Wines at Lou’s House
We recently gathered at Lou’s house for a celebratory dinner. Though the house is in the last weeks of renovation Lou and Adriene were willing to host a small dinner attended by Jeannie, Nick, Jenn, and myself. While Lou set out cheeses, prepared both fresh and steamed oysters from Prince Edward Island, and seared Yellow Fin tuna, we all drank some wine and explored the renovation. No dinner with Lou would be complete without a Champagne starter, let alone a bottle from Weygant-Metzler, so I was thrilled to see a selection from Nathalie Falmet. At the Champagne Day at Weygandt Wines I tried and very much enjoyed the Cuvee Brut Nature and Cuvee Le Val Cornet.
NV Nathalie Falmet, Brut, Champagne
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler. Disgorged 12 October 2010. There is a light color in the glass. In the mouth there is a good balance between the yeast and subtle ripe fruit with the perfect texture from the bubbles. Quite nice, drink this very good wine over the next several years. Jenn was thoroughly pleased by this Champagne.
2008 Varner, Chardonnay, Bee Block, Spring Ridge Vineyard, Santa Cruz Mountains
This wine is 100% Chardonnay sourced from the 3.5 acre Bee Block featuring 24-year-old vines. It was barrel fermented with indigenous yeasts, underwent malolactic fermentation, and aged for 8 months in 30% new French oak barrel. There was a light golden color in the glass. The subtle nose made way to the fresh, yellow fruit with an unctuous mouthfeel that was not creamy. The refreshing acidity led to cool flavors in the aftertaste where flavors of minerals and toast persisted in the mouth. There were notes of “honey”. Very well-balanced. Unassuming and quiet, this very good wine will become even better with several years of age.
We moved on to the red wines with a Moroccan lamb shank entrée to accompany theme. Lou felt the entrée would work with the Chateauneuf du Papes wines. Indeed the two wines and entrée were aromatically sympathetic. He cooked in his temporary kitchen which was relocated into his living room with his new range sitting less than 20 feet away. Starved for counter space and burner space his almost illegally powerful new gas range surely would have let Lou sit down to taste the wines in a more timely fashion. Perhaps the heat of the kitchen primed Lou so we started with the Godolphin and Entre Deux Meres.
2005 Ben Glaetzer, Godolphin, Barossa Valley
Imported by Epicurean Wines. This wine is a blend of 80% Shiraz from 85-year-old vines and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon from 60-year-old vines. The wine underwent malolactic fermentation in oak followed by 14 months of aging in 100% new oak of which 20% was American and 80% French. Appropriately enough 70% of the barrels were hogshead and 30% barrique. For a while the aromatic nose reminded both Jenn and I of soy sauce. In the mouth it was rich with fruit, roasted, and quite mouthfilling. The tarter red fruit had a lot of up front flavors with the tannins resolved. While this was a good, primary wine that could stand more aging, it was not my favorite profile.
2005 Drinkward Peschon, Entre Deux Meres, Napa Valley
This wine is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. A very opaque color with more garnet than the Godolphin. There was jammy fruit with a cedar note. The assertive flavors had sweet spice, a well-integrated feeling, and more cedar spice in the aftertaste. On the second night the wine was still tight but show steely, mineral flavored fruit with dark fruit notes and sweet spices in the finish and aftertaste. Tight but not dense. This good wine will undoubtedly improve with a more age. Jenn really liked it.
1998 Bosquet des Papes, Chateauneuf du Papes
Imported by Ginday. Typically a blend of 70% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 10% Mourvedre, and 10% Cinsault sourced from 45-year-old vines. It was fermented in cement vats then aged for 12-18 months in old oak casks before resting in cement tanks before bottling. Though it bore a similar garnet color as the Marcoux it was a little cloudier. There was a cedar spiced nose. In the mouth it had a more mature profile, though still in good shape, with thinner flavors in the mouth. It has the personality of a classic Chateauneuf du Pape. This wine does not try to be amazing, thus it is complete in what it is. This good wine is fully mature but may be drunk over the next several years without decline.
1998 Domaine de Marcoux, Chateauneuf du Pape
No imported listed, recently acquired by MacArthurs. Typically a blend of 80% Grenache, 5% Cinsault, 5% Syrah, 5% Mourvedre, and 5% other varietals sourced from 40-50 year old vines. The wine is fermented in stainless steel with 30% aged in stainless steel and 70% aged for 3 months in old oak casks and barrels. The vibrant color leads to a nose of riper fruit which is sweeter with gritty aromas of plum. In the mouth there is younger blue fruit with red fruit developing and ripe tannins in the aftertaste. On the second night it was drinking beautifully with young, fruity flavors, minerals, and an expansive, almost creamy finish. With spices in the aftertaste the ripe tannins are fine and coat the mouth. I would cellar this very good wine another five years.
2007 Chateau des Charmes, Late Harvest Riesling, Niagara on the Lake
This is 100% Riesling harvested in October. Our taxi cab had arrived so I quickly sampled this wine, hence the short note. A young nose followed by sweeter flavors showing more residual sugar than acidity. A bit simple and tilting towards unbalanced.