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Old 24-08-2007, 02:02 PM posted to
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Default TN Meeting Rahsaan (Bdx, Burg, Maury, Loire, Brunello, Rhone)

A small group gathered last night at La Grolla on the Upper West Side
to welcome Rahsaan Maxwell as he passed through town. Really nice
group, I enjoyed the conversation. While the wines included no
stunners, there were no real dogs either, and all held some interest.
Food was mostly good, my lasagna with veal ragu was excellent, the
mussels and lamb good (though in a place that has big verging on
enormous portions, I was perplexed when the leg of lamb consisted of 3
tiny tournedos).

One nice thing about a party of five is that one can easily revisit
each wine during the night, matching with food, trying with more air,

1989 Denis Touraine-Azay-le-Rideau Sec
Welcome to the chalk mine! Intense, high-acid, citric. Chalk. Fruit is
on the sour side of grapefruit. Did I mention chalky? A little wax on
the nose. This is really all about acids and (chalky) minerality; some
are disappointed it's not more complex. It IS a bit of a one-trick
pony, but one I'd happily ride. B+

2006 Pepiere Muscadet
A little warm at first, it shows alarmingly rounded. But as it chills
it picks up crispness. It is a big bigger/rounder/riper than some
vintages, but well within my comfort range, and a nice accompaniment
to the mussels. B+

1983 Leoville-Poyferre (St Julien)
Double-decanted for sediment reasons in the afternoon. Dark fruit
(black plum and cassis), a bit of cigarbox. Tannins resolved, fairly
low acid but not flabby. Seems less deep than bottles served at home,
always a tad iffy carrying older bottles into city and deciding
whether or not to decant. I actually take leftovers with me for the
train ride home, in the last glass the fruit is fading a bit and
getting pruney, but the tobacco, cedar, and lead pencil notes are much
stronger. I'll say B/B+ on this bottle, from a wine I've gone A- on

1999 La Gerla Brunello di Montalcino
My other contribution. Not decanted in advance, maybe should have, it
got better with air. Rather fruit-driven, somewhat floral nose, big
ripe black cherry, some moderate tannins, no obtrusive oak. The flower
notes fade and it gets a little leathery with time. Probably in middle
of the style spectrum, tilting slightly towards traditonal. Nice with
the veal ragu. B+

2001 Fourrier "Cherbaudes" Gevrey-Chambertin 1er
I both looked forward to this (because I like Fourrier) and worried
that it would be closed down. At first it seemed rather light for a
Gevrey 1er, though it did have that Gevrey meatiness. But it quickly
picked up weight with air,and surprised me with its fruitiness. Good
cherry and red plum fruit, some floral notes, good length. Elegant for
Gevrey. Final glass is probably my favorite red of evening. B+/A-

1997 Sorrell "La Greal" Hermitage
We debated whether this showed Hermitage typicity, but I confess to
not drinking enough Hermitage to know. Riper low acid style of Syrah,
blackberry fruit with a bit of leather and stony mineral on finish.
Maybe not classic Northern Rhone, but good length and I enjoyed. B+

2004 Paris "Granit 60" Cornas
Very forward and grapey. Very primary. I just really couldn't get
into this, though there were no flaws, and I think everyone at table
liked better than I did. B-

2003 La Coume du Roy Maury
Not sure I've ever had a Maury before. I expected something a bit port-
like, but instead this reminded me of PX sherry. Thick, heavy, sweet.
We debated whether this was dried fig or raisin, eventually we all met
in the middle, though I held out for the dominance of the fig.
Interesting to taste. A bit oxidative, quite long. But a tablespoon or
so is plenty for me, just not my style. B-

Really nice to meet Rahsaan and Cliff, and to see Jeff and Arv again.
Fun night.

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

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