As much fun as I have going to SOBER (Several Oenophiles Being Extremely Rambunctious) events, the most fun I have with wine all year is my turn to host, when I get a chance to bring out my best bottles for folks who have been so generous to me. Last night was my turn up this year, and thankfully Betsy was home to do the vast majority of the cooking. I had intended to come home very early, but cascading disasters kept me at office later than I intended, but she covered almost all of my culinary assignments. That, and the fact that almost every wine showed at upper end of my expectation range, made it a good night for me!
When folks arrived, we had some canapes (smoked salmon with horseradish creme fraiche, smoked trout mousse) and pate out, and opened 2 Champagnes:
1985 Andre Beaufort Brut Champagne
In a very good place, full and lively with spice and orange zest notes, moderately yeasty, very good. A-
1985 Veuve Cliquot Brut Rose Champagne
Not tired, but compared to the Breton it seemed simply and appley. B-/C+
First course was a mushroom soup to go with the first blind flight. Group was immediately in Burgundy, Cathleen got NSG, Dan quickly got 1993.
First Red Flight
1993 Chevillon “Les Chaignots” Nuits St. George 1er Cru
Young, black raspberry fruit, soft and easy., B/B+
1993 Chevillon “Les Pruliers” Nuits St. George 1er Cru
The only one showing its age, a little pruney, but nice earthy notes. B
1993 Chevillon “Les Vaucrains” Nuits St. George 1er Cru
Full, lovely, and long, a bit exotic. A-
Next course was lobster salad on seaweed salad, with some assorted whites. Dan quickly got that third wine had some SB, Mark was sure first two were Burgundy , but it took a few guesses to get to Corton.
1992 Dubreuil-Fontaine Corton-Charlemagne
This flight was just opened and decanted before service, this needed air to blossom (best was as I was doing dishes). Elegant, crisp, long. A-
1999 Patrick Javillier Corton-Charlemagne
This fell apart quickly, I think more the pox than the wine. First bit showed pear and hazelnut with some vanilla, later sips showed oxidation. B-
1983 Domaine de Chevalier blanc (Graves)
I didn’t hear anyone list this among their favorites of the night, but I thought lovely and classic white Bordeaux. Long, elegant, and fresh (guesses once Dan nailed Bordeaux were things like ‘94 LavilleHB). Wax and chalk with fresh fruit. A-/A
We followed with a non-blind red flight, a couple of wines that if they showed well I wanted appreciated for what they were, and that no one was likely to have tried before. Luckily they both showed well!
1964 Ridge “Montebello” Cabernet Sauvignon
Montebello was only in small type, but I confirmed identity with winery. Ripe and leathery, dust, menthol, doing quite well. Very satisfying showing for a pre-Draper MB! A-/B+
1929 Poujeaux (Moulis/Medoc)
I consulted Craig for advice, he agreed a good candidate for slow ox. Popped during afternoon, hey it smells like wine (for me with ancient bottles always hope for that as first step!). Good advice from Craig, this showed very well when served several hours later. Rather lush black plum fruit, a lot of cigarbox, no one would have guessed 83 years old if I had blinded. Fine showing for its pedigree. A-
A flareup added a bit of char to some lamb chops, but they survived, served with some basil oil as well as long beans and rice balls. Next blind flight took a detour to Loire CF in the guessing, but group quickly made way back to Bordeaux.
1982 Figeac (St. Emilion)
Intensely herby, fleshy red fruit, good but not as good as other bottles I’ve had. Apparently Mark guessed Figeac early and I somehow misunderstood and said no. Oops. B/B+ for this bottle.
1982 L’Evangile (Pomerol)
Lush, velvety, dark fruits with herb and tobacco, smooth and long. A-
1997 Lafleur (Pomerol)
OK, so this isn't a great Lafleur, but one of the best '97s I've tasted. Medium to full bodied, tannins resolving, good length, spice and red fruits. B+
We ended with cheese (Colson Basset Stilton, Ossau-Iraty, Keens Cheddar, and Cowgirl RedHawk).
Final blind flight fooled no one, instantly in Bordeaux, though took a couple guesses till Mark got St. Estephe and Calon Segur,
1959 Calon Segur (St. Estephe)
Full, ripe, long, powerful, meat and dark berries. B+
1966 Calon Segur (St. Estephe)
This is more elegant and classic claret than the ‘59 (though the latter might be the more classic St. Estephe). I slightly preferred B+/A-
We finished with the 1989 Huet Cuvee Constance Vouvray (375 ml). Still my favorite dessert wine of all time (if anything the half bottle is drinking better than the 750s). Waxy, wooly, wonderful. Great acidity, vibrant, complex. A.
Great group, I enjoyed the conversation (though in our tiny house, serving blind means I had to keep running to basement - decanting station was on top of the washing machine). Fun night (and since everyone brings own stems, a lot less cleanup than normal dinner party). It’s always good when the wines show as well as you hoped!
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.