On a beautiful recent Sunday evening our unnamed club of wine aficionados met to indulge our taste buds. Kelly was off work so he joined us as we plunged headlong into some very delicious bottles.
First up was a 2004 Rose of Pinot Noir from Luddite Vineyards. Kelly and I picked up this bottle at Crush Wine Company on our trip to Manhattan last October. Only 68 cases of this vintage was produced! The only two places to purchase this wine is at Crush and The French Laundry in Napa Valley. The owner/winemaker of Luddite is a passionate man who strongly believes in high quality hand-crafted wines. This rose exhibited a beautiful clear strawberry color with cherry sorbet or jam, red raspberry and white flower aromas. The bright fruit and balanced acidity on the palate was beautiful. I would pair this wine with full-bodied olive oil and lightly spiced grilled pork sausage.
Next we opened a 2001 Les Cousins Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley. Beaux Freres hand selected this wine as a personal cuvee for Robert Kacher. The vineyards that these grapes were sourced from hold some of the oldest Pinot Noir vines in Oregon. The nose displayed beautiful pinot fruit, spice and earth. At first taste, the acidity was too high and it almost seemed slightly bubbly. Leading Richie and Megan to think it might have undergone a secondary fermentation in the bottle, much like Champagne. After a few minutes it blew off and the wine settled down into a gorgeous almost Burgundian-style Pinot Noir. It had bright red cherry and blueberry and earth on the nose with soft supple tannins and a very long lasting finish.
Pressing onward we popped open the 2003 Domaine Chandon Carneros Pinot Meunier (thanks Bryce!). Both Richie and I were excitedly expecting a funk bomb of a wine. We were very pleasantly surprised when the wine revealed a fruit forward nose of cherry and rhubarb that continued on the palate! It was not funky at all, but a lovely fruit forward medium bodied wine exhibiting flavors of pomegranate and pie spice. It did have some earth on the nose but in no way was it overpowering. All in all I really enjoyed it. Pair this with black olives and spiced sausage.
And here we came to one of Richie's little jewels from his recent trip to Seattle; K Vintners 2004 "The Boy" a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre from Walla Walla Valley. Very impressive. It had a deep dark garnet-like color and a nose that at first was extremely difficult to decipher. We were all working very hard for at least 15 minutes on dismantling the nose to get to the flavors. The winemaker had so tightly integrated the varietals that we couldn't pull out aromas. It was as if a seamstress had woven the wine together, interlocking each varietal so that the aromas of each hit all at once. Finally, we were able to detect fig, slight leather, stewed fruit and black cherry. On the palate was cocoa, huge berries and a slight tea-like character.
Next we had another well traveled wine sourced from Richie and Megan's trip to Seattle, the 2003 Boudreaux Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon. Good god! Two stellar Washington state wines in a row. Both are perfect examples of why Washington wines continue to get an exorbitant amount of press lately. I detected hints of vanilla, cola, dark chocolate and olive on the nose. The wine displayed a rich velvet texture that wallpapered my mouth. Wow! It was full-bodied and the finish went on for miles and miles.
And last, but not least, Michael finally showed up (a certain someone delayed his arrival.....hmmmmph) with a special treat...a 1988 Chateau Graud Larose. This beautifully aged Bordeaux was complex and impressive. It had an elegant aroma of leather, earth and sage. The palate exhibited a smoked meat quality, but it wasn't gamy or overpowering. The fruit on the wine had lightened but was still detectable. Pair with black olives, the olives will amplify the fruit in the wine.
Yet again another INCREDIBLE tasting. Thank you for hosting us Megan and Richie!
Wine School: Your Next Lesson: White Bordeaux - Historically passed over for its red sibling, white Bordeaux deserves recognition for its own beauty and complexity.
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