The REAL November Classic

griffithobs3.jpgNovember is LA’s finest month. What people really care about in this town is the weather. And November is perfectly balanced. The sky is clear and brilliant every day. It rarely rains. The air is fresh, even crisp. Temps range between mid 70s to mid 80s when the sun is out dropping to the high 40s low 50s at night. So when the Yankees finally put the Phillies away it’s like a big so what. Wasn’t today just beautiful? Didja ride your bike-go surfing-hiking-play goff? Or just walk around the Venice boardwalk or Abbot Kinney or Santee Alley or East LA?
As we prepare our wine list for Thanksgiving we report on recent bottles tasted we will not be offering the day of the Bird.
rostaingala98.jpg1998 Rostaing La Landonne $60 (from Kermit Lynch way back when): Took it to Saddlepeak Lodge, the venerable “game dining” house hidden away in the Calabasas hills. That place is undergoing a needed overhaul. They are serving meals besides elk and ostrich! But seriously, the sommelier is 34 y.o Josh Buckner and the chef is 26 y.o. Adam Horton. The place is still filled with moose and antelope heads, even a water buffalo. Saddel Peak has always been the perfect place to take some venerable wines for the ambience alone. These days you might say it is even necessary to tote in while Josh gets his “old world” list together. The list he inherited is from another era when Napa cabs and big Bordeaux tickets ruled. Josh’s solution to clear ’em out is put them on sale at 75% off the biggies and Cost plus $10 on everything else. To find a deal on the big discount items you still have to crave a Cain Five 1997 Cabernet. We do not so we brought our own and were treated very nicely. Very nicely. This is the last of a stash. Last tasted and noted in tBoW in 2007. Very funky nose suggesting brettanomyces. Still young and dark. With 90 minutes time it opened to show pepper and nice Syrah fruit. I would not call it a baby but it does seem to need some time to blow off. 13%
1996 Parusso Barolo Bussia Vigne Munie $83: Reviewed earlier this year. Here it is again. It is still one of the perfect bottles of Barolo from a very very good vintage. Color showing some brick. Cherry flavors. Quince? Has the Italian spine (acid). We reflect on how common there is the presence of sharp acids in Italian red wines. White wines too. It does take some acclimation but we do generally like the style. 13%
elviobarbaresco96.jpg1996 Elvio Pertinace Barbaresco Cantina Vignaioli ~$40: Color is brick red brown. The first swallow brings a minty blast. Almost like a mouthwash. Makes us think how Barolo/Nebbiolo seems tobe naturally rustic. Unlike Burgundy/Pinot Noir, which seems to be naturally delicate and elegant, Barolo develops into a refined wine but it almost always starts rough, diffident, ornery. As it ages and comes together it can become learned, acquiring refinement. Or it can stay a farmer’s wine from a magical region. Sophistication does not come easily to Barolo wines. And Barbaresco is the sister region, less powerful but with equal potential to please or make one wonder what went wrong. This is a rustic wine that remains that way. The fruit fades within a couple hours. Is this a cooperative wine? It does seem that way. I found this quote after I wrote the previous comment. From a website “Wines very full in body, that could be a bit cleaner and fresher.” 13.5%

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