Thursday, February 26, 2009

Samuel Guibert Of MAS DE DAUMAS GASSAC Tastes At Cleveland Park The " New " Vintages Wed. Feb. 25th, 2009

It was great to meet Samuel Guibert who's family owns MAS DE DAUMAS GASSAC ( Haute Vallee du Gassac 34150 Aniane, France Tel : 33 (0) 4 67 57 71 28 Fax: 33 (0) 4 67 57 41 03 ) when he came to taste here yesterday early with me at Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits.

This was another example of where once I glanced at the bottles I knew immediately that I was in for a real treat. It often just takes a glance as the some labels just become indelibly imprinted on one's internal memory card.

A lot of this happened to me years ago as I dotted longer on them and read more about them. There were fewer back then just as there were fewer wines back then. I am speaking about the 1080's when I really cut my teeth and palate on many of the wines at the time; both tasting them and having more time to devote to them and their evaluations, appreciations, contemplations, marvelations ( is this a word? Probably not but it sounds good here in this context so I will leave it if no one objects ... ). I loved this seemingly simpler time in the wine world. I felt I could manage it better and wrap more of my arms and my tongue around it than I can now.

Back in the 1980's Robert Parker was a one-man operation in his reviewing and evaluations,marvelations ( here I go again - but there are similarities here, or should be for anyone enjoying wine ) . I remember that back then he raved about the MAS DE DAUMAS GASSAC wines, especially the red if I am correct? Back then everyone that wanted to be anyone had to get a bottle and check it out. Either that or anyone that wanted to discover something " new " and " recent " and quite obscure would be interested in tasting it just for the experience itself, regardless of the great reviews it got.

I know that back then I was intrigued, fascinated and definitely wanting to check these MAS DE DAUMAS GASSAC wines out and I believe that I was able to try them at least once or twice. It's been awhile since then and I believe that I found the wines challenging and needing both more time in the bottle and more patience on my part to really appreciate all that they represented then and would represent with time.

I remember just two weeks ago that at Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits I really offended a lady customer visibly. She was shocked and using her finger next to her right hand thumb to push up on her nose as to indicate twice if not thrice that I was a snob and highly offensive to her as she quickly departed the store. I was also visibly upset with her reaction.

I was trying some " new " wines when she stopped to look at our champagne and sparkling wine selections. I broke away from tasting the wine and asked if I could help her.

Our exchange of words was quite short. She wanted my opinion on a champagne and somehow she mentioned that she liked Veuve Clicquot and I said that the last time I had tried it I had found it really sharp and a bit edgy and dull. I mentioned this right after saying that the enjoyment of a wine or champagne was often intrinsically wrapped up with our perceptions of it that we carried with us even before tasting it. I said that it was hard to get away from our evaluation of some products because they were so well known or so well promoted or displayed in nice magazines, etcetera. I said that it was hard to be really objective when tasting because we brought so much to the table with us each and every time.

She was highly offended by all of this : that I might just be talking about her and not all of us?! This was simply too much for her to take and she fled the store in a rather offensive, dramatic style that I am sorry to say I helped bring on. I did not mean to offend or to lose a customer : I guess I should have chosen my words more carefully as I explored " out loud " what it meant to really evaluate and state one's opinion about one champagne over the other : and what we each might possibly really like of it without all the baggage brought along? A tough question to answer.

Anyway, I knew of MAS DE DAUMAS GASSAC and had some vague memories of it ( but mostly the old fact that Robert Parker, Jr. once loved it ) when I spotted the label, was introduced to Samuel Guibert and was about to taste the five bottles there spread out for me to see on our tasting table. Exciting, really ! This time I think I was really ready to enjoy and taste these wines with as clear a mind and palate as possible. My palate was still for these wines pretty much a white, virgin canvas ready to be filled anew with all new and current evaluations of mine ; all mine, no one else's - yes!

I asked Samuel to write something in our guest book before he left and this is what he wrote : " L'essentiel est invisible aux yeux ! On ne boit bien qu'avec le coeur ". Translated Samuel says : " The essential is invisible to the eyes. One only drinks well when with one's heart ". I agree. I like that quite a bit. Thank you / merci Samuel for those words. He signed his name and then dated it : 25 Fev 09.

I really enjoyed thoroughly these five organic ( biodynamic ) wines that Samuel poured for me the other day. It's now Wednesday March 4th, 2009 here at home in northern Virginia ( 9:41 AM ) as I madly type away. I want to post this now before I leave for work shortly. I will add to it as I have many comments to recollect and include here.

There was the MOULIN DE GASSAC series of a red and a white called " Guihem " that are both made in stainless steel and which both blew me a way for their flavors, many nuances and equal highs and lows and not just another good middle and nothing else like so many " safe - less likely to challenge or offend " wines that are mass-produced to day with catchy labels, too. These were classic-real wines meant to please as well as satisfy, challenge and stimulate one. Kudos to you all at MASS DE DAUMAS GASSAC for also making these two wines also amazingly affordable. If I had to choose just one it might be the white because I found it an even bolder, more sculpted and defined variations of tastes that just " rocked " me more than the lovely red.

I will have these two MOULIN DE GASSAC wines in the store after March 15th, 2009 so count on coming by to check them out : you will be amazed.

Then I tried two reds and one white from the MAS DE DAUMAS GASSAC and they, too were quite amazing achievements and needing more of my time and concentration and I wish I had been in a restaurant like Lavandou just down the street drinking and appreciating the many nuanced flavors of these three wines with Florence's excellent Provencal cuisine. They would be perfect there and that would have been the right way to really taste and evaluate all that these three wines had to offer me. Two hours seated at lunch with these three wines and some excellent Provencal food and conversation in such a beautiful setting : what more could anyone ask for?!?

Anyway, I've run out of time and have to dash off to work now. I will post this now and tonight add my further notes about these five marvelous wines then when I get back home. In the meantime enjoy this commentary/ stories and the pictures. Cheers et merci Samuel: reviens-vite nous voir encore ici au magasin! A bientot, j'espere. TONY

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