Monday, December 3, 2007

Saint Aubin 1er Cru En Remilly, Olivier Leflaive 1995

This is not a cheap, every day drink but, for what it delivers, it is relatively inexpensive and definitely an artisan wine.

A winemaker in Burgundy, pointing out the lay of his vineyards in relation to the hillside and their exposure to sun, told me that Saint Aubin is one of the best values in the area. It offers many of the same qualities as its pricier neighbor Puligny Montrachet; but because it is not as well known, it does not command as high a premium.

I encountered this particular wine at a large Frederick Wildman tasting about 10 years ago. It was my favorite wine of the tasting and, at $12 a bottle, I could afford to buy a case. I held it for about three years, then started sampling the wine, a bottle or two a year. Tonight's bottle was the best so far and fortunately I have three or four left in the cellar.

The deep gold color suggests maturity; the brilliant hue tells me it still has plenty of life. The bouquet is elegant rather than showy. Nuances come out gradually as the wine airs and warms: white peaches, stone fruits, lemon butter and a hint of walnut husks. On the tongue, it's very ripe but with enough acid lift to keep you coming back for more. Good fruit concentration. Silky smooth. Classy. Lingers at the back of the palate like a multi-colored satin pillow. Lovely.

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