mixture of flavors on top of a delightful mineral bed.

Here's what I'd say about this one: don't drink it if you are in a hurry. Don't drink it if your mind is set to accounting, or multitasking, or catching-up, or getting-ahead modes. It won't demand your attention, like this wine will, but it will reward your patience and attention. Also: the brownness in the color may well be evidence that it's moving past its peak--it is hard to find information about Prieure-Roch wines online (I've linked the most useful thing I found to the title above), but it seems equally possible, from the taste, that we are nowhere near its evolutionary end. It is a blend of grapes from several vineyards and, I think, not the top-of-the-line stuff from this house.

Having not done a lot of Pinot pairing, I'm staying safe with slow-cooked chicken, onion, and garlic, and roasted yaller potatoes tonight. Also maybe an avocado. And a Texas sunset, part of which reflects the color of this wine much better than my prose.