Excessive doesn’t even begin to describe our behavior this weekend. I don’t think I’ve ever drunk more wine in a 60-hour period, especially of this caliber. With anything from DRC to Raveneau to Huet to Salon to Marcarini, I think we managed to hit most of the major food groups. We took a break on Friday during a terrific morning of old white Burgundy to drink a small flight of Savennières from the Clos de la Coulée de Serrant.
Few wines are as polarizing today as Nicolas Joly’s Savennières. The 2002 brought up the usual discussion of oxidation in Joly’s current style of winemaking—this bottle was downright poor, feeling metallic, oxidative, alcoholic and clumsy. I’ve defended this wine in the past, and it's possible that another bottle might show better. For me, however, this was extremely disappointing. It was especially shocking in direct comparison with wines from the previous era, as today’s wines in no way resemble the wines of the past.
The pairing of 1986 and 1987 served as a wonderful example of this, with the former showing a sleekly luscious, waxy depth of fruit and the latter feeling like a distillation of pure minerality, its fruit existing solely as a vehicle for transmission of terroir. This is how Savennières should be: complex, refined, harmonious, dazzlingly soil-expressive, and above all, showing an impeccable balance. Even more regal was a spectacular bottle of 1961, its complex layers of flavor ranging from dried apricot to blanched almond to chestnut honey, all infused by a hauntingly fragrant minerality. Very few wines in the world can finish with such incredible length and detail as this one did. Will the wines of today turn out anywhere close to this? Personally, I don’t think so. What’s your opinion?