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Old 21-03-2006, 02:31 PM posted to alt.food.wine
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Default TN: Six White Burgs and Three Italian Reds

WHITE BURGS AND RICH ITALIAN REDS - Cà Angeli Restaurant, Tokyo
(3/20/2006)

Seven of us gathered to taste through a range of mid-90's and older
white burgs. The venue was a good Italian restaurant with a menu put
together for the event. Restaurant and host each did a job both
generous and inspired. When it was time to turn to reds, a trip to the
very fairly priced Italian list was a pleasure.

1. Puligny

With two courses:
- a carpaccio of shrimp with garlic chips and bottarga and
- a fried zucchini blossom and a battered fried tomato.

*1997 Coche-Dury Puligny-Montrachet Enseignères - France, Burgundy,
Côte de Beaune, Puligny-Montrachet*

Straw heading into pale gold, clean and clear. Initially very open nose
of sweet toast, deep apple, emerging chalky mineral. In time, a bit of
honey and lanolin. Rich sweet flavor with fruit in similar vein to
nose, but lacking the detail and refinement of the '96. With more
time, additional notes of cinnamon and limoncello on the medium finish.
Much more evolved than the '96 but showing hints in the end that it
still has a bit in reserve. Not finely chiseled enough to do Coche or
Puligny complete justice but still a strong effort for a vintage about
which I am not too wild.

*1996 Coche-Dury Puligny-Montrachet Enseignères - France, Burgundy,
Côte de Beaune, Puligny-Montrachet*

Slightly lighter than the '97 and much more closed initially. Less
effusive oak, nuts, hint of citrus and herb. There's a bit of grainy
wood, but overall very stony and delineated. Driven more by mineral and
detail than by its (ripe white) fruit. Subtle finish seems short then
opens back up into sweet citrus, gentle oak, and slightly earthy
mineral. The glass has a lingering smell of classic Coche oak and
bit-o-honey long after the wine is gone. An impressive juxtaposition of
refined detail and indulgent richness. A real winner that still needs
lots of time to come out from under its bushel.

2. Meursault

With another two courses:
- a seafood pasta (of which I forget the details except that it was
delicious and matched very well)
- a risotto of spelt with quail.

*1996 Coche-Dury Meursault Les Rougeots - France, Burgundy, Côte de
Beaune, Meursault*

Rich gold, deeper than the Puligny wines. Wide open with very apparent
and deeply bruléed oak. Deep, sweet and lanolinish. Some nuts and a
touch of mineral on nose. Palate has rich apple and ripe stone fruit, a
little more mineral than the nose, but enough acid that it has a hidden
tautness under the richness. Great impression of depth and a long sweet
finish of creamy apple sauce. While some of the detail notes are
different, this is remarkably consistent with another bottle tasted a
little over a month ago.

*1992 Domaine des Comtes Lafon Meursault Clos de la Barre - France,
Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Meursault*

Not as deep as the Rougeots, but still in the gold range. A maderized
nose of apple cider. Clearly oxidized. As I've heard nothing about
random oxidation in '92s, I am assuming this is a heat damage/storage
issue somewhere in the supply chain. Taking a break from the wine then
coming back to it fresh, there is still oxidation but there is also a
honey note that at the very beginning of the nose that I pick up as a
bit of botrytis. This is damaged and a shadow of itself, but is not so
bad as to be undrinkable. The richness that remains rounds out into
apple pie with some cinnamon and raisin to go with it. But the
oxidation never fades.

3. Older GC Wines

With a great dish of deeply flavored abalone and accompaniments.

*1990 Domaine Leflaive Bienvenues-Btard-Montrachet - France,
Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Puligny-Montrachet*

Surprisingly youngish straw gold. This is not blind, so I know I'm
influenced by what I already know, but the appearance seems to signal
the change from Coche and Lafon to the more restrained Leflaive. And
restraint it is. The reticent pear and tart apple nose needs air (so
much so that my elbow begins to hurt) and time to show sweet cheese,
honey and lots of stone, with an additional hint of green clovery herb.
The nose becomes much more open with time showing light and lifted
honey and the slightest piercing, almost botrytis-like edge. The palate
is rich and deep with white tree fruit and a little ripe stone fruit.
It is much more immediately open and shows more quickly some of the
elements that took so long to develop on the nose. The finish features
and intriguingly almost sour (but perfectly clean and refreshing) earth
note and a low stony persistence. Terrific wine.

*1988 Bonneau du Martray Corton-Charlemagne - France, Burgundy, Côte
de Beaune, Pernand-Vergelesses*

Similar shade of light gold to its Bienvenues flight mate. Terrific
open nose of the bloom from a double cream cheese combined with dusty
stone and a bit of restrained tropical fruit. Lean palate with slightly
exotic apple-meets-coconut and a hint of passion fruit. Very lean and
clean, absolutely of the vintage. Nice and taut and mouthwatering.
Lacking the scale and richness of the more typical BdM Charlie and lean
enough to show its bones, but those bones still recognizably for the
skeleton of a Corton-Charlie. Good finish shows a hint of truffle to
combine with the brie cheese and mineral. Probably suffers by having to
stand next to the Leflaive.

4. One Red with Food

With a meltingly tender cut of beef garnished (and absolutely perfumed)
with truffle.

