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Dale Williams

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WTN: SOBER: 5 Bdx, 3 Rhones, 3 Baroli, 1 Port

by Dale Williams » Thu Oct 26, 2006 10:12 am

Mark Golodetz hosted last night's meeting of SOBER (Several Oenophiles Becoming Extremely Rambunctious) and put on a superb night of food and wine. A great lineup:

1988 Lanson "Noble Cuvee" ChampagneFresh baked bread, apple pie. Good acidity, good length. I don't tend to drink much aged Champagne, but liked this a lot in a very brief taste. B+

Mark had a nice assortment of paté, meats, and cheeses out. The first flight was blind:
Wine #1 : Ripe, meaty nose. Some stones and smoke on palate. Sweet pure dark berry fruit, good acidic balance, resolved tannins. John pretty quickly says Northern Rhone, chooses Hermitage over Côte-Rôtie, and he's right, the 1983 Delas Freres "Marquise de la Tourette" Hermitage
A-

Wine #2: Very ripe, kirschy, full, a little hint of barnyard. Seems shorter and drier on finish than other two. Some olives and mushrooms with time.
With the hint of knowing wine #1 a couple people quickly identify the 1983 Jabloulet "La Chapelle" Hermitage. B

Wine #3. Somewhat lifted nose. Rather deep fruit, a meaty note like #1, fully mature. It's the 1983 Chave Hermitage. John says this bottle is a bit advanced, but I like, although a tad less than #1. B+/A-

Next flight was served with a delicious lamb stew (with a hint of lemon) and pureed parsnips. Not blind.

1996 Pape-Clement (Pessac-Leognan)
Earthy, mineral, with redcurrant fruit. Some tobacco and pencil shavings with time. My favorite for drinking today, though it certainly has plenty of life ahead of it. A-

1996 Pontet-Canet (Pauillac)

Ripest and most modern of the bunch (our leading oneo-Ludditte John has a good time riffing on its faults), but I like (as I have in the past). Cassis and sweet oak, nice texture, nice finish. Outclassed a bit, but a nice wine for me. B+

1996 Leoville-Barton (St. Julien)
I find this beautiful, rich and structured with deep deep dark fruit and long finish. Not as ready as the Pape-Clement, A-

Mark brought out another blind wine. He asked me what I thought, I found it rather oaky/modern, pretty sure it was Cabernet/Merlot. Guesses around the table included young Spanish. Oops, the 1996 Haut-Brion (Pessac-Leognan). Not exactly posterchild for modern in Bdx, but you can't take your guess back. After a bit it opens somewhat, but to me it's still rather oaky and monolithic. Powerful wine. I'm sure that the oak will integrate, but B+ for now.

Next flight (not blind) was accompanied by the cheeses (nice assortment especially a Tallegio).

1996 Sandrone "Cannubi Boschis" Barolo

High acidity, good red fruit, a bit of cedar but dominated by flowers and a little tar. Not as tannic as many 1996 Barolos, but does need some time. I liked a lot. A-/B+

1997 Sandrone "Cannubi Boschis" Barolo
Not surprisingly the ripest of three. Low acid, soft, ripe round fruit. Doesn't seem as deep as the '96, but would be ok as a restaurant wine. B/B+

1998 Sandrone "Cannubi Boschis" Barolo
Quite thin compared to the other two, wood sticks out more. Maybe a little green. Mark felt it was much better with the cheese than alone. I think better with food, but still my least favorite wine of night. But if I got in a restaurant I'd shrug and make do. B-

Another blind wine, this time I refrained from guessing as I overheard Mark say what it was. But I don't think I would have been close. The 1971 Haut-Brion was so fresh and young I would have never have guessed its age. Pure clean fruit, earth and ferric minerals, beautiful and my WOTN. A

We finished with the 1965 Delaforce Colheita. Very caramelly, with a little marmalade and mocha. Sweet, clean, easy. B+

Nice night with a nice group and a generous host.

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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Ian Sutton

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Re: WTN: SOBER: 5 Bdx, 3 Rhones, 3 Baroli, 1 Port

by Ian Sutton » Thu Oct 26, 2006 10:51 am

Dale
Re: the 98 Barolo. With nebbiolo's in general the fruit seems very hidden in 98 vintage. I've found the tannins to be very dominant in recent tastings, with the fruit just overpowered. The Aldo Conterno Barolo 98 we had a couple of weeks ago improved noticeably with a day in the decanter (with top on). I'm tempted to think they'll come round, but they do seem to be very difficult at the moment.
regards
Ian
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Dale Williams

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Re: WTN: SOBER: 5 Bdx, 3 Rhones, 3 Baroli, 1 Port

by Dale Williams » Thu Oct 26, 2006 4:38 pm

Ian,
I think most '98s might be at an awkward stage now, but this seemed a little thin - and possibly green. I actually have one bottle of the A. Conterno '98 normale. I was thinking 7-10 years, sound about right?
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Re: WTN: SOBER: 5 Bdx, 3 Rhones, 3 Baroli, 1 Port

by Ian Sutton » Thu Oct 26, 2006 4:57 pm

Dale Williams wrote:Ian,
I think most '98s might be at an awkward stage now, but this seemed a little thin - and possibly green. I actually have one bottle of the A. Conterno '98 normale. I was thinking 7-10 years, sound about right?

Dale
Based on our tasting I really haven't a clue. I'm not planning to open bottle 2 (of 3) for another 3-5 years on the strength of this tasting. I think this vintage is a gamblers vintage (more so than the normal barolo gamble) and it might turn out excellent in 10 years or may never be very good. Maybe we can book an open mike for 5 years from now and compare :wink:

regards

Ian

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