Last night a small group gathered to welcome out-of-towner Jane at La Sirene. No formal theme, though advance conversation led to mostly Loire whites, Pinot Noir, and red Rhones. Betsy and I were last to arrive (such traffic for a fall Sunday). The expanded restaurant felt spacious (especially by open windows), and service was very good. I enjoyed a watermelon/feta salad (a bit of a cliche, but I wanted something lighter feeling) and a pork with morels dish (as well as bites of Betsy’s beet salad and filet mignon). The wines:2002 Huet “Le Mont” Vouvray Sec
Michael says some reports of PremOx here, not this bottle. Long, fresh, delicious, all honied quince fruit with citrus and wool. Great finsh. A-2008 F. Cotat “les Monts Damnes” Sancerre
Full, ripe but plenty of acidic backbone, long, sure it’s infanticide but man this drinks well. A-/B+2002 Cazin “Cuvee Renaissance” Cour-Cheverny
Great balance, less sugar showing than when young, minerally with bright fruits. A-B+
we’re on a streak, but then..2004 Belliviere "l'Effraie" Coteaux de Loir
Wow, this is darker than I expected, and there’s a cidery oxidative thing going on. Little resemblance to the wine I loved at release. It actually gets a bit better with air, there’s wool/wax and apple fruit, some minerals, just a hint of sugar. Is this dying, or in a weird place? A little taste after I got home (I rescued bottle) seemed better than at restaurant. Perplexed what to do with remaining bottle. At dinner C+, last taste, B
on to reds2007 d’Angerville “Champans” Volnay 1er
Drinking very well already. Fresh red fruits (cherry and cranberry), just a kiss of vanilla, nice balance, a pretty wine. B+1999 Lafarge “Vendanges Selectionees” Volnay
Very nice nose- flowers, berries, and a kind of Dujac-ish sandalwood note. On palate it’s initially a bit closed, but shows better on revisit- black cherries, some tannin, full with a nice texture. B+/A-2009 LaRue Pinot Noir
A bit fleshy, solid black cherry fruit with an edge of spice, decent acids. B/B+1991 Williams-Selyem “Olivet Lane” Pinot Noir
This is a very good wine- unfortunately this is not a very good bottle. A Winebid purchase (after loving a bottle a couple years ago), cork was totally saturated and wine was madeirized. NR1998 Levet Cote-Rotie
New name to me. A bit rustic, I thought a great nose of blackberry vines, meat, black olives, and tar. Palate wasn’t near as charming, but still a solid wine. B/B+1989 Fonsalette Cotes du Rhone Reserve
I liked better than some. Solid dark fruits, aromas of meat, spice, and cedar, it’s about all I could hope for in 20+ year old CdR. B+1995 Ch. Beaucastel Chateauneuf-du-Pape
I liked this better than some, too! Had to be careful handling this- when Cliff pulled the cork, the glass lip came with it (now that’s a seal). Classic funky blackfruited Beaucastel, deep and long. A-2001 Cuvee du Vatican Chateauneuf du Pape
This bottle showed weirdly, though not corked or cooked. Very ripe, a bit volatile, initially I got some weird asparagusy note but that blew off, but I wasn’t too fond of what it left behind. Big, spirity, too kirschy for me. B-/C+
Too many wines! By the end I didn’t even note the vintage on a lovely Tempier Bandol
that was the last to make the rounds of reds, though it was a tasty meaty example of a Provencal red. There was also a half bottle of 2007 Doisy Vedrines
making the rounds, no note on that as well but I enjoyed it a lot.
Nice to see JC, to catch up with Diane, Cliff and Michael, and especially nice to have my wife with me (and her driving home).
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.