Our fine wine dinner group convened recently at the somewhat newly opened Black Sheep restaurant in downtown Santa Barbara. Our wine theme included champagne, white Burgundy and Spanish reds.
We were seated in a private side room where a large rectangular table comfortably accommodated our eleven. The wait staff served up adeptly and is our preference, we did our own wine service.
Along with just about every appetizer on the menu plus our individual entrees, we enjoyed the following wines:
NV BOLLINGER SPECIAL CUVEE BRUT- magnum; I/ we have had a lot of this good bubbly and we got a large pour each from magnum much to the delight of all; showing consistently excellent, our bottle had bright acidity, generous amounts of spicy citrus aided by a touch of saline and a lush, almost oily texture which served to prolonged the finish; everything came together in a state of balance and the package exuded elegance with attending finesse.
NV FRANK BONVILLE GRAND CRU BLANC de BLANCS BRUT PRESTIGE AVIZE- I`ve enjoyed a few bottles of this nice champagne and this bottle complimented all those before it; perfectly balanced, it gave a mouthful of tangy honeyed lemon lime and kiwi notes with a touch of toast, spice and minerality; it had a lush and creamy texture and good length; refreshingly good and held its own after the Bollie.
NV A.R. LENOBLE TERRIORS BRUT ROSE- initially this was too chilled and all of the aromatics and taste were somewhat muted, but with time and a little warming, it opened up and revealed some pleasant characteristics; lightly spiced strawberry and raspberry fruit starts it off and continues on to the back end; this is an elegant, fine rose which requires going into its depth to enjoy all of the nuances.
2009 DOMAINE MICHEL CAILLOT LES PUCELLES PULIGNY MONTRACHET 1ER CRU- this is flint on flint and my first thought was I`ve just had my flint fix for the month; additionally, the aromas had some steely, mineral, graphite notes with a tease of grapefruit that expanded once on the palate and was joined by some nice citrus; it was smooth and lightly creamy and ended with more flintiness.
2012 HUBERT LAMY CLOS du MEIX SAINT AUBIN 1ER CRU- this bottle had a welcoming nose of mild mineral infused citrus notes that continued on and was joined by pear and apple with honeysuckle arriving late; a good white Burg that got better with time and needs more overall for further development.
2014 DOMAINE JEAN-MARC PILLOT CORTON-CHARLEMAGNE GRAND CRU- the KIND! This is just the bomb; it has all of the attributes I have ever wanted from a white Burg; it`s rich and creamy, full bodied and yet with finesse and charm; it`s delicious with lightly spiced fresh apple, pear and citrus and a streak of minerality; it`s seamless and in perfect balance and has a so welcomed extended length; a top candidate for my WOTN now and as it turned out, later on as well.
2008 CVNE [CUNE] VINA REAL GRAN RESERVA RIOJA- this was major fruit forward with copious amounts of sandalwood laced blackberry and black cherry from the nose through the tail; it just kept coming on and on; it was concentrated, layered and bold; this has all of the stuff to go for a long haul, leave its stage of adolescence, settle down and balance out; this would be a fun wine to track and I expect it to be delightful during each stage.
2009 TORRES MAS LA PLANA BLACK LABEL PENEDES- 100% Cabernet Sauvignon; this is pretty aromatic and tasty juice; it had accents of black pepper and cedar which framed the full on ripe black currant and black cherry fruit; this is a full bodied, full throttle, serious wine that exudes power and some finesse at the same time; it`s easy on the palate and goes on forever; I liked everything about this wine and had it as my co-WOTN with some serious competition coming up.
2003 R. LOPEZ de HEREDIA VINA TONDONIA RESERVA RIOJA- 75% Tempranillo, 15% Garnacha, 10% Mazuelo and Graciano; it took some time for this to open up and once it did, it provided delightful nuances that pleased immensely; the bouquet offered some earthy dark fruit notes which developed into dark chocolate and leather accented black currant and blackberry; it had good texture and a long finish.
2001 CIGARRAL PAGO del AMA CASTILLA- mostly Syrah with some Cqbernet Sauvignon and Merlot; this is considered by some to be one of the best Syrah blends in Spain, it is big, bold and generous; there`s lots of spicy, pepper and anise laced black fruit showing up in layers with one containing blueberries which came and then got consumed in the re-appearing dark fruit; it was easy on the palate although so concentrated, highly energetic and powerful.
2010 VEGA SICILIA PINTIA RIBERA del DUERO- youthful exuberance and playfulness abound here in this yet to evolve wine which has the acidity and tannins to give it the foundation to do so for many years to come; it is full bodied, full on dark fruit forward now and has an elegance that softens the intensity; I bought a few of this and this was the first one to be opened; I`ll wait quite a few years before re-visiting and give it a good decant.
1991 VEGA SICILIA UNICO GRAN RESERVA RIBERA del DUERO- Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Tinta Fina; this bottle had earth, leather, cigar box and tobacco adding to the black fruit profile which is a bit subdued and past mid palate, dried out; there`s an unexpected bacon flavor plus some oak spice coming in late; I`ve had a couple of other 91`s in the past year or so that were more expressive and less tannic, but this is no slouch, it`s just comparatively a bit less than what I expected; it could be just a valley stage before it peaks.
1989 VEGA SICILIA UNICO GRAN RESERVA RIBERA del DUERO- 80% Tinto Fino [Tempranillo in Ribera del Duero], 20% Cabernet Sauvignon; the nose was a huge invite to enter and I obliged; licorice flavored black currant was prevalent initially, then bacon flavored minerals along with blueberry, plum and black raspberry come in to top it off; the texture was soft and velvety and the wine held on for a long finish; the taste profile here is somewhat similar to the 91`, but the tannins in this bottle were considerably softer therefore avoiding astringency; the group got this as their WOTN which i`m definitely OK with although I had the Corton Charlie and the Torres a touch better; the pedigree itself is hard to omit.
2011 FAMILIA NIN-ORTIZ PLANETES PARTIDA les PLANTES PORREA PRIORAT- 70% Garnacha, 30% Caranina; nice; I got some grapey, bacon notes along with red raspberry and black currant, wild berries and wild cranberries; the tannins were soft as was the weight on the palate; this was so different from the other wines on this night and once I learned of the fruit content, it made sense.
2015 EL MAESTRO SIERRA SHERRY PEDRO XIMENEZ PX VIEJISIMO JEREZ- 375 ml; this rare and special sherry has spent over 50 years in the solera system; it was so thick and syrupy, I almost used my spoon to pour it into the glass; in fact, it poured with the consistency of and tasted like molasses; there was also some coffee and honeyed raisin notes that peeked through; a little dab will do ya, a teaspoonful dab that is.
This was another of so many grand evenings over numerous times each year and for the past 15+ years. They`re all stellar, some just more so than others.
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