An epic Sunday
Yesterday I was invited by a group of friends to meet for a cooking session at somebody’s home. As one of the guys is a passionate hunter and as he recently attended a hunting session, the plan was to prepare fresh sausages made of wild boar, wild rabbit and domestic pig meat. It did not take a lot of time to mince the meat, put all the necessary spices and in no time the sausages were ready to be fried. I have to give full credit for preparing these delicious sausages to Dani and Vlad. Not too fat as there was a high proportion of game used, yet not too dry. Just the way we like it.
There was a serious line up of wines that we enjoyed over a 6 hours lunch turned dinner session. We started with a 2010 Stirbey Cramposie Selectionata, vibrant, showing a good minerality, but somehow more restrained in aromas than I remember it. Good to prepare the palate for the next wine. (82-83/100)
We poured the 2005 Ravanes Le Renard Blanc in a decanter and left it in the fridge for about 45 minutes. It’s been almost two years since my last meeting with this wine. This is usually a blend of 70% Grenache gris and 30% Grenache blanc, aged for 8 months in French oak. Around 4500 bottles produced every year. The color is deep gold. The wine has a fully developed and intense nose, showing aromas of an aged wine and old cognac. The nose shows a really good complexity, as the Asian spices mix very well with vanilla, eau-de-vie, ripe yellow fruits, flowers, dry fruits and caramel. This is a massive, full bodied wine, that feels unctuous and rich on the palate. The flavors are ample in the mouth, however the wine seems slightly unbalanced, with the alcohol making its presence from time to time. The finish is medium plus long and very spicy with ginger-like spiciness and yellow ripe fruits. This is a wine that needs food to be paired with, as it will show nuances and better balance when matched correctly. One or two glasses of this fat wine are enough to put you in a contemplative mood. 14.5% alc (89/100)
We moved on to the next white, this time a Grosses Gewachs Riesling from Pfalz. The typical high acidity of the Riesling was welcoming.
The 2008 Philip Kuhn Steinbuckel GG Riesling shows good freshness, balance, a lively palate,with an off-dry sensation on the initial attack. There is a good mix of minerals, wet stone, warm rubber and flavors of melon, pineapple, peach and pear. The finish is medium with mouth-watering acidity and fresh citric fruit. We are back on form with this steely acidity. (89/100)
As the sausages were fried and ready to be served, we made our move to the first red of the line-up. We started with a Saint Emilion from 1998, a great vintage for the Right Bank.
The 1998 Chateau Grand-Mayne Saint-Emilion Grand Cru is a really youthful wine. The color is dark red garnet, with no signs of aging. The nose is fully developed and shows complexity. This wine is open for business. There are seducing mineral aromas of shaved pencils and ink very well blended with smoke, ripe black currant, dark plums, dark cherry, cranberry, cedar and tobacco. Full bodied, yet supple on the palate, the wine is well balanced, with ripe and well blended tannins, a vivid texture that coats the palate like velvet. Medium plus finish, fresh and lingering. Great and youthful. (92/100)
We moved next to another older vintage, yet younger than the Bordeaux, but this time from the Southern Rhone. 2000 was no blockbuster vintage in Chateuneuf du pape, but produced classic wines, characterized by mineral and fresh palates, with good aging capabilities.
The 2000 Domaine du Pegau Cuvee Reserve is a beauty. There is more freshness and balance in this wine than in any of the wines we had tonight, including the 1998 Grand Mayne. Popped after the Saint Emilion, I was expecting a powerful wine, but I could not be more wrong. Dark red-cherry color, the nose is fully developed and still youthful. Full bodied, supple, with ripe tannins, vibrant acidity and feather light texture in the mouth, this wine is a monument of balance and elegance. There are rich aromas of licorice, roasted herbs, fresh red fruits, pine needles, rosemary and ink, and yet none of them spike out, they just build together a harmonious profile. Long finish. There is depth and freshness. 13.5% alc (94/100)
We aimed to stay on the same line of freshness and easy drink-ability and we moved to a classic, old style Rioja.
This is Rioja at its best. The 1997 was no special vintage in Rioja, but the 1997 La Rioja Alta Gran Reserva 904 is a really special wine. Red cherry color. Fully developed nose with really nice aromas of fried red bell peppers, dried tomatoes, orange peel, fresh ripe red fruits, tobacco and forest floor. Supple on the palate, with bright acidity, smooth texture, very lively and elegant. Well defined flavors and a medium plus, fresh finish, lingering. Very nice. (92/100)
As we were approaching the end of the evening, we shifted again to a white German Riesling.
2008 Weingut Johannishof Ruedesheim Berg Rottland Erstes Gewachs continues the Grand Cru Riesling saga. Pale yellow gold color. Very fresh nose, with warm rubber, apricot, pear, lime, basil and spices, the wine feels lively, with a certain off-dry sensation initially, but the mouth-watering acidity kicks in easily and gives this wine a lift. Medium plus finish, with yellow apples, lime and basil bites in the aftertaste. (89/100)
It is fair to say that by the time the Johannishof was served, my palate and my senses were kind of lowering their accuracy, so I might have rated lower the wine.
This was an extremely enjoyable SUN afternoon spent with friends, with hearty food and epic wines. My preferences were: 1. 2000 Pegau Cuvee Reservee, 2. 1998 Chateau Grand Mayne St-Emilion Grand Cru, 3. 1997 La Rioja Alta Gran Reserva 904, 4. 2008 Johannishof Ruedesheim Berg Rottland Erstes Gewachs, 5. 2005 Ravanes Le Renard Blanc and 2008 Kuhn Steinbuckel GG on the same level.