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WTN: 11 wines with dinner


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A friend and his wife were visiting from Ottawa, so 10 of us had dinner and a lovely bunch of wine.

1998 Cloudy Bay Pelorus, New Zealand

This is Cloudy Bay's sparkling wine.

Produced by méthode champenoise, and aged a minimum of three years on the lees, 'Pelorus' is a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Its rich toastiness, full body and crisp acidity make it a real challenger to the finest Champagne. Not surprising, since Cloudy Bay is now owned by the famous Champagne house Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin.

Pale yellow/gold colour. Slow, fine bead. Aromas of cream, biscuit, apple, and pear. Moderate mouthfeel; not overly dry, with good acidity. Cream, apple, pear on the palate with a 30-40s finish. Drink now. 88 points (03/20/2004).

2002 Hogue Cellars Johannisberg Riesling, Columbia Valley, Washington State

Pale yellow. Floral aromas with honey and apricot. Off-dry, medium bodied wine with grapefruit, pear, and minerals. Moderate finish, 20-25s with grapefruit continuing on. Good quaffer. 86 points (03/20/2004).

1991 Antinori Tignanello, Tuscany, Italy

80% Sangiovese, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc.

Dark garnet colour. Aromas of black cherry, earth, and black licorice. Medium-bodied with completely resolved tannins. Soft, with black cherries and earth. Short finish. An experience to taste an aged Tig, even if it's from an off year. 83 points (03/20/2004).

1999 Antinori Tignanello, Tuscany, Italy

80% Sangiovese, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc.

Dark ruby/garnet colour. Aromas of eucalyptus, black fruit, black olive, and plums. Medium-full bodied with pepper, oak, figs, and crushed red berry fruit. Moderate-long finish, ~ 30-40s. Has many years of life ahead of it. 90 points (03/20/2004).

1997 Armando Parusso Langhe Rosso Bricco Rovella, Piemonte, Italy

Ruby/garnet red. Lots of slow, thin legs. Aromas of tar, dried rose petals, grilled meat/smoke. Medium-full bodied with pepper, tar, and red berry fruits, Moderate finish, ~ 30s in length, Drink now, as it's on the downward slope. Tasty quaffer. From Nebbiolo. 87 points (03/20/2004).

1995 Antinori Brunello di Montalcino Pian delle Vigne, Tuscany, Italy

This was the first Brunello release from Antinori.

Opaque garnet/purple colour. Aromas of vanilla, black licorice, black figs, black cherries, earth, and spice (cardamom?). Big wine with replays from palate. Long, lingering finish with figs and vanilla. Drinking beautifully now with an hour or so of air, but there's no rush to drink this wine. It should easily go another 5 years. 92 points (03/20/2004).

1995 Frescobaldi Castelgiocondo Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Ripe al Convento, Tuscany, Italy

Dark garnet colour, almost opaque. Aromas of plums, blackberries, tar, dried violets. Full-bodied with crushed black fruits and dark chocolate. Long, lingering finish, ~ 45-50s. Needs another 5 years, and will hold for at least another 5 after that. Delicious wine! 94 points (03/20/2004).

1997 Tedeschi Amarone della Valpolicella Capitel Monte Olmi, Veneto, Italy

Corvina, Rondinella, Molinara.

Deep garnet/black colour. Aromas of cola, figs, dark chocolate, anise, and plums. Full-bodied, with chocolate replays and black crushed fruit. Long, lingering finish with black fruit, ~40s. Drinking wonderfully now, but still has plenty of stuffing to warrant revisiting in a couple years. 92 points (03/20/2004).

1997 Masi Serego Alighieri Amarone della Valpolicella Vaio Armaron, Veneto, Italy

Corvina, Rondinella, Molinara.

Opaque dark garnet/purple colour. Aromas of dark chocolate, black fruit, raisins, vanilla, and aged balsamic. Smells like a Vintage Port! Full-bodied, lush, rich, unctuous wine with vanilla, black crushed fruit, figs, liquid black licorice, dark chocolate, and freshly roasted espresso beans. Tannins are nicely integrated. What a wonderful wine! Needs another 2-3 years, but it is still drinking amazingly well. My WOTN. 95 points (03/20/2004).

2001 d'Arenberg The Dead Arm Shiraz, McLaren Vale, Australia

Decanted 24 hours before dinner. Inky-black colour with tinges of garnet/ruby red. Aromas of Tahitian vanilla, eucalyptus, brown sugar, and oak. Full-bodied with vanilla, oak, black fruit, cassis and alcohol. Long, mouthpuckering finish, ~ 50s in length. This wine needs a substantial amount of time in the cellar. I would not even consider revisiting this wine for at least 5 years. 92 points (03/20/2004).

1992 Quinta do Vesuvio Vintage Port, Douro, Portugal

Inky black colour. Sweet nose with black fruit, cherry cough syrup, vanilla, and espresso. Full-bodied with sweet black fruit replays from nose that is joined by a hint of cinnamon on the finish. Long finish, ~ 40-45s. This tannic, but has lots of life ahead of it. 92 points (03/20/2004).

Dinner was absolutely wonderful. I had a beef carpaccio that went well with the lighter bodied wines (the two Tignanello and the Bricco Rovella), and the braised lamb shank with mushroom risotto was wonderful with the latter half of the lineup.

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Thanks for the note on the Pian della Vigne. I bought only one of these upon release, and have been wondering if I should pull the cork soon. I'll still let it sleep, I guess.

We cannot employ the mind to advantage when we are filled with excessive food and drink - Cicero

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Thanks for the notes.

I am not sure if the Piane delle vigne will develop any further. I think it is well developed and at its best though I agree that it will keep so for two more years.

The Monti Olmi is a great wine. I like the 1998 even better.

Great choice of wines.


Andre Suidan

I was taught to finish what I order.

Life taught me to order what I enjoy.

The art of living taught me to take my time and enjoy.

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