On Saturday (Jun 16) a bunch of incredibly gracious and generous forumites came to my place, to have one last fling before I go off to glamorous (and good-wine-shop-impoverished) South Dakota next month. Before I say anything else, I want to say a deep, warm, and heartfelt thank you to everyone who attended. It was such a great pleasure to host you all at my place, and I think everyone had a great time, including my wife. It was also a great pleasure to introduce the out-of-towners to Restaurant Tallent. What a great day! And what amazing lineup of wines - probably the strongest lineup I've ever had.
We kicked off with head-and-shoulders the best Sancerre I've had, which JuliaB brought just for Sam Platt, who hates Sancerre
. Although it seems both he and I finally found a Sancerre to like. Nice then to get to follow that up with an exceptional Pouilly-Fume, which in the end I believe was the clear favorite.Louis Laurent, Sancerre 2010
Subtle but good nose, with grapefruit, bell pepper, hint of flowers, stone fruits, and smokey mineral/stone. Grapefruit, apple juice, citrus rind, creamy pear, peach, a hint of nectar, flinty mineral. Lighter but nice body, not a lot of aromatic personality, but nice creaminess. Certainly the best Sancerre I've had. Drink over the next 3 years. ***Regis Minet, Vielle Vignes, Pouilly-Fume 2007
Lovely nose of white flowers, orange, stone fruits, smokey mineral/stone, and grass/bell pepper/herbs. Similar on the palate, pleasantly tart, and zippy, with grapefruit, ripe fruits, deep citrus rind, floral nectar, excellent, persistent body, great depth, excellent finish. Improved greatly on day two. With its depth, balance, and lively acidity, this can go another 5 years or more. Very, very nice. ***
Next a very fine 1er Cru Chassagne. Many a night of wine drinking I'd have been thrilled to stop there, and yet this was just the starting lineup.Louis Latour, Morgeot, Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru 2006
Ripe, rich fruit, apricot, zesty pear, creamy, buttery, flowers, mineral. Prominent acidity. Excellent. Can go another 10 years. ***1/2
And here finally I get to try a Lopez de Heredia. What an awesome and unique wine. Thanks Josh!Lopez de Heredia, Vina Tondonia Blanco Reserva, Rioja 1996
My first Lopez Heredia, and what and experience! Awesome nose! Burnished and with some oxidized notes, with apricot, raspberry, tropical fruits, and hint of something like banana. Awesome body!!! Intense, dense, citrus and deep citrus rind, apricot, and mineral, with notes of caramel, and herbs. Fat texture. Wow!!! Only thing I've had that even compares is Musar Blanc. Won't appeal to everybody though. It seems this can go another 20 - 30 years. ****
After that I had a taste of the remarkable Slovak Muscat Moravsky I posted on a few months ago. No notes, but just as delightful and excellent as before. I didn't get a sense of what everyone thought, except that it was interesting. Next, a singularly awesome Loire rose. Thanks Mark!Bernard Baudry, Chinon Rose, Chinon 2010
Amazing body for a rose! Dark cherry, and blackberry, with strawberry, mineral, and herbs. Wow. Best rose I've ever had. ***1/2
And now on to the reds. Any other night, and a Burgundy like this would surely have been a finale. Thanks Sam and LuAnn! Could it still get better from here?Gerard Raphet, Chambolle-Musigny 2002
Rich, intense black cherry, black raspberry, with Chambolle's softer strawberry notes, and glycerin. Wonderful undertones of leather, earth and mineral. A captivating Burgundy. 20 more years? ****
And get better it did! Compliment of Mark, one of my favorite Bordeaux's ever, and a wine that just amazed us all with its 20-something youth at age 46. My WOTN. Thank you, thank you, thank you Mark!Chateau Calon-Segur, St. Estephe 1966
Unbelievable color: medium garnet, could be a 20 year old! On the nose, leather, dusty earth (St Estephe, no mistake), cassis, black cherry, sweet red fruits, glycerin. Awesome mature Bordeaux nose! Similar on the palate, with awesomely succulent fruits, prominent acid structure and freshness, tannins still very much present, some chalk and spice, cocoa powder. Phenomenal. The greatest fully mature Bordeaux I've had, and a memorable treat. I dare say this still has 10 more years ahead of it. And the last few drops were still sound and more than pleasant the next day (in the recorked bottle). *****
