Sunday Betsy made some "club steaks" (she stopped by the supermarket and that's what they had in the Coleman natural beef, though the steaks looked like they were cut by a 7 year old with a butter knife) in a red wine sauce. I served the 1999 Sebastiani Cabernet Sauvignon (Sonoma). More red than black fruit, a little vanilla touch on top of the red plum fruit. Medium-bodied, soft tannins , not especially long. OK at normal retail, a deal at $5 I paid, but not really exciting. B/B-
Monday some friends who had recently given up a dog (biter) came over to console themselves with our hound. We started off with some pate, olives, and canapes of smoked mackerel with a lemon/dill creme fraiche, accompanied by the 2004 Paul Pernot Bourgogne blanc. Ripe apple and pear fruit is backed by a fresh acidity. There's an almost Pulignyesque mineral note to the finish. Excellent for a simple Bourgogne. B+
Jim had brought some tuna steaks with a ginger-lime marinade, we grilled those along with some squash. Tried with both some open whites and a red, the 1999 Wild Horse Merlot (Paso Robles). Soft forgettable Merlot, Jim liked more than I. Seemed to have a little brett, but that doesn't really bother me. Flabbiness, premature tiredness and short finish do however. Too bad, I've enjoyed Wild Horse wines before. C+
As we say on patio we ran out of reds. I brought up the 2004 D'Andezon Cotes du Rhone. This seemed acidic and out of balance. As a fan of past vintages of this wine, I was disappointed. Luckily I didn't dump in vinegar crock, but tried again last night with some thawed skirt steak (Betsy was working). What a change some air made! Rounder, fuller, with blackberry fruit and a hint of pepper (think this is all Syrah, at least in past). A C+ on night one transformed into a B/B+
After dinner I had a couple glasses of the 2002 Deletang "Les Batisses" Montlouis Demi-sec. That kind of applesauce Chenin fruit with a little waxy note, I'm not really enamored of this - sweetness seems to have the edge on the acidity, and it seems to lack some concentration as well as not having much on the finish. As a huge fan of 2002 Loires, this is a disappointment (though I realize this might just be an awkward point). B-
Grade disclaimer: I'm a very easy grader, basically A is an excellent wine, B a good wine, C mediocre. Anything below C means I wouldn't drink at a party where it was only choice. Furthermore, I offer no promises of objectivity, accuracy, and certainly not of consistency.