Our monthly lunch group had a most stellar luncheon at the Santa Barbara Club recently. Our wine theme of Burgundy certainly contributed to the success of the event that 18 fine folks enjoyed to the max over a 3+ hour period. The length of time suggests it takes a serious commitment and a liver transplant to participate and everyone was up for the task.
After appetizers, we had a wonderful 4 course menu plus dessert to pair with 19 spectacular wines. I`ve alluded to this before; the quality of wines brought when it is simply suggested to do Burgundy as in this case, is over the top. This is directly related to the passion of sharing fine wine AND the ability to do so by our members.
I took 4 Riedel Vinum Burgundy stems to compare with the Spiegelau quasi-Bordeaux stems normally provided by the Club and had some interesting results even with some bias going in. In a couple of instances, the Bordeaux stem funneled the aromatics into a much more discernable state, but restricted the taste into a more concentrated and narrowed excursion over the tongue and palate. Yes, I could have done the nose in one and drank out of the other, but with 18 pours per bottle, no way.
Wild morel bisque with foie gras
Hawaiian shrimp salad, wonton wrapped shrimp, Hawaiian coleslaw and citrus curry dressing
Duck confit with celery root puree and green rice
Rougette, triple cream, brie, cambozola
Chocolate cake with chocolate mousse and raspberry coulis
As usual, we were professionally served by dedicated wait staff headed by our long term and conscientious server, Tina.
We enjoyed 5 flights of wines plus a dessert wine as follows:
First flight of 3 white Burgs:
1999 DOMAINE DARVIOT-PERRIN MEURSAULT-PERIERIES 1ER CRU- the dark almost brown amber color sent out huge warning suggestions of oxidation and thankfully, no such thing was happening; in fact, this shined especially after some time in the glass as it opened up and gave much pleasure; aromatics of some toasty stone fruit character prevailed; the taste showcased some evolved fruit notes of spicy buttery peach and somewhat tart apple; the texture was pleasing and it had decent length; it changed dramatically over time and ended in a good place.
2009 HENRI BOILLOT CRIOTS-BATARD-MONTRACHET MEURSAULT-PERIERIES GRAND CRU- a major winner offering class and elegance by the sip; the youthfulness was expressed from the color and throughout; the nose had some toasty, vanilla, honeyed apple and the taste profile gave up similar notes along with some caramel and honeysuckle; it was so pleasing in every aspect including the soft, creamy texture; it had good acidity and a strong hint of lots of great years ahead; fabulous wine and IMHO, the best of the whites and a candidate for WOTD.
2011 DOMAINE des LAMBRAYS CLOS du CAILLERET PULIGNY MONTRACHET 1ER CRU- following such a good bottle, this held its own and then some; youthful mid yellow color, explosive aromatics of lemon zest and crisp, fresh citrus notes on the palate; bright acidity; creamy lush mouthfeel and a ongoing back end climax all placing this wine in a stated of a high degree of reverence.
Second flight of 2 white Burgs:
2011 DOMAINE COMTE GEORGES de VOGUE BOURGOGNE BLANC- I expected great things from this bottle respecting the producer; it showed entirely different from what I anticipated; the nose gave up really tart lemon lime aromas and the taste had some of the lemon lime, but it was almost sour; I do not recall saying too often that a wine has too much acidity, but I will here; it was overpowering; it had a light to medium body and perhaps was just in an early weird valley space before giving up some of the more peak characteristics.
2012 CHARTRON et TRIBUCHET PULIGNY MONTRACHET BLANC- this shined ever so brightly giving up fresh, crisp delightful citrus and pineapple notes along with mild acidity, a decent texture and length and an overall easy and satisfying journey from the nose through the tail.
Third flight of 6 red Burgs:
2002 DOMAINE COMTE GEORGES de VOGUE MUSIGNY GRAND CRU- dark red color; the aromatics initially had some light scents of earth and dried cranberry; the fruit profile was of quite mature, dried red cherry/ berry with a nice spicy accent; the wine got much better with time, but with a small pour, I did not have a lot to sample and there were so many more wines forthcoming; at that, this was good stuff.
NOTATION: If there is any down side to drinking so many wines in a flight with many more wines to go, it`s that each glass had little time to showcase the complete essence of what`s in the bottle; this came into play throughout the remainder of the day and I was just thankful for the opportunity to explore so many treasures albeit at a hurried pace. The wines that suffered were the ones that needed time and could have benefitted from decanting or for a longer decant. I happily forged on.
1996 FOURGERAY de BEAUCLAIR BONNES-MARES GRAND CRU- medium purple color; the nose had some smoke and toast followed by a surprisingly good taste of burnt red and black cherry being delivered in a smooth texture and holding on for a long finish; I liked it.
2007 DOMAINE de l`ARLOT CLOS des FORETS SAINT GEORGES NUITS SAINT GEORGES 1ER CRU- having had this some time ago, it was nice revisit it as it showed good then and as I recall and was a good QPR; this bottle showed equally if not better than I remember; the nose had some spicy, toasty mild red fruit notes as well as the taste which added in some also mild red cherry and raspberry with a hit of cinnamon blending in; I like this more lighter, more elegant style and it hit all the right pleasure receptors on my palate.
