"Monet" a person would like to sample some of the wines we sampled Sunday evening at "Vin" in Raleigh. My sister (visiting from Iowa) and I attended the Monet in Normandy exhibit Sunday morning at North Carolina Museum of Art (it will be there until January and also in Cleveland and San Francisco). I had brunch at Enoteca Vin Restaurant and returned in the evening for a special wine dinner.
1996 TAITTINGER COMTES DE CHAMPAGNE
(Lighting too dim to really judge the colors of any of the wines)
I'm particular about Champagnes--usually prefering a Blanc de Noir with plenty of Pinot Noir, but the few times I have had Taittinger, I have been very pleased. Steady central and narrow stream of bubbles. Pain grille or toast on the nose along with almonds. Plenty of tingle on the palate. Refreshing with some lemon zest and not very "doughy." Small bites served with the Champagne.
With the scallop first course:
1996 DELARCHE CORTON CHARLEMAGNE RESERVE
This Burgundy grand cru was crisp, brilliant, balanced, with minerals and muted fruit (couldn't pin it down to lemon, pear, etc.). I appreciated this more as a package than for the fruitiness. Very nice.
A superb match for the Duck Confit was
1999 GIRARDIN ROMANEE ST-VIVANT (my first ever Romanee St-Vivant).
These 1999 red Burgundies don't ever seem to go through a closed phase. I'm going to have to pull out some more at home.
Cherry liqueur with a long finish. Smooth, smooth, smooth. Very tasty just to sip but excellent with the duck.
I will edit this tomorrow because I don't recall what the next course was and the menu is out in the car. Whatever it was, it was served with three red wines.
1978 TORRES GRAN CORONAS BLACK LABEL
Despite the age, not browning. Smooth and fruity. One of my favorites of the evening.
This Spanish wine from Catalonia is from Cabernet Sauvignon grapes.
Fittingly, it was in a flight with two Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve wines.
1994 ROBERT MONDAVI CABERNET SAUVIGNON RESERVE (Oakville, Napa, CA)
Still a little tight everyone at my table agreed, exhibiting some tannins. Lots of potential. Mellowed a little with time and aeration. Should peak in maybe 3-4 years?
1991 ROBERT MONDAVI CABERNET SAUVIGNON RESERVE
Smoother, more mature than the '94. In its prime now I would believe. Very nice indeed. I like the elegant, restrained style of Mondavi compared to some over-the-top California wineries.
Beef tenderloin and a risotto with chanterelle and porcini mushrooms was served with
1961 CHATEAU BEYCHEVILLE, Bordeaux, France
Possibly browning although dim lighting made it difficult to be sure. Less intense color than the three wines in the previous flight.
Long finish. Not especially fruity but I also didn't find it leathery or suggestive of tobacco. Well balanced. Not tired. If this is typical of a good Bordeaux at this age (45 years!) I found it very likable indeed even without a lot of fruit. Robert Parker gave it 88 points: "This beychevelle continues to age gracefully, but it is not in the top league of 1961s. I have always regarded it as a fruity, concentrated wine that has a voluptuous, expansive, even sweet taste. The wine has been fully mature for over a decade." (rp) I'm not sure when his notes were written. I would score it in the 90's but then I haven't been able to compare it with other '61 Bordeaux to see if it is in the top ranks or not.
Dessert was an apple crepe dish.
Marvelous dinner and wines. I would start to name my favorites and have three or five or six favorites. Whose complaining!