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WTN: A BYOB dinner with plenty good stuff


Brad Ballinger
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A wine-drinking friend was in town from Indianapolis on business. I rounded up some locals and we went to our standard BYO restaurant to drink some nice wines.

2001 F. Peillot Altesse Roussette dei Bugey, Montagnieu (Cuvee Buster). 100% Altesse, a grape grown locally in the Bugey region south of Lyon near Jura and Savoie. The wine had a mineraly, citusy aroma. In the mouth it packed a puckering wallop of lemons, chalk, and rocks. My kind of white wine and my favorite white of the night -- which is saying a lot, because we had some good whites.

2003 Mulderbosch Sauvignon Blanc, Stellenbosch. This South African sauvignon blanc threw a bunch of green notes to me on the nose -- herbs, grass, bell pepper. On the palate, though, it did not show as green. Instead, this high acid juice showcased more citrus and grapefruit pith than herbs and peppers. It was a bit intense, in a one-dimesional sort of way, but quite pleasant with food.

2002 Cantine Farro "Le Cigliate" Falanghina. After the two acid bombs, this normally fairly acidic wine showed me something different than it has in the past. The floral components were really singing on the nose and on the tongue. It was all about minerals and perfume. A very beguiling wine.

2001 Le Vieux Donjon Blanc, Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Quite closed at the moment, and not revealing much other than alcohol. With warmth, there are some floral components, and it smooths out a bit, but it's just too early to drink right now.

Onto the reds

1995 Felsina "Rancia" Chianti Classico Riserva. My favorite red wine of the night (although the 96 Jamet made it a tight race). This wine is still maturing and can be left alone for a few more years. Graphite, spice, and cherries are tightly woven. Nice dose of acidity brings the wine to life in the mouth where some orange elements add complexity. Very smooth and long finish.

1992 Rockland Petit Sirah, Napa Valley. This wine has seen better days. Dilly nose, fading fruit, a bit alcoholic. Not totally dead, but has a foot in the grave.

1996 Jamet Cote Rotie. Very ready to drink now. Nice blend of citrus, berries, olives, and spices. Nice cassoulet wine. This goes down soooo easy.

1994 M. Chapoutier "La Mordoree" Cote Rotie. There's an off-putting celery-leek thing going on in the nose. Comparatively austere next to the Jamet. Shows some perfumed citrus accents, but appears to be fading.

1997 Ojai Syrah, Cuvee Henry Daniel, Thompson and Bien Nacido Vineyards, Santa Barbara County. A hednistic combination of roasted marshmallows, juicy blueberries, and boysenberry pie waft from the glass. Once in the mouth, however, I can tell immeidately this wine is going to burn my throat on the finish. It does.

1996 Henschke Keyneton Estate Shiraz-Cabernet-Merlot, Barossa. I'm not sure what ratio of what grape, but I think this is certainly over 50% shiraz. Eucalyptus and band-aids on the nose. Also a bit of alcohol. More balanced in the mouth than the nose might lead one to believe. Fairly tight yet, although the tannins are relaxing their grip. Bites on the finish just a bit.

1994 Haut Bailly, Pessac-Leognan. A bit of a sweat sock aroma. Some coffee and chocolate. Austere, but not weak or diluted. I'm guessing it paired well with the lamb shank for those who ordered that.

1990 Lagrange, St. Julien. Incredibly youthful yet. This wine, too, is closed up tight and would've been a showstopper if it had been decanted beforehand. At this time, there are only trace elements of herbs, cassis, some tobacco, and coffee. The wine shows very nice balance right now.

And, of course, dessert.

1988 Rabaud-Promis, Sauternes. This wine can be left alone for at least ten more years. Nice tropical notes on the nose of pineapple and coconut. Some lively citrus bounces around on the papate. The honeyed elements are just starting to take on a creme brulee character.

1999 E. Texier Noble Rot Botrytis, Macon-Bussieres. Yes, noble rot and botrytis are redundant, but that's what's on the label. This wine is 100% late harvet chardonnay. It's a bit date-like on the nose, but nowhere near that heavy in the mouth. Great level of acidity, multi-dimensional revealing more with every sip and every degree elevation in temperature. The wine is likely peaking and may not have the length of life of a sauternes, but it is very nice to drink right now.

2000 G. Dorigo Picolit, Friuli Venezia Giulia. This is a passito wine made from 100% picolit. At this time, it doesn't come close to approaching the 1998 I had last February, but it may with time. Right now, it's showing more alcohol than I want it to. There are some floral and honeyed elements here, but it hasn't really come together yet. I hope it does.

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

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2001 F. Peillot Altesse Roussette dei Bugey, Montagnieu (Cuvee Buster).  100% Altesse, a grape grown locally in the Bugey region south of Lyon near Jura and Savoie.  The wine had a mineraly, citusy aroma.  In the mouth it packed a puckering wallop of lemons, chalk, and rocks.  My kind of white wine and my favorite white of the night -- which is saying a lot, because we had some good whites.

You get this at Chambers? I love this stuff.

2002 Cantine Farro "Le Cigliate" Falanghina.  After the two acid bombs, this normally fairly acidic wine showed me something different than it has in the past.  The floral components were really singing on the nose and on the tongue.  It was all about minerals and perfume.  A very beguiling wine.

What a delicious wine; again, a favorite.

You are drinking very well, indeed.

Best, Jim

www.CowanCellars.com

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You get this at Chambers?

Tim Thomas brought this (I believe you've met him). It is a Louis/Dressner wine, and he may have ordered it from Chambers or another source.

As far as my drinking well, you have to visit and find out. :smile:

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

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Brad:

How many of you were present for this Bacchanal??? Looks like you were drinking quite well, indeed. I'm quite fond of the Mulderbosch wines and love Falanghina in almost any incarnation. Looks like you hit a lot of bases at this meal. :smile:

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Brad:

How many of you were present for this Bacchanal???  Looks like you were drinking quite well, indeed.  I'm quite fond of the Mulderbosch wines and love Falanghina in almost any incarnation.  Looks like you hit a lot of bases at this meal. :smile:

There were nine of us. We use dump buckets. We send wine back to the kitchen (except for the stickies, since the bottles were 375s or 500s and they were damn good).

The Falanghina is Cantine Farro's top one of the lineup, and I think was about $20. In the $15 range, you can have their Campi Flegrei. I also like Taburno. This was my first experience with Mulderbosch.

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

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You get this at Chambers? I love this stuff.

Jim,

Yes, I got this from CSW, but I'm pretty sure they're out of the '01 by now. I don't know if they have or will get the '02, but it's not listed on their web site.

I also don't know whether they designate a Cuvee Buster each year, or whether that's a year-to-year thing. When I asked Kevin McKenna (LDM) about the difference between the Cuvee Buster and the regular bottling he told me: "Peillot had a vat of grapes picked at pretty rich (for Altesse) levels that stopped fermentation mid-winter. We asked him to leave it alone (i.e., do not add any starter yeasts or anything to jump start the fermentation. Sure enough, the fermentations started again in the spring when the weather warmed. It finished in mid-June or thereabouts. This is really the only differing factor in the wine."

Yet another example of a sub-$20 bottle of wine that's a bit off the beaten path, but well worth the effort.

Cheers,

Tim

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