Wednesday, July 28, 2010

An Event

A long-due catch-up with the Eventress and her new man made the evening an event in itself. We are now up to speed with the goss, and there are plans to interact in the near future. We didn't know it, but the new man was a wine man too, so the bottles brought out were appreciated.

Starting with the cellar-door-only NV 'Pelorus' Rose Methode Traditionnelle, this was a beautiful aromatic-floral and small red fruits wine with medium body but a fullness and completeness, and no heavy spots at all. Quite a delight and we played games with the wine in different Riedel glasses. Those 'La Grande Dame' glasses really bring out the bouquet. Then a more settled, clean, fresh, and elegant 2009 Starborough Pinot Gris from Marlborough. Slippery and fine, with minerals and pears with a touch of spice.

The meal meant red wines. A comparison, a 2001 Dry River Martinborough Pinot Noir was dark, deep, full, with savoury cherry and plum flavours. Quite big and lively, not quite the detail and nuance, but lovely secondary truffle notes now. No real hurry. Paired with the unusual 2000 'Pinot Noir2001' N.Z. Reserve Pinot Noir, a blend of juice from the 64 participating wineries at Pinot Noir 2001, elevaged by Larry McKenna and 'friends'. Garnet, cooler, sappy notes, high acid and lean. Not particularly enjoyable, but the acidity will keep it going, but no-where great.

Back to reality. The 2007 Te Mata 'Bullnose' Syrah came straight out of the cooler downstairs cellar. It was tight, refined, superbly peppery with florals and spices. The proportion of this wine on palate is excellent. As the conversation moved to different parts of the world we had visited, we went to California with a 2007 Seghesio Sonoma Zinfandel at 15.5% nominal alc. Powerful black fruits, spices and pepper. Not sure about 'blueberry pie' as is oft-quoted for the variety. Firm structure and somewhat hot. A bit too much after a series of more elegant reds.

Then the finale, the new man's dessert wine. A real blast from the past - 1993 Rongopai Botrytised Chardonnay at nine-comma-five% alc. Dark mahogany, but brilliantly clear. Loads of toffee, caramel and brown barley sugar, and even more sweetness, but countered by massive acidity. The flavours were showing the downhill path, but the mouthfeel still had a long way to go. A treat to finish the bottle and to finish the evening.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Getting It Together

It was an odd evening with formalities. SWMBO was on another mission, so I was solo at first. A quick phone call made it possible for us all to get it together for a meal, followed by another bottle or two.

In the end it was a merry group. The Tall Waiheke Man was the guest, and the AC Electric Man and Natty were in attendance. We were joined by Peeler and Dan Young Man from our favourite eatery. We started off with a pair of young 'uns. A 2007 Bischoflische Priesterseminar Trittenheimer Apotheke Riesling Spatlese at nine-comma-five! A touch reductive on nose, opening up to a lovely limey-honied soda-pop palate that was carried by the sugar, but nicely so. Then a seriously sleek 2007 Remiziere Hermitage 'Cuvee Emile', modern, dark in colour and fruit, with ripeness galore and loads of oak. Deep and tightly bound, but a smooth beauty to put away for 10+ years really to do it justice.

Then the main feature. 1983 vs 1982 Ch. Leoville-Barton St Julien. The corks slid out firmly in one piece and a quarter soaked. A good portent? The '83 dark coloured, dark berry fruited and refined with intensity. A touch hard and lean moving to game then horses with air time. Still with grip, but on a plateau. The '82 quite glorious with its richness, sweetness, sumptuousness and liveliness and any other 'nesses you'd like to add! You couldn't get a better example of an 1982 claret. As good as it gets and it'll last another 15-20. It had it all together.

Then off home for something sweeter. We though we'd try the 1983 Deinhard Bernkasteler Doctor Riesling Auslese. Pale gold and reticent on bouquet. Sweet, but not very so. Plenty of defining acidity. Subtle toast, honey, creaming soda and caramel as these old Mosels get when they're getting it together. Two conclusions: One - it will always be a bit narrowed. After all, Bernkastel is over-rated as a top village compared to Graach, Wehlen, Erden, Brauneberg, and even poor old lost-its-way Piesport? Two - This is still a baby, with another 25 years ahead of it. I like this scenario better, but deep down I don't believe it...

The final act was a 1990 Quinta do Vesuvio Vintage Port. A bit murky to the ruby-garnet, and it wasn't bad decanting. Soft, muffled nose with savoury, ripe red fruits. The spirit was excellent, but the wine a little dull and flat for me. SWMBO and most of the others had no problem. Damn node day on the biodynamic calendar? Or was it the full-moon the day before?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Long Timer

It has been a long time since we had a long weekend on the go wine-wise. A night or a few nights interspersed with some gaps has been relatively easy to handle. But this weekend was all action from Friday to Sunday. SWMBO and I were the guests of Caz-Whizz and Brucie-Bro, who I must admit took it easy on us, but it all added up. Secretly, I thought they were the worse for wear too, but they wouldn't let it show.

Anyway, a highlight was the Saturday night roast. Caz-Whizz did a great job on this and the meat was juicy and tender. The beverage list was gentle and built up. First in the glass was a 2009 Mt Beautiful Cheviot Hills Pinot Gris. Weighty, ripe, honied and with some spice. We thought it had some botrytis adding positives, but I've been told the fruit was spotless. This will get better. Then on to a remarkably good 2007 Kemblefield Gewurztraminer. Loads of gongs, and it was still pale and fresh. A little grip on the palate, but that's what Gewurz does. The red was a 1983 Ch. Brane Cantenac from Margaux. Elegant, lively acidity, red fruits, moderated tannins and a touch of animal. All rather pleasant and quite drinkable, rather than a wow wine. In its day a modestly rated number, but as we've found, these old clarets take on a life and personality far better than ratings by Mr Parker. Then finishing with a developed 2005 Framingham Noble Riesling. Golden, full of caramel and honey, but with a power of acid zing. Moving along for me, but still able to hang in there a few more years.

All of these would be classified as long timers for what they are or were. Just like SWMBO and I, plus Caz-Whizz and Brucie-Bro, who will go a long way.

Monday, July 5, 2010

New Babes

A visit from The Chairman and his new babe was a pleasure. The last one got the stamp of displeasure..... So nice new wines, some of them babes in the wood were brought out.

We had a pair of pretty sparklers to match the new babe. An NV Moet & Chandon 'Brut Imperial' with Diamantes came first. It sparkled on the outside, but was soft and less bubbly on the inside. Maybe store in heat? But the Chairman's NV Mumm 'Cordon Rouge' was fresh, delicate and fine - exactly what it should have been, and showing why this house is on the up.

Two heavyweight table wines. Firstly a 2007 Neudorf Moutere Chardonnay. Still too young. A real baby. But great depth of mealy, nutty, stonefruit flavours and the sulphide complexities that wine judges love. Great wine in the making. Followed by a 2006 Chapoutier Cote-Rotie 'Mordoree'. In the context of a big Chapoutier line-up, this looks so elegant. But on its own a bit of a brooding child. Quite massive in structure and deep black fruits. Not really perfumed. A SWMBO and The Chairman noted a touch of funk that I accepted as 'interest'.

Next was a real sweetie. A 2004 W. Schaefer Graacher Domprobst Riesling Auslese. Rich and decadent, yet beautifully racy and cutting. Real complexities of toast coming into the scene, and marmalade hints of botrytis. This was a new babe coming of age. And a beauty it was.