Les Tastevins du Lac is dedicated to camaraderie in pursuit of joie de vino! This blog serves as an informal forum on wine, food and travel.... Cheers! Steve Adams


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Tuesday Evening with Alberto Cordero di Montezemolo

We had the good fortune to enjoy a delightful evening with Alberto Cordero di Montezemolo at a dinner featuring the most recent vintages of his wines.  

The estate, one of the oldest in Italy, has been the family since 1340.  Today, it is run by Giovanni and his two children Elena and Alberto. Holdings consist of 28 hectares of a single vineyard in the Annunziata cru of La Morra’s Monfalletto-Gattera hill.  An additional two hectares are located in the Villero cru of Castiglione Falletto where the Enrico VI bottling is sourced.

I brought a bottle of the 1997 Enrico VI to the dinner which afforded an opportunity to compare with the current 2010 Enrico VI bottling.   It provided a fascinating view into how Villero ages.  The 1997 was slow-o'd for a couple of hours prior to dinner.  The fruit has matured beautifully, yet did not show as robustly as the 1996 tasted last year. 

The 1997 Enrico VI exhibited the delicious balsamic notes derived from the higher percentage of calcareous marl in Villero.  

The 2010 Enrico VI was gorgeous for such a young Barolo.  Eminently approachable, yet still holding back a lot.  Lovely tar and roses profile provided a fresher counterpoint to the 1997's palate.

This is my first real brush with the 2010 Barolo vintage and it lives up to its great press  :) 

The surprise of the evening was the 2010 Monfalletto, a blend made from parcels that have been vinified separately (not an assemblage).  The 2010 Monfalletto is beautifully engaging now.  Silky and supremely balanced ... Highly recommended ...   

Other wines tasted:

2013 Barbera d'Alba, which came across as quite muted.  

2012 Dolcetto d'Alba which was a delight.... crisp well-delineated fruit with mouth-watering acidity and an alluring nose

2013 Langhe Arneis ... tasty, very enticing fruit with fresh florals on the nose

Alberto, a consummate and engaging host, was heading back home to family by way of NYC later this week.  We look forward to seeing him at La Festa del Barolo in February.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

2003 Beaux Freres Pinot Noir Belles Soeurs and 2005 Vodopivec Vitovska Classica

Paired with grilled yellow fin tuna, lemon-herb risotto, marinated artichoke salad.  

Frankly, it's hard to switch from the Vodopivec once you get started.  There is something about this wine that is intriguing and keeps you coming back for more.  For one thing, it continues to evolve nicely over many hours. Wonderful satin mouthfeel coupled with aged fruit redolent of spicy tangerine and carambola.  A very deft 12.5 alcohol. Drink up now.... no upside to further cellaring... although enjoy over many hours and even let it come up to room temperature. .. fascinating stuff. 

Beaux Freres wines in general also benefit from plenty of time for aeration. ... Continued to open up and gain complexity throughout the evening, although in reality this Belle Soeurs is a bit past its prime. A blend from the Ana, Shea and Beaux Freres vineyards.  14.4% alc. Slow-o in bottle.  After several hours,  the black raspberry fruit came into its own complemented nicely by earth, sous bois and spice. Good underlying minerality for a New World pinot...

Saturday, October 18, 2014

1982 Ducru Beaucaillou and 1998 Silvio Grasso Bricco Luciani

Traveled to the 16th annual EuroAutoFestival which is held on the beautiful Zentrum grounds of BMW's North American Manufacturing Plant in Greer South Carolina, near the picturesque Blue Ridge Mountains.  Always a great event and an opportunity to enjoy fine dining in the charming downtown area of Greenville SC.  The venerable Poinsett Hotel, with original architecture dating back to 1928, is a welcoming venue for a quick weekend getaway.

