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Saturday, Aug. 25: Picnique with the Cyberwinos
Joel Goldberg
MoCool organizer Joel Goldberg (left) welcomes the crowd, including Sous-chef Allan Bree (in blue shirt at right).
The central event of every year's MoCool is the Saturday picnic at an Ann Arbor-area private home, this year moved to a new location large enough to accommodate an oversize, circus-style tent.

MoCool Executive Chef Alan Kerr, Sous-chef Allan Bree and Pastry Chef Tom Denk created a food extravaganza featuring multiple waves of French regional dishes, a neverending series of circulating and sit-down fare originating in just about every corner of France from Alsace to Provence.

Drizzle
A pair of well-prepared revelers quietly wait out a shower.
Although rain clouds hovered over the region for much of the day, the weather generally cooperated, with only one or two quick showers briefly forcing everyone - well, almost everyone (photo at left) under the tent.

All participants brought wines to share, and many brought multiple wines, many of rare and distinctive character. Tables under the tent were organized by French region and style so roving tasters could stop and focus on Bordeaux, dessert wines, Languedoc and Provence, the Northern and Southern Rhone, the Loire Valley, Alsace, Burgundy, and the always-intriguing "non-conforming" section, where one could find wines that didn't fit the "Tour de France" theme, ranging from Minnesota and Indiana to Canada and Germany.

I started out dutifully taking notes on my first pass through the tent, but as on Thursday night at Gary Kahle's, the weight of duty soon palled on me and I started taking mental notes only, and finally fell back to merely enjoying myself, Palm Pilot safely tucked away.

Here, though, are a few notes, followed by a few more ruminations-from-memory.

Baudry 1997 "Le Croix Boissé" Chinon - Light cherry color. Appealing earthy and red fruit aromas. Lean but complex, fruit and acidity sing. Nice! (Mike Evans)

Clos Ste. Hune 1993 Alsace Riesling - Delicious Riesling aromas, steely and intense, a memorable wine. (David Seidner)

1979 Moulin Touchais - Pale gold. Peaches and cream, delicious. Another wonderful wine, delicious with duck paté. (Dana Burton)

J.L. Chave 1995 Hermitage - Garnet, amber edge. Full and rich, surprisingly mature.

Cave de Tain l'Hermitage 1995 Hermitage - Ruby, ripe and fresh. Clean, straightforward Hermitage.

Jean-Michel Stephan 1999 Cote-Rotie - Clear ruby color. Earth and pepper, full and up-front. A Cote-Rotie made for drinking young. Or maybe gulping young.

E. Guigal 1985 Cote-Rotie "Cotes Brune et Blonde" - A hint of Rhone character but seriously oxidized.

Huet 1957 Le Mont Vouvray Moelleux - ripe apricots, sweet-tart peaches. Another Loire beauty.

Chapoutier 1983 Cote-Rotie - Clear ruby-amber. Deep and complex, still full of fruit.

Among other things, I contributed a short vertical tasting of Chateau La Roque "Cupa Numismae" Coteaux du Languedoc Pic St. Loup. The 1990 seems to be past its peak, with a brick-colored edge. No sign of oxidation, but its earlier structured fruit seems a bit muted and soft now, and there's no real reason to hope it will come back. The 1993 is ripe and round, showing a lot of funky "barnyard" and earthy aromas and tangy black fruit. The 1994 appears to be near its peak, not as "earthy" as the 1993 but well structured, rich and long. The 1999 is an oddity, utterly different than the older Cupa Numismae and frankly not as interesting, showing coarse, jammy fruit and a rough edge, lacking the character that earlier vintages showed in youth.

Leoville vertical
The "Leovertical."
Other highlights among wine experiences too numerous to mention: The 1989 Ogier Cote-Rotie, ripe and youthful. Too many Hermitages and Cote-Roties and Chateauneuf-du-Papes to count (I spent a lot of time at the Rhone table). A 1950 Chateau Latour, dead on arrival but worth being there for the excitement of opening. A Malvoire Old Vines Foch from Canada, with an edge of new oak making for a vinifera-style hybrid. Gary Kahle's long-awaited Melchior bottle (18 liters) of 1982 Chateau Tayac Prestige, at its peak of maturity. Just for Paul Bulas, a Turtle Run non-vintage American Concord made in Southern Indiana from New York grapes. And, at the center of an excited crowd too huge to try to penetrate, a long-awaited vertical tasting of eight vintages of Chateau Leoville-Barton back to 1950.

If anyone out there took notes on other wines, please share them with my by E-mail to wine@wineloverspage.com, and I'll add them to this page.

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