Bordeaux lunch with many stars

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Blake Brown
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Location: Santa Barbara

Bordeaux lunch with many stars

Post by Blake Brown » Sun Dec 03, 2017 11:01 am

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Our lunch group enjoyed another fabulous luncheon at our venerable venue, The Santa Barbara Club, with a wine theme of top tier Bordeaux. We had 13 people contribute 20 bottles of wine including 1 champagne, 2 white Bordeaux, 14 red Bordeaux and 3 dessert wines.

Our menu:

First Course
Truffled sun choke soup

Second Course
Tournedos rossini with mushroom sauce garnished with seared foie gras

Third Course
Venison medallion with scalloped potatoes and huckleberry compote

Cheers Course
Brie, Cambozola, Stilton and Saint Andre

Red wine poached pear and chocolate tart

Our wines:

NV DELAMOTTE BRUT- this was my 3rd bottle recently and I found it to have consistently pleasing notes; there`s bright acidity coming through the more prevalent taste of lemon zest that compliments the fresh floral, citrus laden aromatics; the creamy mousse gives this just the right mouthfeel to carry all of the treasures to the back end; IMHO, this is a GREAT QPR at ~$35.  It`s my understanding that a lot of the fruit used in this entry level bubbly for Delamotte [1 of 6 in all] comes from that which does not go into its big sister, Salon.  Both are made by the Laurent-Perrier group.

First flight of 4 wines, 2 white, 2 reds:

2004 PAVILLON BLANC du CHATEAU MARGAUX- 14.2% abv; for me, this was a first time exposure to this lovely wine; with a light yellow colour, it had very typical Sauvignon Blanc aromatics with grassy, straw and light herbal notes followed by a taste of flint and mineral laced lemon zest; a bit of buttered toast and caramel come in later on; the hallmark was it viscus, creamy texture which enhanced the sensory experience immensely.

1994 CHATEAU COUHINS-LURTON BLANC PESSAC-LEOGNAN- 100% Sauvignon Blanc; yellow gold colour; it had a generous amount of stone fruit in the nose which was joined by ginger accented lemon in the taste with some light maraschino cherry joining in past mid palate; it was perfectly balanced, refreshing and pleasing.

1970 CHATEAU LYNCH-BAGES PAUILLAC- this vintage and wine has had such a good rep and has been a fav of mine over many decades; our bottle was absolutely wonderful, giving up nice tertiary dried cranberry/ cherry notes with a a bit of spice; toward the end, it finished on the dry side becoming more tannic suggesting, at least for what this bottle represented, it`s best not to decant and drink it soon after pulling the cork for maximum enjoyment.

1976 CHATEAU LA MISSION HAUT-BRION PESSAC-LEOGNAN- another aged winner, this had a huge spicy aroma with hints of leather, cedar and cigar box complimenting the black currant fruit in the taste; it held up and finished as it started; a mild bit of sweetness came in late; enjoyable mature Bordeaux.

2nd flight of 3 Gruaud-Larose which have an indicative blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.

2000 CHATEAU GRUAUD-LAROSE ST. JULIEN- decanted prior to serving, this was youthful, vibrant and so pleasant; the colour was a deep dark purple; the nose had some nice spicy black cherry which later on had a welcomed toasty note; the taste and texture was full bodied with intense black cherry in its best form; it was so flavourful, rich and luscious; great now and with promises for a wondrous future.

1989 CHATEAU GRUAUD-LAROSE ST. JULIEN- with a medium dark colour, this had aromas of spicy mild red fruit followed by a taste profile of rich cranberry, red cherry/ berry with an earthiness joining in; it was young, vibrant and playfully dancing on the palate to the very end.

1990 CHATEAU GRIUAUD-LAROSE ST. JULIEN- I love it when we get to taste consecutive vintages especially these 2 and more in particular Bordeaux and N. Rhone; this was very different from the 89` in that it had a much different taste with cinnamon, leather, dark chocolate black cherry and blackberry fruit served up in a full body and sustaining for a long finish.

3rd flight of 4 wines with one duplicate:

1995 CHATEAU PICHON LONGUEVILLE COMTESSE de LALANDE PAUILLAC- the first of 2, this bottle I brought was distinguished by the gold foil still in place; it was decanted 4 hours prior to serving and exuded a pure dark purple colour; I got cedar, leather, spice, smoke and mint chocolate laden black cherry and black currant fruit; it was big and richer and more balanced than the next one for whatever reason as confirmed by table talk.

