Sketchy impressions from a dinner for friends last night:
Opened a 2005 St. Innocent Anden Vineyard chardonnay to go with a salad course, but it was history: golden and mildly oxidative. Was actually good with the onion soup that came next, but all wrong for a seafood salad so instead I poured a 2011 Rustenberg chardonnay from South Africa. Beautiful wine: very pale, an understated style yet not Burgundian with quietly powerful fruit and no tropicality, vanilla or toast. Excellent, and perfect for the course.
That was followed by a 2005 Arcadian Dierberg pinot noir, which was in a prime drinking place with good Santa Barbara style fruit (cherry, tomato and some thyme) and lots of interesting secondary development. If I had other bottles I would not hold them, it's perfect now. And it sent the birthday boy guest, whose favorite wine in the world is this region's pinot noirs, straight to heaven.
With the main course I served a 1996 Sociando Mallet. We decanted it to remove the sediment and served it an hour later, during which period it declined somewhat, losing fruit and showing more vegetative. Drink up.
Then after dinner, I served the last half of a 750 bottle of 1979 Borges port opened this past Tuesday for another function. It's a lighter style port (yet good), walnutty and mellow. We once had quite a few of these, and this was my last bottle. Amazingly, one of our guests said, "I have some of this" and ran home to get it. It was, in fact, a bottle that I had taken to his house seven years ago! The bottle didn't get finished then--there was about two inches left--so he stuck the cork back in and it has been in his garage refrigerator ever since. So how well does something like that hold up? Surprisingly well. It had lost color and was a pale pink compared to the other bottle's pale red, and it was less flavorful, but overall it was still very drinkable. Whoduv thunk it.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov