The June 2012 tasting was a nice surprise to the end of the month, one where we initially thought there wouldn't be a group tasting. Luckily, Gilles was in town, and gave us the opportunity to try a few wines from David's cellar.
Ali and Andy provided their usual (and exceptional) selection of cheeses, most of which defied description with their fantastic textures and extraordinary flavors.
Wines are listed below in the order they were poured.
Schramsburg Blanc de Blanc 2006 (North Coast). White, with hints of green color, this 100% Chardonnay exhibited scents of green grapes, granny smith apples, salty ocean air, and honeydew melon. Elegant in the mouth, with salty preserved lemon flavors, with bits of zest, bread dough, and clove honey. Gilles noted that he "could have this everyday". Fresh, not a conversation stopper, but well-made and a good aperitif. About $30.
Henriot Champagne Rosť Non-Vintage. Copper color, with lively bubbles in the glass. Had a sweetness to the nose, with honey, and plenty of minerals, along with a youthful quality. Powerful and robust, tasters noted minerals, red apples, cherries, citrus rind, and hints of smoke. Brisk and long. Ali felt it was "a man dancing the pasodoble", and that it was "a men's Champagne". Wood notes on the long finish. About $60.
Château Troplong Mondot 2001 (Saint-Emilion). Very dark for its age, this eleven-year-old Grand Cru was tasted from magnum. Tasters found complex aromas of singed meat, blackberries, squid ink, lavender, smoke, espresso, and vanilla. Andy felt it was "a conversation stopper just on the nose", and Ali was tuned in to the leafy Cabernet Franc notes. Gilles felt that it was "green and red at the same time". Tobacco and ink scents later emerged with air. Strong and intense on the palate, with dense flavors of spice (nutmeg, cinnamon), blackberry jam, ink, rare beef, licorice, and beets. Focused. Gilles noted that it had "a scarf around its neck at the same time", while Ali described "fire and earth". Eucalyptus on the finish. About $160.
Beringer Nightingale 1998 (Napa Valley). A Sauternes styled, botrytised blend of 67% Semillion and 33% Sauvignon Blanc, this receives eighteen months of French oak aging. Orange in color, and smelling of caramel, lemons, tangerines, and honey. Surprisingly fresh and bright, its does not taste old, featuring clementine and orange marmalade flavors. Not heavy, finishing long and endearing. Really pretty and refined. About $30.