1995 CHATEAU PICHON LONGUEVILLE COMTESSE de LALANDE PAUILLAC- decatned about 2 hours prior to serving, this had more evolved black currant fruit with help from leather, earth, tobacco and spice in the nose and taste; some surprising distinct black pepper came in past mid palate; there seems to be a mild touch of Brett like notes in each which was more apparent in this bottle, but in no was distracting from the joy of drinking it.

1990 CHATEAU DUCRU-BEAUCAILLOU ST. JULIEN- this vintage for Ducru was known to have major TCA issues, but there was no wet cardboard in this bottle which makes me think the TCA effect had more to do with the depressed weight, power and fruit; in the nose was mild notes of leather, tar and a bit of bell pepper along with a mild expression of black currant/ berry fruit; it had only medium weight at best; I would have expected this to be much bigger, more powerful and fruitier, thus confirming that aspect of the TCA bell curve where power and fruit is stripped down.

1996 CHATEAU DUCRU-BEAUCAILLOU ST. JULIEN- 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot; earth, dark chocolate, eucalyptus and bell pepper coated the black currant, plum and blackberry notes; it was full bodied, had depth and length. FYI, Beaucaillou means beautiful stones.

4th flight of 5 wines:

1990 CHATEAU de FIEUZAL PESSAC-LEOGNAN- the nose was somewhat muted with just a hint of fruit, but fresh and ripe red cherry and blackberry showed up on the palate in spades, almost to the point of calling this a fruit bomb; there was a mild briary accent as well, but the fruit was dominate all the way through to the back end; I found this surprising for a 90`; I would have expected it to be more balanced with everything integrated by now.

2003 CHATEAU COS d`ESTOURNEL ST. ESTEPHE- this had a rich burgundy colour; it almost looked like it felt with its velvety texture; it had very generous amounts of toasty black cherry enhanced by spice and clove and a late arrival of blueberry; there may have been a touch of Brett at the end; overall, I loved this wine.

1988 CHATEAU LEOVILLE-BARTON ST. JULIEN- this had a still youthful vibrant dark purple colour; in the nose I got spicy red and black cherry which continued on; some bracing tannins lurked in the background early on and kind of took over past mid palate.

2003 CHATEAU LEOVILLE-BARTON ST. JULIEN- passed around in the decanter along with the bottle, it was quite a site to observe a huge amount of sediment all along one side of the bottle leading to the conclusion there has to be some stuffing in this juice and there definitely was; with a splash of Brett in the nose, it gave leather, charcoal and mint chocolate inundated black currant fruit in copious amounts.

1983 CHATEAU LEOVILLE-BARTON ST. JULIEN- some bricking around the outer edge; tertiary notes of dried plum, blueberry and cranberry came in joined by a nice spicy component; it had a silky texture that gave it a degree of elegance; this was really a mellow wine with grace and charm.

Last flight of dessert wines of which there were 2 375s of the same wine, but vastly different:

2001 CHATEAU d`ARCHE-LAFAURIE CUVEE MADAME SAUTERNES- we had 2 bottles, one with a much lighter colour than the other as well as being lighter in weight and less flavourful although still tasty; apricot was the dominate fruit in each as was the honeyed, sticky, thick substance it was delivered in; the 2nd bottle had some lime, minty, nutty, cough syrup flavours and emulated liquid caramel corn.

TAYLOR-FLADGATE 325 YEAR ANNIVERSARY TAWNY PORT- Here`s some info about this odd shaped, squatty 1692 replica bottle: “The Port house of Taylor Fladgate celebrates 325 years of operation in 2017, so what better time than to put out a unique expression of Port? This is a tawny port with no age information (though on tawnies, an age statement doesn’t mean much anyway), but the winery does offer some information on its production:
To commemorate the milestone, Taylor Fladgate’s blending team has drawn on their extensive cask aged reserves to create a special blend of fine oak-matured Ports selected for their depth and richness of flavor. The limited-edition Taylor Fladgate 325th Anniversary Reserve Tawny, released in a special 1692-style bottle, is a fitting tribute to Taylor Fladgate’s long history and mastery of the art of cask aging and blending.” “Wines that were destined for 10, 20, 30 and 40 Year Old Tawnies have been carefully selected by Taylor’s head winemaker, David Guimaraens, and blended to form this opulent and seductive aged tawny.”
My notes: chocolate toffee molasses spiced fig cake. Nice bring.

Another great luncheon with the gang and our dedicated server and superb chef in our private library set up dining room. How good can it get?

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