*1995 Azienda Bricco Rocche (Ceretto) Barolo Bricco Rocche - Italy,
Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo*

Good deep color and only the very slightest hint of orange at the edge.
Nose immediately shows an enticing hint of blue cheese, followed by
deep cherry and tar, with a developing deep rich note of sweet balsamic
vinegar (but no volatility). Other than the cheese, this is entirely
primary. Shows ten times as much on the nose as the palate, which is
tight as hell but has tannins that are fine-grained enough never to be
painful or too obtrusive. Behind it all there is a certain sweet rich
smoothness that says barrique, but there is never any of the
sassafrass/rootbeer that I get from Clerico and others. I think I'm
learning that I'm a little more tolerant of new oak than I am of
aggressive extraction and maceration techniques. In any case, I give
this one a good shot to integrate and exhibit good tipicità, but it
will take a while. Other '95s may drink early, but this one has a way
to go. Forget about it for at least eight to ten more years.

5. Two Big Wines That Don't Want Food

With a good dessert that needed to be eaten in a separate room from
these enchanting pools of flavor.

*1997 Romano Dal Forno Amarone della Valpolicella - Italy, Veneto,
Valpolicella, Amarone della Valpolicella*

Deepest and darkest purple with a bit of the black of night. Sweet oak
and vanillin are there in the beginning and will remain throughout, but
there will also be a hundred other layers along the way. The nose and
palate just kind of blend together into one great big textural pool of
flavor, showing bits of coffee and chocolate and deep macerated berries
and toasted nuts and molasses and even a bit of green underneath it
all. Despite the 17.5% percent alcohol, I really only notice any heat
when I look for it. I have no idea what I would ever drink this with
and it would quickly become too much of a good thing but it is a
wonderfully decadent dive into a viscous pool of flavor tonight. I'm
not sure that even six degrees of separation would ever get me back to
Corvina or Valpolicella, but it damn sure tastes good. Oh yeah, for
those keeping score, the chocolate-driven finish is long.

*1997 Paolo Bea Sagrantino di Montefalco Passito - Italy, Umbria,
Montefalco, Sagrantino di Montefalco*

Deep red color that looks sweet. Nose shows deep sweet red fruit -
candied cherry and raspberry essence. This shows as much younger and
tighter than the Amarone. Tight is an odd word, as one would never
think of austerity or tightness here, but the wine is offering only
rich fruit on the nose and refuses to give up anything more, unlike the
panoply of the Amarone. In the mouth, rich cheek coating sweetness.
Imagine the cough syrup you hated as a child, but make it completely
delicious. This has all the flavor and concentration you could ever
want, with a variety of sweet rich berries as it rolls through the
mouth. It just doesn't show any complexity beyond that. Give it time.
There's plenty under there, but it's dwarfed by the young sweet
richness. I'll be putting some of this away for sure.


I don't like picking wines of the night, but the Leflaive stood out
clearly among the whites (although I'm also completely enamored of the
'96 Coche Puligny and the '88 BdM in its own lean way). The Ceretto was
a pleasure as it assists in my continuing effort to triangulate in on
what I don't like in modernista Barolo wines and what doesn't bother me
so much. Any opportunity to taste Dal Forno requires no additional
comment beyond "thank you". And the wines of Paolo Bea are one of the
world's great values in pure pleasure. Someday I'll get to taste a
mature one.

As with every other event I do with this crew, the greatest aspects are
the people and the simple desire of the organizer to deliver pleasure
to friends. And the wines and food are damn good as well. Hearty thanks
are due.

Enjoy,

Jim

Posted from CellarTracker


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Old 21-03-2006, 03:02 PM posted to alt.food.wine
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Default TN: Six White Burgs and Three Italian Reds


Jim wrote:


4. One Red with Food

With a meltingly tender cut of beef garnished (and absolutely perfumed)
with truffle.

*1995 Azienda Bricco Rocche (Ceretto) Barolo Bricco Rocche - Italy,
Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo*

Good deep color and only the very slightest hint of orange at the edge.
Nose immediately shows an enticing hint of blue cheese, followed by
deep cherry and tar, with a developing deep rich note of sweet balsamic
vinegar (but no volatility). Other than the cheese, this is entirely
primary. Shows ten times as much on the nose as the palate, which is
tight as hell but has tannins that are fine-grained enough never to be
painful or too obtrusive. Behind it all there is a certain sweet rich
smoothness that says barrique, but there is never any of the
sassafrass/rootbeer that I get from Clerico and others. I think I'm
learning that I'm a little more tolerant of new oak than I am of
aggressive extraction and maceration techniques. In any case, I give
this one a good shot to integrate and exhibit good tipicità, but it
will take a while. Other '95s may drink early, but this one has a way
to go. Forget about it for at least eight to ten more years.


I have some 1990 Bricco Rocche that I'll probably open soon, unless you
think that would be infanticide...


5. Two Big Wines That Don't Want Food

With a good dessert that needed to be eaten in a separate room from
these enchanting pools of flavor.

*1997 Romano Dal Forno Amarone della Valpolicella - Italy, Veneto,
Valpolicella, Amarone della Valpolicella*

Deepest and darkest purple with a bit of the black of night. Sweet oak
and vanillin are there in the beginning and will remain throughout, but
there will also be a hundred other layers along the way. The nose and
palate just kind of blend together into one great big textural pool of
flavor, showing bits of coffee and chocolate and deep macerated berries
and toasted nuts and molasses and even a bit of green underneath it
all. Despite the 17.5% percent alcohol, I really only notice any heat
when I look for it. I have no idea what I would ever drink this with...



Fichi al Cioccolato?

Chocolate-covered figs?



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