July 1, 2008

Casual wine tasting

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Last night I was invited by my friend Michelle to her lovely home for a casual gathering. She had finished renovating her place, and invited a few friends for a get together. She would serve us some delicious food while each of us brought 1 or 2 bottles of wine for the evening.

I arrived at a decent hour - some 40 minutes before dinner was supposed to start - only to find that the first bottle of the evening was already finished! I could not believe that I didn't get a chance to taste the 1986 Guigal La Landonne! It was obviously such a good wine that the early birds didn't want to leave anything for the rest of us...

I started with the 2004 Dagueneau Silex, from one of my favorite winemakers for white wines. The wine had a very nice, lightly mineral nose -interestingly almost like muscat grapes. The acidity was higher than I expected. Not what I expected from a Pouilly-Fume but I liked it.

Next was a German Riesling from the 1992 vintage, which I believe was a QbA and not a QmP since it was not designated as a spatlese, kabinett...etc. This had a hint of tropical fruit, not quite lychee but something else. Some people thought it had the nose of a pina colada, but I didn't quite get that...

A rare gem - 1997 Bollinger La Cote aux Enfants - appears in the line up tonight. This is a still, red wine from Pinot Noir and designated Coteaux Champenois, made only in exceptional vintages from a small vineyard plot and in small quantities (5,000 bottles in this vintage). I found it fruity and like a light Burgundy, without much body. It's really more of a novelty, and I'd much rather drink a nice Burgundy from the same vintage...

Staying with Pinot Noir, I move on to the 1997 Roumier Chambolle Musigny. This was a really nice bottle of wine, especially considering that this is only at the village level and not a 1er or grand cru. The nose was explosive and had lots of sweet fruit, smoked meats and bacon fat. Wonderful stuff.

Something I haven't had in a while is the best wine out of Lebanon. The 1998 Musar was just about my wine of the evening - with an explosively sweet nose, some minerals leading to a hint of blood, and some raspberries and leather. The wine had medium weight on the palate, which made it easier to drink. I was so glad that we had this bottle tonight, and I went back to it at the end of the evening.

Back to France with the 1995 Pegau Cuvee Reservee. I had this wine some years ago when it was much younger, and this time it has evolved a bit more but my enjoyment was far less than I remebered last time. The nose was a bit vegetal and primarily of green peppers. There was a little fruit but somehow I felt the wine was a bit off.

Pinot again, now with the 2004 Faiveley Gevrey-Chambertin Les Marchais. A nice wine to drink with a very sweet nose.

Finally I get to the 1998 Artadi Grandes Anades that I brought, which had been decanted for more than 2 1/2 hours. Once again the nose was explosive (do I use this term a little too much?) and full of sweet fruit at first. Later on I detected a hint of acetone, then stewed prunes. A little bit of heat damage, perhaps?

My last wine of the evening was the 1996 Arlot Romanee-Saint-Vivant. This was a grand cru Burgundy from a good vintage, and it showed as a typical Burgundy. The nose was farmy, with smoked meats and also plenty of sweet fruits. A nice way to round up the evening since I didn't think I could drink more... 

Our hostess Michelle provided us to plenty of delicious food for the evening, starting with yummy plates of roast pork (燒肉). The crispy skin and the caramelized fat were just wonderful. For starters we also had some salad, smoked salmon and also roast beef. Later we moved onto some roast duck (not the Chinese way), spaghetti alla Bolognese (which I did not partake in), delicious crab cakes, and finally a wonderful chicken curry. The last dish was my favorite, but I'm not sure it went very well with the wines... I had to drink a bit of water to cool off my burning tongue.

It was a very relaxing and enjoyable evening thanks to Michelle, and I look forward to our next gathering!

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