Surely anything would seem a slacker after that, right? Not so this one. Thanks Mike and Cindy!Chateau Canon-la-Gaffeliere, St. Emilion 2003
Wonderful 2003 nose, but with great tone. Tobacco, wood, gravel, black raspberry, and hints of roasted rosemary, and graphite; the nose could almost pass for Pauillac. Similar on the palate, rich and succulent, with stoney mineral/earth, cocoa, and formidable tannins. Very impressive, an example of 2003 Bdx done right. 20 years or more ahead. ****
Now, some people though this was at an unfortunate place in the lineup, but I loved it and thought it was a nice transition top the Italians that followed, and certainly it convinced everyone of what Israeli has to offer. Here's to you, dear Rogov.Galil Mountain, Yiron, Galilee 2007
Nice, aromatic but low key nose, with prominent notes of white pepper and juicy dark fruit. On the nose and palate, a personality of tobacco, blueberry, cassis, bright red fruits, herbs, and earth, with dried rose petal aromatics. Juicy, with Mediterranean acid balance and personality. I like it a lot. 5 more years. 62% Cab Sauv, 31% Merlot, 7% Syrah. Kosher ***1/2
Brunello sings to my heart and soul like no other red, and this was a lovely one. Thank you very much Josh!La Rasina, Brunello di Montalcino 2004
Lovely Brunello nose of black raspberry, black cherry, orange, herbs, tobacco, and gravelly earth. Similar on the palate, with lovely, succulent body, graceful and feminine. Wonderful citrusy acid balance, earth, gravelly depth, perhaps a hint of tar, and tobacco leaf. Lovely. My limited experience with 2004 suggests this wine is typical of the vintage. 10 more years. ****
A very nice and interesting pair these two, as to me they seem to have been "gender swapped." I think there was a range of opinion on which one was liked more - unless you talk to Julia.
Viva la difference! But I'd have a hard time choosing.Aldo Conterno, Barolo 2004
On the nose, nice orangey/cherry acidity, forest floor, and sweet mushroom. On the palate, orange rind, cherry, mushroom, and mineral. The feminine side of Barolo, but still has the dark fruit and structure. A thoroughly pleasurable wine. Probably not going to evolve further, but can hold at this level 5 more years, confirmed by the impressive soundness and attractiveness of the last drops left in the bottle the next morning. ***1/2Pio Cesare, Il Bricco, Barbaresco 2000
Great nose. On the nose and palate, a personality of chocolate, leather, black cherry, blackberry, tar, hints of mushroom, and cocoa. Intense and structured. A masculine Barbaresco. Wonderful. 10 more years. ****
How nice to get to revisit the first Pegau I ever had. I could never have enough Pegau. Thanks Julia!Domaine du Pegau Cuvee Reservee, Chateauneuf du Pape 2001
Classic Pegau. Black olive, black raspberry, blueberry, grilled meat, cocoa, mineral. Wonderful. 5 - 10 years left to go. ****
And to finish off, compliments of Bill Morgan, about the only thing that could follow a Chateaneuf. Wonderful way to finish the lineup, although I admit that at this point I was well into palate fatigue.Masi, Costasera, Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2003
Intense dark fruit, blackberries, herbs, with black undertones (not tar, not earth, just pure . . . . blackness - the signature of Amarone for me), but also with surprisingly bright notes of plum, and orangey acidity. Atypical, and more classically Italianate than most Amarones, but still with all of structure, intensity, and dark notes. Ageworthy. 5 - 10 years or more ahead of it. ****
Next it was off to an of course amazing dinner at Restaurant Tallent. There a bottle of G de Guiraud, Bordeaux 2009 - no notes, but ripe, herbal, deep, and zesty; a perfectly nice 2008 Raspail-Ay Gigondas, which was actually lighter but more elegant than one usually expects (definitely the modest vintage showing there), and a 2007 Emilio Moro Ribera del Deuro, which was quite impressive, but at that point I was worn out.
Well, there you have it folks, one of the most delightful wine events I been privileged enough to be a part of. Thank you all so much again! Good wine, food, and company await you all on your next trip though South Dakota.
"The sun, with all those planets revolving about it and dependent on it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else to do"
(avatar: me next to the WIYN 3.5 meter telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory)