With only a two week turnaround since our last tasting, we ditched the normal format in favor of bringing together a group of interesting wines from many appellations.
We started with an extremely fine rosé Champagne to prep our palates, and then the heart of the tasting was a comparison of three Cabernet Sauvignon based reds from three different countries. We finished with a Sauternes and a unique digestif from the Piedmont of Italy.
Wines are listed below in the order poured, with no scoring. Thanks to all our tasters for their generosity!
Alain Thiénot Champagne Brut Rosé Non-Vintage. Really pretty color, light for a rosé, with small bubbles. Tasters found complex scents of bread dough, peaches, pebbles, Band Aid, caramel, and pink grapefruit rind. Smooth texture that gets even better with air, with notions of dark cherry, red apple, raspberries, and pink grapefruit. Josephine noted "something green and fresh", while Joyce commented that it "feels wonderful on the palate". Almost creamy, and finishing with a bit of chalk. Ali noted that "the finish after the finish goes cranberry", and Andy felt that it was "kind of acrobatic in a way" in its ability to handle food. Very impressive. Ali & Andy brought this one. About $70.
Pieropan Soave Classico 2014. Smells green, with suggestions of crushed lemons, grass, green olives, sea ocean air, and minerals. Andy felt that it "smells familiar", not unlike "clean sheets", with Ali finding "lemon-lime ice". Very clean in the mouth, tasting of Fresca, honeydew, and citrus, with more salty air qualities. Good body and texture. Linear, with chives on the finish. David's selection. About $20.
Tolaini Valdisanti 2007 (Toscana). A super-Tuscan made from 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Sangiovese, and 5% Cabernet Franc. Cherry, prune, cherry cola, dust, eucalyptus, licorice, tuberose, lavender, cardamom, nutmeg, cloves, and a fecal note on the nose. More spices in the mouth, plus green bell pepper, licorice, and black ink. More tannic than acidic, making the finish seem a bit shortened. Joyce described it as an "old style wine". Shows a lot more nuance with air. From David's cellar. About $40.
Chateau Montrose 2003 (Saint-Estèphe). Composed of 62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Petit Verdot. Very complex scents of cherries, cranberries, vanilla, cream, caramel, brown sugar, forest floor, pine, patchouli, green bell pepper, cloves, leather, raw meat, and burning ember. Elegant. Joyce described it as "not too hard to drink". Meaty, like a rare steak, with a creamy texture that featured notions of dark chocolate, burnt cedar, violets, and thyme. Lots of toothy tannins, with a longer finish. More masculine, with great density. Old school. From David's cellar. About $250.
St. Supréy Elu 2003 (Napa Valley). A Bordeaux-style blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot, 2% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Malbec. A bit funky initially, but also bright, with cherries, baby powder, cinnamon, cloves, mint, pine needles, smoke, coffee, and carrots on the nose. Kristin announced that "I just went in, and it's takin' me for a ride". Riper fruit, along with flavors of chocolate sundae, vanilla, and celery. Seamless. David felt that this featured "more overt pleasure", and Joyce decided that this was "a curl up with a book wine". From Joyce's cellar. About $75.
Clos Haut-Peyraguey Sauternes 2001. Tasters weren't enamored with this one, with Ali finding "Ben Gay gone sour", and other tasters finding scents of rubber glove, petroleum, nail polish remover, and apricot. In the mouth there was burnt sugar, caramel, and honey, with an unctuous texture. Joyce tasted it with the paté, and decided it was "like a big pine cone in your mouth". From Joyce's cellar. About $65.
Cocchi Barolo Chinato. This is an unusual wine made from Barolo that's been infused with quinine bark, wormwood, rhubarb, ginger, gentian root, and miscellaneous spices. Reminiscent of absinthe, cinnamon, pine, frankincense, green herbs, and eucalyptus. Andy was reminded of tequila. Rich in the mouth, very medicinal, with pleasant bitterness. Josephine's selection. About $65.