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TN: 70 Burmester, 79 Shenandoah, 94 Renwood, 89 La


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Dinner at home last night with 3 guests from afar and some interesting wines:

1989 Lasalle Blanc de Blancs Brut – I like a Champagne with some age – especially with a blanc de blancs if offers some additional complexity in the nose – some nice apple notes in this one, good mousse and clean with Stilton on toasted baguette slices.

2001 Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc – this vintage seems to be ever so slightly weak, which doesn’t mean that it is less pleasurable, just that it never seemed to have the searing levels of acidity when released that this wine often does. It was correspondingly smooth and balanced and went well with scallops in fish fumé.

Delaforce White Port – I was trying to match a garlic and fennel cream soup and this fairly dry wine, well chilled did a good job. Better with food than the sweeter Taylor’s White Port I’d had earlier in the week.

1979 Shenandoah Amador Special Reserve Zinfandel – this was a shot at matching the chanterelles in whipping cream with sage and sherry. I had a nice Burg pulled, but Ian my guest said that he wanted to experience new and American wines, particularly zinfandels. It had amazingly good colour at the age of 25 years, and the nose still showed good fruit, though not identifiably of a Zin sort. It had an amazing amount of fairly weighty tannin, though very soft now. It went passably well wit the food. This was a modest wine that cost probably $10, and I do not believe that they still make wines in this style any more, nor that the wines produced today would last nearly as long.

1994 Renwood Grandmere Zinfandel – I picked another Amador zin to match with spice rubbed steaks. Warm ripe nose, with some heat (>15% alcohol) good fruit and not too heavy on palate, the ample tannins quite ripe and a good match to the food. (I figured that the Grandpere would have been bigger and more overwhelming at this point).

1970 Burmester Port – my friend from Toronto is a Port hound and I’d promised him a decent bottle. He probably wondered when I pulled out this relatively minor producer, but I have found that Burmester has made very good wines in specific vintages (1963 and 1970 particularly, and the excellent 1955 Burmester Colheita) punctuated by great periods of rather indifferent production. This wine showed at peak – colour good and consistent to the rim, is now mature with excellent length and a lingering nutty finish.

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