I often have wondered what it takes for any wine critic or publication to come up with a perfect score on a particular wine. I`ve also wondered what could delineate a 99 point wine from an 100 point one. And, I`ve wondered how much the ambience, occasion, people in attendance and all other factors played a role in the evaluation.
Well, I believe I found out what it takes at least for me to consider such and all though I thought it was all in the bottle, in my heart of hearts, I know the presence of my friend who made the wine and his wife, the fabulous dinner prepared by the love of my life and the entire evening all certainly set up an ideal stage for maximum appreciation and gratitude.
On this night, I had 2 “perfect” wines.
It occurred on a recent stellar in home dinner our with dear friends. We began with bubbly on our large open air rooftop above our penthouse which overlooks Santa Barbara, the local mountains and glimpses of the ocean and channel islands. It was an ideal early evening, pre-sunset setting time.
2005 ROEDERER ESTATE L`HERMITAGE BRUT ANDERSON VALLEY- 52% Chardonnay, 48% Pinot Noir; when Burt Williams had his Morning Dew Ranch property in Anderson Valley, the 4 of us had visited this nearby winery together on a few occasions and we have shared other vintages of this fine brut, namely the 06` and 07`; this was a good bottle giving an immense amount of pleasure with its round, full bodied exuberance; it had bright acidity, fresh spicy, ginger infused pear, apple and citrus fruit with an emphasis on lemon flavor; drinking really well now and should be sustainable for years to come; this is an example of a very good sparkling wine [and when push comes to shove, I`m still a preferred lover of those from Champagne].
2012 MOSBY COLLINS CHAMBERS VINEYARD SONOMA COUNTY CHARDONNAY- Burt was asked to help vinify this wine and did so coming in after the fruit had been selected and picked; his guidelines were followed to a tee and 2 barrels were made [= 50 cases]; I`m not sure whether any of this has been marketed as this was made more for the principle`s own enjoyment, than for the public; it was great! It had amazing balance of the acidity and all other factors and offered gifts of fresh citrus, pear, apple and grapefruit notes along with a perfect touch of toastiness and minerality; it had a great creamy mouthfeel and a long finish; according to Burt, it is now wonderfully coming into its own and should evolve into even more greatness in a few years; I usually avoid the “it`s more like a white Burgundy” comment, but I`ve had many a Meursault that this brought to mind; as stated on the back label, this wine was “A labor of love by lovers of wine”.
1997 WILLIAMS SELYEM SONOMA COAST PINOT NOIR- popped and poured after removing from high up in my cellar which is ideal for red wine serving temperature [about 62]; Burt stated this was composed of 70% Coastlands and 30% Summa Vineyard`s fruit; it was stupendous and one of the best new world Pinot Noirs I`ve ever had; it hit all of the right sensory spots for me; first, its color was a still youthful pure medium red; the nose was redolent of spice and cinnamon flavored strawberry and red raspberry which thankfully carried on throughout the taste profile and the extended finish; it was so rich and fruity and yet so elegant with palate pleasing finesse; it was marvelously balanced and in my mind, this is epitome of perfection; I`ve had a 5-6 bottles in the past few years and all were really good and this was the best; fortunately, I have 2 more bottles coming in.
1986 WILLIAMS SELYEM LENO MARTINELLI VINEYARD RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY ZINFANDEL- 13.9 abv; Burt double decanted this bottle due to excessive sediment; for a wine that`s 30 years old, it was amazingly vibrant, exuberant and giving; this was, here`s that word again, “perfect”; it was subtly expressive; it had nice fruity aromatics and taste and kept unfolding into new dimensions albeit with subtleness; the fruit contained lightly spiced mild blackberry and blueberry notes with a streak of sage, mint and minerality; it was perfectly balanced and so easy on the palate with a light to medium weight and silky mouthfeel; it kept on going when I thought it wasn`t; it was seamless, consistent, gentle, elegant, sophisticated and beyond.
When this night was over, I had a smile on my face and a glow in my heart. I just had another reminder of life is good.