A dear friend invited a few of us to help him celebrate a special birthday. We lunched at Ca Dario, one of Santa Barbara’s finest Italian restaurants and enjoyed the following wines;
NV H. GOUTORBE BRUT ROSE- I`ve been a fan of this house ever since staying in their family owned and operated lodging in Ay, Hotel Castel Jeanson; while there, I met their patriarch, Henri, and on one occasion, he asked us to join he and his wife for lunch while they entertained 7 German food and wine writers; he did not speak English and I didn’t speak French, but we hit it off beautifully and our conversation was relegated to nodding approval at what was in the glass; after many nods, he would get up and disappear into his cellar and come back with another treasure; he opened numerous wines including 2 still Pinots he made in the 80s; they were not only the first and only still Pinot from Champagne I`ve ever had, but there were truly remarkable; the first champagne poured was his rose; our bottle showed beautifully; this rose was very rich, full bodied, had ripe red cherry and stone fruit notes most notably peaches and had just a bit of detectable sweetness.
2012 BIONDI-SANTI TENUTA GREPPO ROSATO di TOSCANA- Sangiovese; this was the last vintage under the late Franco’s supervision; following its brilliant blood orange color comes wondrous aromas of fresh baked cherry pie which transformed into red cherry, red apple and black cherry on the palate; it had a surprisingly oily like texture, medium to full body and a long, satisfying finish; great rose.
1983 PAUL JABOULET AINE HERMITAGE LA CHAPELLE- made of Syrah from 40-60 year-old vines; I`ve long been a fan of this release and this bottle was as good as any 83` I’ve had; still youthful in color, it had the requisite pepper and spice notes to accent the leather infused blackberry and plum fruit; it was silky smooth and held on for a long finish; I kept going back and back and back; decanted over 2 hours ahead of serving.
1996 FONTANAFREDDA LAZZARITO BAROLO- very young, vibrant and energetic, this beauty gave up generous amounts of dark fruity aromatics which became more easily identified on the palate as cranberry, cherry, blueberry and blackberry with saddle leather and vanilla seasoning; it’s full bodied, rich and bold and yet had lots of grace and charm; it was a bit wind up and needed a lot of time to open up; it would have benefitted from having a 3-4 hour slow ox.
2003 LUCIENE LE MOINE BONNES-MARES GRAND CRU- ; it had a pure dark purple color; the nose was huge and so inviting with hits of talc and sandalwood framing dark fruit suggestive of being heavily extracted; no question, this has some reduction as discovered in its intense concentrated blackberry, black raspberry and red and black cherry fruit on the palate; there’s some accents from dark chocolate and spices to complete the taste profile; it was velvety smooth and forever long.
1942 MARQUES de MURRIETA CASTILLO GRAN RESERVA ESPECIAL YGAY RIOJA- from the conception year of our celebrant, this was so very amazingly viable; even the color was still unadulterated and youngish; certainly there was some tertiary fruit, but it was so approachable and quaffable with earthy and leather tones to the dry and somewhat tart cranberry notes; after the first nose, I got a consistent dose of coconut; it seemed to get better with time; it finished a bit dry; decanted 4 hours earlier.
1982 CLOS du MARQUIS ST. JULIEN- the 2nd label for Château Léoville Las-Cases; the name comes from a small walled parcel of land, a “clos,” located near the residence of the Marquis de Las-Cases; decanted 3 hours earlier; marvellous; leather, earth and milk chocolate provide accents to the black currant fruit; it had really good mouthfeel and an overall gentleness; for me, this is Bordeaux in its more refined and elegant stage which I love.
Our birthday boy was quite happy when it was all said and done. He’s a great guy and we all delighted in his joy.