Thursday, November 10, 2005

10 November 2005 - More on Kuentz-Bas..Vieux Telegraphe 2003...The Latest from Paul Roberts

I mentioned, in the last post, tasting the first Kuentz-Bas wine ('04 "Alsace") I every truly enjoyed. Thanks to Seth Stevens -- and -- I've learned that K-B was purchased by Jean-Baptiste Adam, sometime in 2003, or early 2004. That could explain the sudden good showing -- J.B. Adam is a terrific Alsace negociant flying under the radar. They make my favorite basic Alsace wines. Seems their quality is rubbing off on K-B. I wonder what Kermit Lynch (K-B's US importer) thinks about the situation...

Vieux Telegraphe 2003
Chateauneuf du Pape

I can't imagine how winemakers in Chateauneuf du Pape kept their sanity intact after the 2002 and 2003 vintages. In 2002 the southern Rhone was flooded by torrential rain, causing many producers in Chateauneuf du Pape to declassify their entire crop, or what was left of it.

The very next year, 2003, was the hottest year in the history of the entire European continent, killing thousands of people by heat stroke. Vineyards that struggled to find a ripe grape in '02, struggled to get their '03 crop in the winery before it was burned to a crisp -- '03 produced the highest potential alcohols ever seen in the region.

For Vieux Telegraphe, a domaine that usually produces beautifully balanced, relatively delicate Chateauneuf du Pape, 2003 might be a perfect vintage. The wine is V.T.'s densest, richest, ripest ever, and still exquisitely balanced -- sensational young Chateauneuf du Pape.

Deep Creek Cellars
"White Linen Reserve" 2003
-- or,
"What you have to do to make world-class wine in Garrett County"
40% Seyval from West Virginia and Pennsylvania; 35% Chardonnay from California and Maryland; 15% Vidal from Virginia and Maryland; 10% Asian Pear! from the “estate” in Garrett County, Maryland -- Paul Roberts cobbles together compelling wine by finding delicious fruit wherever he can and making the wine with as little manipulation as possible (wild yeast fermentations, little or no fining or filtering, very little use of oak). He is a brilliant winemaker who happens to have a small vineyard in western Maryland.

Looking at the components of this blend could make you dizzy. Grapes from five different states. Asian pear? From Deep Creek's own Asian pear trees. How he comes up with a blend like this, I don't know. I could ask him, but frankly, it doesn't matter -- the wine is delicious, and unique.


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