My wife and I joined another couple at Gustazo’s in Belmont recently, where the cuisine focuses on traditional Cuban dishes. The restaurant is BYO, and we tried to take full advantage of that while dining on their tasty fare and enjoying their warm hospitality.
2011 Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey St. Aubin 1er Cru Les Creots. The bouquet of this wine stays fairly tightly-coiled throughout the evening, never straying far from its classy and restrained aromatic core of white peach, green apple, oyster shell, flinty mineral and limestone chalk scents. In the mouth, it’s loaded with mineral, chalk and green apple notes off the top, but soon pulls in deeper and fleshier elements of pear and Delicious apple bass notes to round everything out nicely. It gets better and better all night long, showing more and more layers of itself as it unwinds and stretches its legs. Everyone really enjoyed it with our shrimp appetizer, and I think it will be even better 2-3 years down the road.
2004 Boxler Pinot Gris Grand Cru Brand. Here one finds a kaleidoscopic array of rich and softly sweet-toned aromas of tropical fruits, peach juice, butterscotch, lavender, kerosene and blue slate that are luscious and delightfully appealing. It features a somewhat sweet attack of mango, quince, apricot and hazelnut flavors that turn drier through the mid-palate and especially on the flinty finish. It has fantastic richness of flavor to go with a sort of slippery texture and oily finish. There’s a fine twist of lime juice acidity to keep things fresh and driven, and I enjoy this a lot as an appetizer wine, but could also see pairing it with dessert with equal success.
1999 Yacochuya Cafayate. From what I understand, this was the inaugural vintage of this Argentinian venture by Michel Rolland. It’s 100% old vine Malbec that comes from a mountainside vineyard situated at over 2,000 meters. The bouquet is interesting and seems to shift and change every time I start to think I have a handle on it, coming together most cohesively only after a night in the fridge. The most common aromatic threads, however, include carob, dark-roasted coffee beans, mole sauce, scorched earth, plums, boysenberry and black raspberry. On the palate, it seems like it’s still trying to find its footing a bit, with a dry, tannic, grippy character at times, but also plenty of serious and structured blackberry, blueberry and plum fruit at the core. At the same time, there’s a streak of almost Cabernet France leafiness, iron ore and iodine that pervades the wine. In the end, I’m sort of hesitant to recommend it, as I have a really hard time telling whether it will improve with more time in the cellar or has in fact seen its best days.
2003 Enrique Foster Malbec Limited Edition Mendoza. This is a much bigger and bolder-styled wine, starting with the generous and appealing aromas of black currant, blackberry, tobacco, menthol, white pepper and bacon fat that it puts forth right from the start. It’s smooth and polished on the palate, with a warm and giving tone to the flavors of rich chocolate, mocha, fudge and blue fruit. It feels kind of thick-boned and low in acidity (which comes out more on day 2) but it delivers a lot of focused yet bold flavors that work well in this framework.
2000 Quinta da Manuela Duoro. This wine delivers the most densely-packed bouquet of the three reds--with rich, sweet, warm and luscious notes of chocolate, black cherry, blackberry and blueberry fruit kicking out the jams but perhaps showing a bit obvious and oaky at times. In the mouth, it’s velvety, lush and full-bodied, with excellent cohesion and very solid flavors carried by a good bolt of acidity that prevents it from ever feeling over the top. It’s impressively powerful, if still a bit young-seeming for my tastes, and I’m curious to see where this ends up down the road in 5-7 years.
2004 Bodegas Vinos Pinol Terra Alta Vi de Licor Wine #28 Mistela Blanca. As with previous experiences with this wine, there’s about an inch-plus of brown shag resting at the bottom of the 500 ml bottle. It pours a faded orange color and totally smells of toasted orange peel, yellow raisins, peach slices and liquid caramel. In the mouth, it’s full of mandarin orange, creme brulee and caramel flavors that are medium-weighted, gently-balanced and moderately viscous. It has a nice clean finish and seems to be hanging in there quite nicely. It’s certainly a fun way to top off the evening.