Our lunch group enjoyed a fabulous lunch in the Library Room of our usual venue, The Santa Barbara Club. The wine theme was red Burgundy/ Pinot Noir from 2005 or older. As you will note, some observed that request.
Seared scallop with cauliflower puree and caper-butter sauce
Chicken medallion wrapped in bacon with sun choke puree and tarragon cream sauce
Rack of lamb with truffle-mushroom risotto
Lemon tart, chocolate cake and chocolate mousse
NV HENRIOT BRUT ROSE- I`ve long been a fan of this house since a wine rep friend had this house in his book and touted their champagnes since the 90s; our bottle had sweet and spicy red raspberry and red cherry fruit with a bit of spiciness; the mouthfeel was enhanced by a nice creamy mousse.
First flight of 4:
2007 LOUIS LATOUR CORTON GRAND CRU- the nose almost fooled me into thinking this was over the hill with earthy, dried, tertiary fruit aromas, but all was good once spreading the juice over the palate; no longer dried, the fresh and ripe fruit profile included red cherry/ berry and cranberry; a spicy component embellished the taste which was served up in a medium bodied smooth texture.
1997 MAISON ROCHE de BELLEN COLLECTION BELLENUM CHAMBERTIN GRAND CRU- aromas of earth, Bretty barnyard, dried red fruit gave way to burnt fully mature red cherry and red currant; it had a medium body and weight and checked out abruptly on the back end.
1995 HOSPICE de BEAUNNE DOMINIQUE LAURENT CUVEE CHARLOTTE DUMAY CORTON GRAND CRU- a heavy hit of VA greets us in the nose with some redeeming qualities once tasted with some sweet cranberry and red cherry fruit.
1996 DOMAINE COMTES GEORGES de VOGUE CUVEE VIEILLES VIGNES MUSIGNY GRAND CRU- a 2nd time for this gem for me and the one who gifted us announced he was not pleased with his testing sample pour; his remarks were the only downside to this wine as it was absolutely stellar; It did improve with time in the glass, but it started out on a high note with such an inviting nose, backed up by the lightly peppered and spicy strawberry, red raspberry and red cherry fruit; it had great mouthfeel, lovely acidity and everything crescendoed to a grand finish; it was hallmarked by its beautiful balance. My WOTD.
The vineyard was officially classified as a grand cru in 1936, and is one of only two Burgundy grand cru vineyards to produce wines from both Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The other is Corton.
Second flight of 4:
2005 AU BON CLIMAT ISABELLE PINOT NOIR- I bought quite a bit of this upon release after Jim told me it may become the best one ever or as good as any Isabelle which I have been tracking since it was first produced in 94`; the HEAVY, upper body workout dark glass bottle is almost aa impressive as what’s inside which translated into secondary red and black fruit with a steak of spice running to the back end; its medium to full bodied, had unfolding layers providing new nuances adding to the intrigue of what the next taste might provide.
This is a varied blend of the best barrels from the vineyards used for ABC`s vineyard-designated wines, including Bien Nacido, Sanford & Benedict, Talley Rincon, and Mt. Carmel.
1993 WHITCRAFT BIEN NACIDO PINOT NOIR- from one of my favourite producers and a good friend who passed away too early in life, this showed beautifully and proved a point that was quite debated in the 90s and early 00s, Chris made wines that can and do age greacefully; the colour and aromatics displayed those characteristics that denote an older wine, as in this case, tertiary dried red fruit and earth notes, more specifically pleasant and tasty spicy dried plum and blackberry.
2005 DOMAINE MOLLARD CLOS de VOUGEOT GRAND CRU- this comes from a domaine stated in 1848; the ownership went through many changes with parcels broken up for inheritance over many generations; the Moillard extended family no longer owns the domaine or the maison; with more than 65 shareholders, most of them family members, disagreements arose and in 2005 some 30 acres of prime vineyards were sold off to Domaine Dujac and Etienne de Montille.
Our bottle had paint thinner in the nose that dissuaded much further investigation; the taste was even more offensive; unfortunately, it was quite flawed.
DOMAINE de L`ARLOT CLOS de FORETS SAINT-GEORGES NUITS SAINT GEORGES 1er Cru- very nice and on the heels of a flawed wine, we deserved it; mild spicy fruit forward red cherry, cranberry and black raspberry graced our palates with a hint of smoke and earth delivered in a medium+ body and holding on for a long finish.
