Saturday night we had some dear friends over for dinner. Betsy made a roast capon with lemon, roasted Brussels sprouts, and a salad. Jim prefers red and Dana prefers white, so we served both:
2003 Pierre Usseglio Chateauneuf-du-Pape
Ripe and powerful., kirsch and framboise with an overlay of herbs and pepper. Big ripe modern CdP- impressive at first, but the sweetness of the (over?)ripe fruit made it less attractive to me the more I drank. A B-
1975 Ch. Palmer (Margaux)
This is a wine I've liked a lot in the past, but when I saw it for a good price at a Westchester store the owner warned me that he had some bad bottles from the case (though it was an OWC that his usually dependable source had owned since release). He said he would credit if it disappointed. So low expectations. On first opening wine seemed dead- browning color, stinky nose, acidic, thin cooked fruit. I tried the slow-oxygenization method for several hours, and it did help some- the fruit filled out a bit, and the stink mostly blew off. But the fruit maintained that cooked/pruney edge, and it remained acidic. I'll call for my credit tomorrow.
1999 Ch. Montelena Chardonnay (Napa)
I was initially paying more attention to the reds, but this was my favorite of the evening. Fresh crisp pear fruit with a hint of Meyer lemon, good acidity and a nice sense of heft. Not much in the way of oak, just pure clean fruit. After some time and as it warmed slightly the fruit tasted riper and sweeter, and a light nuttiness appeared on the finish. Not for the buttery crowd, but one of the nicest most food-friendly (since the capon was roasted with lemons it was a divine match) California Chardonnay (FOR MY TASTES!) I've had. A-
Good times with good friends.
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.