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Old 05-12-2003, 02:00 PM
Bill Spohn
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Default Gruaud Larose Vertical

I can't remember if I posted this to the group yet - ignore this if I have.

It's been quite a week for wine (and it isn't over yet). I had planned to relax
after my Sassicaia vertical event last week, but it didn't turn out that way.

The week started with a lovely dinner at a friend's house on Sunday. He (and
his wife) are excellent cooks - I'm talking restaurant quality, and GOOD
restaurant at that. I dabble in the art myself and have, with some trepidation,
treated them to my sorry best, but I wouldn't set myself in the same class with
their innovative techniques.

Coupled with a knowledge of wine and a love for combining wine and food, any
occasion shared with them becomes a special experience. This time around, we
tasted the wines blind and tried to place them.

1990 Heidsieck Brut Champagne - this showed a fair bit of colour, tons of
complexity in the nose and on the palate and great balance and elegance.

Served with parsley walnut pinwheels, tiger prawns with sundried tomato
chutney, croques monsieurs, and squash soup in demitasse.

1998 Zind Humbrecht Pinoy Gris Clos Windsbuhl - also showing quite a bit of
colour for the age, I thought. A really nice nose with cherry and lanolin,
fairly high residual sugar, but it was well balanced.

Served with confit of dungeness crab on celeriac mousse and basil oil

1990 Matanzas Creek Merlot (magnum) - at this point the wiles of our
diabolically clever host became apparent - he pulled the wines straight from
the cellar to make it more difficult to identify. This had two results - it
offered the chance to observe the wine as it warmed up over a half hour or so,
and it made me, at least, a bit reticent in offering snap opinions until at
least part of the warming process was completed. This wine was obviously young
in colour, and the nose had good fruit, coming in a bit late, with cinnamon and
some green notes. Nice long finish, a tad raw in general impression.

Served with seared foie gras on ragout of vegetables.

We then tasted 3 wines before the main course:

1981 Gruaud Larose - good colour, the nose a bit funky at first but that blew
off. Still a little rustic though. Medium body, tannins a bit tart, and the
wine was on the lean side, but for all that quite enjoyable. Faded in the glass
after 20 minutes or so.

1983 Gruaud Larose - good colour, toasty, jammy, plummy nose. Similar
structure, but more sweetness at the end, and a pleasant mint note. The best
nose of the three, and no rush on this one.

1985 Gruaud Larose - Less up-front fruit, and leaner on entry, and it tailed a
little but then opened up again in the mouth. It seemed very harmonious and
younger than the other two.

Served with venison with wild rice risotto.

The with cheese:

1982 Gruaud Larose - a very classy Bordeaux with good extract and smooth but
still firm in the mouth. Weighty yet very well balanced. My favourite for
drinking now.

1986 Gruaud Larose - this wine was still quite tannic but you can now see the
almost lavish fruit and it finished very long. If you have this wine, have
patience as it will be very good, but needs considerable time.

1963 Crofts Port - an old purchase, he paid $6.35 for this wine! I love the
63s, as they are now fully mature and many are losing colour, but not flavour
interest. This is pale, a bit hot, not too sweet and very nice in over-all
impression. Delightful finish to a lovely dinner.