Our dinner group returned to one of our incredible venues, The Coral Casino, for another stellar dinner. Seated on the outside covered patio just above the shoreline with the sound of surf pounding underneath, 14 of us enjoyed numerous appetizers and entrees pairing them with champagnes, white Burgundies and our main theme, new world Pinot Noir vs. red Burgundy tasted blind.
All in all, we had 26 wines and a nice educational experience discerning new from old world Pinot Noir. It was not easy and somewhat humbling to call wines out by country, region, subregion, appellation and beyond, but we gave it a go and loved the opportunity.
NV KRUG GRANDE CUVEE 164 eme EDITION BRUT- ID# 216016: received its cork in 2016, made from 127 wines from 11 different years with the oldest being from 1990 and the youngest 2008; 48% Pinot Noir, 35% Chardonnay, 17% Meunier; major concern came with a small hit on the nose which suggested some TCA which was a bit more noticeable on the palate; even the fruit profile seemed subdued and the texture seemed thin; I hesitated to pass it on, but asked the one on my left for further confirmation which was consistent with their findings; as I was about to toss it out, i went back for one more try and lo and behold, its now morphing closer to the gem I had hoped it would be; there was still a hint of TCA, but so much more to enjoy including some toasty brioche, ginger and spicy lemon zest, grapefruit and apple fruit; the feel was enhanced and the whole thing just came much more together, thankfully.
After pouring it around, I stashed the small amount remaining in the bottle in my ice bagged wine carrier for more chill and fro re-visit later and then forgot about it until packing up. So 2 days later, Roelanda and I had a splash of the remains and there was no corkiness, but certainly a different from the norm profile with lemon oil like texture and lemon zest very prominent, but no brioche nor ginger, not much more.
The 158th Edition was the first release showing the ID code, with Edition 1 having started in 1843.
2008 JOSE MICHEL SPECIAL CLUB BRUT- 50% Pinot Meunier, 50% Chardonnay; dosage 7 gpl; I didn’t know about the extent of PM, but guessed it had a fair amount once I discovered the richness and full body of this wine which reminded me of Krug, who is known to use copious amounts of Meunier in their prestige cuvees; it also had a high-toned citrusy character that I associate with the fruit as well as a touch of saline.
2005 FRANCOIS RAVENEAU MONTEE de TONNERRE CHABLIS 1er Cru- pale golden color; this was a wowzer wine that impressed from the get go and never let up; it had impeccable balance with flint and minerals blending in with ripe tropical and stone fruit notes; it was extremely rich, had a viscous feel and a long, so satisfying finish. Many considered this the WOTN even before we voted on it and decided it was.
2012 BOUCHARD MEURSAULT- GENEVRIERES 1er Cru- on the heels of the superb Raveneau, this held its own and then some as it gave generous amounts of fresh and tasty citrus fruit aided by a hit of toasty oak and minerals coming in past mid palate; spicy lemon and apple was most prevalent as well in this very nice and rich beauty.
2017 HENRI BOILLOT BOURGOGNE BLANC- this is made from declassified Saint-Romain and Auxey-Duresses blended with fruit from the commune of Meursault; I found this to be a bit tart and overly dry with understand notes including hints of nutty accented citrus fruit.
2016 BRUNO CLAIR “En la Rue de Vergy” BLANC MOREY-SAINT-DENIS- nice mineral infused citrus fruit spreads out over the palate and all the way to the back end; it had a medium body and a degree of elegance.
We moved into the blind tasting part of the evening with 5 flights of 3 and 1 flight of 4 Pinots:
2004 MARCASSIN ESTATE SONOMA COAST PINOT NOIR- fooled most of us, even the one who brought it; it didn’t seem new or old world, maybe just in another world; full bodied, rich and luscious, this had a real thick syrupy like texture with serious mint chocolate laced dark fruit; very atypical for Marcassin or any red Burg for that matter; bottle variation?
2012 TANTARA TONDRE “H” BLOCK SANTA LUCIA HIGHLANDS PINOT NOIR- inviting nose; big, full bodied, complex with rich and spicy dark fruit; more specifically, it invoked childhood jujube candy memories as that taste was most prevalent.
2010 DOMAINE TAUPENOT- MERME CHARMES-CHAMBERTIN- the bricking seemed to indicate a much older wine; even the taste profile suggested such with earthy, dried, mature cherry/ berry fruit.
2012 TYLER SANFORD & BENEDICT VINEYARD STA RITA HILLS PINOT NOIR- nice, smoky fruity nose which on the palate translated into ripe red and black cherry; very tasty with some depth and length; liked it.
2009 TYLER LACANTADA VINEYARD STA RITA HILLS PINOT NOIR- from a vineyard very close to the S&B, this shined ever so brightly with really nice fresh red fruit, red cherry and raspberry more specifically; it had good feel, body and length; another winner from Justin Tyler who on a rare occasion, sat in on our dinners at a time prior to him getting bonded and he would share some of his stellar home wines with us to our delight.