Third flight of 3:
2007 KISTLER CUVEE ELIZABETH BODEGA HEADLINES VINEYARD SONOMA COAST PINOT NOIR- massive fruit jumps out of the glass, but it`s much more mellow on the palate; fresh, ripe and spicy red raspberry and red cherry fruit dominate the fruit profile with a touch of smoke and minerals; its soft and easy on the palate.
2013 DOMAINE JASMINKA SANTA BARBARA COUNTY PINOT NOIR- from one of our members and his home wine making group, this was nice with fresh red and black fruit and a sprinkling of spice; 91% sourced from Kick On Vineyard and 9% from Lucas & Lewellen Vineyard.
2004 SEA SMOKE TEN SANTA RITA HILLS PINOT NOIR- 14.5% abv; from 10 different clones, it had a seriously dark red purple colour, fairly intense aromatics with wood spice mostly evident and even more happening on the palate comprised of complex and layered black currant, plum, black cherry and black raspberry; past mid palate, a lot of heat took over and changed the experience.
Fourth flight of 4 2004 Melville Pinot Noir :
I really appreciated an individual bringing these wines as I have many fond memories of drinking them early on and over the following years. They come from a winery owner that I’ve known prior to his opening the winery in 1996 and a winemaker who was a friend in those days and the estate sourced fruit named after his now estranged wife who I also knew.
I wrote up notes on all of them, but found my notes for the first 3 to be too condescending, so I will just say that for whatever reason they were flawed and very atypical for what they have shown to be in the past.
2004 MELVILLE ESTATE CARRIE`S SANTA RITA HILLS PINOT NOIR
2004 MELVILLE ESTATE SMALL LOT COLLECTION CLONE 115 INDIGENE SANTA RITA HILLS PINOT NOIR
2004 MELVILLE ESTATE TERRACES SMALL LOT COLLECTION SANTA RITAL HILLS PINOT NOIR
2004 MELVILLE ESTATE HIGH DENSITY SMALL LOT COLLECTION SANTA RITA HILLS PINOT NOIR- with a still youthful dark red colour, the nose offered refreshing bright red, blue and black fruit which on the palate translated into red and black raspberry, black cherry, plum and blueberry; it had nice mouthfeel, medium weight and body and a nice steak of spice throughout; lovely and what I expected at least in satisfaction from the first 3.
The fifth and last flight of 3 dessert wines:
2013 STARR RANCH VINEYARD & WINERY SWEET CHARIOT PASO ROBLES- 1 of 2 375 ml. bottles; this is a late harvest Viognier that is charming, elegant and easy on the palate; the colour was a light to medium cloudy yellow; it gave honeyed peach and pear, was delivered in a lightly creamy texture and is a good alternative to the robust, thick and chewy dessert wines so often the norm.
1993 ROYAL TOKAJI COMPANY BIRSALMAS VINEYARD ASZU [dried grapes] TOKAJI 6 PUTTONYOS, TOKAJ-HEGYALJA, HUNGARY- founded in 1990, inspired and founded by British wine expert, Hugh Johnson, this producer has concentrated on making single vineyard wines from first growth vineyards; our bottle was a 500 ml; it had a maple syrup colour and texture, but not that flavour; Birsalmás means quince in Hungarian and there is definitely an element of quince interwoven with the other honeyed, pear, apricot and honeydew melon flavours.
2000 DISZNOKO TOKAJI ASZU [dried grapes] 6 PUTTONYOS, TOKAJ-HEGYALJA, HUNGARY- medium dark gold colour; the nose was redolent of peach nectar; the taste included honeyed apricot and peach with an emphasis on the sweet honey component.
Disznókõ spreads over 250 acres at the south-west entrance of the Tokaj region. Tokaj is thought to be the first vineyard region in the world to have adopted a classification system and, incredibly, the entire Disznókõ estate was classified as a first growth property in 1772 at the time of the initial classification by royal decree. The estate’s vineyards today are still wholly classified as first growth.
Typical Tokaji blends include mostly Furmint, a high-quality grape, with plenty of natural acidity, which helps ensure the longevity of Tokaji wines, along with some Harslevelu and Muscat Blanc. Two other local grapes, Zeta and Koversolo, are also allowed in the blend, though these are quite uncommon.
This was another stellar lunch with the gang. I remain very grateful for the continued fellowship and dedication to sharing fine wines in a venue that treats us to a private dining experience, embellished by personalised and attentive service and a chef who excels in adapting to our wine theme with special, creative dishes. Life is good.