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Dinner with a few Bordeaux and helpers

Posted: Thu May 24, 2018 4:57 pm
by Blake Brown
Our bi-weekly dinner group convened at a new venue for us, Ca` Dario Cucina Italiana, which opened in January in neighbouring Goleta and is an extension of the Santa Barbara primary location.

Since we have done many Italian wine themes lately, this time we chose 2005 an older Bordeaux plus the usual champagne and white Burgundy standard request. We had a small group that enjoyed great Italian cuisine, fellowship and the following wines:

NV JOSE` DHONDT BRUT ROSE de SAIGNEE-  made from Pinot Noir by maceration sourced from the Sézannais which is south of where this Récoltant Manipulant winery is located in Chardonnay centric Oger; dosage= 6g/; I`ve been a fan of this rose since Eric Asimov introduced the label in 2008 and our bottle shined as those before it have; following the dark pink/red colour, comes aromas of red roses, red cherry/ berry and spice, but the taste profile is much different with sour cherry, red raspberry, clove and mint being more pronounced; its full bodied, extremely rich and seems to gain momentum past mid palate building up to a climatic finish.

2015 PIERRE-YVES COLIN MOREY LA COMME SANTENAY- 1er Cru; I`ve had quite a few bottles of this wine and all have been extremely good; our bottle was no exception; flint and minerals are first noticed on the nose followed by lemon lime and more minerality on the palate; it has such a good mouthfeel which serves to enhance the welcomed long finish.

1985 GRUAUD-LAROSE SAINT JULIEN- the last bottle I had of this had a touch of Brettanomyces, but this bottle had only a touch of everything else as the Brett factor dominated heavy at the beginning and heavy at the end with little mid space; this was the 4-eythlphenol type giving barnyard notes; one of our table mates re-stated an oft heard comment about wines from Cordier being inundated with Brett from 79`-96` which is certainly true of a few I’ve had with the exception of the 90` G-L which I bought a case of and have had little if any issues. I have not found anything to substantiate this claim, but my experience seems to confirm many of the vintages in this time span have been heavily laden with Brett.

2000 CHATEAU LA GAFFELIERE SAINT-EMILION- this is a bit tight initially even after an at the table decant; in time it shined ever so brightly; at first, the nose had earth, mild Bretty notes along with some black currant, but after 15 minutes or so and a lot of aeration, I got more blue and black fruit in the nose which transmuted into plum, black currant and blueberry on the palate; there was still a hint of earth and barnyard, but not to the detriment of the total experience.

2001 VIEUX CHATEAU CERTAN POMEROL- 70% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc; fresh, ripe, enticing black cherry prevailed from the nose through the tail in this rich and full bodied, multi layered beauty; as good as it tasted, the hallmark may have been its silky smooth texture; blackberry and plum also came in to join the array of flavours; I believe this bottle was drained.

2005 CHATEAU MONBOUSQUET SAINT-EMILION- the Right Bank won out with another winner here; it had a youthful, vibrant dark purple colour emblematic of the high energy this wine displayed; wondrous blackberry fruit wafts out of the glass suggesting a fruit forwardness, but this wine has so much more going for it tending toward balance; black currant, liquorice and plum also add to the taste profile which is delivered in a soft, velvety texture and sustained during a long finish; I think we came close to drinking this bottle as well.

Sometimes, a small group can be really fun as it leads more to an entire table conversation which we certainly enjoyed on this evening.


Re: Dinner with a few Bordeaux and helpers

Posted: Fri Jun 01, 2018 7:07 am
by Jeff Leve
I really like how that 2001 VCC has developed. It is such a refined beauty. I wish it had more depth, but it is still a treat.

Re: Dinner with a few Bordeaux and helpers

Posted: Mon Sep 17, 2018 5:06 pm
by LaConseillante
Interesting notes on some young wines. I'm glad the VCC wasn't wasted. It is often a scene stealer.

I notice a lot of references to "Brett" throughout many of your notes and had to look it up to get a better understanding. You usually refer to it as a major flaw and I can see how it might be. There was one strain that left a "bacon" scent which reminded me of Ch. Clos de Menuts, a minor St. Emilion that happened to be open the day I was in town. We found it attractive and carried home 3 bottles (you could back then) but when the wine aged the attractive smoky bacon flavors had vanished. While not a devotee of CA wines I did buy a Franciscan chardonnay that boasted of wild yeasts which had great character which I liked very much.

As for the old stable of Cordier wines (only Talbot remains, but Gruaud-Larose was a wine often compared to it, as well as Meyney, etc.) the wild yeast smell was a hallmark of the wine, and one could always identify an older vintage by it. Curiously it was not noticeable in young wines. Broadbent made reference to it in one vintage, and I got the impression he was not a fan, while allowing a segment of tasters were. I have not had every vintage of Talbot and Gruaud-Larose, but have had many from 1900 (before Cordier) to ... well I guess I have tasted the 2000, but the 1989 is the most recent "drinking wine" and I can attest that nearly all have some of that "Talbot smell" which to us reminds one of descending into a cool French cellar, a most pleasant memory. I had the 1978 Talbot recently, which I consider perhaps the wine of the vintage. I guess my point is that a chateau that displays this nuance in... lets see if I remember; 1900, 1942, 1949, 1959, 1961, 1964, 1966 1967, 1970, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1978, 1979, 1980, 81, 82, 83, 85, 86, 88 and 89 (the recent vintages still aging) twenty-plus vintages and counting... can be considered a flaw.

I think a number of other wines have unique characters based largely on bouquet and that it contributes to their character. I saw from the research that these "wild yeasts" can be eliminated if so desired. But to strip all wines down to their clones and growing conditions, plus terrior, of course... well I think that might make it a lot less enjoyable, or interesting at least.

My concern was that you might have been attributing this normally subtle nuance to some other factor which is essentially ruining some bottles for you. Is there any possibility of the wines being "corked" or having withstood some neglect in its provenance? Perhaps there are certain strains that you are more sensitive to than others. But a 1985 Gruaud-Larose (and didn't you mention an 85 Clerc-Milon in another post?) ought to be a wonderful bottle, in the shank of it's pleasure zone right now. I don't think the problem is "Brett" as you suspect.

Re: Dinner with a few Bordeaux and helpers

Posted: Sun May 26, 2019 4:44 pm
by Blake Brown
I apologize for the delay in responding. I have not been diligent about checking messages.

The Brett notes I`m referring to is of the 4-ethylphenol type which gives rise to the flavors of band-aids, barnyard, horse stable or antiseptic. It is the barnyard note that I find most often to varying degrees.

I used to be OK with this in certain wines such as Beaucastel in the 80s and early 90s, but since have fallen out of favor with it being in any wine. For me, it is a flaw and one I doubt was intended by the winemaker.

Thank you for your comments.