1996 HOSPICES de BEAUNE CORTON-CUVEE DOCTEUR PESTE DOMINIQUE LAURENT GRAND CRU- from the 200% new oak guy, this bottle had a distinctively different nose with dried herbs and clove dominating and then the taste profile revealed some aged tertiary character of dried, dissipating red fruit and by mid palate, it was starting to fade into the sunset; for those who love quite mature wines, this would have pleased enough early on to merit a small glassful.
2005 DOMAINE BOUCHARD LE CORTON GRAND CRU- spicy and tasty black cherry notes waifs out of the glass suggesting more to come and it did in spades; still young and innocent, it has good depth and complexity and is structured for progressive maturation; balance is forthcoming whereas it`s more fruit driven at this stage; good now, stellar in 10 years.
1985 DOMAINE LEROY les VIGNOTS POMMARD- earth and minerals come on initially along with quite mature tertiary dried fig, cherry and black raspberry; it had decent mouthfeel and some extension; since this was the last in the flight and I needed to move on, I did not give this a second taste and much to the dismay of those around me who offered their glass too late for my dump; many raved about this and a few others silently disagreed; I apologise to the wine for not giving it its due as was the case often on this day of too many wines and not enough time.
Fourth flight of 3 red Burgs:
1983 DOMAINE de la ROMANEE CONTI GRANDS ECHEZEAUX GRAND CRU- great out of the gate; still quite viable color with no bricking; tertiary fruit of dried, spicy red cherry/ berry with a thread of smoke throughout; light to medium body with a silky texture; it held on for a decent finish; I was grateful for the bring.
2002 DOMAINE de la ROMANEE CONTI ECHEZEAUX GRAND CRU- asked to taste this prior to sitting, I already knew there would be major bliss forthcoming and was more than delighted when this finally hit the glass for the next taste; it was the bomb; spicy, fresh strawberry, raspberry and red cherry notes just sang out loudly and softly; it was elegant, beautifully balanced and so soft and easy on the palate; it was so steady, seamless and even throughout and finished with all of the same attributes in place; my WOTD.
2005 DOMINIQUE LAURENT CLOS VOUGEOT VIEILLES VIGNES GRAND CRU NUITS ST. GEORGE- the proverbial tough act to follow applies here and thankfully, this had enough stuff to be able to do so; there was some mint and Eucalyptus in the nose accompanied by some ripe dark fruit and floral notes; the taste profile had some plum, blueberry and black cherry join in with what was in the aroma; it had a medium to full body and decent texture along with a pleasant finish.
Fifth flight of 4 red Burgs:
2002 DOMAINE des BEAUMONT CHARMES-CHAMBERTIN GRAND CRU- showing extremely well, this had a fresh earthy red fruit aroma and was a tasty treat giving spicy lightly sprinkled cinnamon red raspberry and strawberry fruit with a medium body, smooth texture and long finish; it had nice bright acidity and possessed sheer elegance; in the top 5 of the reds.
1993 DOMAINE TORLOCHET CHARMES-CHAMBERTIN GRAND CRU- the color was anything but aged which I consider outstanding for a 23 y.o. wine although this is Burgundy where I expect them to stay viable for decades; this was very pleasant giving nice spicy, peppery almost primary red cherry flavors that expanded from just a touch to full on by mid palate; it was light to medium bodied, had an ever so soft mouthfeel and welcomed fruity finish; also, a top 5.
1983 ALAIN BURGUET GEVREY-CHAMBERTIN GRAND CRU- I was looking forward to this bottle as I met the owner/winemaker in 93` at Becky Wasserman`s home in Burgundy and found him to be a really nice farmer/ winemaker with a passion for all things Burgundy; his wines at that time were pretty tannic and unrefined, but over the years he has progressed into a credible producer aided by sourcing from better vineyards; unfortunately, this bottle was severely flawed first evidenced by the brown color and then the funky nose which warned to not proceed further [I did and dumped}.
2005 GEORGES LIGNIER les COMBOTTES GEVREY-CHAMBERTIN 1ER CRU- loved this for its beautiful balance, tastiness and mouthfeel; it was full on fresh strawberry and spice with some lightly sweetened red cherry coming in late; medium body; layered, seamless and long.
A dessert wine:
2000 DOMAINE WEINBACH SGN SELECTION de GRAINS NOBLES ALSACE- 375 ml.; rich, thick, creamy and luscious, this sweetie was vanilla maple syrup in a glass; if I had more, it would be perfect over pancakes, in fact, it was just perfect enough as it was. [I forgot to get the varietal and once I learn what it was, I`ll edit it in].
What a marathon and in the words so often echoed today, “somebody has got to do it” and so we took a hit for the masses who dream of such an event. My fetish for taking notes and photos might have been better served by just sitting back and relaxing and taking one wine at a time and somehow getting a bite of food in occasionally. Lesson learned? We`ll see.