Valdiguie? Valdiwhat?

A new grape for us! We picked this bottle of 1995 Hop Kiln Valdiguie up on our honeymoon while at Hop Kiln. They had taken a few cases out of their library to release the day we were there and we thought we’d take home a bottle. Overall, only 400 cases of this wine were produced and we had never heard of the varietal, so we were sold.

On the nose I found spicy raspberries, with the fruit being oddly fresh for a 12 year old wine. I expected the fruit to be duller and more muted given the age, but no, it was as if the raspberries were fresh off the bush. I also found fresh black cracked pepper which was where the kicking spice of this wine really seemed to come from.

I decanted because I read on CellarTracker that it was spicy, but I think that was a characteristic of the wine, not an aging thing. We also drank this outside the window suggested by CellarTracker…it said through 2006….we’re not that far off, right?

In the mouth there were fresh strawberries and fresh raspberries (can you tell yet that I am impressed by the fresh flavors in this wine?) And more spice, mostly the black pepper, but something else I can’t put my finger on. We had a weird thought on this wine. The fruit was really fresh on the front of the palate, but then it dropped off in the middle and finish, as if someone had poured water into it in the middle of the sip. I realize that sounds incredibly strange, but I can’t really think of a better way to describe it.

The verdict? Certainly not worth the $50 price tag. It lacked depth and complexity for a wine at that price point. Not sure we actually paid that much, as I think we got a 20% club discount, but even at $40, too much money for too little wine.


6 Responses

  1. Interesting tasting note. My guess is 1) it was past it’s prime 2) decanting didn’t help this wine but may have helped to dull it. That dropping off of the wine is sometimes described as a “hollow mid-palate,” or that’s what I was taught. Usually such wines pick up something on the finish, however, so this may not be quite the right technical phrase to describe what you experienced. Gotta love those Cellar Tracker drinking windows. I’ve been on the brink of disaster on more than one occasion and have narrowly avoided it thanks to someone saying “DRINK THIS NOW.”

  2. I’ve had Valdigue that I really enjoyed from Sunce in Sonoma Co. this one sounds overpriced though!

  3. Bummer. Does sound past its prime. I’ve had way better luck on Cellatracker windows with red wines than with whites. Some whites, like the 2003 Newton Unfiltered Chard that should have been just fine were already way past due, and not because of any faults or cork issues.

    Better luck next time!

  4. Wow – for better or for worse, I consider myself a true wine geek and I’ve never heard of Valdiguie, so bravo for experimenting! 😉

  5. Ouch! That’s a pricey experiment. Valdiguié is a French grape that’s down to only a few hectares in France. It was a big crop there a couple of centuries ago when it performed well due to is resistance to mildew and generally produced high yields compared to other grapes. The Oxford Companion to Wine also says that in the US it was labeled as Napa Gamay and was cultivated in from over 1600 hectares until 25 years ago when the connection with French grape was finally made. Now it seems to have fallen off the map altogether. Sounds like the bottle you opened isn’t helping its current worth.

  6. Definitely disappointing folks! Makes me wonder if I shouldn’t just hurry up and drink the rest of the wines in my basement that CellarTrackers says need to be consumed now or soon!

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