Our fine wine dinner group enjoyed anther great Italian dinner at one of Santa Barbara`s best for Italian cuisine, Oilo y Limone. In fact, it`s one of the best restaurants in town for any food preferences.
Our appropriate wine theme was top tier Barolo plus the usual champagne, white Burgundy and the unsolicited, but ever present dessert wines routinely brought by our Prince of Sweets and one other on this night. Nine of us enjoyed:
2 champagnes and 2 whites:
2008 MOET & CHANDON VINTAGE BRUT ROSE- I just had to share another bottle of this wondrous rose; every bottle I`ve opened has had consistent charm and enough class to stand on its own, food or not; from the nose through the tail, there is a steady vein of fresh strawberry, red raspberry and red cherry delivered in a palate pleasing mousse; I liked that it was not too sweet and after thinking that, I checked the back label and found it has 5 gpl dosage, in my “sweet” spot.
NV PHILIPPE GONET BRUT ROSE- comprised of 90% Chardonnay and 10% Pinot Noir with a base of 2008 and 30% 2007 reserve wine; it`s been a few years since last tasting a Gonet and I have fond memories of this house so it was an nice bring by one of the guys; this rose was quite a contrast to the 08` M&C and almost its antithesis; it was much sweeter, had a subtle taste profile with mild expressions of orange, red apple and red cherry, all with a touch of bitterness; this was elegant, graceful and more feminine; ideally, we would have had this one first.
2016 PIERRE-YVES COLIN-MOREY BOURGOGNE CHARDONNAY- new to me, this was quite the deviation from all of the white Burgs I`ve had from PYCM; the nose was very inviting, but when I ventured in, I found a multitude of different than expected flavours to experience; there were minerals, mint, lime, pear, melon and green apple with a touch of mustiness and all were linked by a significant amount of sweetness; I liked the creamy rich texture; given all of the PYCM Chardonnay`s I`ve had before, this was a strange bird and no where near the others in style or taste.
2013 BORGO DEL TIGLIO [NICOLA MANFERRARI] COLLIO BLANCO- made from Friulano, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc; I guess we were destined to have a couple of wines with a different taste profile as this one gave some intriguing notes which were challenging to describe in words; so here`s as close as i can get; it had mild essences of minerals, melon and peach notes that hung on past mid palate and then gave way to sweet liquorice and anise; there was also a slight bitterness that made me think i had just eaten something that changed my palate for these last 2 wines; I asked around and others found similar notes, so it wasn`t the food.
1996 PIO CESARE BAROLO- a blend of 4 different prime sites in the Barolo zone, each contributing its unique qualities to the final blend; most come from the Ornato vineyard, which contributes about 65% of the final blend; this fabulous wine got us off on the right foot for the reds; the colour was medium dark red, the nose had that wonderful Nebbiolo fragrance which continued on and was perceived as spice, leather, chocolate and coffee laden black currant and black raspberry; it had really nice acidity, complexity and length and was delivered in soft and smooth texture; I`d been happy to just have this one wine.
2001 CONTERNO FANTINO SORI GINESTRA BAROLO bottle #1 of 2- I had many choices to pull out of the cellar, had my hands on anther bottle and decided this was the winner; about 1/3 into our dinner and before the reds were passed around, we discovered we had duplciate; I pulled the cork about 3 hours earlier whereas the other bottle was decanted about 3 hours earlier and there was some initial differences, but after time, they melded into the same fabulous wine and I realised it would have been far better for me to decant; I got a hit of toast in the nose followed by lots of black cherry which finished dry and initially a little hot; in time, it all mellowed out and showed beautifully albeit too young; give it 10 more years at least.
2001 CONTERNO FANTINO SORI GINESTRA BAROLO bottle #2- it was interesting comparing the two bottles as this seemed much more ready in every way; the 3 hour decant evidently allowed this to evolve and expand to a point of readiness; equally fabulous, this was nicely balance, seemed more complex with layers of depth, had beautiful flavours and as with the first bottle, it obviously needs more time to mature and come together.
2001 GAJA BARBARESCO- one of my favs of all Barbarescos, this was great as usual; youthful, exciting, highly energetic and soooo pleasing on the palate; first, there was a veggie, bell pepper note in the nose, but that was overwhelmed by amazing flavours of black cherry first and foremost and then a touch of plum, baking spices and liquorice came in to complete the deal; it was smooth and lush, full bodied and long; such a treat.
1999 ROBERTO VOERZIO LA SERRA BAROLO- after a succession of outstanding reds, I`m thinking it can’t get any better than this and it just did here; following its deceivingly youthful pure dark purple colour came an onslaught of aromas and tastes that knocked it out of the park; it had leather, spice and coffee laden black fruit with a hint of tar, soft tannins, a rich and full body and layers upon layers unfolding providing considerable complexity; on top of all of that, it was in perfect balance; I had to call it my fav to this point in the evening and when we voted at the end, it was indeed a consensus WOTN.
2004 ROBERTO VOERZIO LA SERRA BAROLO- what a nice follow up to a winner; yes, it was very young, but all of the redeeming attributes were there, but not yet in balance; it had massive aromatics and flavours including violets, rose petals, leather, spice, coffee and liquorice to compliment the red and black cherry fruit; the tannins are just easing up a bit although still a bit rough; it had so much energy, you could just sense it was hyperactive in the glass; this is a great wine and in 10 years, it will reach its apogee and all who venture in will be happy.
2008 G.D. VAJRA ALBE BAROLO- this was really good with generous amounts of fresh and ripe fruit and spicy accents to compliment; it`s full bodied, very complex and has amazing length; just in a few minutes in the glass, it kept changing and giving more and more; it had power and even in its youth, a noticeable degree of finesse; I got the requisite liquorice and leather notes, but it was the fresh and ripe red and black cherries that stood out; I heard this sells for around $50 and if that is so, it is a GREAT QPR.
2 dessert wines:
1995 AVIGNONESI OCCHIO di PERNICE VIN SANTO di MONTIPULICANO- 375 ml; this was an amazing inky dark dessert wine that reminded me more of Smith Brothers Cough Drops flavoured with caramel and butterscotch; it was as thick as molasses and as sweet as one would ever desire; I did some research and found the cheapest price in a 375 ml format is $240 which is as astonishing as the wine.
HEINZ EIFEL BEERENAUSLESE [ba] LATE HARVEST- 375 ml; vintage unknown and not found on the label; honeyed pear, apple and citrus fruit is aided by butterscotch and spice accents; it had a chewy mouthfeel and a long, lingering finish; the perfect ending to an exceptional fine evening.