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A Hedonistic Weekend – Friday Tasting Notes

2009/09/24

Yesterday’s blog outlined all the tasty eats we went through on the first day of our Wine Guys Weekend. While I referred to what we drank that night, here are my notes on the wines opened.

  • 1996 J. Moreau & Fils Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos – France, Burgundy, Chablis, Chablis Grand Cru (9/11/2009)
    Honey gold colour. Aromas of apple, butterscotch, beeswax/lanolin. Medium-bodied with apple and lanolin replays and decent minerality. Moderate finish, ~30-35s. A little past its prime but still enjoyable. Drink now. (90 pts.)
  • 1998 Renato Ratti Barolo Marcenasco Conca – Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo (9/11/2009)
    Medium-ruby colour. Aromas of Big Chew bubble gum, tar, leather, spice, dried cherries, prunes, sandalwood, with hints of roses/potpourri, black tea and a bit of truffle after some air. Intoxicating nose. Medium-full bodied, spicy, with tar, dried cherries, porcini, sandalwood, and dried orange peel notes on the palate. Moderate-long finish, ~40s, with more tar, leather, dried orange peel, roses, and just a hint of mint at the end. With additional cellaring I think the palate will catch up to the nose a little and have a chance to notch up another point or maybe two. Really enjoyable stuff. Drink now with a short decant or through 2018. (92 pts.)
  • 2003 E. Guigal Côte-Rôtie Château d’Ampuis – France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Côte-Rôtie (9/11/2009)
    Dark burgundy/purple colour; opaque. Shows massive, slow legs on the glass. Huge, grapey nose with some barnyard/funk that blows off over time. Peach, blackcurrant, soy, and roasted meat aromas with vigorous swirling. Full-bodied, rich, with good acidity showing stewed fruit, peach, and blackberry notes. Moderate-length finish, ~30-35s, with more blackberry and peach notes. Quite an odd wine. I don’t think I would ever pick this out as a Rhone wine if served blind; more likely to think Aussie due to its fruit-bomb nature. I was expecting significantly more, but maybe this will improve with age. Disappointing. (90 pts.)
  • 1975 Bodegas Vega-Sicilia Ribera del Duero Único – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero (9/11/2009)
    From magnum; not decanted. Light-medium burgundy colour. Interesting, complex nose with smoke/hickory sticks, prune, tea, leather, dried cherries, and just a hint of tomato stem that was not unpleasant. Medium-bodied, nicely resolved tannins. Tomato stem, leather, earth, dried cherry and more on a layered, well-balanced, elegant palate presence. Long finish, ~40-45+s with leather, dried cherries. This was dynamite! Interesting in that it showed some characteristics of an Italian wine (bright acidity from Sangiovese) and others from Burgundy with the layers of dried fruit and earth. Very well done and was rock solid the next day also. (96 pts.)

This quartet was enjoyed outside on the back deck while snacking on cheeses and charcuterie from Montreal as well as Manny’s home-cured duck breast. The Ratti Barolo Marcenasco Conca was wonderfully perfumed and the Vega-Sicilia Unico was simply jaw-dropping.

  • 2006 Aubert Chardonnay Ritchie Vineyard – USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast (9/11/2009)
    Medium-gold colour. Huge nose of baking spices, honey, nectarine, vanilla bean, persimmon, orange peel, saltwater taffy, and honeydew melon. Full-bodied, rich, unctuous, but with fabulous acidity to balance it out. Peach, mineral, lanolin, honey, spice, white flowers, white pepper, and ginger on the palate through to the long, long 45-50s finish that showed more persimmon, orange peel, and baking spice notes. Excellent stuff! (94 pts.)

The Aubert Chardonnay was a nice contrast to the scallops and shrimp with Vidal icewine/grainy mustard sauce. I had been looking forward to drinking this bottle for some time as it was a generous gift from a good friend. It did not disappoint. What I liked was that it wasn’t your typical, massive, buttery Cali Chard, but at the same time it wasn’t (nor did it attempt to be) Burgundian. It was its own thing. Very tasty. Wine lovers on the Aubert mailing list are lucky indeed!

