It doesn`t get much better than to spend an evening with 2 iconic winemakers drinking some of their iconic wines. Such an event just occurred as 6 of us enjoyed a fabulous home cooked meal along with the following wines:
NV FRANC BONVILLE PRESTIGE BRUT BLANC de BLANC- as good as any bottle I`ve had, this fine bubbly served to get us off to the right start and cleanse our palates for all that followed; along with bright acidity, it gave wonderful fresh citrus notes with an emphasis on lemon and lime as well as a mild spicy accent that highlighted the fruit even more; it was medium bodied and had a delightful mousse.
2006 MOET & CHANDON GRAND VINTAGE BRUT- 42% Chardonnay, 39% Pinot Noir, 19% Pinot Meunier; some affectionately call this “Baby Dom” and that might be a stretch, but this does have some alluring attributes; it offers fresh slightly toasty and ginger citrus, pear and apple notes as well as a streak of minerality and a very pleasant rich, lush, silky mouthfeel.
2001 CLENDENEN FAMILY VINEYARDS LE BON CLIMAT CHARDONNAY- great maturing Chardonnay that can stand the test of time and go on for many more years before peaking; it was medium to full bodied, offered plenty of rich and succulent tropical and orchard fruit notes enhanced by a hit of spice; it had wonderful texture and a sustained welcomed finish.
1990 VITA NOVA SANTA BARBARA COUNTY CHARDONNAY- from the stable of labels from ABC, this was first thought of to be used for some of the cooking on this night, but was too good to pass up tasting; the color was yellow gold; it was fully developed and gave up endearing qualities of cinnamon flavored butterscotch, peach and toasted golden delicious apple fruit; it was creamy in texture and held on for a long, satisfying finish; loved it.
2014 CHANIN BIEN NACIDO CHARDONNAY- 13.1 % ABV; the aromatics were so inviting offering floral, tropical fruit and minerals followed by a taste profile that included vanilla laced toasty citrus and stone fruit; it was elegant and sophisticated, full on and easy on the palate; nice balance and good length finish off the deal; fine Chardonnay.
2000 SEVEN LIONS BUENA TIERRA VINEYARD HELIO DORO BLOCK RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY PINOT NOIR- from Burt Williams` son, this long appreciated Pinot shined as all others I`ve had before it, but in a different way; it had very fresh ripe red fruit notes from the nose through the tail; interestingly, this bottle was more fruit forward at this stage for a 2000 and contained delicious bright fresh strawberry and red raspberry notes with a tinge of spice; it was medium bodied and the fruit just stayed steadily expressed throughout; strawberry shortcake in liquid form.
1997 WILLIAMS SELYEM ROCHIOLI VINEYARD RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY PINOT NOIR- magnum; one of my favorite wines of all time, I was so happy to see this being added to the countertop at the beginning of the evening; this bottle was simply superb; the color was a still youthful, rich red; the nose had wonderful cinnamon spicy fresh red fruit which developed into strawberry, red cherry and some red raspberry; the texture was so soft and silky; perfectly balanced, the wine just kept on evolving in the glass and after many sips and re-visits, it was clearly my WOTN and exemplified the epitome of what I want in fine New World Pinot Noir.
1999 AU BON CLIMAT KNOX ALEXANDER SANTA MARIA VALLEY PINOT NOIR- I`ve had many a bottle of this wonderful wine, maybe my fav of all of the Knox, the last few of which were from magnums although this came from a 750ml; the label was a bit tattered and discolored, but the wine came from the one who made it and I knew it had been cellared righteously; the inside of the bottle was much prettier giving up generous amounts of spicy black cherry and blackberry fruit with a taste of plum coming in late; it had good mouthfeel, pleasant acidity and a satisfying finish; there`s many more years of viability in this wine.
2005 AU BON CLIMAT LE BON CLIMAT SANTA MARIA VALLEY PINOT NOIR- this was a fun and playful Pinot giving much delight with wonderful rose petal and fresh red fruit in the nose, followed by red cherry/ berry accentuated by baking spices and its elegance on the palate; light to medium bodied, it was soft, easy and delicious and a nice treat.
2005 AU BON CLIMAT LARMES de GRAPPE SANTA RITA HILLS PINOT NOIR- again, I found myself in a frequent place of re-visiting a wine I have and have had many times even though it is built for the long run and has many, many years to go before even considering maturity; the color suggests depth and complexity with its deep, rich red purple hue and that is right on as this wonderful wine has so much layered depth and complexity along with nice acidity to go for a long ride into the future although it`s showing really well now; this is a serious player that gets up nice and close to Old World Pinot Noir; as the name implies [translated into “Tears of the Whole Cluster”], this is made from whole clusters; the fruit is on the dark side with black cherry and black berry flavors abounding; magnificent.
2011 CLENDENEN FAMILY VINEYARDS LE BON CLIMAT GEWURZTRAMINER- 12% abv; absolutely fabulous Gewurz, this had such a great nose of exotic fresh floral, tropical fruit with spicy grapefruit notes especially prevalent; the taste profile was more of the same with an emphasis on the grapefruit character and just a touch of petrol coming in by mid palate; it was so refreshing, bright and pleasing all the way through; again, I reminded of great Old World stuff such as is found in Alsace.
1988 WILLIAMS SELYEM LENO MARTINELLI VINEYARD RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY ZINFANDEL- 15.3% abv; another amazing gem with surprisingly still youthful vibrancy, it was full and rich with slightly peppery, spicy cranberry and red cherry notes and showing no signs of aging in any way for a 28 y.o. wine; the flavor profile just kept on developing in the glass and adding in more character and pleasure throughout including the ending.
The 6 of us had one of those stellar evenings that will be treasured for a long time for the friendship, sharing, caring and passion that existed. The food and wines were over the top. Life is so really, really good.