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


Sunday, August 28, 2016

2003 Emidio Pepe Montepulciano d'Abruzzo & 2008 Vajra Freisa Kye

Quite a pleasure to have wines from these two Producers served side by side at dinner.

The '03 Emidio Pepe MdA is a fruit forward voluptuous wine with an amazingly rich bombshell of a nose, all reflective of the warm vintage. On its own, it has a very pleasing palate...but it lacks the structure needed to make it truly food friendly. It was slow-o'd for 2 hours prior to dinner. What an amazing, old school cuvee. I love this producer. No reason to hold onto the '03 for a lot longer.  It's ready now IMO. Note: as discussed in a related thread, the date on the cork is when the wine was decanted into a new bottle at the winery prior to being released to the market. 

The '08 Vajra Freisa Kye was punching way above its weight class on this evening with an excellent showing. I haven't had one of these in years. Almost Nebbiolo-esque with very nice stucture. Delightful with food. Stops short of greatness due to lack of complexity (yet perhaps may develop with additional bottle age , or is it just a limitation of this varietal?). It was slow-o'd all day , which likely helped with such a favorable showing at dinner. 

Difficult to pick a favorite. .. 
The Emidio Pepe MdA had more going on with fascinating layers within the rich fruit. 
The Vajra Freisa Kye had the edge paired with food because of its more complete framework. 

Saturday, August 27, 2016

1991 and 1994 Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley

Delightful showing for these wines. Served as part of a double blind wine tasting of older California cabs where most everyone thought they were Bordeaux. Much of this perspective was influenced by knowledge that the host's cellar is deep in Bordeaux,  though  :) 

The '91 was exquisite (13.6% abv).  An incredible vintage in general for California cabs, this wine is certainly reflective of that greatness. Reminded me of a great Pessac from Bordeaux with classic scorched earth and gunflint component on the nose. Elegant black cherry, cassis, hint of dill and incredibly savory tannins that inform a complex and lengthy finish. About as perfect a drinking window as you can find, if you enjoy older cabs..
I've found that Alexander Valley cabs can sometimes exhibit classic Pessac nose.... Fisher Wedding Vineyard cuvee is another example.

The '94 (13.0% abv) was quite different, being younger and displaying more robust up front fruit and signature dill and cedar. Nice complexity with resolved and slightly dusty tannins , accompanied by a tasty dollop of anise. Tasted next to the '91, it paled in comparison  (for me at least ).  Yet, considered on its own merits, a very enjoyable wine.

Silver Oak cabs are consistently under rated IMO. I've enjoyed even older ones from the mid to late '80's that are beautiful.

As I mentioned,  our host's cellar is deep in Bordeaux (including all the First Growths), Burgundy  (including white and red Grand Cru), and array of beautiful Barolo vintages going back to the '80's.  He is actually the reason why I got into Barolo wines.  Interesting that such a traditional collector would have California cabs represented in his cellar by Silver Oak wines 

Sunday, August 21, 2016

1964 Fratelli Minuto Barolo Riserva Speciale and 2004 Piazzo Armando Barbaresco Riserva Nervo Vigna Giaia

Enjoyable juxtaposition of older and newer Nebbiolo. 

The '64 Minuto is a beguiling wine. Seems over the hill at first, and then hits its stride several hours later with dinner. Not a tremendously sophisticated wine by any stretch,  yet quite satisfying for the price and it being 52 years old. Kudos to Chambers Street for sourcing sound provenance.  (It's what they do very well, clearly!)
Faded red fruit, leather and tea. Nice bit of acidity hanging in there makes it extremely food friendly. Lithe, faint nose but with integrity.  Actually preferred over the '04 Barbaresco with the main course.
An unexpected treat  :) 

What's not to like about the '04 vintage in Piemonte?  First time I've tried wine from Piazzo Armando. Not familiar with the Nervo vineyard or Vigna Giaia cuvee ...  In any case, it's drinking nicely. Was purchased at a very modest price on sale. 
Fairly big wine, yet balanced.... bold fruit, precisely framed by fine tannins (just beginning to mellow) and spice. Not overly oaky or too modern in style. Robust aromatics, but not a lot of complexity.  This took over as 2nd fav of the night beside an array of Northern Rhone, CCR, and Sonoma Pinot Noir. 

Paired with:
Grilled pancetta-wrapped figs  (holy smokes - good stuff )
Grilled veal chops
Sauteed spinach 
Mushrooms oreganata 
Prosciutto Mashed Potatoes 

Saturday, August 13, 2016

1998 Martinelli Pinot Noir Martinelli Vineyard Reserve

The longevity of this cuvee is always a source of fascination for me. The 1998 Martinelli Vineyard Reserve (14.5% abv) is more balanced and graceful than the 1999 bottling  (15.5% abv). 
Slow-o'd for one hour then full decant at restaurant. Even these older vintages need lots of air to fully show their stuff. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. A bit of fine grained sediment at the end of the bottle.
Lilting florals and soft hints of cinnamon on the nose. 
Classic raspberry, spice, anise and earth. Tannins are sweet and dusty.
Paired perfectly with hushpuppies stuffed with crawfish and rock shrimp in a tasso sauce.
Love this stuff. Managed to find some 1997 and 1996 vintage bottlings, which are shipping in this fall. Will see if they have held up as well as the '98 and '99 vintages...

1990 Olga Raffault Chinon Les Picasses

I think this is a library release. It's in very good shape and widely available in the $50 to $80 range. An incredible bargain for a great vintage. 
Thanks to Mark Scudiery for introducing me to this wine.
Nice floral greeting upon uncorking the bottle. There's some nicely aged fruit here.  Perhaps the limestone influenced terroir of the Les Picasses vineyard. 50 year old vines. 
Double decant back into clean bottle. Modest amount of coarse grained sediment. Slow-o in bottle for about an hour and then full decant at the restaurant.  
Classically aged Cabernet Franc profile ... dark cherry, lead pencil, hints of tobacco and sous bois. Nose is quite alluring with haunting florals. Definitely worth checking out this wine if you enjoy older vintages. I've read that the 1989 bottling is also very good.
Paired with grilled pork chop with bourbon jus, brussels sprouts cooked in pork fat and cider, and a delicious side dish of bone marrow "bread pudding" (a specialty of the house).

Friday, August 12, 2016

2008 Radikon Jakot

Hold for another 3 to 5 years - or - extensively aerate in decanter 
Massive, teeth-clenchingly young at this stage. Popped and poured.  13.5% abv listed. Tastes closer to 15%.  100% Friulano.
Apricot and quince ... huge palate..  subtle florals on the nose and smells hot.. 
I like this wine. It just needs a lot more time. Am a fan of Radikon Ribolla Gialla.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

2008 Roccolo Grassi Valpolicella Superiore

This is a big modern Veneto wine, more in the style of Dal Forno rather than Quintarelli. 
Very sexy, luscious blackberry and plum with a rich floral and spice nose. Wears its 14.5% abv well (no appreciable heat), despite ripeness trending almost toward the stewed end of the spectrum.  Oak has integrated and is not obtrusive.  
If you want a voluptuous wine, then this will please. Still have three quarters of the bottle left to try later. Paired with meat ravioli. The palate became somewhat tiring because of the pronounced jamminess in lieu of acidity. Reminded me of some California Rhone style wines that are so alluring but wear thin from an interest level before the end of the meal.
Overall, this wine is worth trying. Pretty good QPR.