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Dale Williams

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WTN: SOBER has great Bdx, Rioja, plus US, Rhone, Piedmont

by Dale Williams » Fri Sep 07, 2007 10:59 am

SOBER gathered last night at Mark Golodetz's for a lovely night of food, wine, jokes, and conversations. Mark and Nancy did a fantastic job hosting, and Mark chose some great wines to serve us blind:

1993 Vilmart Coeur de Cuvee (from Magnum), not blind
Apple fruit accented with citrus, some yeast roll notes, good length. Kind of mid-weight style. B+

We started with some proscuitto, salami, and cheese. Due to some decanter switching due to a corked bottle, numbering got confusing, so I'm just numbering from 1 to 11. In the first flight, table consensus was American, though I thought what I have listed as 3rd wine could be Bordeaux. I was wrong.

1st wine- some immediately threw the TCA yellow flag; I was getting an off odor, but not really the usual musty/moldy note. Some big fruit underneath. But it did seem off, and I obediently dumped. A couple of folks weren't sure it was corked, but a resmell of one's glass later showed the damp cardboard in abundance. It was Helen Turley's first wine, the 1984 BR Cohn Cabernet Sauvignon
2nd wine
This was served very cool, a quick replacement for one above. Sweet dark plum fruit, a little mint/menthol, moderate length. 1985 BR Cohn Cabernet Sauvignon. B

3rd wine
This is the one I thought could be Bordeaux. Big nose of brett at first, but it blows off a bit and integrates ok. Black fruit and mushrooms framed by the cow patty aromas, resolved tannins but a backbone of acidity. 1976 Chappelet Cabernet Sauvignon B+

4th wine
Slightly lifted nose, red sharp fruit. A funny sharpness- someone called it vinegary, and John thought it showed artificial acidulation. Drinkable, I guess, but I didn't. 1983 Ch. Ste. Michelle Cold Creek Cabernet Sauvignon B-

Next flight was clearly a bunch of winners. Dan quickly nailed fifth wine as Rioja, I thought last two wines might be Barbaresco, but Mark said 3 different countries, so I thought then the last one. Wrong again.

5th wine
Also a lifted nose, but this seemed aromatic rather than sharp. Light and elegant, lovely delicate wine with red fruit, cedar, and a hint of coffee. 1981 Lopez de Heredia "Tondonia" Gran Reserva. A-

6th wine
Herby, bright, red cherries, earth. Mark says this is the estate from where Giacosa gets the grapes for his Santo Stefano. 1985 Castello di Neive Santo Stefano Barbaresco. B+

7th wine
Red and sweet, a little tea, tar, and earth. I'm actually quite surprised when it's revealed- 1983 Beaucastel Chateauneuf-du-Pape. B/B+

A little break for a delicious gazpacho, then Mark ventured out to grill some lovely thick steaks. The next group of wines were all consumed with steak, potatoes, and spinach.

8th wine
A Margaux-ish floral/berry touch on the nose, lovely mouthfeel, good length. Dark fruit, earth and graphite, cigarbox. Very nice wine.
1970 Domaine de Chevalier A-

9th wine
Tobacco, red fruit, nice medium-weight claret.
1974 Haut-Brion B/B+

10th wine
Very sweet fruit, young and fresh. Lots of earth, a little bandaid. Some damp forest floor accents the rich fruit. 1961 Pape Clement. A-/A

11th wine
Kinda funky at first, but in a nice way. Rich dark fruit, cigar, leather, cedar. High but integrated acids. What a flight! 1970 Ducru-Beaucaillou. A-

Just a great night of wine, food, and friends. Thanks to Mark and Nancy for incredible hospitality.

Grade disclaimer: I'm a very easy grader, basically A is an excellent wine, B a good wine, C mediocre. Anything below C means I wouldn't drink at a party where it was only choice. Furthermore, I offer no promises of objectivity, accuracy, and certainly not of consistency
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Marc D

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Re: WTN: SOBER has great Bdx, Rioja, plus US, Rhone, Piedmont

by Marc D » Fri Sep 07, 2007 2:15 pm

Dale, you guys are slumming again.

Seriously, what a great bunch of wines. A single bottle of any of those ( well, not the corked Cab) over several hours at home would be a perfect evening.

Is there any way to tell from tasting if the wine has been artificially acidulated? I had a 2000 WA Cab blend last week that I thought may have had acids added from how spiky the wine tasted, and it didn't really match with the super ripe fruit.

Thanks,
Marc Davis
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Dale Williams

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Re: WTN: SOBER has great Bdx, Rioja, plus US, Rhone, Piedmont

by Dale Williams » Fri Sep 07, 2007 2:33 pm

I really don't know. It was John Gilman, a wine writer, who felt it ws acidulated. He thought the almost vinegary note was what happens when someone overdoes the tartaric acid additions. He called it early on, and whether the cause is correct I think most of us noticed the sharpness.
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Dale Williams

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Re: WTN: SOBER has great Bdx, Rioja, plus US, Rhone, Piedmont

by Dale Williams » Fri Sep 07, 2007 3:03 pm

To clarify, I've speculated that maybe acid was added when I felt the acids were unintegrated, but don't know tht I was right.

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