Cathleen hosted SOBER last night. Mark gave me a ride, so not as much spitting as the norm, yippee. As we arrived we were greeted with a glass of Champagne. Full, toasty, and long, with citrus and lemon notes, a delicious nutty mature Champagne. I really loved this, though I said not the style I gravitate towards, to discover it was in fact the 1989 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne (I usually hold Comtes up as my ideal). So much for my blind tasting Champagne! A-/A
On to the blind reds. There were great salami and cheeses on table. Steve and Catheen put on an amazing dinner- pea soup, what might be the greatest mushroom risotto I’ve ever had, and a lamb stew.
Flight #1 We got Piedmont quickly, but flailed at vintage
Wine #1- Black cherry fruit, pepper, tar. This had many hours of air, I thought it older than it was but very nice. 1999 Bartolo Mascarello Barolo B+
Wine #2- quite volatile nose, red fruit, smoke. I liked more on palate than nose. 1999 Giacosa “Asili” Barbaresco B/B+
Flight #2 - ok, clearly Cathleen has a theme in mind, these are Piedmont too
Wine #1- Cherry fruit, ripe, straightforward. 1990 Borgogno Barolo B+
Wine #2- Fleshy, ripe, ready. 1990 Francesco Rinaldi Barolo B
Wine #3 - Exotic nose, full, smoked meats and good fruit. Excellent. 1990 G. Mascarello “Monprivato” Barolo A-
Flight #3 - ok, no more need to guess region!
Wine #1- Elegant, fresh, nice balance, classic, my favorite of flight by a good margin.
1982 F. Rinaldi Barolo A-
Wine #2 - hugely volatile nose (someone said “seashore” , remind me not to go to beach with them, then clarified as “low tide”). Much better on palate (low bar) with cherries and roses.. 1979 F. Rinaldi Barbaresco B-
Wine #3 - a bit lifted but not as volatile as #2. Full, red fruits, tar. I like better than neighbors. 1978 F. Rinaldi Barolo B+/B
Wine #4 - some thought corked, I got no TCA, but agreed with Cathleen a weird lactic wine. Barolo with a buttermilk nose? 1974 F. Rinaldi Barolo C-
Wine #1- Lovely, balanced, complex. 1971 F. Rinaldi Barbaresco Cavalieri del Tarfufo e dei Vini di Alba A-
Wine #2- all I wrote was tired B-/B 1970 F Rinaldi Barolo
Wine #3 Maderized, Mark said problem was it had a long finish, and he could still taste it after 45 seconds. Still, I thought there was something interesting under the oxidation. 1970 Rinaldi Barolo Cavalieri del Tarfufo e dei Vini di Alba C+
Flight #5 wowsa. I guessed 64 and 67, just because they were great and that would be progression
Wine #1- red fruit and rose petals, cool and elegant. 1964 F Rinaldi Barolo A-/A
Wine #2 Umami! Red fruit and soy, mushrooms and tar, long, lovely. 1961 F Rinaldi Barolo A-
There were a pair of dessert wines. First was loaded with nuts and spice, I guessed Rivesaltes only because I knew of Cathleen’s enthusiasm, Mark got vintage. 1978 Cazes Rivesaltes, A-/B+. I thought the other was actually Madeira, nope, 1986 Delaforce Colheita. B
A mix of hits (home runs) and misses, which happens with older bottles. Overall a fine night with lots of interesting stuff.
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.