September 2004
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Day September 12, 2004

Domaine Tempier Bandol 1994 & William Fevre Chablis 2002

Opened a magnum of the 1994 Domaine Tempier Bandol last night — the regular bottling, not the Speciale. The wine was decanted about an hour and a half before serving, and accompanied “Rosemary Lavender Leg of Lamb, with swiss chard gratin and white beans with onion garlic confit.” This was the main course in a dinner our cooking group made from the Herbfarm Cookbook.

The Tempier was a beautiful dark color, with just a touch of orange around the rim as the only real evidence of age. The nose began sweet and spicy, with some leather and only a hint of tree bark, and some serious tannin and depth on the palate. By the time I served the wine, the nose has smoothed out and had a lovely earthy tree bark complexity, the beginnings of a subtle “old wine” spice, and only a hint of the youthful leatheriness I expect from Tempier. Dark and sweet on the palate, with no rough edges, this was a terrific bottle of wine. The 1994’s in single bottles seem a bit more advanced (as you’d expect) but are still also drinking wonderfully.

Earlier, we’d served the William Fevre Chablis 2002 with a pureed tomato and fennel soup, made from fresh heirloom tomatoes. The Fevre is just the regular domaine bottling from mixed vineyards around the appellation, so I wasn’t expecting the depth and complexity of a Montee de Tonnere or Valmur. I’d purchased the domaine bottling (around $20 in the Seattle market) just to have a stock of everyday white at home for guests that I’d also enjoy. And I was pleasantly surprised — the Fevre had plenty of minerals, chalky seashell, and sweet fruit. The wine developed a bit in the glass, eventually losing the tart minerally edge it had when opened and becoming smooth and rounded and less defined. But this is an excellent value and I’d recommend it to anyone looking for a decent “everyday” white Burgundy, especially if you’re used to flabby, overoaked domestic examples of Chardonnay.