Our dinner group met at the local Mexican/ Latin America inspired restaurant, Cielito, to enjoy fine fellowship and a wine theme of quality world wide Syrah along with capable helpers.
We were graciously greeted by a wait staff known to most us who served us righteously and suggested wine pairings that worked beautifully with their menu. While eating too much food, 11 of us drank too much wine [and loved it]:
1st flight of 4 champagnes:
2004 MOET & CHANDON BRUT ROSE- disgorged in 2012, this was really good bubbly and received lots of kudos from the majority of our 12 attendees; it had a very distinguished smoky, burnt toast aroma that carried on into the taste profile along with fresh red berries and a touch of spice; it had a creamy mousse which was so soothing on the palate and aided the length of the welcomed finish.
NV A.R. LENOBLE BLANC de BLANC BRUT GRAND CRU- I`ve had quite a few of this sparkler and always have been delighted by its bright acidity, crispy and tangy mouthfeel and lightly spiced citrus notes; very refreshing and pleasant throughout.
NV PIERRE PAILLARD BRUT GRAND CRU- this makes a big statement from the nose on; it gives an intense full on thrust of minerality and lemon zest and has some bracing acidity; this is a much different style than the related cousin and negociant, Bruno Paillard`s champagnes; 60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay with the base from 2010 and some 2009 blended in.
2nd flight of 2 white Burgundys:
2011 DOMAINE LATOUR-GIRAUD CHAMPS CANET PULIGNY MONTRACHET 1ER CRU- toasty vanilla stone fruit shows up amidst this mildly corked wine.
1996 MICHEL COLIN-DELEGER LES VERGERS CHASSAGNE MONTRACHET 1ER CRU- consummate white Burgundy here; this is a big time winner and one gets its from a distance before getting the glass to the nose; yellow gold color is followed by ascending aromatics of honeysuckle, peach, apple and pear followed by the taste profile which contains these notes plus lemon lime, all with a hint of spiciness; the hallmarks are the perfect balance and the incredible viscous texture that carries all of the treasures all the way to the back end which goes on forever; my WOTN at this point with doubts for being displaced.
3rd flight of 4 Aussie Shiraz:
2001 KAY BROTHERS AMERY BLOCK 6 McLAREN VALE SHIRAZ-this had intensity all over it; the color was a deep dark purple, the nose almost caused a back off and re-enter from a distance and the taste was in the big and bold profile with loads of strawberry graced concentrated black fruit tending toward the grapey, communion offerings in church; I did not get the alcohol content, but my guess is that it`s in the truthful range of 15%+.
1998 METALA LANGHORNE CREEK SHIRAZ- another big boy with aspirations to go bigger; the nose had major spicy, cough syrup and medicinal character followed by the taste of sweet black cherry/ berry which faded out and was overtaken by saddle leather near the finish.
2002 BRANSON COACH HOUSE GREENOCK BLOCK BAROSSA VALLEY SHIRAZ- this was very pleasing offering quite approachable oak infused peppered sweet dark berry and cherry notes; it was in good balance and had nice length; the still quite eveident tannic structure suggests this may have been bigger and bolder earlier on, but it has mellowed and is showing nicely now, thank you; this was later confirmed by the one who brought it.
2007 KILIKANOON KILLERMAN`S RUN CLARE VALLEY SHIRAZ- this bottle had a very strange nose and taste with the dark fruit being on the wild side; even with all of its unusual character, it had some intriguing quality that begged for a re-taste and I obliged only to discover more of the same.
4th flight of 3 Northern Rhone Syrahs:
2007 E. GUIGAL LA MOULINE SYRAH COTE ROTIE- unfortunately corked
2007 E. GUIGAL COTE BRUNE et BLONDE SYRAH COTE ROTIE- aromatics of smoke, toasted black fruit which carried on into the taste profile and was joined by some licorice and meaty, bacon cola notes; this is big and full bodied and has a tannic backbone to support longevity if the fruit can hold on and continue in the journey toward maturity.
1995 CHAPOUTIER LA SIZERANNE HERMITAGE- a smoke inundated aroma starts this out on a different path before dissipating and then gives way to some lively, playful spicy plum, blueberry and black currant notes that shout out for joy and pleasure which is what is deleivered; medium to full body, nice mouthfeel and a long finish complete the deal.
5th flight of 4 CA Syrahs:
2004 RADIO COTEAU CHERRY CAMP SONOMA COAST SYRAH- big, dark and brooding, this bottle had a touch of Brett, but shining on and overtaking it was nice licorice laced cranberry, plum and blackberry; there`s definitely an earthy character that comes in about mid palate and the finish is replete with the better aspects of the overall experience.
2005 AGHARTA RED RHONE BLEND- consisting of 97% Syrah, 2% Grenache, 1% Viognier; this got better and better in the glass and with more time probably evolves to a much greater extent; as it was, this pleased with cedar, spiced black and blue fruit aided by a touch of anise and bright acidity.
2005 ALBAN VINEYARDS SYRAH REVA ALBAN ESTATE VINEYARD- massive, highly extracted bomb full of sugar, spice and everything nice, at least for those who like this style; the nose is as big and inviting as it gets; the taste is mind blowing intense, full of flavors that challenge the palate to delineate what is what; it`s grape juice fruit forwardness dominates the overall profile and the finish is a bit hot until the heat dissipated shortly thereafter; this is a very polarizing wine; it definitely demands a decision for those who say “drink what you like and like what you drink”.
2006 PRIDE MOUNTAIN VINEYARDS SYRAH- a very flavorful wine in good balance offering finesse and charm with good mouthfeel; this was just a steady Eddy wine all the way through; the fruit profile consisted of plum, black currant, cranberry and some red cherry.
6th and last flight of 2 dessert wines:
1999 ALOIS KRACHER CHARDONNAY #7 NOUVELLE VAGUE TROCKENBERENAUSLESE- this sweetie gave up gobs of honeyed sherry like toasted almond; sticky, gooey and delicious; small sips are prudent.
2008 LI VELI VALDANA ALEATICO MASSERIA PASSITO DELBA MALVINA- inky, thick, dark chocolate liqueur with cinnamon caramel topping.
WOTN, no doubt, the 96` Colin-Deleger.
As usual, this dinner was another fine 2 hour+ joyful wine and dining experience with another great one featuring 1st growth Bordeaux and CA cult Cabs just less than 2 weeks away. I`ll be patient, sort of.