Saturday saw a 60th birthday party for a remarkable woman and friend. Her sons and stepdaughters had arranged tickets for a family trip to Japan as a surprise gift (party itself was no surprise). So the party was Japan-themed. Platters of sushi, gyosa, chicken teriyaki, etc. There was a lot of sake, and some wine:
NV Laurent-Perrier Champagne
Light, lively, yeasty. B/B+
2005 Borsao (Campo de Borja)
Pleasant and quaffable, pretty red plum fruit with enough acidity and decent length. Not sure it had the little edge of herbs and minerals that made some earlier vintages my favorite $5-6 red, but a nice enough wine. B/B-
1990 Cantina Terre Del Barolo "Vigliero" Barolo Riserva
I had carried this because of a Barolo that the birthday girl had raved over-she's not a geek but remembers this one wine from several years ago (no idea producer, she just remembers it was a Barolo). Now, this is from the lesser of the two Piedmont cooperative- while one hears a lot of (deserved) praise for the Produttori del Barbaresco, this co-op gets less respect. So I had fairly low expectations. But this was actually a fairly solid wine. Ripe black cherry fruit, but not overripe, and no roasted notes. Good acidity for a '90, with good lenght and some typical tar and leather notes. Despite the Riserva designation no noticable oak/vanillin notes. This doesn't have the concentration or complexity of a great Barolo, but a fine showing from a co-op wine. B/B+
2004 Domaine de la Pepiere Muscadet
Opened earlier in day so Betsy could use for a Bolognese sauce (she was playing, and her mom was in town for performance, so no party for Bets), this was truly lovely by evening. Warm ripe crisp apple fruit spiked with lemon over layers of seashells and chalk. Is this my last bottle of this? Maybe best yet, A-
2005 Rancho Zabaco "Dancing Bull" Sauvignon Blanc
Varietally correct, with citrus and gooseberry fruit and a little grassy/herbal note. Not exciting, but ok. B-
The Muscadet was lovely with the lighter sushi- fluke, clam, yellowtail, etc. The Barolo was a great match with the grilled eel, as well as the meatier fishes and the teriyaki. The more complicated rolls were better with water.
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.