Christmas Day party 2007…bring out your red!

HolyGrail003.jpgOne of the early sequences in the Monty Python epic “The Holy Grail” is the “bring out your dead” scene (youtube link brings instant gratification lads and lassies). I am not sure why that scene reminds me of my Christmas Day party. Maybe because the day offers a few chuckles over some kinky exchanges. We had both this year with the surprise arrival of Little Stevie who moved to Paris several decades ago and made a life as a successful photog. michelin-man.jpgCheck out Steve Murez website. In the course of his very cool career he has been retained by the Wine Spectator to shoot wine dinners at 3 star Michelin restaurants around Europe and in the USA (that would be New York mainly). I wish I had pressed him more for Speculator stories. He did say something nice about Jim Suckling. He strongly suggested I rent Mondo Vino which is the Sicko of the wine industry so I could learn about the cozy relationships between big advertisers and high ratings. I will watch it. I already know that the Wine Spectator is the last place I would look for touts. I used to subscribe to WS and the Underground Wine Journal. More of that some other time. How interesting that Mondo Vino is also the name of a hot shit Denver wine shop (inadvertent web surfing outcome).
lebron-james-pictures-%2811%29.jpgJames Suckling has a blog where it appears he posts often. He lives in LA. His wine beat is Bordeaux. He posts vids (5 seconds with winemaker for Leoville Las Cases) which is cool. They were tasting the 2005 Bordeaux vintage. He tasted 900 Bordeaux wines in 12 days. This is a curse. He must be the Lebron James of wine tasting…skills and stamina beyond what is ordinary for the world’s greatest athletes. The vids have decent resolution which makes me wonder what camera he is using so spontaneously. Maybe I will start doing vids! Check out Jim Suckling’s blog. I expected much worse (some compliment, I know). In our wine tasting clique the Wine Spectator is the progenitor of everything wrong with wine. We certainly did not originate this idea but we do subscribe to it. I’m not saying I now am a reborn Bordeaux fiend. But I was pleased with what I found.
My beat is my Xmas party and the top wines were white on this day!! I have tossed in a couple reds from a dinner two nights later that are worth covering.
dp95.jpg1978 Dom Perignon: Look what the Doc dragged in! Not a wine one sees every decade. Dotor√© pulled it from Ma and Pa’s closet. Looked to be in perfect shape from the condition of the box. Foil was flimsy but not stuck to the bottle so moisture contact was eliminated as a spoilage threat. Cork came out easily but not in a way that suggested leakage. Ullage (empty space at top of bottle created by normal evaporation) was absent, another good sign. We poured. Tiny bubbles rose to the top of our flutes…and kept rising. Brassy color like a slightly red lager. Caramel on the nose. Oxidation. Apple and cinnamon in the mouth. “The nose of history leads to mystery” said the Divine Ms. M who arrived early enabling her and her Rock to imbibe this rarity. And she was on the money. DP is the most widely known champagne in the world thanks to 007. The wine is a mystery to those drinking it for the first time because it is so damn expensive. But catch a sip and the next mystery hits; the wine is also quite austere. We saved a taste for Dotor√©s spouse who fashionably arrived 90 minutes later. We had to bring out the dead Dom as all life has passed by then.
geoffroyrose.jpgRene Geoffroy Ros√© de Saignee $60: Purchased at Wades Wines on Wade’s recommendation “20 cases came into the country; the French Laundry got 10 and I got the rest”. First wine opened at Dr. Del’s dinner party. Pink light strawberry color. Fresh, refreshing flavors. Delicate tang. Pinot Noir fruit from a premier cru vineyard. A non-U20 wine worth the splurge. Imported by Michael Skurnick Wines.
2006 Auvigue Macon-Villages Vendanges Manuelles $15: Manuelles means this is a hand-made wine. Outstanding value. White burgundy well made, balanced. Woodland Hills Wine Co purchase recommended by the redoubtable Steve Goldun (now shortened to WH/SG). Lemon rind, acidic, some bitterness but not off-putting at all. Fruity, steely. Loved it. I hope this is an indicator of what we can expect in wine bargains in 2008. Hardly seems likely given the dollar/Euro exchange rate. Here is a wine blog by someone who loves wines by Auvige. Worth reading, of course.
depiresavinere.jpg2005 Chateau d’Epire Savannieres $18: Dotor√© loves to surprise me. And I love that. Here is one great example (there is another coming). This Chenin Blanc is downright feral. It actually reminds me of a Nahe Reisling. Oily, petrol. Also has grapefruit flavors. Exotic. The term I like is foxy. These are wines that do well with age. Drinking them now is interesting but they really turn out richly with time. Dotor√© read this Slate article and took a leap. Nice hops my freng.
2001 Ipsus Passito $8/500 ml: The season’s second miracle…a decent bottle of wine from Trader Joes. Can TJ’s reclaim the mantle now covering Kirkland shoulders? This is a fine desert wine (muscat) from Sicily that brings dried apricots to your tongue. I read some pretty nasty reviews on the web that will probably deter me from buying more. Nevertheless, the bottle we had was just fine. Maybe it just goes well with honey-baked ham and tamales. Maybe it got better (passed a dumb phase?) after TJ got it on close out. Hard to beat this quality/price ratio.
hureauchampigny_label.jpg2005 Chateau du Hureau Saumur Champigny $16: I get almost giddy when I learn a wine I tasted is a Charles Neal Selection…like this one. We were guessing what was the grape and ended up with Gamay and/or Cab Sauvignon (snobbily consulting the Hugh Johnson Atlas to learn these are two regional grapes). WRONG. This is 100% Cabernet Franc. I like cab franc a lot. Actually I prefer it to cab sauv. The Charles Neal site has an excellent description of the Chateau du Hureau and his wines Solid, middle-weight effort. Good plain fruit. I mean not tricked up with oak or over-ripeness. Cocoa in the mouth. I will be stocking up. Compare to domestic effort from Foxen below.
passopisciaro_2005.jpg2005 Passopisciaro Rosso Sicilia $32: A WH/SG selection (haha!). Steve sold it to Dotore’ telling him to think Pinot Noir. Well it has the weight of Pinot Noir and something like the game-y fruit. But the white pepper is not of Pinot Noir. But I like it in this wine. I do not usually describe the label but this one is worth it. Like medieval graffiti. LA Times food and wine critic S. Irene Virbila gave it an enthusiastic review. Molto forte!
Cabernet-Franc-2004_LoRes.gif2003 Foxen Tinaquaic Cabernet Franc $20: 140 cases made in 2004. Purchased at Wine Cask Futures tasting. Rich in nose and flavor. New world wine richness. Ripe, almost jammy. Black cherry, coffee/toffee. Middle to heavy weight. This is really good wine but I think I prefer the Saumur. Still, Foxen makes very nice wines, has a vision, and is located in really pretty country.
One more Python video…fleshwound.jpg Only a flesh wound!

1 Comment

  1. Wavatar
    king says:

    You must include Winebow for Italians and Jorge Ordonez for Espana.
    Otherwise…. Dressner just rocks. Rosenthal rocks. and chatterdon was involved with a brewhaha that put his wines on Connecticut closeout… ei…. Jamet 99 Cote Rotie for $30. oy vay that’s good.
    Me must learn about the other Neal you speak of. King

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