Our lunch group held it`s annual December Bordeaux themed lunch at our usual venue, The Santa Barbara Club. This used to be the consummate annual lunch when the initial Friday lunch group was established in the late 1980s by Doug Margerum at his highly acclaimed restaurant, the Wine Cask. This is still a wondrous event and one I was happy to attend.
We usually have 14-16, but on this day there were 8 of us who enjoyed the ability to have an entire table conversation as well as more wine per pour and the ability to track each wine over the duration of the 3+ hour lunch time as well.
French onion soup with gruyere cheese
Duck breast with lentil-sausage ragout
Venison medallion with sun choke puree and huckleberry compote
Arugula salad with prosciutto, champagne vinaigrette and Tuscan red wine cheese
Grand Marnier cream brulee
We first started off with:
NV CHARLES HEIDSIECK BRUT ROSE RESERVE- showing consistently well over the last year or so, this most recent release has wonderful fresh red fruit with strawberry and red raspberry fruit being most prevalent; it has good feel and decent length and on this occasion prepared our palates for all good wines to come. It`s a very refreshing rose with charm and elegance.
We drank in the following order:
1968 CHATEAU HAUT-BRION PESSAC-LEOGNON- the cork was pulled and the wine was poured; surprisingly there was no bricking nor significant evidence of aging other than its lighter color and that it showed some advanced maturity with the light weight and milder fruit profile; nonetheless, it was very pleasing and enjoyable giving mild expressions of eucalyptus, leather and cedar in the nose and beyond joined by slightly sweet cherry and wild berry on the palate. A genuine treat.
1989 CHATEAU LAFITE-ROTHSCHILD PAUILLAC- the cork was pulled and the wine was poured; this was really impressive continually giving and gaining throughout the 3 hours in the glass; it started out shining and ended up with more brilliance; the nose and taste profile was replete with cranberry, cherry and dried black currant with accents of spearmint and herbs; it had a really nice mouthfeel and exuded typical Lafite elegance and royalty; my WOTD.
1983 CHATEAU LEOVILLE-POYFERRE SAINT-JULIEN- decanted 1+ hour; dark red color; the nose had welcoming mild spicy dried red fruit which continued on in the taste; it was a light to medium bodied with all notes being on the lighter side of where it came from; in time, it improved in the glass and became softer and even more approachable with less astringency and more weight and fruitiness.
2000 CHATEAU LEOVILLE-POYFERRE SAINT-JULIEN- 2+ hour decant; it`s youthfulness was first evidenced by its intense purple color; the nose first displayed some Brett which gave way to dried red and black fruit with lots of astringency; in time, the tannins eased up and mellowed out giving more pleasant favorable fresh ripe fruit and complexity; the Brett factor was still evidenced 3 hours after the initial taste but not to the detriment of enjoying the wine.
1995 CHATEAU PICHON LONGUEVILLE COMTESSE de LALANDE PAUILLAC- decanted 5+ hours and still went though stages of transformation in the glass; it had a youthful, vibrant dark purple color; after such a pleasant and inviting nose and taste profile, the hallmark may have been its creamy smooth mouthfeel; milk chocolate laced black currant pervaded throughout; it was in an ideal balanced state and the underlying tannic structure supports a long successful life ahead. Having 6 more bottles, my goal is to hold them for many years before revisiting.
2002 CHATEAU PICHON-LONGUEVILLE BARON PAUILLAC- 2+ hour decant; the vibrant inky dark purple color denoted a young wine which on the nose released briary wild dark red fruit notes which translated into wild cherry and cranberry on the palate; at this point, it`s definitively fruit forward with bracing tannins and just needs time to evolve, integrate and reach some semblance of balance; it`s got all of the structure to do so.
1995 CHATEAU MONTROSE SAINT-ESTEPHE- 63% Cabernet-Sauvignon, 31% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petit Verdot; this bottle had a very youthful dark purple color which typified the wine itself; it had a nice perfume of spicy black currant which continued on and was joined by leather infused wild cherry/ berry fruit on the palate; the tannins are not yet fully integrated nor is the fruit profile; this was full bodied and long and promises to give up even more treasures down the line.
2003 CHAGTEAU LEOVILLE BARTON SAINT-JULIEN- 5 hour decant; another youngster showing it has all of the goodies to evolve into a superb state 10+ years hence; initially there was a bit of funkiness, but it dissipated and gave way to more pleasant and generously available blackberry and black cherry fruit with spice and dark chocolate accents; it`s nicely structured and already showing layered complexity; it just needs time to come together and really shine.
1989 CHATEAU `d`YQUEM SAUTERNES- 375 ml; blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon; its been a while since I last had this beauty and it was such a treat to find it has moved into a new level of maturity and giving extra special treats of honeyed peach and pear nectar with hints of nuttiness; it`s creamy rich and dreamy.
1977 WARRE VINTAGE PORT- I was happy to see this as I bought a few bottles about 20 years ago and have been wondering where it is and how much more time it needs before opening at least 1 bottle; my conclusion is, it`s good now, but wait and certainly give it a long decant; our bottle had some dark cherry and a hit of toast in the nose; on the palate, it was very expressive of wild red cherry mindful of Smith Brother`s cough drops along with a medicinal character; it`s big, rich and intense and very flavorful.
Having been a part of this lunch group since 1991, it remains to be one of my most treasured monthly wine events and this one reminded me of how thankful I am for it and the fellowship of all of the dear friends who share the passion by bringing good wines. I`m also appreciative of the quality of service we receive from our dedicated server and the vast and flexible expertize of Chef Humberto.