Friday, December 31, 2010

Cellar Report: 2004 Alain Boisson Cairanne "Cros de Romet"

Yeah, I know the label says 2008. That's what I have in store at VINO since there's a
chance I may have forgotten to take a pic of the '04.

When I first had the 2004 Cairanne from Alain Boisson I was sitting at a table at Le Pigeon here in Portland, probably sometime in 2007, with a bunch of my boys on a guys night out. Forget the strip clubs and meat market bars. We're all about eating and drinking as well as is humanly possible in PDX. We had probably just been delivered a plate of foie gras or some other so wrong/so right part of an animal that chef Gabe Rucker has a way with. This bottle ended up on the table because as the "wine guy" in the crowd I'm usually tasked with ordering and with my love of all things wine-ish and southern French, and also because the south of any wine Euro wine producing country is almost always where the deals are, there was a bottle of Boisson. Anyway, all around the table there was consensus that this as something pretty special. Back at VINO the next day I ordered some for the store, and a half dozen extra for my basement.

So here I was a couple nights ago at home pulling the last bottle out of the basement. 2004 wasn't considered an average year for Rhone reds, but like in every mediocre vintage great winemakers will most likely make better than average wine. The other five had been delicious, getting better and better with each opening. So it was with the last bottle. As always upon opening I got a nose full of dark, plummy fruit. This wine always takes a few minutes to develop the nuances beyond the fruit. Sure enough, soon those classic aromas of pepper, smoke, earth, and roasted meat we making their way out of the glass. Taking a drink, this has dropped its hard edges and is all soft, beautifully developed flavors. More dark fruit, more hints of garrigue (that taste of wild herb, earth, and spice that are the hallmark and siren call of Provençal reds), more velvety smooth texture that led to a finish that demanded another taste. As the wine sat in the glass after about 30 minutes it really opened up...bacon fat, plum jam, spring blossoms...crazy flavors that kept changing with each sip. An hour or so later the bottle was almost empty and that delicious French haze going was going on in my head that causes irrational trip planning and dreams of escape. 2004 turned to be quite a good year. Merci, M. Boisson!

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