Dinner at Spiedini
Around the table at Spiedini (clockwise from left): Rob Adler, Milan Maximovich, Robin, Dwight Green, Stuart Yaniger and Linda, and Ilene Adler.
So much good wine, so much good food. Even by the lofty standard of Wine Lovers' Discussion Group gatherings, tonight's dinner at Stuart Yaniger's favorite restaurant, Spiedini in Walnut Creek (in the East Bay) will be a hard one to match.

With a strict limit of eight diners to a table at Spiedini, the luck of the draw went to Stuart and Linda, Rob Adler and Ilene, Dwight Green and Robin, Milan Maximovich and your humble scribe.

The food was impressive in terms of quantity, quality and value, and (with the sad exception of a corked 1988 Cornas) the wines were so consistently impressive that it was literally impossible to declare a "wine of the evening."

Thanks to the Palm Pilot, I was able to jot down brief notes as the evening progressed and dump them to the forum with minimal effort; hence this quick report:

Clos Roche Blanche 1998 Touraine Sauvignon - Pale straw, citric and herbal. Crisp and full, textured and tartly acdic.

Marcel Deiss 1992 Altenberg de Bergheim Grand Cru Gewurztraminer Vendanges Tardives - Pale gold. Delicate litchees, grapefruit and honeysuckle. Full, unctuous, light sweetness in perfect balance with gentle acidity.

Marenco 1997 Parlapá Dolcetto di Dogliani - Inky reddish-purple. Smoky black fruit and a gamey whiff. Light-bodied yet intease, black fruit and firm tannins. Good balance, opens up with time in the glass.

Château Thivin 1998 Côte de Brouilly - Light ruby. Luscious strawberry and earthy notes. Juicy and tart; Beaujolais doesn't get any better than this.

Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard1989 Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir - Very dark ruby. Black cherry and muted barnyard. Funky and spicy, complex and balanced. Opens up even mure with time in the glass, truffles and exotic spice.

Storrs 1990 Ben Lomond Mountain Beaumegard Ranch Zinfandel - Hazy dark ruby. Berries and vanilla, holding up well but hard to pick up as a Zin; a bit hot yet elegant.

Michel Ogier 1991 Cote-Rotie - Inky reddish-purple. "All flura and no fauna," Stuart jokes. It is clean indeed, mineral and floral and fresh black fruit. Big and earthy, ripe and youthful.

Hospices de Beaune 1988 Corton Grand Cru Cuvee Docteur-Peste - Clear ruby, on the liget side. Deep chocolate, then ripe Bing cherries, so luscious that just smelling seems to be enough. But the flavor fulfills the aroma's promise, velvety and long.

Joseph Roty 1988 Gevrey-Chambertin - Dark ruby. Earthy black cherries, Big and full, still a little tannic.

Vallana 1954 Spanna del Piemonte - Dark garnet, tar ana smoks and dark, plummy fruit. Earthy fruit, fennel, basil, lavender, flavors just won't quit. Amazingly fruity and youthful, actually opens up even more to old-red "sweetness" and aromatic violets with time in the glass.

Domaine Chante Perdrix 1989 Châteauneuf-du-Pape - Very dark garnet. Gamey black fruit, peppery and full; a big, "chewy" wine.

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All my wine-tasting reports are consumer-oriented. In order to maintain objectivity and avoid conflicts of interest, I purchase all the wines I rate at my own expense in retail stores.

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