I joined three friends for our annual football tailgate a little while back, and we drank plenty of good wines to go along with the massive amount of grilling we did.
N.V. Simonnet-Febvre Chardonnay Crémant de Bourgogne Brut. This wine features a crisp apple and cider nose that also shows some copper minerality, pear and herb accents. In the mouth, it’s bright and tangy, with apple and mineral flavors that are fresh and uncomplicated. It’s taut, very dry and not really all that elegant, but pretty tasty and refreshing.
2011 Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey Saint-Aubin 1er Cru La Chatenière. This is certainly young and reserved on the nose, yet showing moderately rich aromas of spiced nuts, poached pears, seashells, chalk and minerals that are pretty darned nice. In the mouth, it exhibits tangy acidity but also lots of luscious and honeyed flavors of poached pears, hazelnuts, toasty spices and a little late twist of yellow citrus. This is a really fine wine with plenty of upside potential.
1998 Domaine de Beaurenard (Paul Coulon et Fils) Châteauneuf-du-Pape. This wine presents a rather pure red-fruited nose of cassis, red licorice rope and raspberry puree aromas accented by bits of garrigue, ash and crushed gravel. In the mouth, it’s again pure and red-fruit dominated—with toothsome and grippy flavors of cassis, baked cherries, raspberries, stones and tar that are a bit high-toned on the finish but nicely resolved overall. The structure has largely melted away and the depth of flavor could be a bit more intense at this stage of the game, so I’d suggest drinking up.
1998 Domaine Alain Burguet Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Les Champeaux. This is cloudy in appearance, with a fairly see-through pale garnet color. The nose is meaty with aromas of pan drippings, gypsum, spicy leather, ash, mineral and a little twist of cocoa powder. On the palate, I find it to be rather lactic or milky in texture, but with a nice core of cranberry and sour cherry twang to go with fine earth and herb bits. It has very good length and persistence, and despite being a tad unusual in some ways, I enjoy it.
2009 Ridge Geyserville Sonoma County. There’s a deep, sweet, smoky and plummy nose to this wine, with lots of fun dark spices, fig and brownie aromas that are full-blown and delightful. It’s ripe, rich and delicious on the palate, with loads of sweet plum, blueberry and spicecake flavors that seem molten and velvety on the tongue. The tannins are smooth and the wine is really easy-drinking even at this young age. This is a lot of fun to drink and really perfect for tailgating.
1997 Seavey Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley. This is throwing a ton of sediment, but beyond that it presents a dark and brooding bouquet of wild cherries, black currants, fig paste and a hint of porty spirits at times. In the mouth, though, it’s delicious. It’s full, plush and totally mouth-filling with its fleshy flavors of black cherry and black currant. It’s cool, sinewed and structured, with some late tannins still in play. It’s impressively built and drinking quite fine.
2001 Seavey Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley. This is even darker and deeper on the nose than the 1997, with dense and primordial scents of tar, black raspberry and black currant. In the mouth, it’s huge and also still aggressively tannic to my tastes. It’s smoky, sticky, massively structured and loaded with big black fruit and earth notes. Obviously, my advice is to let this rest, probably at least another 5 years.
2000 Château Les Ormes de Pez St. Estèphe. There’s a pretty classic bouquet to this, with cool and muscled aromas of black cherries, mixed currants, plums, herbs, earth and leather that are not overly complex but show solid push and nascent layering that I like a good deal. In the mouth, it’s cool, wiry, sinewed and black-toned—featuring pure flavors of black currant, black smoke and charred earth. It shows chiseled definition and solid structure, with a manly and serious finish. It’s not opulent or even especially giving, but pleasingly classical in structure and fine-flowing across the palate. I will be curious to follow this over the next 5 or so years.