The 1982 Ducru Beaucaillou (St. Julien) was decanted before dinner and as we began to taste it, it became clear that we were not going to be able to resist it charms.  An executive decision was made to give it a bit of air and then enjoy it while ensconced in a cozy private sitting area of the luxurious, grand old lobby of the Poinsett.   I am glad that we did because this bottle was showing beautifully since the last one we had a couple of years ago.  Brought back memories of my first acquaintance with great Bordeaux many years ago.  An intoxicating mix of black cherry, tobacco, cedar, earth, mineral and sweet fine-grained tannins (alc 12% ?).  More powerful at this juncture (yet with beautiful balance) than the 1982 La Mission Haut-Brion which we enjoyed last year.  (The 82 La Mission is all about delicately structured fruit, scorched earth and hints of anise.)  The aromatics of the '82 Ducru exhibit wonderful florals with sous bois notes.  This is a beautifully contemplative wine with a lovely complexity on the finish that unveils layer upon layer of character.  It's at a really good place right now.  

The 1998 Silvio Grasso Bricco Lucciani (La Morra) was decanted and enjoyed with dinner a bit later.  Tannins have mellowed and provide an elegant framework for the tasty fruit.  After a couple of hours, it really opened up and the perfume on the nose was gorgeous. Very well balanced (14% alc), this bottling still has another five years of peak drinking ahead of it (at minimum).  A very nice example of how friendly and approachable La Morra wines are.

Along with the wine photos, have included a couple of interesting pics of an older Jaguar sedan outfitted for the good life, and a beautiful modern-day classic, the McLaren, from the EuroAutoFest.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

1995 Rancia, 1999 Kalin, 2001 Forman, 2004 Relagnes

Wines paired with dinner ....  bone-in veal chops grilled over cherry-wood coals, mushrooms oreganato, broccoli rabe, heirloom tomato and bufala mozzarella drizzled with 10 year old balsamic. 

1995 Felsina Chianti Classico Riserva Rancia

A beautifully balanced wine on the far side of its optimal drinking window. I don't think there's upside to hanging onto this for more years. 
Slow-o in bottle for 90 minutes before dinner and then decanted.  Drank over the course of the next six hours.  Began to show really well about hours 3 and 4.  Opened up and gained presence, with the noble Rancia terroir expressing a delicious earthiness that complemented aged cherries with smoky cedar accents. Very smooth integrated tannin and harmonious 13.5 alc.  My favorite of the evening tied with the Forman Cabernet. 

1999 Kalin Cellars Sonoma Pinot Noir Cuvee DD

Terry Leighton's Sonoma Pinots are about as close to traditional Burgundy style that you will find in California.  Popped and poured. Gorgeous old world Burgundian earthy aromas assault your nose.... sublime! Floral and fruit nose... you can smell the sharply delineated fruit. Traditional tart cherry with game notes. Keep in mind that this 1999 bottling is their current (yes, current!) release ...Continued to open up over the course of the next 6 hours. Very balanced and refreshing 13% alc.

2001 Forman Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa)

A last minute addition to the line-up.  Actually opened after dinner with cheese course.  Decanted to let breathe and consumed over the course of the next 3.5 hours. 
In many respects,  this was WOTN. What can I say, Ric Forman's Cabs always deliver a wonderful experience.  Always supremely balanced. Made in a traditional style. I believe Ric Forman made the Sterling Cabs of 1974 vintage that were gorgeous.  
It's clear from the start that this bottle is at a beautiful stage of its life.  If you enjoy old school olive, black currant,  tobacco , cedar and a hint of scorched earth, then this wine is for you. If you are fortunate enough to find any Forman Cabs in magnum format, then buy them. This bottle was a 750 but I have had magnums of the 1999 that were stellar. By the end of the evening after several hours in the decanter,  this beauty was off the charts alluring. Well balanced with oh so polished tannins and 13.8% alc.
Finishing off the last bit of this wine the next day,  I would say that the 2001 has another 5 to 7 years ahead within optimal drinking window where the fruit shines at its best.

2004 Domaine des Relagnes Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Vigneronne

Balanced 14% alc. Wow! Basically sex in a bottle. Amazing when you hit a CdP at its peak.
Tar, tobacco ... tannins have melted away to reveal sweet, pure, mature raspberry and plum fruit.   Not a huge amount of complexity  .. just hedonistic with really nice typicity. 
After a couple of hours it settled down with attractive violet nose and garrigue notes on the palate.  Drink now. Love the modest alcohol level. A balanced compromise between traditional and modern styles. 
While I enjoy Rhone blends from California,  they just can't top the real thing from CdP. Lots of sediment at the end of bottle, supporting the depth of fruit in this delightful bottling.