Ok, so it wasn't a typical tailgate party. Instead of beer and brats, we had onion/feta tarts, an array of cheeses, and shortribs...with lots of good wine. Having survived his hiking vacation, Joe dropped by with Amy to watch the Pats dismantle the Vikings. Drink we did. Lill got no studying done tonight.
NV Gatinois Brut Grand Cru (Aÿ) So after reading some of the recent “young champagne” chatter on the boards, I opened this one about 2 hours prior to first pour to help take the edge off the effervescence. (Thanks Rahsaan) As much as I enjoyed this bubbly early on in the night, I found it had much more depth at about 6 hours after popping. It’s 90% pinot noir (petit noir d’Aÿ), carries lots of meaty red fruit character, and is quite full and rich. The nose has some chocolate cake batter aromas mixed with orange and apple but even with some sweet tones in the nose, it’s quite dry with tangy acidity. Worked as well with cheeses as it did with short ribs.
1987 Bodegas Martinez Bujanda Conde de Valdemar Crianza (Rioja) Uh oh, Joe is offering up a 19yr old crianza from a house that currently makes a fairly inexpensive, modest, entry level wine. The cork comes out clean and the riojan nose is evident even before it’s poured. It has a surprisingly wonderful, deep nose actually. So good, in fact, that I didn’t want to ruin things by drinking the wine. But there is plenty on the palate and finish as well. It’s not as complex or deep in profile as you would get from an aged gran reserve but this wine packs plenty. A bit thin in the middle but good rioja flavor and excellent acidity. Bodegas Bujanda sure did something right back then.
1990 Cantine Gemma Barolo Neither Joe nor I have heard of Cantine Gemma and I’ll never turn down trying a barolo. The current treatment is a mixture of barrique and Slavonian barrel but I don’t know what they used in ’90. The nose is classic aged nebbiolo of a ripe vintage, just full and beautiful. Still lots of fruit, with herbs and anise. I’m not getting any tar at all. The palate is a bit thin but the flavors are ripe and rich with a hint of residual sweetness. Good drying tannins and acidity on the back end. Another nice surprise.
1997 Bertani Amarone della Valpolicella Classico (Veneto) This wine is a bruiser, particularly after the past two aged beauties. Big, chocolate-dusted, ripe, ripe fruit, an unctuous mouthfeel, lots of depth and heft, with plenty of character. It seems just ploddingly thick and sweet though and would have probably faired better on it’s own or after other younger wines. I love Bertani amarone but tonight just wasn’t the right setting for this wine.