Sarah Kirschbaum sent out word that her friend Jonathan was preparing a choucroute feast and that we should gather at her place. I was under the impression that it was going to be Alsace or Riesling night, but, as it would turn out, there were only two Rieslings and the evening really focused more on the food than the wine. That said, there were some interesting wines poured, but the real kudos go to Jonathan who did an outstanding job with the choucroute and made one of the best lemon tarts I've had.
- 2006 Weingut Keller Westhofener Kirchspiel Riesling trocken - Germany, Rheinhessen
From magnum, chock full of rocks and minerals on the nose with sweet yellow citrus. I'm surprised by how plump and friendly it is on the palate. While dry, the stone and yellow citrus fruits show plenty of ripeness which has blunted the edge I find these wines to normally have. A little soft and unfocused, but that works for me. If you normally prefer your trockens on the screechy and austere side, you maybe disappointed with this one. B+/A-.
- 2001 Albert Boxler Riesling Brand L32 - France, Alsace, Alsace Grand Cru
My last bottle and it continues to show beautifully. As in the last couple of bottles I've had, the toning down of the sweetness continues, but there's definitely a little left. Yellow fruit and mineral dominated with excellent balance and persistence throughout the palate. Just a really graceful wine with substance that's a joy to drink. Solid A-.
- 1978 Vietti Barolo Rocche - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
Not a good showing, though Matt Neel, who brought it, liked it a lot more than I did. This is a stern, ungenerous bottle that's dominated by earth, leather, dead leaves, teabags with a high speed drive by of desiccated strawberry that if you blinked, you missed. Better on the nose than on the palate, where it was excruciatingly austere. Needless to say, I've had better bottles of this, but I've also had a couple that have shown this way, too. C.
- 1993 Domaine Michel Lafarge Volnay 1er Cru Clos du Château des Ducs - France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Volnay 1er Cru
What a beauty! Just gorgeous aromatics of ripe red cherries, light earth and sassafras notes that kept my nose pinned to the glass. Sophisticated and elegant on the palate with lovely sweetness to the cherry fruit. While the fruit dominates, there is tertiary development. Dried flowers, brown spices and earth bring up the rear. It's wonderfully silky in the mouth, though after some air the acidity did come up a bit providing an increasingly juicy finish. Beautiful wine. Solid A-.
- 2006 Louis Jadot Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Les Suchots - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru
A bit demure, but I'm not convinced that it's due to youth rather than just a lack of substance. It has pleasant cherry flavors and aromas with a little bit of spice, but it's a bit unfocused and loose in the middle and the acidity needs a bit more flesh to balance it out. Perfectly fine, but it doesn't really keep you from looking around to see what wine is next. B/B+.
- 1937 Château Caillou Crème de Tête - France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Sauternes
A dark amber color, but with good clarity and brightness, it shows a complex and ever changing nose and palate that refused to be pinned down. First there was grilled apricot, apples and marmalade. Then, some VA and caramel aromas stopped by for a visit. Later on, the party took a decidedly tropical theme with charred pineapples and an overwhelming toasted coconut and grilled nuts character a la suntan lotion. Complex and showing age, but not a lot of oxidation, there's still plenty of sweetness to the wine with good acid levels. Finished with a nice burnt sugar note after it had gone through a caramel phase. An absolutely beguiling and delicious wine and my WOTN. A.
- 1968 Monimpex Tokaji Aszú Essencia - Hungary, Tokaji
Didn't look promising as it was a dark amber/brown color and rather cloudy. On first pour, spicy chai and apple cider aromas dominated before shifting to dried apricot, raisins, ginger and earth. Intensely sweet with some viscosity, but with crisp acidity balancing it nicely. Apricot, raisin and hard coffee candy flavors that eventually pick up raspberry notes. It showed a bit of hole at the onset, but the wine grew with air and it filled in. Surprisingly good considering how it looked and given the reputation of communist era Tokaji. A-.
Some pics from the evening. I unfortunately didn't have my regular camera and had to rely on an old phone camera.
Browning the bratwurst.
A nice spread.
A nice slice.