Six of us dined recently at the Four Seasons Biltmore restaurant, Bella Vista. This is a fabulous resort and its beachfront property and restaurant setting is truly world class. We sat on the outside patio to take advantage of the warm summer evening, fresh ocean breeze, sound of the surf pounding into Butterfly Beach, amazing ocean and channel island views and sunset auras.
Our waiter had been advised ahead of time to set up the table with proper stemware which we tweaked once we had arrived to comply with our specific brings. We drank well:
MV KRUG 21eme BRUT ROSE- according to the ID code on the bottle, 316033, this is the 21eme edition, received its cork in the summer of 16`, spent at least 7 years in the cellar, 10% of the blend is macerated Pinot Noir from 08`; a cuvee of 57 wines with 00` the oldest and 08` the youngest vintages and is 51% Pinot Noir, 41% Chardonnay and 8% Pinot Meunier; all of that is to say, this is seriously fine juice evidenced by its progressively unfolding flavors and nuances over the course of our dinner time; the color was pale pink; it was served quite chilled and the aromas and taste profile was a bit muted initially, but in time it gave up rose petals, spice and mild strawberry notes in the nose followed by lemon, orange peel and red cherry with accents from cinnamon and spice on the palate; it took a while for it to evolve suggestive of its youthfulness and deserving of more time in the cellar; It had vibrant acidity and in this early stage, elegance and finesse although I expect it to be much more expressive and complex later on.
NV RUINART BLANC de BLANC BRUT- from one of my favorite champagne bottle shapes [the magnum is even more impressive], this had yellow moving toward gold color which really compliments the initial notes in the nose and taste that is so rich in lightly honeyed lemon zest; additionally, some hints of grapefruit, pear and green apple also come in along with a touch of saline; it had such great mouthfeel that extended the finish with all of the goodies being carried to the back end; 2 recent previous bottles had toasty brioche notes, but they were absent in this one.
2008 DOMAINE PATRICK HUDELOT LES SAINT GEORGES NSG 1er Cru- the Hudelot estate planted its first vines in the early 1950s; during the 1960s, the estate expanded considerably, and today it covers 25 Ha in the Hautes Côtes de Nuits region; they implemented organic methods in 2000; this wine was very young and was very fruit forward with a perfume of vanilla, talc, spice and most particularly and unexpected, black pepper; the lovely cherry/ berry fruit has some sweetness as well, but the pepper accent prevails throughout; it was fun, hearty and energetic; this needs time to balance out; there’s enough acidity to allow for it to evolve and sustain.
2009 DOMAINE FAIVIELEY MAZIS-CHAMBERTIN GRAND CRU- Wow! after the Hudelot, this is a major step up toward excellence; the nose is redolent of toasted cherry/ berry fruit; concentrated black cherry is most prominent in the taste; this has power and then some; it is full bodied, has layers of depth and an extended finish; this is a mouthful and I went for little sips and then just sat back and slowly allowed it to move in and to the back and then down all the while loving each phase of the progression.
Faiveley was founded in 1825 as a negociant and today is run by Erwan Faiveley, and besides still running a negociant business the family makes highly regarded Grand Crus, Premier Crus and villages wines.
Mazis-Chambertin is a 22.4 acre Grand Cru vineyard near the village of Gevrey-Chambertin. The name Mazis is sometimes spelled with a “y” or without the final “s”. The soil is shallow and somewhat rocky, and the wine made from this vineyard is considered excellent. The legendary Lalou Bize of Maison Leroy is one of the smaller landholders with almost .6 of an acre. There are some 30 proprietors with parcels in Mazis-Chambertin. The largest are Hospices de Beaune, with 4.38 acres; Bernard Dugat-Py, with 3.05 acres; and Joseph Faiveley, with 3 acres.
2008 MONTECILLO GRAN RESERVA RIOJA- decanted at the table; it is aged for 26 months in American and French oak and spent at least 36 months in the bottle before release; the oak is quite prevalent in this wine made from 100% Tempranillo; it had a pure dark purple color; in addition to the wood notes, the nose had nice blackberry fruit; on the palate, it gave chocolate, cedar and leather infused ripe blackberry and black cherry fruit; it`s full bodied and has soft tannins which allows for a nice mouthfeel.
Good friends enjoying good wines and food in the presence of the sun setting in the background of the nearby beach and oceanfront ambience made for a grand evening of sensorial pleasures. Life is good.