After our stupendous grand finale, the 18th annual Millennium dinner held the 2nd week of December, our dinner group held a spectacular end of the year event at one of our member`s home that almost approximated the quality and quantity of that dinner.
This one was catered by a fabulous local chef, Lydia Gaitan, and served by our treasured server from the Santa Barbara Club, Tina, who graces our lunch group comprised of many of the same individuals with dedicated and impassioned service.
Our primary wine theme was Grand Cru Burgundy with champagne and other helpers welcomed as always.
Fifteen of us sat in the cheery Christmas decorated atmosphere of the dining room and enjoyed 26 wines to accompany the creative, brilliant 5 course menu.
First flight of 4 champagnes:
NV LAUNOIS CUVEE RESERVE BRUT BLANC de BLANC- full bodied, rich and complex; typically a big style bubbly with lots of energy.
NV RUINART BRUT BLANC de BLANC- absolutely fabulous with a creamy, rich mousse, fresh lemon lime soda and grapefruit notes, beautifully balanced with integrated acidity and all other factors; crisp and refreashing.
2006 POL ROGER BRUT BLANC de BLANC- mid weight and medium flavorful expressions along with crisp and soft citrus fruit; very middle of the road, pleasurable consistency; delightful.
2006 LOUIS ROEDERER CRISTAL BRUT- 55% Pinot Noir, 45% Chardonnay; magnificence leaps out of the glass with serious aromas of spice, ginger, bread dough and citrus flavors, followed by a mild hit of toasted vanilla bean, grapefruit and pear in the taste profile, delivered in a creamy texture and extending on and on at the end; it`s still pretty tightly wound and yet there is so much to explore at this early stage, enough to know this is a big time winner.
Second flight of 4 white Burgundy:
2011 HENRI BOILLOT CORTON CHARLEMAGNE GRAND CRU- corked
2004 DOMAINE VINCENT GIRARDIN QUINTESSENCE de CORTON CHARLEMAGNE GRAND CRU- this was a great representative of quintessential white Burgundy and CC in particular; it had power, complexity, layers of treasures unfolding and bright acidity all of which are hallmarks; fresh and delicious lightly honeyed, mineral infused lemon-lime notes prevail with hints of oak peeking though; the creamy texture serves to glide all of the treats to the back end for a sustained finish.
2006 LOUIS LATOUR CORTON CHARLEMAGNE GRAND CRU- this showed well with inviting aromas of spicy ripe green apple and citrus notes wafting out of the Burgundy stemware; all of this continued on and some kiwi and passion fruit gleefully joined; it had a nice mouthfeel, was full bodied and had power surges throughout; this wine has many years to go with no pre-mox evidence to this point.
2012 PIERRE MOREY MOREY-BLANC CORTON CHARLEMAGNE GRAND CRU- this immediately stated its merits with generous amounts of floral, tropical and citrus flavors aided by minerals and spice and a oily texture that carried all of the treasures on the palate to the back end; it finished as bright and cheery as it began; superb wine with nice balance and massive integrity.
Third flight of 2 white Burgundy:
2012 CHRISTIAN MOREAU VALMUR CHABLIS GRAND CRU- really fine Chablis with some toasty oaky citrus notes, lots of minerality and flint along with a stellar mouthfeel; loved it.
2005 BOUCHARD MONTRACHET GRAND CRU- Magnum; this bottle presented some interesting discussion; the ones who brought it say it was oxidized, but I did not get any perceivable oxidative notes whatsoever, even the color was a medium yellow without any gold or darkness; my recent discovery of the bell shaped curve for wines that are corked tell me that this was indeed corked to the extent the power and fruit expression was sapped; and so it went around the table as many voiced an opinion to one or the other possibilities; nonetheless, it was a skeleton of a Montrachet and actually did have some pleasurable fruit and also was devoid of any nutty, caramel, sherry oxidative flavors; regardless, it was a great bring with great intentions.
Fourth flight of 2 Sauternes:
2009 CHATEAU RIEUSSEC SAUTERNES- this had a generous amount of green apple fruit which was trailed by honeyed almond butter, apricot, peach and butterscotch notes; the texture was thick and creamy and it had concentrated acidity that will serve to add longevity to this still spry dessert wine.
1998 CHATEAU CLIMENS BARSAC- honeyed apricot dominates the initial thrust of the Semilion fruit which crescendos building up for a grand climax; from mid palate on, it makes a big statement and my palate was almost begging me to step back a sip or three; there`s also some toasted vanilla orange peel coming in late and it has a syrupy, thick texture to carry everything on and on at the end.
Fifth flight of 6 red Burgundy:
1999 DOMAINE VINCENT GIRARDIN CORTON RENARDES GRAND CRU- the aromatics were big and boisterous containing spicy, red and black cherry, plum and fig notes along with a hit of barnyard [Brett]; all continued on to the back end; medium bodied, long and Bretty.
