A stellar lineup boasting the best wines from three European regions left the rail-birds speechless and begging for more. Even the “claimers” at the front of the card showed spunk and class. The great grapes Nebbiolo, Pinot Noir and Tempranillo – each from a star stable – were all represented on this evening card.
2010 Allianca Vinho Verde $8: The new hometown favorite. Are there any bad ones? Lime juice, 7 Up. Refreshing and delicious. The only danger is opening a second before the Chrisses arrive with the Riesling. 10.5%
2009 D√∂nnhoff Oberh√§user Lesitenberg Riesling Kabinett $20: Umlaut heaven! Fresh crisp apples. Balanced. Absolutely lovely. When you taste a wine that has breeding and excellent posture you must sit back and applaud. This is a wonderful wine. The definition of crafted as in very well made by a pro. Great price at Woodland Hills Wine Co. 9%
2007 Lafarge Volnay Vendanges Sel√©ctionn√©es $36: First red of the evening. We let it sit on the ice prior to opening on a hot SoCal night. Quite a shift from the Vinho Verde-Mosel pairing. Delicate, lovely. Will all the wines be delicate and lovely like a Hemingway quote? This one is. Not much in the nose. May have been the slight chill. Bred for a fast start and quick finish, this colt one was exactly that. No complaints but no huzzas either. Purchased at Palate Wine Merchant which has the best price by far in the nation. 13%
2008 Anne Gros Bourgogne Hauts Cote des Nuits $32: Just to be certain we had not lost our Burgundy sniffer we opened the Gros 2008 Hauts Cotes de Nuits. The championship wine from last year’s tasting season once again ran away from the pack. Unmistakable Burgundy Pinot Noir nose with the gaminess and the soft fruit. Elegant. The mouthful of flavors had more punch than the Volnay; clear, sharp, complex while all the time simple and true. Like having cherry pie before the entre√©. 12.5%
2005 Travaglini Gattinara $25: The distinctive bottle shape like a crooked old tree along with the familiar very old world label AND THE EXCELLENT VALUE makes us wonder why we don’t drink this wine more often. Absolutely beautiful Nebbiolo nose. Soft and lovely. Delicate. Drinking very nicely at 6 years out. The opposite of crafted. Definitional iconic Gattinara. Very good vintage. Expect this quality from Travaligni in every vintage. Gattinara the village is in the northernmost region of Piemonte. It is often referred to as declassified Barolo or even “poor man’s Barolo.” Having a cool kinky bottle shape and distinctive old school label helps it get attention. The juice inside is a very good introduction to what Barolo is all about. Travaglini also offers young vines, reserva and super-rica bottles. 13.5%
2004 Marques de Caceres Reserva$18: Talk about getting poor position in the gate. The wine should have been a scratch on this card. Going late killed her chances. This may be a lovely wine however
after the string of thoroughbred winners that filled the race card from France and Italy, this Spanish filly never really had a chance. Cannot tell you how it was. Made absolutely no impression…on me. But that is where a young jockey can play a role. “The Rioja was very classic tasting and not modern tasting. Oak did not stand out, but clearly had some oak aging.” 13.5%
See you at Santa Anita!