Our monthly lunch group met at our blessed venue, the Santa Barbara Club for another stellar time to be served righteously, eat and drink with a theme of champagne and white Burgundy.
Chilled peach soup with Dungeness crab cake and goat cheese
Pan seared seabass with aji panka crust
white stilton with mango & ginger
Tequila lime pie with passionfruit coulis and blueberries
First Flight of champagne:
NV RUINART BRUT ROSE- an older bottle from a cellar with at least 12 years of age since purchase. I`ve have this wine as part of my house rose Bubbly stash over the past few years and this bottle was as good as any; it had a tertiary fruit profile which was a quite viable spicy sweet dried red cherry from the nose thru the tail; it was medium to full-bodied, had great feel and was in perfect balance; this bottle made a statement toward cellaring bubbly for some ageing.
2010 LOUIS ROEDERER .BRUT ROSE- the colour was of a very light pink; it was a very nice and pleasing fresh fruity bubbly with light red fruit notes, there was some citrus and saline accents as well; it was elegant and had lovely finesse; 65% Pinot Noir, 35% Chardonnay.
Second Flight of champagne:
NV FREDERIC SAVANT L`OUVENTURE BRUT 1ER CRU- a new producer to me, this was a very light and easy on the palate bubbly; it fashioned bright citrus fruit which was aided by a hit of spice; it had just noticeable acidity and finesse; champagne light.
NV BERNARD GAUCHER BRUT- also a new producer to me, this had a high dosage; the sweet and light spicy cherry fruit had a freshness to it that was pleasing; it had a spritzy mousse that added to its nice mouthfeel; medium to full bodied and expansive with time; interesting and demands a re-visit.
Third flight of champagne:
2008 TAITTINGER BRUT- high dosage; the sweet fruit notes were comprised mostly of lemon and green apple accented by Asian spices, chalk and saline; very pleasant feel and a fulfilling bubbly; 50% Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
2005 LAUNOIS SPECIAL CLUB BLANC de BLANC- this bottle was pretty typical of the many I`ve sampled over the past few years; it seems to be slightly oxidised but I`m inclined to think this is the house style; it had honeysuckle in the nose followed by caramel and ripe peach notes; there`s an element of chalk and minerals as well; its more full bodied with lots of forward flavours.
Fourth flight of champagne:
2002 MOET & CHANDON GRAND VINTAGE BRUT- I took this to a recent dinner group event and it was tied for WOTN among some stiff competition; although good, this bottle did not show quite as well; it had some of the goodness including bright acidity and rich, toasty brioche laced citrus fruit; it was medium to full bodied, but seemed a lighter shade of pale compared to previous bottles and failed to live up to its Baby Dom handle.
2002 DOM RUINART BLANC de BLANC BRUT- we had a fabulous bottle and it was my champagne of the night; even though the dosage was minimal, it had a richness and a creamy texture that embellished the spice and ginger accented citrus and pear fruit; its hallmark was its perfect balance; great bubbly.
2002 CHARLES ELLNER SEDUCTION BRUT- the label had a subset "Charles" on it; this was pretty big with a major perfume that included tropical and floral notes, but the taste profile was way different with ripe peach, pear and apricot with some ginger underlying the fruit; although the one who brought it thought it to be slightly oxidised, I was not so sure and if anything, it was only slightly so; I liked what I got out of this bottle.
Before moving on, we had 2 mystery wines bought by members who challenged us to ID the varietal/ source.
One was clearly Chardonnay and a couple of folks got the region as being Jura which I found to be amazing. I do know they make cool climate Chardonnay and since they are just east of Burgundy, perhaps there is some auric benevolence from their illustrious neighbour. The wine was 2012 JEAN-FRANCOIS GANEVAT GRUSSE en BILLAT COTE du JURA CHARDONNAY
The second bottle was a white wine that was truly white. It was light in weight as well as colour as well as the taste. I guessed Pinot Gris and it was an Albarino also called by the one who got the Jura. This was homemade and bottled this morning by the one who brought it.
First flight of 4 white Burgundy:
2015 PIERRE-YVES COLIN-MOREY les CHAMPLOTS SANT AUBIN- having a treasure chest of white Burgs from this producer, I just had to throw this in to the mix; It`s one of the QPRs of the year; it is amazingly balanced albeit in its early life, it has great mouthfeel carrying the spicy citrus, pear and apple fruit to the back end; lemon lime is most prevalent, but its the feel that is the hallmark of these wines IMHO.
2008 PAUL PILLOT LES CAILLERETS CHASSAGNE MONTRACHET 1ER CRU- medium yellow colour; delicious mature citrus, apple and peach fruit with a hit of toast; it was very refreshing, medium bodied and held on for a long finish.
2012 PHILLIPE COLIN LES CHAUMEES CHASSAGNE-MONTRACHET- this premier cru was delicious with creamy rich mineral infused citrus notes gliding over the palate to the back end; loved it.
2009 FABIEN COCHE-BOUILLOT BATARD-MONTRACHET GRAND CRU- yellow gold, it had flint and minerals joining bright lemon lime fruit; fabulous wine perfectly balanced.
Second flight of 4 white Burgundy:
2015 ETIENNE SAUZET LES PERRERES PULIGNY-MONTRACHET- 1er Cru; lovely wine with fresh spicy lemon lime, apple and pear fruit with a mineral driven accent; it had nice texture, bright acidity and layered complexity; great wine.
2014 DOMAINE LOUIS MICHEL & FILS BUTTEAUX CHABLIS 1ER CRU- light to medium colour and taste with spicy pear, apple and peach notes along with some minerality; it was very acidic, but not overbearing.
2015 ETIENNE SAUZET BOURGOGNE BLANC- after some petrol in the nose comes flint and minerals as well as lemon, pear and apple served up in a medium body and weight; this lived up to its Chablis pedigree in every way.
2014 ? WILLIAM FEVRE BOUGROS CHABLIS GRAND CRU- I need help from the one who brought it; I`m guessing at the producer as the front label was not informative enough and I failed to check the back label for more info; nonetheless, this was a good Chablis with flint, minerals and a steely character that was joined by bright citrus and apple notes; the nose and taste was on the light side as was the colour; it had an atypical for Chablis silky texture.
2 dessert wines:
2010 ORNUS dell`ORNELLAIA TOSCANA- guessing 500 ml; made from late harvest Petit Manseng; yellow brown colour; with honeyed and nutty almond, it gave up rich apricot fruit aromas and taste though the finish; it was creamy thick and delicious; thanks to our prince of sweets for his continued gifts of sweet finishes to our meals.
2012 NAVARRO VINEYARDS ANDERSON VALLEY DRY GEWURZTRAMINER- 375ml; I`ve actual had this before at the winery and was impressed then as I am now; one could easily guess this to have residual sugar although it`s completely dry; it had a lovely honeyed, nutty apricot taste profile following a good hit of petrol in the nose; weighty, long and tasty.
This lunch group stated in about 1989 and had many different members than presently. As such, out wine themes are also different and champagne has not been a part of any theme for many years. To have champagne was a milestone for the current group who prefer larger red wines. I`ve affectionally named this group The Big Red Machine.