2002 DOMAIN VINCENT GIRARDIN CHAMBERTIN-CLOS de BEZE GRAND CRU- great wine in balance, with elegance and finesse; nice spicy, fresh red fruit profile with strawberry and cherry most evident; medium to full body, round and seamless, along with considerable depth and length.
2004 CHRISTOPHE PERROT-MINOT CHAPELLE CHAMBERTIN GRAND CRU- we got a bad bottle full of VA and other unpleasant compounds.
2004 VIN DOMAINE JEAN-TARDY CLOS de VOUGEOT GRAND CRU- I liked the elegance this wine exuded; it was a mild mannered version of red Burgundy with lighter red fruit notes, light to medium body with finesse, grace and charm; I`d love to hang out with this bottle on its own without 25 other wines in the audience.
2007 DOMAINE LOUIS LATOUR CORTON CHARLEMAGNE GRAND CRU- lots of oaky, toasty notes here with butter and vanilla flavored green apples served up in a creamy, rich texture; young and vibrant now, it requires some time for maturity.
2009 DOMAINE BOUCHARD le CORTON GRAND CRU- the aromas announced good things to follow and that was obliged by a huge serving of spicy, talc and sandalwood laced strawberry and red cherry fruit with serious depth and layered complexity; needing some more time for evolving, this surely will be an exceptional wine in 10+ years; I`m considering this being an addition to my cellar for laying down and revisiting with high expectations.
2009 DOMAINE COMTE GEORGES de VOGUE BONNES-MARES GRAND CRU- OMG, this hits it on all aspects and it only took about 2 seconds to realize I had something extra special in my glass; it was in perfect balance, had all of the necessary sensory pleasures covered in spades with enticing aromatics, outstanding taste profile of spicy red and black fruit and a subtle elegance that distinguished this from all other reds to this point on the night; the texture was silky smooth, it had a medium+ body/ weight and very long and welcomed finish; it`s the complete deal; I kept my mouth shut and did not rave about it until it was voted WOTN and then I offered my glass for those who had a different choice to use for a dump bucket.
Sixth flight of 4 red Burgundy:
2009 FREDERIC ESMONIN RUCHOTTES-CHAMBERTIN GRAND CRU- an abundance of fruit wafts out of the glass and continues on in the taste; I got some red, black and blue fruit notes augmented by some nice spice and talc accents served up in a medium bodied, easy on the palate texture; it change significantly in the glass and morphed into different forms in a short period of time, all good.
2014 MONGEARD-MUGNERET ECHEZEAUX GRAND CRU- decanted 4 hours out, this bottle gave many treasures of goodness with fresh, ripe spicy red fruit; it showed its youthfulness with a playful dance across the palate with a silky mouthfeel and extended finish; this needs time for oak, tannins, acidity and all else to integrate although quite enjoyable now.
2010 DOMAINE ARNOUX-LACHAUX LATRICIERES-CHAMBERTIN GRAND CRU- delightful and delicious, this wine gave up wonderful rich strawberry and red cherry flavors, had a medium body, was nicely balanced and had an elegance that impressed throughout; my kind and one of my many favs on the evening.
2012 CHATEAU de la TOUR CLOS de VOUGEOT GRAND CRU- I overheard one state the fruit comes from 70-90 year old vines; the nose on this was huge giving off generous amounts of concentrated fruitiness; interestingly, the tasted profile was not nearly as big and boisterous; there`s nice spicy red and black cherry with a bit of sandalwood dressed in a medium body and good length; at the end of the taste, it was elegant and enjoyable.
Seventh flight of 3 dessert wines:
2008 SINE QUA NON “MR. K, THE STRAW MAN- 375 ml; Semillion; dark yellow gold color; honeyed lemon lime and kiwi with a touch of honeydew melon flavors abound in a thick and oily texture that slides across the palate and beyond; big and intense and using a pipette dropper for a couple of drops is enough.
1989 CHATEAU BROUSTET BARSAC- 375 ml; another honeyed sweetie with fresh floral, tropical and ripe white stone fruit notes with a creamy texture leaving pleasant palate coating film.
2001 CHATEAU RIEUSSEC SAUTERNES- 750 ml; we`ve had many a bottle of this sweet and dandy dessert wine that continues to shine with consistent notes; honeyed vanilla ripe pineapple, lemon and apricot peek out above all other fruit expressions while being delivered across the palate in a thick and almost chewy substance; delicious and fitting for a grand finale.
This was a fitting end to a great year of fellowship sharing wonderful food and wines in some of the finer restaurants in Santa Barbara as well as some of our members homes.
I remain grateful for the experience and exposure and for the opportunity to share like and kind passions with other like minded people in this wonderful world of wine.