2010 DROUHIN-LAROZE CHAPELLE-CHAMBERTIN GRAND CRU- nice fresh and vibrant red fruit profile with lots of layered depth, feel and length; solid wine with class and elegance. I got this one right as a Burg.
1999 BOUCHARD LES CAZETIERS GEVRY-CHAMBERTIN 1er Cru- this was very good with a huge inviting nose followed up by loads of dark fruit on the palate; it had richness, lots of complexity and held on for a grand finish.
2005 DOMAINE LOUIS LATOUR CUVEE HERITIERS LATOUR CHAMBERTIN GRAND CRU- loved this one as it had all I would want from the nose through the tail including nice spice and talc accented red cherry and red currant fruit; it was in beautiful balance and was soft and easy on the palate.
2009 VINCENT CHRISTOPHER WALALA VINEYARD SONOMA COAST PINOT NOIR- 14.5% abc; uploaded with fresh and ripe red cherry/ berry with earth and mineral accents. New producer to me.
2007 MARCASSIN ESTATE SONOMA COAST PINOT NOIR- very youthful with lots of energy and loaded with ripe dark fruit which becomes jammy black cherry, plum and blackberry on the palate; its full rich and bodied, yet has some finesse.
2010 TANTARA DIERBERG VINEYARD POMMARD CLONE SANTA MARIA VALLEY PINOT NOIR- super ripe and sweet dark fruit as in jujube candy prevails throughout; it had body and weight with an extended finish.
2002 DOMAINE GROS FRERE et SOEUR CLOS de VOUGEOT MUSIGNI GRAND CRU- toasty, smoky black cherry is most prominent here; this got so much better in the glass and the last taste was the best providing more body, feel and length; good wine and Burg like to me.
2014 SCHRADER BOAR`S VIEW SONOMA COAST PINOT NOIR- loved this one with its really nice spicy red raspberry, strawberry fruit and a hit of cinnamon coming in late; it was soft and velvety and got better after a great start; one of many favs on the night.
2011 TANTARA BIEN NACIDO VINEYARD ADOBE SANTA MARIA VALLEY PINOT NOIR- here`s another fav on the night as this reminded me of some of Burt Williams Pinots from the 90s with lots of spicy red raspberry notes however this went on with some back cherry/ berry fruit and unexpected accents of white pepper and clove.
2008 AU BON CLIMAT SANFORD & BENEDICT VINEYARD SANTA YNEZ VALLEY PINOT NOIR- this is one of the vineyards Jim Clendenen “singled” out to honor in his Santa Barbara Historic Vineyard Collection lineup as indicated on the label; I took this thinking it had more Burgundy like character than most new world Pinots and it proved to be true as most called it Burgundy as I did as well, obviously not recognizing it; it gave beautiful rose petal and spicy red cherry/ berry in the nose followed by a more dark fruit profile with black cherry/ berry on the palate; it was full bodied, very complex and beautifully balanced; before unveiling, I noted it to be in my top 3 so far of all Pinots.
Sixth flight of 4:
2003 DOMAINE FAIVELEY CLOS de VOUGEOT GRAND CRU- here’s another winner and candidate for top favs as it gives spicy black cherry and plum as delivered in a full bodied texture and unfolding in layered depth to the end; it had lots of pizzaz and a looong finish with everything coming together; once revealed, I was impressed by this coming from 2003, a very h ot vintage and one with few pearls IMHO. This is a pearl.
2009 CALERA REED VINEYARD MT. HARLAN PINOT NOIR- this was really intense from the nose on; it had big expressions of peppery dark fruit and wild black raspberry; there’s a lot of sweetness and its seriously full on almost to a fault; this blown out styled wine led to a unanimous vote for new world Pinot.
2015 GANTENBEIN PINOT NOIR- from Eastern Switzerland; dark almost opaque color; nose of coffee and burnt toast with dark fruit in the background; the taste profile had more of the same with more fruitiness, but inundated with the coffee accent; pretty different wine and I guess I call this old world Pinot, but it was certainly not in the class of anything Burgundy.
2002 CALERA JENSEN VINEYARD MT. HARLAN PINOT NOIR- I’ve this this a couple of years ago, looked up my notes and found them to be very similar in that they both started out like a light weight and morphed into a heavy weight in their expression and body; the fruit profile was so different from what I expect in a Pinot Noir with rustic cranberry fruit dominating red cherry.
1970 TAYLOR-FLADGATE PORTO- really good and somewhat ready at this young Port age; it had sweet black licorice, raisany black currant and blackberry fruit with a hints of nuttiness, caramel, tar and coffee.
The stat of having 14 people and 26 wines says a lot about who and what this group is comprised of = generous folks with the desire to share and make life better for others at the table. An entire evening could have been built around any one of these wines. Life is good,