Responding to your notes:
Served with marlin and a really tasty shrimp/mussel sauce (maybe Jenise took more notes on the food and can describe it)
The sauce was a reduction with mango. Really a lovely dish.
2002 Balthasar Ress Schloss Reichartshausen Spatlese (Rheingau) – so much waxy tropical fruit in this one that one didn’t even notice the underlying petrol elements that were the tip off that you were tasting a Riesling until you dug for them. Excellent balance.
Hmmm...this one said riesling to me immediately, in spite of the cilantro note I smelled ahead of the white grapefruit and minerals. Delightful.
2003 Paul Pillot Chassagne Montrachet Les Caillerets Prem. Cru – tremendous contrast between these two wines, yet both went so very well with the food! The nose was floral/citrus, and it was very smooth on palate, with an oiliness that presented better than it sounds, finishing clean. Significant oak, which I didn’t find obtrusive.
Loved the initial burst of green apple--it was like biting into a grannysmith. Definitely 'oily', both in the midpalate and in that mild cocoa butter finish. What makes a wine 'oily', I wonder? We all agreed that it was there in spades in this wine, and yet I don't understand where that impression comes from.
With a very tasty beef and pheasant game pie:
1996 Bonny Doon Heart of Darkness Madiran – marketed by Bonny Doon and sourced from France, this luridly labelled wine had captured the worst of Madiran in the nose – smelling it made you check your shoes to see what you had stepped in. It ended short with acid and some tannin but no discernable fruit. Strange one (of course you could say that about a lot of Grahm’s wines)
Awful wine. Dog poop nose with a real sweet fruit trying to poke through, but absolutely no fruit in the mouth. Almost tasteless. Yuck.
1996 Chapoutier Domaine des Beates Terra d'Or (Coteaux d'Aix) – from the stinky to the excellent – I had never tasted this wine, and was impressed. It is a blend of cab and syrah from Aix en Provence, and it is the cabernet component that dominates the nose. Clean, long and smooth on palate with a hint of spiciness – the syrah contribution? A very tasty wine I wish I owned.
Loved this! My notes say: "Bordeaux? No! Northern Rhone? No! Cab/syrah blend? Yes!" Like you I'd never had it before, but it's a very interesting blend that showed both components perfectly--cab in the nose and entry, syrah in the mid palate and finish. Very stately and fine.
With a killer main course of roast pork:
That wasn't just roast pork, it was roast suckling pig, with crackling! Quite a treat.
1997 Montresor Santomio – from Veneto, this IGT is single vineyard barrique fermented and aged 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet that showed a pleasant slightly warm fruit (raspberry?) driven nose, and sweet fruit on palate. Pleasant and ready to drink now.
The merlot really showed on this wine. Had very classic elements and structure, without any of the telltale signs of Italian wine. No raisins, no metallic flavors, and no overt ripeness. Very good.
2003 Quinta das Baceladas – this Portuguese blend also features cab and merlot with a little of the native Baga grape. A single estate wine, it was made with input from Michel Rolland and Francisco Antunes of Caves Alianca. Big purple wine with an open ripe sweet nose, it was also sweet on palate with some soft tannin and finished quite dry. Good wine.
My notes say, "big berry, sweet tannins, a bint of mint and dill. 14.5%." It was quite nice, but almost too young and new (it had arrived by air the day before, we were told) for me to get a handle on stylistically.
1990 Vega Sicilia Unico – hands down winner of the day! Youthful wine with not much age showing in the colour and a sweet cassis nose with a hint of exotic coconut. Elegant and sweet on palate, the wine just kept developing in the glass, particularly in the nose where it added significant complexity and depth over time. One tasted likened it to a 1983 Pichon Lalande, which is an apt comparison. This wine will develop for many years. A treat! Thanks, J.
I was so relieved this showed well, it was a fitting last wine for our last lunch at this restaurant which I have so enjoyed my short drive to. Fun to share. Btw, I note that the first question came from Ken, "Is this Bordeaux?" That's about the wine. His second comment, though, addressed my pattern of wine choice, "Then it must be Californian. But it doesn't TASTE Californian." And here I've been thinking that I've mixed things up enough to avoid being typecast! I don't even own that much California wine, but thinking back I have definitely brought a few: Ridge, Swan, Karl Lawrence, Fiddlehead, Viader, and Thackeray come to mind.
2002 De Toren Fusion V – this Cape Bordeaux blend has always impressed me. Named for the cab, merlot, Malbec, cab franc and petit verdot that make up the blend, and given a year in mixed French and American oak, it is predictably Bordeaux in style, showing a big sweet slightly ripe nose, ripe tannins and good fruit. I was just glad it wasn’t my wine as I would not have wanted to try to follow a Unico……
Very nice wine, and a treat since it's a wine spoken of highly by my Canadian friends which we don't see in the U.S. Or at least, I haven't. I liked how in two questions we unanimously suspected southern hemisphere and then South Africa, and yet this wine didn't have any of the roastest flavors that often typify South Africa. Definitely a wine with which to debate whether South Africa is new world vs. old.
1996 Rosemount Mountain Blue – this is one not everyone was familiar with – a 90% shiraz 10% cabernet blend that is one of the three flagship wines of this producer (Roxburgh chard and Balmoral shiraz are the others). Dark wine with good sweet fruit nose, slightly hot, tannins soft with decent length, now drinking well.
I've seen the Mountain Blue but never had the wine. Quite heavy and concentrated--great choice on Manny's part to pair this with the cheese course. With that kind of weight, it's almost a dessert wine.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov