I had a few of The Wine Nerds over for dinner this past weekend to welcome them to our new house. We discussed what we would be bringing and with many Rhones in the line-up I decided to take another crack at Cassoulet. After studying this blog post I dove in and made a large batch, substituting homemade Duck Confit for chicken. It turnout very well, though I think I’m over salting my salt cured pork and duck confit. Gotta back down on that a bit.
What was amazing about this dinner was how incredibly well so many of the bottles showed, which I guess shouldn’t be surprising considering we were able to source them all from the same cellar.
- 2006 Diebolt-Vallois Champagne Blanc de Blancs Fleur de Passion – France, Champagne
Very lovely grower Champagne here from Diebolt-Vallois. The nose is highly autolytic with abundant dough character. Also lemon juice, raw sugar, florals. The palate has excellent balance of dosage (feels like about 8 g/l) with great acid and a long finish built on raw sugar and bread dough. Awesome. (93 points)
- 2009 Mount Eden Vineyards Chardonnay – USA, California, Santa Cruz Mountains
Really nice. Perhaps a bit more rich than I usually like. The nose shows lanolin, lightly candied lemon peel, herbs, crushed rock, wax, candy cane, mint, and some oak that’s not totally integrated. The palate enters sweet and rich and finishes with high acid. Medium finish. I want to say it will get better with time. (92 points)
- 1998 Château Rayas Côtes du Rhône Château de Fonsalette Reserve – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Côtes du Rhône
Pours a lovely translucent ruby with barely any bricking. The nose is very heavy on the pickled notes; dill pickles, olives, smoke, dry soil, red cherry, plum, strawberry, animal fur, blood orange, powdered ginger, and potpourri. The palate features dark fruit, cranberry, smoke, some light tannin and moderate acid. Long finish. Excellent. (94 points)
- 1998 Château Rayas Côtes du Rhône Château de Fonsalette Cuvée Syrah – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Côtes du Rhône
This pours just a hair darker than the 98 CdR. The nose is clearly more Syrah with loads of black olive, tar, dark soil, thyme, blackberry, blueberry, blood, oidine. The palate features a creamy mouthfeel, lots of plush dark fruit, but also the pickled olives and smoke. Beautiful. (93 points)
- 1989 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Pristine bottle. Remarkably clean actually. The nose isn’t huge but is pure and exactly what I expect a classic Chateauneuf-du-Pape to bring. The nose is of grilled meat, strawberry, dry soil, crushed rock, mixed shrubby herbs, and a dark cherry note. The palate has light tannin, great red fruited acid and a long finish built on grilled meat, dry soil and red fruit. Really nice showing. Really essentially no perceived brett. (94 points)
- 1995 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Really nicely mature CdP, showing a very rustic note of old leather, roast chestnut, farmyard, baked red plums, strawberry, roasted meat, cured meat, and cranberry. the palate enters on lovely sweet red fruit, great red fruited acid and a long rustic finish. (94 points)
- 1990 Château Montrose – France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe
Stunning Bordeaux. Best I’ve had in a long time and possibly the best Montrose ever? The nose is wildly exotic with perfectly ripe dark fruit. The complexity is seamless and perfect. The nose is of blackberry, cassis, slight bandaid, very slightly herbal, mixed baking spices, smoked meat, leather, pipe tobacco, sweet cedar, spice box (it goes on and on). The palate is round, sleamless, and velvity. The long finish is dark, sweet, complex, and long. (98 points)
- 2004 Tenuta Col d’Orcia Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Poggio al Vento – Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino
A good bottle, but at this stage it seems to be showing a fair bit of oak via coconut and suncreen. Also ripe dark cherry, leather, cassis, and blackberry. The palate is primal and tannic. I think we just caught this one in an awkward spot as I’ve loved this wine in the past.
- 1990 Château Segur de Cabanac – France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe
Very nice, classic mature Birdeaux. Kudos to Andrew for guessing 90 left bank Bordeaux. The nose is of dark cherry, herbs, mint/eucalyptus, leather, old wood, dried tomato, forest floor, and black currant. The palate is lush and ripe with moderate tannin and acid. The mature finish is driven on dark cherry, mint, dried tomato and leather. (91 points)