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French themed dinner June 2015

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There are dinners and there are exceptional dinners. Sometimes life can play tricks on you. It happened to me this week when it seemed I was the victim of my own luck. I had two wine dinners that I attended in two consecutive days and that seemed to be a bit too much. First one was a Romanian wines themed dinner that ended too late in the night and as a result the next morning was very slow, during the day it was more of a gradual recovery and by the time dinner was getting ready to start it finally felt more normal, but not fully recovered.

This was a very intimate dinner for 4 people where I acted as an organizer and tasting and enjoying the wines was one of the perks of the job. Absolutely outstanding experience, where some of the biggest and most interesting wines from France were served.

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Champagne Krug Grande Cuvee NV has a golden color with rich and tiny bubbles. A very expressive nose with flint, citrus peel, saline sea shell, it opens up with sweet caramel and lactic notes. Very tight on the palate, focused, with citrus and white peach fruit, it is a Champagne that needs at least 45 minutes to breath to open. Long finish with rich citrus fruit freshness. (94/100)

There was a great match with the oysters as both shared the saline and sea shell aromas.

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2011 Domaine de Chevalier Blanc is one of the grandest dry whites from Bordeaux I tasted. Before this, Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc 2009 was my favorite, but that is history now. Medium yellow color. This has an intense and impressive nose, but simply put is Wow. There is a rich yellow melon aroma that gradually leaves room to tropical fruits: tangerine, mango, papaya, very exotic and exuberant nose all sustained by very smart oak, some flint and smoke but always the exuberant sweet fresh tropical fruit holds the center stage. Lots of vibrant yellow fruit, ‎tropical fruits, very fresh palate with almonds, still tight but very promising. Long, long finish. What strikes the most in this wine is that in spite of its rich extract and abundance of fruit, the wine has an almost weightless texture that I find it as a common denominator in some of the grandest wines. I could drink this everyday. (96/100)

It was a great match with Sea Bass and Tuna Tartar but again this wine is good with anything.

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1993 Chateau d’Yquem comes from a difficult vintage for all of Bordeaux wines. However tasting this wine you can understand why this is a Premier Grand Cru Classe. It has a light amber color. Very expressive and sweet nose of orange marmalade, saffron, peach, ginger and honey comb. This is certainly not the richest or the most opulent Yquem, but it is a very elegant wine that delivers a lot of pleasure today. There is still some richness on the palate, with vibrant orange marmalade, ginger spice and honey, unctuous and lovely. Long finish. (93-94/100)

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2005 Vosne Romanee 1er Cru ‘Les Suchots’ Bouchard P&F needs about 4 h to breath in order to start to open up. It has a medium ruby red color. The nose is all about fresh pine needles, sweet red berry fruit, coffee bean and sous bois, a nose of profound subtleties. Medium to full body, there is texture and layers of vibrant sweet fresh red fruits, aromatic tea leaves, sappy tannins. It still feels tight and points to a good development in the next few years. Medium to long finish, red currant and black tea flavors. (93/100)

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2003 Chateau Leoville Poyferre is a wine I tasted several times in the last 4 years and it was always a great wine. The color is red garnet almost opaque. The aromatic profile feels to be the best of two worlds: the ripe and sunny fruit you can find in the finest Super Tuscan’s and the freshness and complexity from the best red Bordeaux. Complex and intense aromas of cassis, blackberry, red paprika, coffee bean, mineral pencil shavings, all make a very expressive nose today. Rich and opulent on the palate, it has ripe and velvety sweet tannins that give balance and freshness to all this dense texture and abundance of flavors. Long finish, sweet lingering fruit. An impressive wine for the vintage. (97/100)

An absolutely outstanding wine dinner experience.

2000 Chateau d’Yquem Sauternes

February 4, 2013 2 comments

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Last SAT was a very special one as during the same day I had several outstanding wines culminating with this legendary producer. On the same day I had a line-up of 3 Sauvignon Blanc’s: Saxenburg Private Collection Sauvignon Blanc 2011, Michel Redde Champs de Billon 2006 and La Spinetta Langhe Sauvignon Blanc 2006, all three outstanding examples and pure expressions of different terroirs and vinification processes. It followed a 2006 Trapiche Malbec Single Vineyard Adriana Venturin, showing the purity, richness and silkiness of Argentinian Malbec at its best. There was also a 2004 Clos des Papes Chateauneuf du pape prior to the sweet wine.

In the evening a friend decided to make a pleasant surprise and popped up a 2000 Chateau d’Yquem from the fridge. It is my third vintage of Yquem I try after 1996 and 1981. My mind and my heart still goes to the 1996.

Everybody probably knows that Chateau d’Yquem is the epitome of Sauternes, the producer and his wine being legendary for their pedigree, quality, aging potential and also being the only wine from Sauternes that qualifies in the Fine-Wines market as investment wine.

