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TN: Beringer, Shafer, Byron, Merryvale...


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WTN: a dinner tasting of mostly American wines.

With air dried beef bresaola:

2002 Ch. de Fesles Bonnezaux ‘La Chapelle’ – lemony waxy nose, smooth on palate with lots of acidity and tons of flavour with a hint of coconut at the end. Has a long life ahead.

With halibut with sweet corn and favas:

1998 Blue Mountain Stripe Label Chardonnay – this BC reserve bottling was amazingly young, starting with the colour. It showed primarily oak in the nose, had a sweet entry but quickly segued to crisp acidity Medium length. Drink up.

With braised duck ravioli with butter sauce and Nicoise olives:

1997 Byron Santa Maria Valley Estate Pinot Noir – sweet pinot nose in a dark wine with lots of fruit, ending with a whack of acidity that worked better with food than without.

With veal loin wrapped in prosciutto with sage and wild mushrooms:

1991 Shafer Hillside Select – I haven’t really started drinking this vintage yet and would normally have brought out an 84-86 that needed drinking, but we figured we give some 91s a go. This was dark with a mellow oak nose, and was surprisingly forward , round and drinkable now. I am sure it will continue to hold, but I’d say it has hit prime time.

1991 Beringer Private Reserve Cabernet – almost purple colour, and a nice vanilla and spice nose, more expressive than the Shafer. Excellent lush fruit on palate, with some spice in the long, juicy finish. I preferred this wine, which has more time to go before hitting peak.

1994 Merryvale Profile – well what can I say, it was a back-up bottle and it was a long time between courses, and we happened to have a corkscrew handy…..This Bordeaux blend has a warm toasty blackberry nose, and nicely calculated fruit with a smooth long finish. More elegant than the previous wines, yet by no means a ‘small’ wine on its own.

With vanilla panna cotta:

2003 Ch. Mosny Montlouis Moelleux– back to the Loire again! Light clean rather candied nose, not a lot of residual sugar, medium weight, nice but not more.

2001 Ch. de Cosse Sauternes – a second wine of Rieussec in a good vintage – light colour, good botrytis nose, low acid, drinks well now. Quite pleasant.

2003 Ch. Roumieu (Barsac) – not much botrytis on this nose, an oily feel in the mouth and higher terminal acidity than the Cosse, but I preferred the latter.

2003 Geyser Peak Late Harvest Semillon – smoky, slightly Maderised orange peel nose, fairly sweet but balanced. Not my style, but interesting.

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