In preparation for the Central Coast Wine Classic:
The 31st Central Coast Wine Classic last week was a 5 day event and this year, it started in the Paso Robles/ San Luis Obispo area and migrated down the coast with the last 2 ½ days in Santa Barbara. There were 19 events in all and we chose to do a few of the more select ones starting on the 2nd day.
In preparation for the magnificent Hearst Castle black tie dinner on Thursday night, we drove up to Shell Beach on Wednesday and spent the next 2 nights with a dear friend in his fantastic, world class ocean bluff home. That night, we enjoyed a casual in home evening along with a couple of other local long time friends and ate and drank well. The wine notes:
2006 TAITTINGER COMTES DE CHAMPAGNE BLANC de BLANC- another of many bottles I`ve had of this beauty lately albeit in its infancy as it has so many treasures to offer now and I`m seemingly OK with drinking it with a number of bottles stashed for a much more mature discovery a couple of decades down the road; it has bright acidity and gives such pleasant citrus notes with lemon zest most prominent; there`s a spicy element and a hint of brioche and saline; it is so beautifully balanced and has satisfying tactile pleasures to behold; this sparkler is a deviation from the house style of the 80s and 90s [as has been all vintages I`ve had since 2000] and has much more, key word, “elegance” IMHO. What`s majorly different is the absence of a toasty, vanilla, peachy stone fruit character with a caramel topping I`ve found in so many earlier releases; I know, I hear it all the time, it`s way too young just like I`m still getting with 1996 Salon; I`d like to cover up the vintage and see what the feedback is from some of my dear friends who thrive on wines in their mid to late senior, oxidized lives.
The next 3 wines were provided by our gracious host and I`m always so grateful for his unrelenting generosity.
1997 DOMAINE LEFLAIVE les PUCELLES PULIGNY-MONTRACHET 1er Cru- with minerals, flint and graphite in the aromatics, this shined with wonderful orchard and stone fruit enhanced with notes of ginger, butterscotch and vanilla and more minerality showing up by mid palate; it was medium bodied with a mild creamy texture and had depth and complexity evidenced by its unfolding of nuances all the while in the glass; I`ve long loved this producer`s wines from this Grand Cru quality vineyard and look forward to the day when it is so designated.
1990 CHATEAU LA MISSION HAUT BRION PESSAC-LEOGNAN- some corkiness was apparent at the outset and as much as me and others tried to move on and past it, it remained a corked bottle; I`ve read where some define a corked wine as one that has lost its fruit as well as having a musty, wet cardboard character and I do not agree and this wine was a great example because there was some really nice fruit to behold even though it was first laden with TCA and finished off with more of the same; I believe the ppt level in this bottle was such that even one who has a reduced olfactory perception would have picked it up. We moved on and were blessed with a truly great wine.
1990 CHATEAU COS d`ESTOURNEL SAINT ESTEPHE- another wine I`ve cherished over many decades, Cos seems to get it right in almost every vintage and with the possible exception of the 1982, they righteously nailed it even more so with this vintage; our bottle was so vibrant and youthful in color and the nose and taste profile still possessed primary and secondary fruit with an amazing balance and silky mouthfeel as well as a long welcomed finish; the palate was graced with spicy, mild cedar and cigar box accented black currant, black cherry and blackberry and a hint of leather coming in late; it was the BOMB! Here I am many days afterwards and still have it so easily recalled on my palate with all the sensory pleasures still in tact; this was a great bottle.
This was such a stellar evening and one that did not do major damage and interfere with the capability of participating in some of the also special forthcoming events in the next few days. It`s on to Hearst Castle with a smile and a little hop in the step.