Pavillion of Two Sisters
Tasted Thursday, March 22, 2007 by Jester with 1,362 views
This was a great tasting event with a few great wines, but lots of excellent food provided by Martin Wine Cellars Catering. In particular, I must recognize a few of the best hors d'ourves that I managed to taste between wines...........
Foie Gras Bread Pudding with Black Fig Compote
Honey Goat Cheese and Applewood Bacon Stuffed Dates
Those two were both amazing, and by far the best dishes of the day.
Kobe Beef sliders on Brioche with Peppercress and Tomato jam
Seared Scallop w/ fire roasted corn puree and crispy sage leaf
Honorable mention goes to the Lump Crabmeat Ravigote on Artichoke and the Lamb Rillete over Root Vegetable Risotto. All of the dishes were great compliments to the fine list of about 200 wines. Unfotunately, I didn't get around to tasting eveything that I would have liked. My palate got fatigued about halfway through, in part, due to a most pleasant hampering by the 20 or so amazing cheeses that were also provided, so I only kept the notes I took early on. Overall, it was a fun day. I found some new wines that I really liked, and I found out that I really disliked some wines that I expected to enjoy. I will certainly attend next year.
There was quite a bit of variation in the quality of the Champagnes. Some were excellent, while others I could barely keep in my mouth for more than a moment. I will say that I prefer my Champagne a little bit warmer so that some of the aromatics and flavors can open up a express themselves a little bit more. Of course, the cold also hides faults, so some of the bubblies that I hated would have been ever worse. Anyhow, my notes are not as detailed as they could have been if the Champagne had not been ice cold, but many were enjoyable nonetheless. bn
I was really excited to try these wines for two reasons. First, I love many of the recent vintages coming out of Spain. Some people may hate El Nido, Vall Llach, Mas Doix, and Termanthia, but I am proud to have them in my cellar. The second reason I wanted to taste these was that, with the exception of the Finca Sandoval, all of these wines were rated by Jay Miller, and I thought this would be a good opportunity to attempt to calibrate my palate to his. I was desperately hoping that all of the heat he has taken for the unbelieveably high Spanish scores from the most recent Wine Advocate would be unwarranted, but, unfortunately, after tasting the wines, I, too, wonder what the hell he was thinking. Yes, they are GREAT wines, but 95 points for the Malleolus? I don't think so. 93 points for the Sierra Cantabria CP? Definitely not anytime soon. Even I loved to see the 98 point rating for the '04 Numanthia......and while it is a good wine, it is nowhere near 2 points from perfect. Oh well. I will still buy and enjoy my Spanish wines, but for now, I'll be looking on Cellertracker and elsewhere for reviews.
Overall, it seems that California producers had a reasonably decent year for Chardonnay in 2004. Most of the wines I tasted were unctuous and full bodied with crisp green apple acidity and loads of tropical flavors. The Ramey Hyde was incredibly complex and, by far, the best white wine of the day.
Among the wine boards and wino community, there has been significant raving about the outstanding quality of the '05 Pinots, which, no doubt, will be deserving of such praise in a few years, but at this time, they are simply just too young for one to enjoy. As a whole, the tannins were thick and just overwhelming, making the wines seem bloated and unbalanced. The fruit and really tart acidity is peeking out from behind the monstrous wall of tannin, leading one to believe that the structure and balance will be there in time. You can tell that these wines have a wealth of complexity, and once the secondary characteristics come into play, these wines will be classics.
There were a few nice wines in this mix of varietals from around the world. I particularly like the 2004 Mendel "Unus", and while it is very young, I can't wait to put a few bottles in my cellar to taste in 5 -10 years. Extremely complex with big, cottony tannin structure that will make for a velvety smooth wine with wonderful crushed berry and spicy, meaty finish in a few years. Obviously, I am particularly partial to Cabernet/Malbec blends, as evidenced by my love of the "Unus", as well as the awe-inspiring 2002 Cheval des Andes that I tasted at the NOWFE last year. Of course, you expect a wine from Cheval Blanc to be good. Anyhow, if you are a fan of the big, rich, extracted, high-toned, berry fruit found in mountain grown Cabernets and the perfumed nose, meaty, velvety textures, and the spicy & earthy plum, berry, and fig flavors found in Argentinean Malbec, then, you'll love these wines. To me, its a blend made in heaven.
We went out to dinner afterwards and I brough along a wine I'd been dying to try. It was the wine of the day. Absolutely spectacular.
I'll finish updating this over the next few days