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December Lunch Notes


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December lunch notes:

1994 Witness Tree Chardonnay (Willamette Valley) – prominent oak in nose and palate, but the wine isn’t a flaccid, bloated Calchard or Ozchard – puzzling, and we danced around the globe a couple of time trying to figure out where it could be from. Oregon was NOT our first guess. Not showing its age.

2002 Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc – I have to say that this was the best (and most atypical) CB I have tasted! In the nose was a lush passionfruit and mown grass that could have come from the Loire. Clean and long, and showing much more ripeness than usual for this wine.

2002 Girardin Emotion de Terroirs – the story behind this white Burg is that it is blended from grapes from declassified Meursault, Puligny and Chassagne, given this ‘brand’ name and marketed as AOC Bourgogne. In any case, the result, at $20 US is astoundingly good value. I got peach notes in the nose with some spice, and then apples and mineral on palate. Wish they had this here!

1993 Rodet Aloxe-Corton – a mature Pinot nose placed this in Burgundy almost immediately. The bottle was cool, and the wine came across as lean and a tad thin, on palate, with medium long finish. We figured it might open up as it warmed in the glass, so I (and a couple of others) kept it around in the glass for awhile, but I can’t honestly say it changed much. That said, it went well with the food.

1978 Jaboulet Domaine Thalabert Crozes Hermitage – while I tend to give more attention (and cellar space) to Jaboulet’s Hermitage, La Chapelle, I also enjoy their two Crozes, although I tend to ignore their early drinking version, Les Jalets in favour of this cuvee. I suggested that this was a Rhone wine based on the nose, which was cherries and earth, but the surrounding tasters all said I was way off base. I stuck to my guns in spite of the heckling and was pleased that I was right, but also amazed when I heard the vintage, for I’d been suggesting it was about 10 years younger! Smooth and complex on palate with a give-away touch of black pepper at the end, this drinks beautifully now, but should continue to do so for many years. Excellent!

1982 Leoville Barton – excellent mature claret nose with some cedar and mushroom. The wine was amazingly elegant and smooth, with the tannins soft and with good length, all of which surprised me, as the last time I had this it was an unruly brute. I’d never have believed it would come around so far so soon.

1990 Les Forts de Latour – this one was no darker than the Barton, but showed more complexity in the nose, and sweeter fruit in both the nose and on palate. It was perfectly ready to drink, and I doubt it will get any better with further cellaring, but it should hold a long time. It had a nice silky feel on palate. I am not generally a fan of second wines and figure that buying seconds of anything but a top wine like Latour or some of the other first growths (with the exception of Mouton, the second wine of which has never failed to underwhelm me – more like Mouton Cadet Reserve) is a waste of money – you can get a very good first wine from another 3rd or 4th growth for the same money as most of the second wines, so why bother. This one was very good however.

1990 Bourgneuf – in contrast to the refined St. Julien and Pauillac, this Pomerol was a bit of a ruffian. Quite dark, with a slightly hot nose of ripe fruit (I actually was thinking California until the nose opened up a bit), and on palate a more highly extracted wine with big sweet fruit and significant remaining tannins. Our host had the tasting order right – this would have killed either of the previous Bordeaux.

2000 Tormaresca Masseria Maime IGT – OK, this is the discovery of the day – an unknown (to most of us) wine with obvious merit and modest price. Here’s the story – think Negroamaro (if that means anything to you). Think ‘heel of the boot’. Big rich hot nose gives away the hot climate origin, and a sweet entry and well balanced medium long wine follow. Excellent value. A Gambero tre bichierri.

1975 Grahams – while I have enjoyed many 1975 Ports (Noval and Fonseca are among my favourites) while waiting for the 1977s to mature, I haven’t had this one in years. It was so pale and hot I was guessing it could be a 63, and the lack of sweetness prompted me to comment sagely – “Whatever it is, it can’t be Grahams’. Oh well. Not among the better 75s, but nonetheless an enjoyable luncheon Port.

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