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A night of Northern Rhones (mostly)


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A group of us got together for a Northern Rhone (mostly) Night dinner last weekend. Great company, great food (in spite of the hail storm that knocked out the power in the afternoon before we all gathered) and great wine.

As we were standing around the grill finishing off the beef and the appetizers we finished off a 2005 Francois Blanchard "Violoncelite" Cab Franc. Young and still pretty tannic, but it will be very good in a couple of years.

We started with a really garlicy gazpacho and paired it with:

NV Jacquesson Brut Champagne Cuvee No. 732. - Grapefruit and apple, with a medium finish.

1996 Lanson Gold Label Brut Champagne - Really pale gold color. Nose of lemon, green apple and a little yeast. Subtle, then a rush of grapefruit, lemon, sour apple, caramel and toasted vanilla. Complex with a long finish

We moved to a strawberry/almond salad with a poppy seed dressing and mini crabcakes paired with:

1996 Grans-Fassian Riesling Auslese Piesporter Goldtropfchen. - Tropical fruit, light minerality, not too sweet, with a definite honey and melon flavor and a lemony finish.

2003 Christoffel Riesling Auslese ** Treppchen - Flavors of apple, lemon, and itrus. Still very young.

As pancetta wrapped asparagus started coming off the grill, we started into the cheese plate with which we enjoyed a

1983 Delas Hermitage Marquise de la Tourette - lots of sediment that completely caked around the entire bottle but still great. Nose of cranberry, sour cherry and loam. Cherry and grilled red pepper with mature tannins and a medium finish.

Dinner of a grilled beef loin in a shallot/shiitake port reduction sauce, mixed roast potatoes, and a delicious truffled orzo followed with two flights consisting of:

Flight #1

1998 Guigal Cote-Rotie Brune et Blonde - Nose of cherry, loam, pepper, smoked meats and spices. Still youthful with layers of dark red fruits, spice and peppers. Medium tannins and good acidity. Wonderful wine. Wish I had more of these in the cellar, but alas, this was my last.

1995 Chapoutier Saint-Joseph Les Granits - Loam, ground pepper and cherry. Nice balance.

1997 Jean-Michel Gerin Cote-Rotie Les Grandes Places - Very elegant wine. Sour cherry, blueberry, smoky wood flavors. One of my favorites of the night.

Flight #2

1995 Rene Rostaing Cote-Rotie La Landonne - Grass, leather, cherry. Soft tannins and nice finish.

1999 Domaine de Monteillet Cote-Rotie Fortis - Cherry, blackberry, loam, and a touch of red pepper.

2000 Domaine Michel Ogier Cote-Rotie - Really, really young. Ripe cherry, blackberry, cedar, tobacco, spice on the nose. Complex with medium tannins.

We continued with a couple of Hermitages

2000 E. Guigal Hermitage (corked unfortunately)

2001 Domaine Belle Hermitage - Red and black cherry, blackberry, spice and pepper notes as well as smoked meats. Good structure, light acidity, not as balanced as the previous wines.

For dessert we continued with crustini and stilton and a soft rind proprietary cheese from Cowgirl Creamery. We then had a wonderful La Bete Noir with a raspberry sauce to enjoy with a 1983 Cockburn Vintage Port. - Probably need a couple more hours in the decanter as it was fairly hot, but nice flavors of cherry, chocolate, and tobacco.

Coffee to finish ensured that we all made it home safe and sound.

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