Not an average wine-dinner
I was recently invited to attend the anniversary dinner organized by a good friend celebrating his birthday. A wine geek himself and big fan of red Italian and prestige wines, it was no surprise that the red wines tasted were all from Italy. With one exception the rest of the wines were all a first encounter for me.
Tuna tartar, fresh oysters and lobster salad were served with 2004 Cristal Champagne. A pale yellow lemon color with smooth and rich mousse, that opened up in stages on the nose and palate. Fresh dough, citrus fruit and a hint of crushed stones form the medium(+) intense and well developed nose. Medium(+) body, very acidic on the first sip, it opens up with air and becomes rounder, mellower and more enjoyable. Medium(+) finish, with bright citrus fruit, Granny Smith apple acidity and lingering hints of minerals. (92/100)
Served with fresh pasta with butter and white truffles it was 2009 Chateau Smith Haut-Lafitte Blanc (Pessac-Leognan). It ranks in the first Top 3 white wines I had this year. The color is pale yellow lemon. The nose shows great Pessac-Leognan typicality with generic smoked vanilla and tropical fruits, but it starts up gradually in intensity. The first nose is shy and it takes about 2 hours to fully reveal its intensity. It’s a different story on the palate: the level of flavor concentration it’s outstanding, you can literally taste fresh vanilla, smoke, fresh tangerines, mango and papaya, pears, peaches and white apricots. Flawless mouth-feel, medium acidity (that’s a surprise and probably that’s why is so enjoyable now), balanced and intense. Long finish, fresh and flamboyant, with plenty of exotic and tropical fruits. I fell in love with it. (97-98/100)
Shifting to reds, the menu moved towards red meat: medium-rare tuna steak with grilled vegetables. Served in parallel there were 2006 Trinoro from Tenuta di Trinoro and 2007 Masseto from Ornellaia. 2006 Trinoro has the nose and mouth-feel of an Amarone. The color is deep dark red garnet. The nose is medium(+) intense, well developed and rich, with unusual Amarone like aromas: chocolate, rum and over ripe black fruits: blackberry, black cherry, cranberry and leather. The taste is full bodied, rich and concentrated, with medium polished tannins, with juicy blackberry, rum and chocolate. Medium(+) finish, black fruit liquor and sweet feel. (89-90/100)
2007 Masseto is a totally different ball game. Tasted blind this could go for a sunny Pomerol. The color is medium red garnet color. Pronounced, elegant, well developed and complex nose, it takes time to open up. A mix of black cherry, plums, chocolate, cedar and graphite are just a few aromas of the complex nose. Full bodied, yet supple and elegant, the wine is a monument of balance and complexity. The high level of polished tannins, the richness and concentration are outstanding. The 15% alcohol is just a number in this case, because the wine has freshness, elegance and a weightless mouth-feel. Long and pronounced finish, with fresh red fruits and coffee. (98/100)
A 2008 Trinoro was also served to see if it has a similar profile of an Amarone like 2006. The color is deep red garnet. The nose is well developed, pronounced, intense and sweet. The ripe black fruit profile is there but manages to preserve freshness and hints of coffee. Full body, high polished and sweet tannins, sweet and juicy blackberry and cranberry, dark chocolate, plums, but still fresh. Long finish, lingering juicy black fruits. (93/100)
Dinner was finished with a NV Billecart-Salmon Rose to wash the palate. Pink salmon color, intense mousse. Biscuit, bright red fruits and grapefruit, fresh and citrus palate, medium finish. (90-91/100)