Last night our wine group got together at the home of Dr. B. for a little "soiree" as Dr. B. put it, of wine and some classical music for "the upliftment of culture." Well, any excuse to drink is fine with me so we gathered in front of Dr. B's TV to watch some DVDs of concerts featuring Mozart, Strauss, and Rachmaninov.
For the first selection, we were treated to the English Chamber Orchestra conducted by Jeffrey Tate performing Mozart's Jupiter Symphony is the Schonbrunn Palace. As I know zip about this music I will not even attempt to give a review of this performance although I did quite enjoy it. The wines with the Mozart were all sparkling starting with:
Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs Brut 2000 - Very fine bubbles with a lively mousse. Medium bodied and slightly oxidative character with the bready/yeasty flavors coming through. On the sweet side with a mouthfeel of grape skins. Citrus rind flavors as well. Definitely won't be mistaken for champagne but I'll happily drink it
Jacobs Creek Chardonnay Pinot Noir Brut NV - Fine bubbles. A little drier than the Schramsberg but still with perceptible sweetness. Fresh, with a good dose of acid. Good fruit and some coffee notes. Finishes short. Not bad for a bargain bubbly.
Carolina de Masachs Cava NV - Very dry, watery and short. A letdown after the first two.
Vallformosa Brut Cava 2002 - Very dry. Lemony. Has good weight. Much better than the Masachs but still not up to the quality of the first two.
Since we had a lot of sparkling wine to finish we followed up the Mozart with a New Year's (2004) concert of various Strauss pieces by the Vienna Philharmonic conducted by Riccardo Muti. How can you go wrong with Strauss? Even those of us with no classical music background knew these familiar tunes. After the crowd-pleasing Radetzky March we took a break from the music for a dinner of pumpkin soup, carrot salad, potato gratinee, and braised lamb shanks in a jamon serrano sauce. To accompany dinner we had:
Allandale Lombardo Hunter Valley Pinot Noir NV - The color is rose but according to Arnie, who got the wine from the cellar door, the winery insists it is a very light Pinot Noir. A great deal of strawberry on the palate and the nose. Juicy and sweet. Simple but a real thirst quencher. Not bad.
Caymus Special Selection 2001 - Smooth, sweet, spicy. Seemed like a lightweight but gained in body after exposure to air. Nothing special. A good drink but for a wine with a daunting reputation like this, a disappointment.
Penafiel Reserva 2000 Ribera del Duero - Tannic with a good backbone of acid. There is fruit but it is buried beneath the tannin and acid. Still disjointed. I think more time will make this better. You need food with this and I thought it went very well with the lamb.
With dinner over, it was back to the TV to watch what I considered the highlight of the evening, music-wise: An incredible rendition of Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 2 performed by Arkady Zenziper. This man's emotional attachment to the music was just awesome to see as he played. It was such a riveting perormance we watched this particular concert twice. Dessert wines went with this:
Pierre Sparr Tokay Pinot Gris Vendange Tardive 1998 - Mandarin orange nose. A bit of lychee. Some bitterness in the finish. Not very sweet. More of an aperitif than dessert but good enough for me.
Oremus Tokaji 5 puttonyos 1993 - Bitter orange marmalade nose. Some mint. Caramel. Not very raisiny. Sweet but not cloying as the acid is a good balance to the sweetness. Not a great tokay but again good enough for me.
Most of us called it a night after the tokay but those who stayed behind (including me) had one more for the road:
Montes Sauvignon Blanc Fume 2004 - Very intense guava nose. Subdued acidity. Watery finish. Didn't really get any smokiness from this wine. Of course, a letdown after the dessert wines.
All in all, a good evening which Dr. B hopes will become a regular feature at his home as he has a massive collection of classical music on CD and DVD. No outstanding wines but I guess it was just right to let the music be the star for the night.
Last edited by Jay Labrador
on Wed Apr 26, 2006 11:56 am, edited 1 time in total.