It seems that every five years, the same five couples take time out of their busy, harried lives to stop, smell and sip the rosés. Kevin and Stacy herded all of the cats and we all met at the Blue Duck Tavern in Washington, DC for a night of good food, wonderful wine, but most importantly, incredible friendship. Guests included Kevin and Stacy, Jeff and Mary Jo, Bill and Rebecca, Barry and Caren, Jim and Lori, Gene, Cindy and me.
We were seated at a loooooong table where we were served 13 – count ‘em, 13! – dishes, family style.
We started off the evening with a Magnum of 1996 Jaqueson Champagne, courtesy of Gene. It must have been disgorged recently, because the wine was so young and vibrant, with notes of green apple, bright citrus and a long, clean finish where hints of roasted nuts glided in.
2006 Puligny Montrachet Les Folatieres Premier Cru by Remoissenet (Bill and Rebecca). Beautiful wine with spectacular balance and elegance. The nose featured a delicate bouquet of peach, pear and citrus with minerally notes lurking just beneath the surface. Flavors of apple, peach and butterscotch coated the mouth in lush style. Nice ping of mineral/wet stone on the end brought this wine into perfect focus.
2008 Sine Qua Non Kolibri White Wine (Barry and Caren). From the mind and cellar of Manfred Krankl comes a white Rhone-style blend of 69% Roussanne and 31% Viognier. An aromatic nose of orange marmalade and white flowers (acacia and honeysuckle blossoms) begs for a sip. The mouthfeel is lush and unctuous without being cloying, but the flavors of nectarine, orange rind and peach fall off rather quickly and seems to have a hole in the finish. But it certainly won’t stop me from trying it again!
2004 Dujac Clos Saint Denis Red Burgundy (Scott and Cindy). Wow – it smells like Mr. Ed’s stable in the glass – barnyard almost to distraction. Good thing the wine didn’t taste like it smelled. It sported flavors of strawberry jam and cherry on the front of the tongue and then sour cherry and rhubarb notes on the back of the palate with a noticeable hole in the middle. The end-notes were pleasant, with a touch of smoke and earthiness to round out the smooth-but-short finish.
2000 Boisenard Chateauneuf du Pape (Bill and Rebecca). I love this wine – but I love most CDPs. The nose featured earthy scents of smoked game and black pepper. The beautifully textured mouthfeel was a cacophony of flavors, including dark plum, black currants, smoked meat and tobacco. The full body sported silky tannins, good freshness and remarkable depth on the finish for such a young CDP.
2005 Merus Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley (Barry and Caren). The nose was huge on this wine – like singe-your-nose-hairs huge. Boasting a big bouquet featuring blackberry, black current, roasted coffee bean and dark chocolate that leads into flavors of blue and black fruit jams, black licorice and espresso in the mouth. It’s full-bodied and not for the faint of heart. A touch out of balance, it either needs more time in the bottle or more acidity to hold up the over-whelming fruit-centric finish.
1996 Montelena Estate, Calistoga (Kevin and Stacy). I had the remarkable pleasure of having this wine twice in one week. The first time was a few days before at the winery in Calistoga with owner/winemaker Bo Barrett. So it might be wine goggles talking, but I thought this wine was spectacular. Still young at 15 years, it boasted an extraordinarily beautiful nose of lead pencil shavings, blue and black fruits, licorice, subtle oak, and acacia flowers. The balanced, medium-bodied frame was the perfect support for flavors of blackberries, cassis, and roasted coffee roast. A savory finish with great fruit, low acidity and abundant sweet tannins will ensure that this wine is around for 10-15 more years.
1996 Lynch Bages, Pauillac (Jeff and Mary Jo). As much as I loved the Montelena, I loved the Lynch Bages! With beautiful aromas of tobacco, new saddle leather, roasted coffee, it filled the senses. Its structure is dense, with flavors of blackberry fruit intermixed with licorice, minerals, and dried herbs on a medium-bodied frame, with solid tannina and plenty of sweet fruit on the long finish.
1998 Fox Creek Shiraz, Australia (Bill and Rebecca). If memory serves (and I am not sure that it does), I believe this wine was made by Spark Marquis (of Mollydooker fame) for his in-laws. It sported an explosive nose of black fruits, blueberry liqueur, black pepper and incense. The flavors were layered and “in-your-face,” with a youthful exuberance featuring rich, concentrated notes of blackberry fruit, espresso, black pepper and smoky oak. A touch of mint on the long, powerful finish was unexpected-yet-appreciated.
1961 Gilette Sauternes (Gene). Wow – when you drink a wine older than most of the people at the table (unfortunately, not me), it gives you time to pause and reflect… and if the person next to you pauses long enough, you can steal their glass and drink it. I certainly would have if I could have gotten away with it… A lovley bouquet of caramel and roasted hazelnuts, combined with intense aromas of honeyed fruit such as pineapple and apricot. An unctuous, chewy texture, yet with enough acidity to provide great delineation and balance, this is a magnificent wine that has retained an amazing freshness for its age… like me.