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Gloria, Gruaud, and Old Rieslings in the Garden


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We did a very pleasant garden dinner last afternoon, with some wines blind and others not. We somehow managed to get good weather!

With paté, olives and artisanal breads:

1994 Bourillon d’Orleans Vouvray La Coulée d’Argent – a dry Chenin blanc Loire wine, it was showing lots of colour, an orangey nose, smooth texture and ended quite dry. It was better a couple fo years ago, but still quite pleasant.

1983 Hohe Domkirche Scharzhofberger Auslese – we so seldom drink German wines and yet they are so good – this was in far better shape than many cabernets of the same age. Excellent readily identifiable petrol Riesling nose, in the mouth not quite dry, but certainly not sweet, and very well balanced with excellent terminal acidity and a long finish. Completely enjoyable and in great shape. I picked this Mosel to echo the final wine of the night.

With Gazpacho (chunky and somewhat spicy)

2002 Thornhaven Gewurztraminer – this sort of soup (more a cold vegetable stew, really) is a very challenging match for wine, especially if you forego the easy Sherry option. I chose a BC Gewurz with some residual sugar to combat that acidity of the tomatoes. Readily identifiable by the nose, the normal perception of sweetness muted by the soup, only a fair match.

With Tarte l’oignon with Gruyere:

2000 Clos de St. Landelin Tokay Pinot Gris – an amazing 14% alcohol in this wine from a producer I had never heard of was not evident in the nose or on palate. The nose was slightly Riesling-like, but more typically Pinot Gris, so I called that one right. The wine was soft but had sufficient terminal acidity to match with the tart quite well, I thought.

With marinated Mojo Chicken with BBQ’d marinated veggies:

1982 Ch. Gloria – I chose this as an entry to Bordeaux, knowing what the next wine would be. The nose wasn’t what it should have been, which gave concern for what would present to us on palate, but no worries – it was quite full flavoured in the mouth and ended with a slight sweetness. Much better in mouth than in nose.

1982 Ch. Gruaud Larose – wow – what a difference. A big wine, with lots of dark fruit and spice in the nose, big sweet entry, full bodied in the mouth, great concentration and a surprising peppery finish. No rush here!

With cheeses:

1993 Tenuta Farneta Bongoverno – I thought I’d switch to something completely different to throw them with this one and it worked as they were still thinking it might be a rustic Bordeaux. The nose was indeed consistent with a Bordeaux, although this dry Tuscan wine is made with Sangiovese – a remarkable imitation indeed. The nose was a bit warm and definitely a bit sweet, and while there was good acidity, it wasn’t of such magnitude as to provide a clue to the national origin of this wine.

Finally, served on its own as befits this sort of wine:

1981 Wegeler Deinhard Bernkasteler Doctor Beerenauslese Eiswein – this wine was only 7% alcohol, and at 24 years of age was in fine shape. The colour made you think of apricot juice, and the nose was so complex with hints of caramel, molasses, and pears and honey underneath. Very well balanced, and also very long. I would put this on par with any dessert wine in the world, Sauternes included. The fact that some people don’t know any better than to lump new world icewines into the same category as this, either means that they’ve never tasted a real eiswein, or if they have, that they have flannel instead of taste buds.….this was quite wonderful. Unfortunately they are also seriously expensive, the new vintages usually topping $100 US a half bottle.

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