2000 Chateau d’Yquem Sauternes

Deep gold, light amber color. Well developed, very intense, elegant, complex and beautiful nose, combining sweetness and freshness almost to perfection. There is a kaleidoscope of aromas and just like the actors of a play that come gradually on the stage and give their performance, one can gradually feel aromas of saffron, caramelized pineapple, botrytis, baked quince, pear, peach and the amazing mint and fresh citrus fruit shaving components that build the sensation of freshness. Full bodied, seamless texture that feels like liquid silk in the mouth, outstanding balance between sweetness and acidity, that makes the palate both unctuous and lively, like a synchronized couple of dancers. There are layers and layers that wash the palate with pure and intense flavors of quince, pineapple, caramel, lemon and orange rind marmalade, with a light touch of Indian spices. Very long finish that reminds of orange and tangerine marmalade. It really makes you feel special when drinking this wine. (94-95/100)

SAT was a really good day.

A memorable tasting with a very special Wine Club

November 6, 2012 4 comments

Last night I was invited, as a guest, to attend a wine dinner organized by a special Wine Club that will remain undisclosed at this moment. The session was dedicated to Italian wines. I had no idea what will be served, but the surprise was overwhelming. The dinner took place in a prime restaurant and the food was fantastic: veal carapaccio, spaghetti pomodoro basilico, grilled Black Angus entrecote and a very special dessert: truffle, white chocolate and truffle ice cream served with a very special wine: Chateau d’Yquem 1981.

We were six people so there was plenty of wine to taste and drink for each of us. We started with a very young Barbaresco.

2007 La Spinetta Barbaresco Vigneto Bordini

This is an extremely young wine but it is so approachable. Dark red garnet color. A youthful and developing nose, intense, refined, showing beautiful aromas of flowers: dried rose petals and violets, tar, ripe black cherry and raspberry, cocoa, with hints of spices: anise and cloves. This is super concentrated on the palate, balanced and well structured, bone dry tannins and as much as a Barbaresco is known to be hard to enjoy when young, this wine drinks very well already. Long finish, with a velvety feel. Youthful but so good. (91-92/100)

One of the participants at the dinner used to work for about 7 years in Toscana at Poggio di Sotto during the summer vacation, so not only did he make a contribution with the next wine, but he also explained the story of this interesting winery. Poggio di Sotto is fairly small in Montalcino with only 12 ha of vines, making around 30.000 bottles of Brunello and Rosso din Montalcino every year. The wine-making process is traditional, with long maceration, extensive maturation in large 30 hl Slavonian oak barrels – for each wine there is an additional one year of aging in the barrel aside from the minimum imposed by the Regulators. Poggio di Sotto was recently sold to a large Italian wine company that has properties all over Italy, but wanted to own a premium, cult-like winery.

2005 Poggio di Sotto Brunello di Montalcino

Medium red garnet color. Complex, deep, profound, refined, showing fine spices, cocoa powder, leather, red fruits preserves and a citrus fruit freshness on the nose. Silky mouth-feel, amazing structure and balance, ripe tannins, extremely fresh with a feather like texture, long finish, fresh all along the way. Exquisite, long black cherry aftertaste. So young but so open and such a pleasure to drink it. (93-94/100)

Next wine comes from a legendary traditional producer. I guess anybody that inquired at a certain moment about Brunello di Montalcino knows this producer as being a pioneer of quality driven wines.

1971 Biondi Santi Brunello di Montalcino

Good fill level. The bottle was uncorked and left to slowly breath for about 3 hours. Red ruby color with a brick rim, a bit cloudy as it comes in contact with air. A maturing bouquet, with initial volatile acids that blew off after another 20 minutes in the glass, still showing discreet red fruit preserves, autumn forest floor, tobacco, balsamic notes, saline, leather and black olives. Medium bodied, initially looking like fading away but with more aeration in the glass opening up more and more. Mature, fresh, mint and black olives on the palate, acidity keeps everything in place and, as it aerates, it shows discreet tannins. Medium finish, fresh and earthy. (88-89/100)

After this line up of amazing wines I found out that dessert will be paired with 1981 Chateau d’Yquem. Life can be full of good surprises sometimes.

1981 Chateau d’Yquem Sauternes

This came from a small 0.375 cl bottle and was open for more than 8 hours but that did not alter the quality of this amazing wine. Deep gold-amber color. A complex bouquet, very intense, combining aromas of mandarins, botrytis, apricots, white pepper and brown sugar. Medium bodied, it has a wonderful balance, elegant, delicious flavors of dried apricots and sweet lemons and amazingly lively on the palate. Long spicy-cardamon finish, with pleasant bitter-sweet orange peel flavor. (93-94/100)

It was a wonderful wine dinner.

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