Friday, May 21, 2010

A Refreshing Change

With The Lady Chairman in town, it was an occasion to splash out. After a whole lot of wines tasted over the course of the early evening, it was time to relax with some wines to drink and enjoy. Off we went to a good eatery with the Tiddler in tow, and it was a nice group indeed.

The start of the proceedings was a bottle of NV Taittinger Champagne Brut Reserve. Gosh, what a soft, refreshing pick-me-up. The dosage seemed higher than a lot of the bubbles we've had lately, and its gentleness was a refreshing change. Well done SWMBO. Over the meal we had a 1985 Ch. Mouton-Rothschild. Dark and vigorous in colour, quite stylishly restrained on nose with nice dark berry fruits, the lovely earthy secondaries and only the barest hint of funk. What surprised us all was the thread of racy, fresh acidity running through the length of the palate. The whole thing wasn't a biggie, but more an elegant number, still with depth. In comparison with the 1986s, the 1985s were always softer, more supple and accessible. And certainly more enjoyable. Like tonight. In the morning, a glass left out had a little more animal, but in a nice way. Certainly no drying out of the palate. What a refreshing change to have a real nice older claret. It was well-liked by all of us.

Then at home, we talked into the wee hours over a trio of sweeties. The 2007 Gunderloch Nackenheimer Rothenberg Riesling Spatlese was full, and clumsily Rheinhessen, spoilt by reduction. The Lady Chairman was OK on it, but it went down the slowest. Then a pre-release 2009 Spade Oak Gisborne Late Harvest Viognier. Forward and weighty, this showed too much VA at first, but in the glass it came together. Lotsa caramel flavours. We needed something more special, so out came a 2004 Loosen Erdener Pralat Riesling Auslese (not Goldcap). Tight and classy, toasty nuances with hints of cream and custard. Not quite the exotic power that we usually see, so maybe it was in a bit of a hole. But its sheer refreshing Mosel character came through. A refreshing change? Maybe not, as we seem to be doing this regularly.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Share the Love

It was about time to open a few big names, and what better occasion than the arrival of a couple of wine-lovin' guests. After a look at a number of Iberian numbers, which were no slouches, we headed on out to the Cafe Gal's for a quick bite to eat. There were six of us in the end, including SWMBO and myself: The Chairman, Young Mad Turk, AC Electric Man and The Russian.

We started off with a 2007 Bruno Giascosa Roero Arneis, clean, crispish and surprisingly light, almost insubstantial, but positive. Then on to the heavyweights straight away. 1983 Ch. Lafite-Rothschild and 1983 Ch. Latour. The classic comparison at the top level. Both were pleasingly dark colored, indicating no hurry. The Lafite started hard, lean austere and tannic, the Latour sweeter, rounded and more complete. But with air time, as Lafite does, a perfume and ethereal quality, with fruit filling in the gaps. Really this was still quite unresolved. SWMBO and The Chairman were fans of this. The Young Mad Turk and myself fans of the Latour. We all agreed that 1983 came in the shadow of 1982 and was underestimated. We need to check this out more... It was fun to share these treats.

Then a young treat in the same class as the Bordeaux first-growths. A 2004 Ornellaia 'Masseto', 100% Merlot and outstanding with it. A dose of VA at first, and all over the place. As it breathed, the depth, richness and class came very evident. This weas my wine of the night, as probably was for the Young Mad Turk. Mind you, it was his bottle... He shared the love with this one.

And to follow at the Cafe Gal's place was a 2007 Gunderloch Nackenheimer Rothenberg Riesling Auslese 2006. Light golden hued, with a smoky wild yeast nose mixing it with the pure fruit. Not promising to me. But boy, did it deliver decadence on the palate. Breadth with weight, almost Rheinpfalz in style. Yellow fruits, exotic fruits, botrytis too. But enough acidity to make it work. The Russian loved it with his exotic fruit pudding.

We headed home for another couple of bottles. The 1996 Penfolds Bin 707 Cab Sauv was dull, flat and lacking fruit. The Chairman said probably oxidised. We agreed with the Chairman, as we should all do. So a 2001 Ch. Suduiraut finished off the night. Magical how these '01s are so classical and maturing up now. It has lost its VA annoyance. Oily Semillon and lots of bot with good alcohol body. Starting to soften a tad, but in no way broad. What a lovely wine to share!