We have some very good chefs in town. My absolute favorite is Spencer Santenello who ran the best restaurant in town called Prospect Street Cafe. Unfortunately Spencer closed the restaurant a couple of years ago to pursue his other hobbies, but is still around and agreed to cook dinner for us in the home of Lars and Carolyn.
Paolo Bea Santa Chiara 2010 Umbria - deep color, touch oxidized style, reserved nose, but great mouth with nuts, pine pitch, honey, peppery finish. Delicious.
With bruschetta w/cherry tomato and goat cheese,
Art Space Winery Argios Augouros 'Saint August' Santorini 2012 - 100% Assyrtiko from own rooted, old vines on the slope near Pyrgos. Saline minerals, flowery, underripe pineapple with full body and good acidity, didn't note any heat despite 14% abv. Represents the volcanic terroir well.
Secret de Grand Bateau blanc Bordeaux 2010 - prominent 'classy oak' nose, later with air gooseberry and citrus Sauvignon blanc flavors show up. Bright and juicy. Pretty good for oak raised SB.
N.V. Bollinger Cuvee Exeptionelle ?est. vintage 1958 - Warren picked this up at auction for cheap. Tawny color, oxidized sherry flavors, a touch of bubbles then flat. Sounds ruined but it was better then that and the fino like flavors were a good match with the next dish of chickpea socca cakes with seared tuna and mizuna leaf. The cake was more like a crepe, and was very tasty.
Warren wanted to serve this next wine before it died so there was a red interlude.
Ch Malescot - Saint Exupery Margaux 1959 - younger looking, hardly any bricking, smoky bottle bouquet, then still some fruit left, structure is mainly acids, very fine, a treat to taste
With an incredible course of seared foie gras with roast pumpkin, pickled chanterelles, arugula, smoked duck spanish sherry vinaigrette, charred pumpkin seed Jenise opened Huet Vouvray Cuvee Constance 1995. It was a pretty good match but the dish was more savory then sweet so could have gone another way with the wine. The wine was just beautiful, honeyed apricot, viscous, good acids. Will live for a long time and probably never be 'ready', whatever, it tasted great.
Olga Raffault Chinon Las Picasses 1985, a nice bottle of this, pretty clean, expressive, foresty, some green pepper and red fruits. I like a lot. Ready to drink.
Next there were several mid 90's bottles from an obscure French appellation.
Chateau Pichon Lalande Pauillac 1996
Chateau Eglise Clinet Pomerol 1995
Chateau Pichon Baron Pauillac 1994
Chateau Lafite Rothschild Pauillac 1996
The 96 Lalande had the most gorgeous nose, but fairly big tannin. Fabulous wine that needs time or fatty cuts of meat.
The 96 Lafite was a bit tighter aroma wise, but very classic Pauillac flavors and oh so fine tannin. I'd wait on these if I had any. Very promising.
The 94 Baron was the most ready to drink, expressive nose and nicely balanced fruit and structure.
The Eglise Clinet was pretty burly structure wise and could use a lot of time.
With the next course of grilled rack of lamb, celery root puree, parsnip chips, pearl onion agridulce, roast carrots, sauce verde, black spanish truffle jus there was some Syrah.
Guigal Cote Rotie La Turque 1997
Bernard Levet Cote Rotie La Chavaroche 2004
Noel Verset Cornas 1999
My first crack at a Levet and of course it is corked.
I liked the Guigal more then I thought I would, the oak seemed integrated into the whole and it had fairly classic Northern Rhone flavors.
The Verset was very reduced and stinky at first but in an hour was absolutely grand, fresh acidity, black fruit, pepper, very expressive. Oh joy to have tried this. Some secondary flavors but my impression was this is still young.
Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia Grand Reserve 1994 was also quite young, with the American oak noticeable on the finish. Still love the lighter body and it was a great contrast with the Bordeaux and Syrah.
With desert that was individual small chocolate cakes Spencer called hockey pucks that was served with hazelnut cream and port poached pears we drank Chateau Soucherie Coteaux du Layon Chaume 1989. I've tried this before and this bottle was much better. Just off dry and gingery. Very nice.