Our lunch group had one of our more spectacular days at our monthly venue, the Santa Barbara Club. As usual, we dined in the private library dining room and received dedicated and personalized gracious service from our angel server, Tina. The pre fixe menu was expertly prepared and perfectly paired with our wines by esteemed chef, Humberto.
The general wine theme on this occasion was first and second growth Bordeaux with allowances for a few additional chateaux.
18 of us enjoyed the following menu:
Silky leek wine soup with Parmesan cheese
Local seabass pan seared served with rosti potato cake, roasted butternut squash, crispy julienne vegetables and lemon caper sauce
Rack of lamb served with Moussaka blackeye beans and Balsamic reduction
Seared roasted duck breast with foie gras spinach stuffing and truffle potato croquets
Blue Stilton, triple cream and smoked Gouda
Double chocolate infused tart with cherry sauce
2006 JACQUART BRUT- delicious bubbly with bright acidity, nice fresh citrus notes, medium to full body weight, complexity and an overall pleasing experience which was consistent with the first bottle I had recently; a good start to the great day.
1979 CHATEAU LA LOUVIERE BLANC PESSAC-LEONGNAN GRAVES- A Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc blend from Andre Lurton; stunning!! This bottle was absolutely perfect; the color was a very youthful green yellow, the nose was enticing with floral and tropical fruit notes and the taste profile included mildly graced herbal accented citrus, especially grapefruit; it was so easy on the palate and completely absent of any of the more typical grassy, green Sauv Blanc character; it also was devoid of any dryness, had satisfying mouthfeel and good length; a remarkable wine and at age 36, giving of its gems in a peak performance.
2006 Y “YGREC” [CH. d`YQUEM] SAUTERNES- a Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc blend from Pierre Lurton; having just had one of many stellar bottles of the 2000, I poured this with interest and comparative purposes mindful of the distance between vintages; this had a lot going for it notwithstanding in a much more youthful way; loved the lightly honeyed pineapple, peach and pear fruit that crossed my palate delivering a serious hit of pleasure; the acidity is heightened by mid palate and the journey to the back end is worth the whole experience augmented by the fact it goes on forever; the 00` is showing so well now and its added years are supportive of such; this may be even more spectacular in 6 years+.
We now move into 5 flights with a total of 18 Bordeaux. The first flight of 3; take a breath:
1966 CHATEAU LATOUR PAULLIAC- the color was a brownish red; the first nose gave mostly old, over the hill kind of notes with some oxidative character; some of this dissipated, enough so to allow for some treasures to be discovered; it gave up some plum and black currant fruit definitely in the tertiary stage with a hit of prune coming in late; after a small time, the fruit dissipated some and it became a bit dry; for those who just simply love aged wine, this is a treasure; looking at the label helps.
1966 CHATEAU PAPE CLEMENT PESSAC-LEOGNAN- decanted prior to serving, this was an amazing bottle of a 49 year old wine in that the color and taste was anything but suggestive of that age; the fruit profile comes in with yummy cranberry cherry and jujube notes that were spry and lively; the tannins were soft allowing the texture to be equally so; it even had a little length; amazing is the prevailing descriptive word for this bottle.
1966 CHATEAU BEYCHEVELLE ST. JULIAN- check out the price tag on this bottle = $7.99; the wine was well worth the investment; the aromatics delivered a surprising toasty, smokiness that bailed in favor of tertiary evolved plum, prune and dried blackberry; this also was a surprisingly decent “mature’ wine; the seniors are shining in this flight as did the 79` and giving the youngsters a target to aim for [and the good news is, the youngins overachieve].
The second flight of 3:
1986 CHATEAU GRUAUD LAROSE ST. JULIAN- the first nose is strongly suggestive of barnyard Brett and even a touch of band-aid; the good news is some of the redeeming qualities are forthcoming; I got some tobacco laced dried violet, blackberry and black currant flavors that had enough to offer for me to go back through for seconds.
1990 CHATEAU GRUAUD LAROSE ST. JULIAN- pure, youthful red purple color; aromatics initially of earthy, herbal, musty and dusty notes with hints of red and black fruit which do come on if ever so mildly; I`ve had quite a few of this wine and still have many bottles in the cellar and this one was more understated than I`d had before.
1979 CHATEAU LEOVILLE LAS CASES ST. JULIAN- unfortunately corked.
The third flight of 4 all Cos:
1982 CHATEAU COS d`ESTOURNEL SAINT ESTEPHE- very good wine showing its better side on this day; liked the dark chocolate, coffee, mushroom dried black cherry notes that dominated the taste profile; it had good mouthfeel and a nice long finish; a good bring.
1995 CHATEAU COS d`ESTOURNEL SAINT ESTEPHE- wonderful wine with brilliant potential for greatness; it had tasty concentrated chocolate black cherry flavors abounding complimented by toasty vanilla; its fine structure can take it on to many more levels of maturity with anticipated layers of complexity developing.
