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Old 02-01-2010, 11:22 PM posted to alt.food.wine
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Default TN: New Year's Day-Italy, Bdx, Cali, Chile

Our friends Ron and Nancy decided to see if they could really fit 14
people around their dining table, in celebration of New Year's Day and
visit from some colleagues from Italy. Mostly a jazz crowd, plus Betsy
representing classical and a couple of civilians like me. An extended
period of visiting and canapes (salmon with capers and onion, mushroom
pate, etc) due to some late arrivals, with many bubblies:

NV Gloria Ferrer Brut
I don't drink much CA sparking, but this was a pleasant
straightforward glass of bubbly- apples, a little vanilla, decent
acids, medium mousse. B
Second bottle was horribly corked.

NV Sciarpa Prosecco
Light, crisp, easy. Decent apertif. B/B-

NV Ferrari Brut (Trento)
Lighter petillance, full body, a little hint of RS. B-

There was also a bottle of Veuve Cliquot but I missed as I picked up
one of the late comers at station (this was early, I let Betsy do
driving later).

Dinner was a squash soup with shrimp, followed by braised short ribs,
mashed potatoes, kale a la Betsy, a cheese plate (manchego, goat
"brie", Robiola, Roquefort), poached pears, and more. Several reds:

2006 Sterling Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa)
Ripe forward fruity cab, plums and currants, a little cocoa. Modest
tannins, not very long, but clean and pleasant. B/B-

2008 Casas Patronales Carmenere
Cherry jam with a little blackberry syrup, despite the jammy/ripe
notes there's something a bit green in their, a weird mix. Others
liked more than I did. C+

2004 Arnaldo-Caprai "Collepiano" Sagrantino di Montefalco
Big, tannic,but with solid base of black cherries, mint, and leather.
This needs time, but I'll hazard a guess it will be very good in a few
(maybe more) years. B- now, but with significant upside potential.

2000 Ch. Laroque (St Emilion)
Nice Right Banker, sweet Merlot fruit backed with moderate fine
tannins and decent acids. Plums and a little chocolate, pretty good
length, drinking well now. B+

2004 Giovanni Rosso Serralunga Barolo (magnum)
With 14 people I thought bigger bottle was in order for my offering.
Decanted for about 90 minutes in afternoon, then back to bottle. A
little tight on opening, but drinking pretty by dinner time. Some
tannins but not obtrusive (of course, this is just after the
Sagrantino, so maybe it would have seemed more tannic on its own),
nose of violets and cherries, good red fruit on palate, nice finish, a
bit of a earthy/mineral note. No new oak, drinking well but with
enough structure to last a while. B+

Fun night with a fun crowd, good way to start the new year.

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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