TN: Christmas Wines (mostly PN, plus Puligny, Gavi, Champagne)
Christmas Eve I was out working till 3 AM , so was glad that our
Christmas Day guests weren't coming till 5. We had some neighbors,
plus Dave's paternal grandparents. Betsy and friend Andy split the
menu, with Betsy doing main course(s). Meateaters' main course was
She made a double recipe, and I contributed someleftover Chambolle,
plus a little Cab Franc. For the bulk of the recipe I picked jup a
couple of less expensive PNs. I had thought Pepperwood Grove's Syrah
was good deal in past, so tried their PN. Didn't notice till I was
home that the 2006 Pepperwood Grove Pinot Noir is actually from Chile.
Some rather pinot-typical red and black cherry fruit, but thin and
with a green streak. Short finish. We used as little as possible of
I did realize in advance that the 2006 Montes "Limited Selection"
Pinot Noir was from Chile. I found this much better, in a very
international style. Light oak vanilla, straightforward cherry fruit,
a touch of sweetness, good length for a $9 wine. Perfect for cooking,
acceptable for drinking. B-
As people arrived we had some smoked salmon canapes and gougeres.
Starter was the NV Laurent Perrier Champagne. Lighter bodied bubbly,
perfect for an opener. Quite light, but but with a distinctive yeasty
note, one doesn't have to have weight to have complexity. Toast,
pears, and apples. I'm surprised how much I like this (someone left it
as a hostr gift). B+
Next couple of courses were Andy's, we could have communicated better
(both re what he was planning and wine matching, and not having pasta
and potatoes), but it was fun and everything was tasty.
With carmelized pears with blue cheese and arugula, the
1994 JM Boillot Puligny-Montrachet. Light, fresh, and youthful. Pretty
pear fruit with just a hint of hazelnut, damp earth and honeysuckle.
Stays fresh and lively all night, a glass while doing dishes is a bit
rounder and more tropical. Huge hit at table. A-/B+
Next dish was fettucine with mushrooms, which I thought was supposed
to have chevre (it didn't). Wine was the 2006 Stefano Massone
"Masera" Gavi. Straightforward Gavi, a tad boring, with ripe sweet
fruit and just a hint of salty minerals on finish. B-
Besides the beef, the next course included very rich (cream, butter,
and cream cheese) mashed potatoes and a cornbread/broccoli rabe
I had decanted the 2005 Rene Leclerc "Combes aux Moines" Gevrey-
Chambertin 1er much earlier in the afternoon. Showed quite well, but
even with the hours of air (3 in decanter, couple more back in bottle,
then over 3 hours of drinking) it remained quite primary. Big powerful
black cherry and plum fruit, firm spine of acidity, big but ripe
tannins. At the end it did develop some light gamy notes and some
earth, but this is a wine that needs to sleep. A B for now, but I'm
hoping we're getting into As in a decade.
I had given Andy choice of a half dozen Burgs from 1988 through 2000,
he went with the 1999 Guy Castagnier Clos de la Roche. The GC was
showing as more delicate than the 1er, a nice medium-bodied PN. Sweet
red cherry fruit, good acidity, hints of coffee and sandalwood. Nice
wine, could use a little more concentration. B+
We finished with some apple tarts. Nice way to celebrate Christmas,
hope everyone ate well!
Grade disclaimer: I'm a very easy grader, basically A is an excellent
wine, B a good wine, C mediocre. Anything below C means I wouldn't
drink at a party where it was only choice. Furthermore, I offer no
promises of objectivity, accuracy, and certainly not of consistency