  • 1989 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage – France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Hermitage (9/11/2009)
    Almost opaque ruby/black colour. Aromas of tobacco, salt, black olive tapenade, black plums, spice, tar, and a hint of alcohol. Full-bodied, very smoky (woodsmoke/liquid smoke), with tobacco, licorice, tar, and prune notes. Amazing acidity to lift the wine off your palate. Long finish, ~50-60s with woodsmoke, tar, and prune notes. Amazing stuff! Not too far off the bottle I tasted a few years ago. 98 points easily, maaaaaybe eking out to a 99. Just behind the surreal 1990 Jaboulet Hermitage La Chapelle it was paired with. (98 pts.)
  • 1990 Paul Jaboulet Aîné Hermitage La Chapelle – France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Hermitage (9/11/2009)
    Opaque, purple/black colour. Brooding nose of celery root, vanilla, sweet black fruit, black olive tapenade, and hints of peach, cassis, and hot stones. Full-bodied, very refined and complex showing notes of peach, cassis, capsicum, celery root, black olive tapenade, and crushed black berry fruits. Long finish, with more celery root and cassis notes joined by just a touch of white pepper. Absolutely majestic! This wine has a long, long life ahead of it and I hope I get the chance to try it again. WOTW and probably my WOTY so far. (99 pts.)
  • 1989 Château Mouton Rothschild – France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac (9/11/2009)
    Medium-ruby colour. Classic Medoc aromas of cedar, pencil lead, cigar box, and leather joined by notes of wet leaves, potpourri, and spice. Medium-full bodied, delicious, silky in texture with notes of wet leaves, cigar, and cedar. Long finish, ~40-45s, with delicate fruit, leather, sandalwood, and cigar box. Outstanding and a real treat to enjoy. This wine can go for many, many more years but is drinking well now. (97 pts.)
  • 1989 Château Palmer – France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux (9/11/2009)
    Almost opaque ruby/burgundy colour. Cool, pretty nose of cedar, blackberry, and a bit of ash. Medium-bodied and elegant showing nice texture. Graphite, blackcurrant, dried black cherries. Moderate-long finish, ~40s, with nice fruit. Very refined. Beautiful stuff! (96 pts.)
  • 1995 Beringer Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reserve – USA, California, Napa Valley (9/11/2009)
    Dark ruby/purple colour; almost opaque. Aromas of vanilla, spice, alcohol, blackberry, and a melange of fresh herbs. Full-bodied, great acidity and balance with vanilla and blackberry/cassis replays. Great length. Consistently one of the most enjoyable California Cabs I come across. (95 pts.)
  • 2002 Vérité La Joie – USA, California, Sonoma County (9/11/2009)
    Opaque purple/black colour. Aromas of vanilla, chocolate, cassis, and black licorice. Full-bodied, spicy, with vanilla, blackberry, and alcohol notes. Moderate-length finish, ~30s, with cassis and vanilla. Very nice, but unfortunately a step or two behind the phenomenal wines that preceded it – including 1989 Chave Hermitage and 1990 Jaboulet Hermitage La Chapelle. (92 pts.)

This group of wines was simply stunning from beginning to end. They all worked really nicely with the Braised Waygu Short Ribs I prepared. We started with the two wines from Hermitage and they were sublime. While the Chave evolved throughout the evening, the La Chapelle was focused and rock solid all the way through. A long life ahead. I preferred the Mouton to the Palmer, but both were lovely. I gave the edge to the former because it just had a little more complexity and length. The wines from California were no slouches though. Beringer’s Private Reserve Cab is consistently excellent and more than held its own against the four big boys that preceded it. The La Joie was excellent but just not quite in the same echelon that night.

  • 1995 Giuseppe Quintarelli Recioto della Valpolicella – Italy, Veneto, Valpolicella, Recioto della Valpolicella (9/11/2009)
    The third time I’ve been fortunate enough to try this wine. Always in the 93-94 point range, it was at the upper end of that scale tonight. Chocolate covered cherries, Glosette raisins, and fruitcake/Christmas spices from the nose through to the very long finish. Everything is in balance and the sweetness is just enough to be the perfect pairing with a 70% cacao-based chocolate souffle. Consistently phenomenal stuff. (94 pts.)

Quintarelli’s 1995 Recioto is simply an ethereal pairing to the souffle I prepared. Some things just go together – d’Yquem and foie gras, beer and wings, and now Quintarelli Recioto and chocolate souffle. I have been fortunate to have that combination three times now. I’ll continue making souffle if L. keeps opening the Quintarelli!

Next up … a gluttonous Saturday supper with something I thought may never happen – tapping out of a meal since I’d simply eaten too much.

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