Tasting Night as Summer Gasps Last

Papa Fred’s back yard was the perfect Southern California setting for a relatively spontaneous wine tasting with snacks and hounds and folks who really enjoy wines bearing relatively obscure labels. We also a couple of special bottles to taste. A late Summer-early Fall heat wave put us on the patio. We pulled a bunch of corks and paid more attention to the dogs than the football game. But we paid the most attention to the wines. Photos courtesy of Kris-A. Comments from Kris-B. Welcome to new tBoW team taster K2.

2005 Juvé y Camps Brut Nature Gran Reserva $14: Spanish sparkling wine is not limited to Freixenet. There are serious producer such  as Juvé y Camps. This is for folks who like Dom P. Steely, lean, acidic, Super dry. Delicious but you gotta like the style. Everyone should love the price. 12%

2009 G. Descombes Beaujolais Villages $16:  A Louis/Dressner selection. This was a very highly touted vintage, as is the 2010 as we as the 2005 and 2006. And the ones in between have hardly been duds. Beaujolais remains the easiest pick for value red wine on any wine list or in any swine shop. This is simple with good fruit. It is the village wine although he makes Cru wines like Morgon. Plenty of tannin that will keep it tasting nicely for a couple more years. 13%

2005 Domaine St. Benoit Châteauneuf-du-Pape La Gardiole Vieille Vigne de Roussanne $30: This is the perfect example of bringing out a bottle that is relatively obscure…at least to our tasting group.  The Field Mouse has  bee shouting about White Rhones for years and we have tried them. Maybe they have been leaving a positive impression. The nose has plenty of petrol like a Saar Riesling. Kris-B says kerosene and cheese on the nose. Wine snobs love this kind of “call”. Like “cat piss” or “feline” it carries weight among the cogniscenti because it seems so bizarre and far flung. And unappetizing. But it is also meaningful. In the mouth there is chalk (dry, coated sensation) and lots of flavor. 100% Rousanne which is the premier white wine grape in the Rhone. Goes very nicely with the shrimp in cocktail sauce.  Finishes with caramel. Deep golden color. Much more golden than cat piss. My favorite of this evening. 14%

2010 Dr. F. Weins-Prüm Riesling Kabinett, Wehlener Sonnenuhr $15: Love this stuff. Nose shows some vinegar, very nice vinegar not the kind you put in sauerkraut. It’s the spice. Flavors bring green tea and honey. Some lemon. How can you go wrong. A very good value and widely available. This is a super vintage we recently reported on. Load up and drink them next Spring and Summer. If you can wait that long. 9%.

The two special bottle were a couple of older red Burgundies purchased from a reputable trusted source. there was risk due to the age and the fact the oldest wine was in a split. The risk was somewhat mitigated by the vintages (both very good), the producers, the fill levels (neck) and the relatively low prices.

I have pictured the wines here so you can see them. Suffice it to say the wines were disappointing if educational. They both were past their peaks. The 1996 Vosne-Roamnee from Meo Camuzet showed the most flavor. However, it was a village wine – i.e., not vineyard designation – and therefore not premium selection. The 1988 Gevrey was just tired.

Here are the cork chasers warming up with a tennis ball.

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