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2010 Bodega Bistro OL with Brad Kane: Riesling, Poulsard, Beaujolais and Sweet Chenins

July 14, 2010


Brad Kane, consultant for Winebow Inc., makes an annual pilgrimage to California wine country, and we’ve done an OL with him in San Francisco on those occasions for at least the last three years. This year, for the second year in a row, we gathered at Bodega Bistro, which has very tasty Vietnamese and Chinese seafood and other meat dishes for remarkably reasonable prices, and very low corkage. The food there works extremely well with Riesling, Gewurz, dry and somewhat sweet whites, as well as lighter reds and high acid reds. Since Brad also has some limitations on what he’s willing to drink these days (no Chards, no Jura whites, but yes to Loire whites and Jura reds), we ended up with an eclectic but very food friendly bunch of whites and a few reds, most of which showed quite well. The wines of the day for me were two ’01 Rieslings, the Dönnhoff Niederhäuser Hermannshöhle and Fritz Haag Brauneberger Juffer-Sonnenuhr Spätleses, the 1989 Champalou Vouvray Moelleux Cuvée CC, and a fascinating ’02 Emmanuel Houillon Poulsard Arbois Pupillin Maison Pierre Overnoy.

The food was terrific as always at Bodega Bistro, the company top notch, and the wines were quite lovely too. For particular comments on our flights, see below.

RJ and Sandy

photo by Brad Kane

Sparkling starter

spring rolls


  • N.V. Bottex Vin du Bugey-Cerdon La Cueille – France, Savoie, Vin du Bugey-Cerdon
    Medium pink color; floral, tart strawberry, mineral nose; bright, tangy, lovely, medium-sweet, ripe strawberry, cherry, mineral palate; medium finish 90+ pts. (90 pts.)

Dry White Flight

Both the ’04 Boxler Riesling Brand and ’96 Trimbach Gewurztraminer Cuvée des Seigneurs de Ribeaupierre were delicious in this flight, and went very well with our salads and spring rolls. The Trimbach was in tremendous shape for a 14-year-old Gewurz, not surprising, though, for Trimbach’s top Gewurz.


green papaya salad


This was a thoroughly beautiful flight, and it worked great with our seafood dishes. ’01 was an outstanding year for German Riesling, and our two ’01s were full of the power, petrol and minerality characteristic of the vintage at this stage. The ’93 Selbach-Oster was also very good, but just a step behind. The ’01s simply sparkled in this flight.

garlic crab

Red Flight

The ’02 Overnoy/Houillon Poulsard Pupillin grabbed all my attention in this flight. I had the opportunity to taste more wines from this producer this week, and will be writing those up shortly. Poulsard is the fine, delicate but grippy red specialty of the Jura, which can produce wines reminiscent of fine Burgundies, but with a perfume, floral quality and delicacy all their own. Pierre Overnoy began the domaine with 2.65 hectares inherited from his father in 1968. The domaine still comprises less than five hectares today, with all of its holdings being in Pupillin. There Poulsard is known as Ploussard, and the village of Pupillin is considered the greatest terroir for this rare grape. The domaine is now run by Emmanuel Houillon and his family, who worked for Overnoy, who never married and had no heirs. Rather than see his domaine broken up on his death, Overnoy is selling the domaine to Houillon and his siblings over a period of years, with the purchase funded by their work at the domaine. The farming is biodynamic, the fermentation based on ambient yeasts and carbonic, and no sulfur dioxide is added to the wine. The elevage is in old oak barrels, and production is small, with only 20 cases typically imported each year to the U.S. I was quite entranced by this wine, and it affected others at lunch the same way. (Thanks to Jim Hanlon for the information here on the status of the domaine and their methods.)



Sweet Flight

Traci and Brad

The Baumard Quarts de Chaume is always a beautiful wine, and it performs well even in off years, like ’04. The wine of this flight, though, was the ’89 Champalou. 1989 was an excellent vintage for Loire sweet wines, and this is Champalou’s top cuvee, known as the Vouvray Trie de Vendange, Cuvée Catherine or Cuvée CC, made from carefully selected botrytised grapes harvested on sequential passes (tries) through the vineyards. Definitely a treat.

  • 2004 Domaine des Baumard Quarts de Chaume – France, Loire Valley, Anjou-Saumur, Quarts de Chaume
    Light medium golden color; botrytis, crystalized lemon, cream nose; tasty, rich, medium sweet lemon, powdered sugar palate; medium-plus finish (93 pts.)
  • 1989 Champalou Vouvray Moelleux Cuvée CC – France, Loire Valley, Touraine, Vouvray
    Medium dark apricot color; musty, mature, apricot, dried apricot, mineral nose; honeyed, apricot, tart apricot, mineral palate with acidity; medium finish (94 pts.)

Al, Christianne and Traci

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