These notes are from dinner at home with my extended family on my birthday a while back, for which my wife and in-laws did all of the cooking while I supplied all of the wines from our cellar.
2009 Ottella Lugana Superiore Molceo. This wine presents rather airy and delicate aromas of chalk, straw, lemon-lime, seashells and white flowers on the nose. In the mouth, it is fresh and a bit tart, with a dry, crisp finish. In the mid-palate, it is light to medium-weight but shows plenty of citrus, melon and mineral flavors that are tightly-structured and directed. It is a refreshing and tasty wine made in a delicate but driven style that is pretty classy and certainly well-suited to shellfish.
2009 Domaine des Guyons Saumur L'Ardile. This wine presents a stark contrast to the first one, with fairly serious viscosity evident from the thick legs inside the glass. The nose features pleasing aromas of beeswax, honeydew melon, mango, allspice, clotted cream and citrus peel. In the mouth, it has an interesting oily viscosity that is noticeable right from the start. Still, I find the wine to have a certain languid sense of energy as it nicely coats the inside of the mouth with delicious yellow fruit flavors and fine minerality. It is still fairly young-seeming, but it is full of flavor. It seems to tighten up a bit on the finish, though, so I might suggest coming back to it in another year or two.
2009 Huët Vouvray Demi-Sec Le Haut-Lieu. This is much brighter and livelier than the Saumur, with a racier personality all the way through—starting with the bouquet of lanolin, minerals, quince, bright apricot and honeysuckle aromas that are fine-honed and full of promise. In the mouth it is expansive and mouth-coating, yet brisk and taut underneath it all. It is exceptionally well-balanced, holistic and focused—with an exciting flavor profile of ripe peach, lemon ball, chalk and minerals that go well with a whole range of foods on this night. There’s obviously a long life ahead for this wine, but I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it for current drinking, either.
2000 Domaine Pierre Amiot et Fils Morey St. Denis 1er Cru Les Millandes. I had this wine about a year earlier and really enjoyed it. This bottle was even better. First of all, it sports lovely aromas of tree bark, sarsparilla, tea leaves, lilacs, sweaty leather, dark cherries and cranberries that are really full-fledged, alive and singing in fine harmony. It is a really tasty wine, as well, with tangy red currants up front and darker cherry notes filling in behind, with excellent supporting accents of dark earth, leather and spice. It is vibrant, controlled and full of lively flavor on a medium-weighted frame. It may not be the longest wine, or even the most mouth-filling, but it sure is a pure pleasure to drink right now.
1993 Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande Pauillac. The nose here is cool, savory and earthy, with lots of green pepper, dusty back road, cocoa, aged leather, clay, scorched earth, browning tobacco leaf and dark currant fruit aromas showing a lot of classicism and just getting better and better the longer the bottle stays open. In the mouth, it comes across as more masculine than I expected, with a cool, sinewy, and savory profile that features muscled notes of black and red currants, black cherries, dusty earth and some faint animal impressions. It has a fleshy texture but stays fairly serious and cool-toned from start to finish, ending with solid intensity and lasting flavors. It seems like it has plenty left in the tank, but we really enjoyed it for current consumption, too. Although my WOTN was the Amiot, this was my wife’s favorite wine of the evening, without question.
2001 Domaine Pierre Usseglio & Fils Châteauneuf du Pape. Even though the bouquet here is still somewhat tightly-wound, I find myself really liking the cool, savory aromas of worn leather, horsehair, dried sweat, dark earth, garrigue, ash, red currant and dark cherry that it is giving off already. In the mouth, it is sleek and focused but also dark and rich-fruited—with an earthy sensibility to the entry and very good volume through the mid-palate with full-bodied black currant and blackberry fruit and fine minerality. There’s excellent freshness and lift to the finish and the whole thing is just working really nicely right now. I see no problem holding this, but the tannins are quite tame and it is a delight to drink now.