Random dinner notes

Columbus, OH

Tasted June 7, 2006 by psmith with 825 views


My friend Andrew and I got together last night for dinner and some wines. The goal is typically to find unusual and interesting wines and to sort of drink around those that aren't very good. However the wines show, we usually end up drinking an obscene number of them while talking about all sorts of obscure issues.

Flight 1 (4 notes)

We started off with a flurry of whites, some better than others. I'm told that, as of this morning, the '03 Rostaing is still disgusting:

2003 F.X. Pichler Grüner Veltliner Smaragd Loibner Berg Austria, Niederösterreich, Wachau
83 points
Uncharacteristically ripe pear and rich tropical fruit nose. Some background mineral notes. A noticeable alcoholic bite. A spicy white peppery finish might be the only thing Gruner about this. Full-bodied but at the expense of focus and precision. Not awful, but a relative let-down.
2003 Rene Rostaing Condrieu La Bonnette France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Condrieu
Decanted to get rid of a CO2 spritz ostensibly used to preserve freshness - frankly, the wine doesn't merit preserving.

A sweet edge to the nose with some odd fungal notes. Totally out of balance flavors come across as flabby without any acidic or mineral component. Rich but angular orange-oil type body. If any better than a bottle six months ago only because of the absence of CO2. Nasty.
2004 Rene Rostaing Condrieu La Bonnette France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Condrieu
93 points
Really pretty nose, floral and exotic with lemony citrus components. An austere, mineral-driven palate with a nicely restrained viscous texture. More in common with Chateau Grillet than Condrieu. Really good stuff.
White - Off-dry
1988 Egon Müller Scharzhofberger Riesling Spätlese Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer
Deep gold/copper color. Pine-sol and apple cider nose. Caramelized sugar with an intertwined acidity that keeps this from being totally awful. While maybe drinkable, and no doubt better with food, well past any prime this might have had.

Flight 2 (5 notes)

Dinner was a steak tasting consisting of a grass-fed ribeye, a dry aged strip, and a dry aged ribeye grilled rare/med-rare with asparagus, some delicious fries with sea salt, and béarnaise. The consensus winner was the grass-fed ribeye, while second place was a split decision, me preferring the dry aged ribeye. With dinner we had:

1999 Château Pavie France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru
90 points
Surprisingly restained rich dark fruits and a characteristic green streak. Quite perfumed with a thickly textured palate and nice minerallity. Not totally in-sync, but a tasty young wine.
1985 Domaine Dujac Clos de la Roche France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Clos de la Roche Grand Cru
91 points
Dujac funk and stems. A bit porty and unbalanced at first but picked up body and smoothed out with time. Red and black strawberry-type fruit with a pronounced earthy component. Ready to go. Tasty with an assortment of grilled steaks.
1985 Bargetto Cabernet Sauvignon Bates Ranch USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
87 points
Classically styled cabernet. Red fruit and a welcome green component. A bit angular and clipped by hard, coarse tannins that will probably never subside. Soundly made, enjoyable wine.
2001 August Kesseler Spätburgunder Cuvée Max Germany, Rheingau
91 points
A pretty, feminine, cold-climate Pinot nose with lavender and waxy bright berry fruit. Tart and youthful palate with a hard, lasting acidity and a spicy anise edge. Delicious.
1990 Domaine Jaboulet-Vercherre Pommard 1er Cru Clos de la Commaraine France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Pommard 1er Cru
81 points
Thin, mildly spiced old fruits and cheesy notes. Without depth or charm - light palate quickly gives way to structural components. Not a terrible drink, but nothing exciting here.

Flight 3 (1 note)

Andrew brought out a couple of Condrieu after dinner, while we were sort of just grabbing whatever wine looked interesting. The other Condrieu, a 2000 Domaine Francois Villard Condrieu Les Terasses du Palat, smelled too weird and disgusting to taste and, apparently, was not an anomalous bottle as Andrew had a similar impression of a previous one.

2000 Domaine Yves Cuilleron Condrieu La Petite Cote France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Condrieu
87 points
Opulent and ripe tropical fruits and a viscous, oily texture. Traces of matchstick and alcoholic heat. Very Cuilleron. Not complicated, but enjoyable.

Flight 4 (2 notes)

We had a few dessert wines with us as well, including the remainder of an 1899 Seppelt's Para Port that I've been enjoying for a couple of months now. The wines played nicely with a couple of slices of a delicious pecan pie.

Red - Sweet/Dessert
1959 Antonio Ferrari Solaria Jonica Puglia IGT Italy, Puglia, Puglia IGT
90 points
Some tawny and Recioto elements. Intense and forward fig-liqueur with prune notes. Still fresh with a tart acidity and grainy tannins. Promising elements, and a nice treat, but no greater than the sum of it's parts and lacks any sort of crescendo on the palate. Would benefit from aeration.
Red - Fortified
2000 Quinta do Noval Porto Vintage Nacional Portugal, Douro, Porto
Decanted 8 hours. As large-scaled a monstrosity of a young port as I've ever had. Intensely sweet dark, rich fruits and mint. Firmly tannic with an alcoholic bite. A tasty and fun experiment, but just too massive and young for any sort of meaningful assessment.

Not surprisingly smoothed out and more enjoyable on day two. Potent floral and menthol type notes under ultra-concentrated black fruits. Thick and creamy on the palate with great length and firmly mouth-gripping tannins. Heat seems to have dissipated some.

Considerably more integrated on day three. Creamy chocolate covered cherry notes. Fresh, long tannic finish. Delicious.

Finished on day four, unchanged.
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