A nice group gathered last night at Cafe Meze in Hartsdale to share some wine, eat some good food, and talk about some future plans. Cafe Meze put together a nice tasting menu, with small plates of mushrooms, calamari with truffle oil, veal short ribs, beef short ribs, lemon risotto, and more.
1999 Ramonet "Les Caillerets" Chassagne-Montrachet 1er CruThis was really lovely, complex and long. Mineral and citrus, a little butterscotch as it warmed. Bright and lively. A-
1996 Peter Michael "Mon Plaisir" Chardonnay
Others seemed to have a strong preference for the Ramonet, I preferred it also, but only by a little. This is really a nice example of California Chardonnay in my opinion. Fully mature, with almost Champagne-like yeasty note on the nose. Some flint and butter notes over a nice base of pear fruit. B+/A-
1979 Drouhin Chambertin-Clos de Beze
Bottle looked almost like a rose, and I had my worries (brought a bottle of Volnay as back up). John assured me we wouldn't need the backup (he said Drouhin did especially well in '79), and he was right. Seemed light as it was poured, but quickly put on weight (and color). Nose of strawberries and damp earth, more of a cherry note on the palate. Layers of mushroom, leaves, dirt, and flowers. Led to a discussion of the term sois bois. Held up nicely for an hour or more, but when I revisited last couple sips as cheese came it had fallen apart. A much better showing than I expected. I have one more that I picked up at a clearance sale, I kick myself for tipping off Drouhin-loving friends rather than just grabbing for me. A
1993 Damoy Chambertin-Clos de Beze
A big contrast. Young, dark, and vigorous, I would have guessed maybe a more acidic than normal 1999 blind. I don't know this producer, Mark assures me that only the 1993s are really interesting. A home run in this vintage, though. Big black cherry fruit, some coffee and spice. A little tannic, but with meat it's quite nice. Needs time. For now B+, consensus is that it will improve.
2003 Saxum Broken Stones Syrah
This is just not a style that I especially enjoy. Huge dark berry fruit, layers of new oak and smoke, develops cola notes with time. I appreciate it's well made, but the sweetness and pounding tannins don't appeal to me (but I am glad to taste it ). However, it worked very well as a Port-substitute with some blue cheese. With the cheese a B+, otherwise for me a C/C+ (though I'm sure with the right food I might like better)
1995 Phelps ???
I didn't actually see bottle of this, it was in decanter, but I understand this was an auction bottling, a blend of 70% Napa Syrah & 30% Insignia blend. An oddity, but a rather appealing one. Good match for the meat. I didn't think it especially Syrah-ish, I would have assumed Bdx blend. Oak is present but fairly integrated, there's good cassis fruit. A little low-acid for me, but otherwise a fine wine, and a fun one to taste. B/B+
2001 de Fargues
Big, sweet, young. Tropical fruit and creme brulee. Obviously too young, but tasty. A-/B+
Very nice evening with exellent people, food, and wine.
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.