An interesting assortment with Luger's steaks

Columbus, OH

Tasted December 18, 2006 by psmith with 711 views


My friend Andrew and I get together every couple of months for an eclectic assortment of wines. The occasion for this event was a friend of his coming in town from Salt Lake City where, as I understand it, good alcohol, among other things, is a relatively rare commodity. We started the evening with a couple of bubblies:

Flight 1 (2 notes)

White - Sparkling
1988 Salon Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut France, Champagne
Rich, surprisingly advanced nose with honey, vanilla, and orange zest notes. Large-scaled and dense with a somewhat aggressive mousse and grainy feel. Some non-offensive sherry notes. Angular and quickly giving way to a perky acidic finish. Not a pristine bottle, and sort of in an odd place as a result, but still very enjoyable.
White - Sparkling
1973 Taittinger Champagne Brut Millésimé France, Champagne
Cork still comes out with a pop and a surprisingly youthful color. Very clean, honey-laden nose of sweet rolls and orange peel. Great acidity and balance with a well integrated mousse. Drinks really well over several hours and develops a great cherries & cream character. Not the depth or complexity to ever be consider a great wine, but amazingly well preserved and vibrant.

Flight 2 (1 note)

The actual dinner portion of the event followed, with a wonderful risotto and sweetbreads course that paired amazingly well with the somewhat difficult and idiosyncratic Gravner wines. There were a couple of Lispidia wines hanging around that I didn't get a chance to try - my experience with this producer being that 3 bottles need to be opened to find a single "correct" one.

2001 Gravner Breg Anfora Italy, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Venezia Giulia IGT
Pinkish orange color. Beautiful cherry pit and exotic citrus and floral notes. Wonderfully complex and rich, palate with more restrained and tame tannins than Gravner sometimes shows. Great length. Wonderful stuff and deliciously paired with well-spiced honey and ginger risotto with grilled sweetbreads. Confirms some TCA influence in my last bottle of this.

Flight 3 (6 notes)

The next course was steak frites with what must have been 32-40oz porterhouses ordered from Peter Luger's. The steaks were as good as any I've had....actually, they were better than what I've had at Luger's. Expensive, but well worth the splurge for special occasions.

1968 Mastroberardino Taurasi Riserva Italy, Campania, Taurasi DOCG
Dark red color. Heady, polish-laced nose with somewhat subdued dark red fruits and earth notes. More feminine than expected but still fiercely tannic. Very refined, patrician wine but not living up to its legendary status. Remains tasty and interesting despite losing some focus after several hours in the decanter.
1955 Antonio Vallana e Figlio Spanna Italy, Piedmont, Northern Piedmont, Colline Novaresi
Youthful truffle and rose petal notes with red Nebbiolo fruits. Medium-bodied and well textured with significant tannin remaining. Nice complexity with time. I could easily mistake this for a 1990, which makes me wonder how these were stored/bottled/reconditioned/etc.
1974 Beaulieu Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Georges de Latour Private Reserve USA, California, Napa Valley
I've had this wine around 4-5 times now and only one bottle has been good (great actually). This one was both totally dead and slightly corked. Nasty.
1961 Luigi Rizzo Gattinara Italy, Piedmont, Northern Piedmont, Gattinara
Probably the coolest dusty old-school bottle I've ever seen. Brown, oxidized and murky color. Lots of VA on the nose, nail-polish and tawny fruit. Not a bad palate at all - old tarry Nebbiolo fruit, decaying leaves or old potpourri. Chewy, hard tannins. As much old wine at this point as Gattinara. Probably better than half would pour this out, and it definitely requires a bit of imagination to enjoy, but some very interesting stuff going on and I went back for thirds+.
1993 Château Angélus France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru
Green, cab-franc nose with blackberry fruits. Medium-bodied with grainy tannins. A nice surprise that's still not ready.
1972 Carneros Creek Winery Gamay USA, California, Napa / Sonoma, Carneros
Grapefruit juice nose and similar palate. Light and very acidic. Not totally dead, but odd. I may have drunk this as a college freshman but no chance with better options around.

Flight 4 (1 note)

At this point I pretty much switched to coffee, water, and conversation, but gave a half-bottle of port a few sips:

Red - Fortified
1988 Quinta de la Rosa Porto Vintage Portugal, Douro, Porto
From 375mL.

Just sipped on a bit. Lighter-style and ready to go. Red fruits and anise notes. Some nail-polish. Enjoyable.
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