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Lunch Notes - Grand Puy, Ridge, Donjon, Kenwood...


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Blind tasting notes for the November lunch:

2001 Ch. Baret – this white Graves was a good starting point for the lunch. I got lanolin and some wax in the nose, and eventually some green apple. There was lots of acidity – I’d even say a bit too much. At $25, this is at the edge of it’s price point, vis a vis quality.

2000 Collet et Fils ‘Montée de Tonnerre’ Chablis Prem. Cru – this had quite a bit of toasty oak in the nose – a ‘new style’ Chablis. There was also a bit of greenness in the nose, and on palate the wine was softer and fuller than the previous wine, as well as having much better balance. It went very well with halibut with artichokes and sun dried tomatoes.

2001 Dom. Cauhapé Jurancon Sec ‘Noblesse’ – this was my hands down winner of the most interesting wine of the lunch award. From the little known (in North America) area near the Pyrenees, and made in this case from petit manseng, the wine showed lots of colour, had a fair bit of Botrytis in the nose (the grapes are picked when starting to shrivel) and a decent aliquot of oak. It was soft in the mouth with well defined and interesting flavours and good length, and although one suspected that it was finished with a bit of residual sugar, the excellent balance made it impossible to be sure. This wine would be a much better pairing with foie gras than any Sauternes I have ever attempted to use in that way. Great with rabbit paté

1996 Jaboulet Cotes du Ventoux blanc – from half bottle and tossed in just because it had come to the surface in someone’s cellar. Maderised nose, hollow middle without any fruit, the length not bad. Best part was the nuttiness in the nose.

1998 Vieux Donjon Chateauneuf du Pape – I haven’t started drinking my stash of this yet, though I get to try other people’s bottles from time to time. This was from a warm cellar and was very forward, with bricky edges, a mature Rhone nose with some violets, and black pepper in the mouth, but not in the nose. It still has lots of tannins, but if you have this wine and it has been cellared at a temperature that is on the high side, take notice – it will now be drinking very well, and will continue to do so for many years. For those with cooler cellars I’d recommend patience.

1986 Ch. Grand Puy Lacoste – when I tasted this wine earlier this year, I had a completely different take on it. This time it had a good Bordeaux nose with a fair bit of earthiness, a smooth entry and a sense of lightness before the tannins clamped down. It has many more years and is just starting to drink well. Compare that with my note from earlier this year:

“1986 Grand Puy Lacoste – this wine was not forthcoming at all in the nose, and what you got if you dug about a bit was more rubber than fruit. It is quite tannic, dry, and one wonders if the fruit on palate is quite sufficient to carry it to the time when the tannins have softened sufficiently. It is quite closed right now and it will either become quite good, or will just dry out.”

This time around I had no reservations about the fruit level, and it made all the difference with the impression the wine gave. It was well complemented by pork tenderloin stuffed with pheasant confit.

1992 Kenwood Artists Label – dark wine with a pronounced minty component to the nose. This wine has smoothed out and drinks well, with soft tannins. It has time to go, but I think it is on the plateau and will not improve from here. It arguably had just as much interest in the nose and mid-palate as the Bordeaux, but it lacked the length.

1994 Ridge Geyserville – I have been drinking this wine over the last 5 years and anyone that says Zins don’t age well, or in this case, need some age just haven’t tried this one. 68% zin, 28% cab, 8% petite sirah and 4% mataro. When I tried this around 1999, it didn’t show well at all. Now it has developed into something interesting, with a sweet, almost candied, smoky fruit nose. It was soft and sweet in the mouth with good acidity and excellent length. It is perfectly mature, but it should continue to hold awhile.

1999 Barone Ricasole Casalferro – a super Tuscan from this Chianti producer, made with sangiovese, merlot and cabernet. Dark wine, some smokiness in the blueberry and vanilla tinged nose, well balanced with a long sweet finish. No rush here.

1995 Cape Mentelle Shiraz – this Western Australian wine fooled us into thinking it was a cabernet, though we had no trouble choosing its country of origin. It was dark with a warm nose of cassis and vanilla, and it had good weight in the mouth with complexity and refinement. Very pleasurable wine.

These were served with cheese.

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