My sweetheart and I enjoyed a fine dinner at the El Encanto Restaurant. With 70+ degree temperatures, we were seated on the outside patio overlooking the city of Santa Barbara below and beyond to the local harbour, Pacific ocean and channel islands. The timing was such that the pre. during and post sunset made it just that much more magical.
The combination of the incredible ambience including sitting across from Roelanda, fine food, dedicated and attentive service was complimented by some fine wines we took to add to the allure of the evening.
2006 TAITTINGER COMTES de CHAMPAGNE BRUT BLANC de BLANC- it had been a few months since last opening this gem and I was getting withdrawals symptoms so the fix was on tonight; this bottle may have been the best one yet, certainly the biggest one of over 10 bottles heretofore; small sips were all that was required to get the treasures that started with aromas of toasty brioche and fresh and ripe citrus; bracing acidity hit the palate with just the smallest sampling so I backed off a bit; on the palate, lemon zest, brioche and a hint of spice and pepper joined in; later on when the wine was less chilled, some pear, peach, honeydew melon and toasted almond notes were expressed; I do not recall this ever being this big of a champagne in fact, I remember calling it elegant. This was a wondrous wine and deserved a lot of superlatives, but elegant was not one of them. The lady across the table from me was elegant.
1995 WILLIAMS SELYEM HIRSCH VINEYARD SONOMA COAST PINOT NOIR- I also had some withdrawal symptoms from going a couple of months without having a Burt made Pinot Noir so I pulled this beauty; it had been a couple of years since having the last 95` Hirsch so it was time for a re-visit; like the CdC, this may have been the best one ever; the fill was right up to the cork and mindful of Burt`s intention to have zero ullage for every wine he made which is helpful when buying and knowing in advance what the ullage is.
The colour was a youthful, vibrant dark red burgundy with absolutely no signs of ageing; the nose was so inviting and the taste responded with like and kind; it gave spicy red raspberry and red cherry with accents of cola, cinnamon and clove; it was atypically full bodied, rich and powerful with a velvety texture and nice balance; the wine actually expanded in the glass and evolved over our dinner time into a liquid masterpiece.
Life is good and made even more so by occasions like this one.