Our dinner group held its annual Magnum Madness dinner recently at the fine Black Sheep Restaurant in Santa Barbara.
Eleven of us enjoyed the fine fare along with the following 12 wines:
NV HENRIOT BRUT ROSE- 750 ml.; 50% Pinot Noir, 45% Chardonnay, 5% Pinot Meunier; I put this BIG bottle in the frig earlier in the day and it was so cold, it shrunk from a magnum to a regular bottle size [we always make exceptions for champagne and white Burgs that are welcomed regardless of the theme or size]; this was the first of a 6 pack recently purchased and I was interested to find out just how it showed having had some input from one who I thought was a trusted source; well the source isn’t quite as trusted now as it had a much different profile than what had been reported; I was expecting an elegant bubbly with more lighter red fruit notes; this was different and good; it was full bodied, seriously rich and complex with smoke, clove and cinnamon spiced cranberry and red cherry notes heightened by bracing acidity; layers upon layers kept unfolding and it finished with a mouthful of all the initial nuances with more smoke coming in.
NV LOUIS BARTHELEMY BRUT AMETHYSTE- magnum; I`ve been a fan of this producer in the past few years and this bottle reminded me of why; it was clean, fresh, crisp and delightful; it had nice balance with perfectly integrated acids to support the sweet Meyer lemon and other accompanying citrus flavors; there`s some minerality that comes in early and then reappears late; it had a creamy texture and a certain elegance that demanded another taste and then another.
2013 PIERRE-YVES COLIN-MOREY LES CHENEVOTTES CHASAGNE-MONTRACHET- 750 ml; the aromatics were replete with flint, minerals and steel and a touch of citrus notes; there was some green apple and much more citrus with especially lemon coming in once tasted; it finished with more of the flint and some tartness; a 2nd taste later on revealed a lessening of the flint and tartness, but still evident.
2014 JEAN-MARC PILLOT CORTON CHARLEMAGNE GRAND CRU- 750 ml; here was a lesson to be learned as some called this corked, but I`m very sensitive to TCA in the nose and I did not get any nor did most others; my learned neighbor shared that the TCA was more evident to him in the effect on the wine and discussed it as a bell curve where early on there is no wet cardboard, but there is a lessening of the fruit profile and in this case for a CC which is expected to exuberant and full of power, it definitely was not; the tricky part for me is that many wines are somewhat shut down and go through stages of opening and closing and I had that impression here, it was a bit tight [for a CC]; what I got I liked; it had bright acidity, lemon dominated citrus and a hit of minerality; elegance pervaded over full on power; I`m OK with elegance.
2014 KEN BROWN SANTA RITA HILLS PINOT NOIR- magnum; the nose and taste had a fair amount of oak notes with talc and sandalwood along with some vanilla toast which was joined by nice fresh red fruit especially raspberry and strawberry; it was medium bodied and had a fresh, fruity long finish.
1982 CHATEAU LARCIS-DUCASSE SAINT EMILLION- magnum; CORKED!
2004 DOMAINE JACQUES FREDERIC MUGNIER CLOS DE LA MARECHALE NUITS SAINT GEORGE 1ER CRU- magnum; major Brett notes waft out of the glass and then during the tasting as well; there is some redeeming qualities in the nice spicy, pepper laden red and black cherry fruit; medium to full bodied, it had good mouthfeel and a long, Bretty finish of the 4-ethlyphenol, band aid type.
2004 PRIDE MOUNTAIN VINEYARDS CABERNET FRANC SONOMA- magnum; intense and quite tannic, this had sweet milk chocolate, talc and wood notes along with black cherry, black currant and black raspberry fruit; it was easy on the palate and held on for a long finish; quite delightful.
2002 ARAUJO EISELE VINEYARD CABERNET SAUVIGNON NAPA- magnum; 97% Cabernet, 3% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petit Verdot; youthful, vibrant with substantial time prior to maturity, this still gave many treasures including a bountiful of rich dark fruit with an emphasis on black currant and cherry along with some licorice and dark chocolate; it was full bodied and very complex with bottle aging expansion from pretty stiff tannins to support the idea of long term cellaring.
2007 L`ADVENTURE ESTATE CUVEE PASO ROBLES- magnum; 49% Syrah, 35% Cabernet, 16% Petit Verdot; this had an array of amazing aromas and tastes including spice, sandalwood, coffee, chocolate milk, black cherry and blackberry fruit served up in a creamy texture which graciously extended the length to complete a pleasurable experience.
2000 HARTWELL VINEYARDS STAGS LEAP DISTRICT ESTATE MERLOT NAPA- magnum; this wine showed well giving up lots of tasty fresh red and black fruit with a so soft, silky texture; there was some chocolate and cedar accents which embellished the taste profile and the wine was nicely balanced and refined.
1998 DOMAINE ZIND-HUMBRECHT CLOS SAINT URBAIN PINOT GRIS- 750 ml; thick and chewy, creamy and rich, honeyed apricot nectar in liquid form; a little sip will suffice, thank you.
This group will next meet for our “Millennium” dinner which features the best of the best, times 10. We prepared our palates and anticipation quite well with this evening serving as a prelude. Life is good.