Truffles, Baroli and Sonoma’s Oldest “Old Vines Port”

TahoewestshoreWEBIf you’re talking wine and truffles 2013 has gotten off to a fine start. Forget the sequester, the Lakers and the Oscars. The truffle season in Oregon is in its final throes. The Eno Merchant is about to go live. tBoW just feels good all over. Let’s talk about truffles and Barolo wines!

The event: long lazy dining over four hours with enough wine and foods to fill the time.

SERVED: Dark tiny fish eggs over baby spuds and smoked salmon on dark bread to start. Served with Champagne.

feuillatteNVWEBNV Nicolas Feuillatte $24: Europe’s #1 Champagne sales leader. Rich lemon flavors. Medium weight. Golden color. Take it over standard NV “marques” like Veuve Orange, Taittinger or Mumms. Two and a half bottles consumed! Folks be thirsty. At $24 not quite a U20 unless you consider it is half the price of the better known marques. 13%

TCantithesis10WEB2010 Tablas Creek Antithesis ~$35: 100% Chardonnay made in the California style; oak and butter flavors but restrained. This ain’t no Cakebread splinter factory. This is creamy and delicious. Excellent on its own. Some TC white wines can be kind of severe but this is not. Several tasters who are not fans of the California Chard style loved this one! Good job for TC. 13.5%

SERVED: White pasta in cream sauce topped with shaved truffles; the classic dish for tubers.

LACettoNebWEB2008 LA Cetto Nebbiolo Private Reserve Barrel Aged $19: Light to middle weight, bright red, light acid. Has sweetness that belies Old World Nebbiolo but then this is not meant to be that. After all, this wine is from Guadalupe Valley east of Ensenada on the Baja Peninsula! The better comparison is to New World Nebbiolos. The lightness and delicate balance shows well even if flavor profile is closer to Chianti. A very good prep for the Piemonte reds in decanters. Definite U20 value. 13.5%

SERVED: Pan sauteed scallops in a bechamel/polenta sauce that gave the dish weight. The perfectly entertaining entree doing double duty as secondi and the main.

2011 Tablas Creek Vermentino ~$25: Tried to use the screw PULL on the screw TOP cap…again. Once we got the bottle open we poured an acidic tangerine like wine with enough acid to take on the potato-like bechamel/polenta sauce. Another good show from Tablas Creek! 13.1%

Ronchi07WEB2007 Ronchi Barbaresco $35: Softer vintage was noted and quite the contrast to the hard-as-nails 2004 tasted and reviewed a few weeks back. Had to wrestle that one to the mat. This 2007 was much more approachable. This 2007 is the basic Barbaresco while the 2004 was the Ronchi vineyard [ed: in California it would be the “select vineyard”]. If this wine was furniture it would be a rich mahogany credenza buffed to a sheen with soft sculpted lines, regal and elegant. Hint of iodine, high tone. Polished. The nose is a knockout. We aerated it twice in the glass. Held up without any weakening. Consistent. The feminine Nebbiolo. 15%

scavino03WEB2003 Scavino Barolo $45: Masculine. Tougher. Aerated three and four times coaxing it open. When it did we got the bottom heavy plum flavors. This is the entry level Scavino wine like the entry level Ronchi above. Another excellent example of how Nebbiolo from Piemonte produces peerless wines almost no matter the vintage circumstances. What a super contrast between Barbaresco and Barolo. 14.5%

SERVED: Panne Cota with raspberry sauce. Ms. Tootsie is the champ. Her panne cota is the perfect jiggle wrapped in gossamer [ed. somehow related to squats]. Like a naked starlet in a trenchcoat and stilettos. Deliciosa. We had the perfect wine complement.

wellyport01WEB2001 Wellington Vineyard Estate Bottled Sonoma Valley Port Old Vines ~$40: Creamy, coffee cocoa flavors matched the raspberries like tooty horns on New Years Eve. Of course, this is not really port wine but a California version. The grapes for this particular blend include ten different grape varietals from blocks planted between 1892 and 1924. Yup. 100 year old vines. a href=””>Wellington probably makes this 500 ml wine as a tribute to the old field blend from the field blend of grapes inherited when Dr. Welly and son bought the property in 1986. This is the quintessence of an under-the-radar winery. With 12 years in the cellar the wine had zero tannins, plenty of acid and perfectly melded fruit. Figgy, rich, choco flavors. Not zin-like at all. We would wager there is no zin fruit in the blend. Does have Carignan, Syrah, Grand Noir, Durif and Alicante Bousche. Durif? 19%

This meal held up throughout the evening. The wines stayed in step adding pace with each rendition of Kumbaya. When it was all over it was not really over. We jumped in our cars and drove to Lake Tahoe for breakfast the next morning at the Post Office on the North Shore.

Here is a very youthful Cloris Leachman in a trenchcoat running down a highway! Looks pretty upset. tBoW’s nod to the Oscars.

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