2000 CHATEAU COS d`ESTOURNEL SAINT ESTEPHE- it expressed very youthful exuberance and energy and had stark promises for stardom; its rich, big and bold with a full body and major dark fruit profile; early decanting is essential if one were to open up a bottle now although it`s better to just be patient and open this again in about 7-10 years which seems to be true for most 2000s I`ve had.
2003 CHATEAU COS d`ESTOURNEL SAINT ESTEPHE- similar comments for this wine as for the 2000; it young, big and bold with lots of pent up energy just waiting for the right time to delight those who get up close and personal with it; it had really forward chocolate black cherry with traces of black currant amidst some cedar and spice notes.
The fourth flight of 4:
1996 RAUZAN SEGLA MARGAUX- this bottle had some earthy character that was joined by plum, black currant and blackberry fruit; the tannins were fairly stiff and intense and dominated the finish; I went back to enjoy the first half of this experience.
1998 CHATEAU LYNCH-BAGES PAUILLAC- 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot; having had a lot of this Chateaux wine over many years, one of the hallmarks has been its really good depth of fruitiness; I`d never get LB in this wine if it were served blind as there was very little fruit expressing on this occasion; I`m thinking this must have been in a valley stage and anticipate the usually delightful wonderful qualities will be forthcoming when it is ready to give them; I`d revisit in 1-2 years or more.
1996 CHATEAU PICHON LONGUEVILLE COMTESSE de LALANDE PAUILLAC- 75% Cabernet, 15% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 5% Petit Verdot; one of my favorite Bordeaux over the decades and this one did not disappoint; it had the requisite perfect balance and gave up treasures of wonderful spicy black fruit with a soft and silky texture carrying all to the back end with grace and dignity; delightful.
1989 CHATEAU MOUTON-ROTHSCHILD PAUILLAC- a great bottle giving up so much joy and immense pleasure; from the nose through the tail, it shined ever so brightly; the fruit profile had an abundance of layers of spicy red and black fruit; it was so smooth and easy on the palate and had welcomed length to extend the orgasmic conclusion.
The fifth flight of 4:
1994 CHATEAU LEOVILLE BARTON SAINT JULIEN- this was and still is a star from a not so heralded vintage; in fact, this bottle was better than many I`ve had previously and all have been really good; it gave up pleasing spicy, cedar and cigar box chocolate laced dark fruit; loved the balance and length; a second visit had consistent notes if not even improved a touch.
2000 CHATEAU LEOVILLE BARTON SAINT JULIEN- although showing its youth, this gave up a lot to appreciate at this stage; it`s big and full on, has nice structure and acidity to carry it on for a long duration; the fresh, ripe dark fruit stood out from the nose and all the way through; another worthy candidate for early decanting.
1998 CHATEAU TROTANOY POMMEROL- 95% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc; a good Trotanoy here with earthy, smoky and spicy black currant, blackberry fruit; it was soft and easy on the palate and went on and on for a long ending.
1996 CHATEAU DUCRU BEAUCAILLOU SAINT JULIEN- a bottle variation here; I got a lot of Brett earthy notes that obliterated the fruit profile and after so many wonderful wines, called it a deal and moved on as if I needed another fantastic wine?
Just when I figured we`d had enough by this point, we were graced with 5, count them, 5 generously contributed dessert wines. I indulged:
2001 CHATEAU SUDUIRAUT SAUTERNES- some green notes to accompany the delightful honeyed vanilla apricot nectar; it was intense, thick and chewy and I almost borrowed a spoon to serve it up.
2010 CHATEAU FILHOT SAUTERNES- Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc blend; serious sweetie with a likeness to almond butter and a huge dose of sugar; this was sticky, thick and extremely concentrated; my forehead ached a bit afterwards and I was grateful it was not majorly chilled.
2009 CHATEAU DOISY DAENE SAUTERNES- Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc blend; green apple, pear, peach and apricot flavors abound with the latter 2 coming in late; there was a nice spiciness in this very intense, concentrated dessert in a glass.
NV CHARLES KRUG TAWNY PORT- from an older bottle before the Peter Mondavi Family involvement, the color was typical of the taste, maple; this was 100% pure maple syrup with a cinnamon and spice accent; perfect for my pancakes in the morning if I can get out of bed and desire to do anything other than hydrate.
1999 TAYLOR FLADGATE VINTAGE PORTO- decanted; oily, thick, creamy rich sweetness with molasses the dominating flavor.
This was an extraordinary luncheon event, one of our best. No doubt, 18 of us left with a glow and vapor trail around us and my hat is off to any of those who had plans for the evening and pulled it off. For me, I stayed way late with a special guest, returned to a few for sips for confirmation and called it a great day, yes, with a smile on my face.
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