Our benevolent Mao-derator hosts a wine weekend in VT (Day 1)

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Our benevolent Mao-derator hosts a wine weekend in VT (Day 1)

Post  Michael Malinoski on Tue Jan 27, 2009 2:52 am

Zach was our host for an absolute blow-out of a wine, poker and skiing weekend up in Vermont a few weekends ago. He and his family were amazingly gracious hosts to us and we did our best to stretch the limits of their hospitality!

I car-pooled up Friday night with Andy and Gerry, arriving around 9:30 p.m. to find Zach, Tyler, Leo and John already indulging in about 5 bottles, so we had to act quickly to catch up! They had already dusted off a whole bottle of 1999 Michele Chiarlo Barolo Cerequio, which they claimed was pretty darned good. They also had some 2006 Falset-Marca Etim Seleccion Montsant that I never got around to trying. Here is what we had:

2002 Louis Jadot Puligny-Montrachet Les Perrieres. Things started off on a good foot with this very nice Puligny-Montrachet. This has aromatic layers of crushed stones, lemon cream, nectarine pit, butterscotch candy and honeycomb scents on the nose that combine into a nice luxuriant package. It is creamy-textured in the mouth, with full fruit and unctuous body but also some nice spicy zing that lends it an edge of elegance when it needs it. It is yellow-fruited in a cool, classy package that delivers a nice punch. It is just a very pretty drink, with layered lushness, faint minerality, a kiss of spicy wood and good overall balance. This was my favorite white wine of the weekend.

2001 Castelgiocondo (Frescobaldi) Brunello di Montalcino. This was decanted about 2.5 hours before I got to it. It offers up an excellent nose of dark cherry, sawdust, leather, creosote, chocolate and a nice sweet pool of raspberry ganache down deep. It is full-bodied in the mouth, with a tensile feel provided by an unusual and not altogether pleasant texture akin to gun metal. There is little in the way of tannin until the very back of the palate. There is a crisp acidic edge throughout that carries along flavors of beets, bitter smoked cherry and tar—lending a very dry feel to the finish. Needless to say, the palate is not the equal of the nose, so ultimately this was a bit disappointing.

2005 Castello del Terriccio Lupicaia Maremma Toscana IGT. This is a blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot and 5% Petit Verdot and was decanted an hour or so before tasting. It has a meaty, chunky aromatic profile featuring notes of black raspberry, black currant, inner tube and fresh-ground white pepper. It is not likable at all to me, lacking any sense of finesse. In the mouth, it is not much better, really. It stays meaty and peppered, with searing tannin levels and sharp, raspy acidity. It is very cool-fruited, with a bit of leafy menthol and lots of burnt oak edges. It finishes rough and scratchy and clearly needs time, though I don’t hold out high hopes that this is something I would ever eventually enjoy.

2005 Pax Syrah Cuvee Christine Sonoma County. This was open in a decanter 3 to 4 hours before I tried it. Upon bringing it up to my nose, the first aroma that hit me was that of heavily spiced chorizo sausage—very unusual. However, there are some more synthetic notes of rubber band and vinyl that I don’t care for. On top of that, there is a huge hit of super-sweet boysenberry syrup that never really seems to integrate with the other elements and makes the bouquet feel disjointed overall. In the mouth, it is much the same story--jammy bramble fruit, raw bloody meat, iodine, rubber notes, and white pepper in a big-boned package featuring sticky tannins throughout. It is not at all goopy or hot, and indeed it does display very good length and cut, but little charm or nuance to my palate.

1997 Dominus Estate Napa Valley. Ahhh, this is just beautiful. The nose is delightfully perfumed with red flowers, old leather books, soft tobacco leaf, dried red berries, cherry pits and a bit of classy cocoa powder. An interesting and not at all distracting note of horse sweat peeks in from time to time and later on in the evening, some higher-toned, brighter red cherry fireworks kick it all up another notch. In the mouth, it is extremely polished and classy, with a very pretty blue fruit and soft spice profile matched by cool, freshening acidity and hints of menthol. This cuts a nice, pure line through the palate, but manages to caress with its texture, depth and accompanying finery. The finish is rather lasting, with fine-grained tannins suggesting plenty of life left for this beauty. This was a very close runner-up for my WOTN.

1999 Chateau Musar Bekaa Valley. This is a lighter ruby color and offers up a very interesting nose of bright sweet liquid cherry, fine herbs, leather belt, soft caramel and just a hint of clean horse hide and loamy earth. It is rather clean and charming, with just gentle hints of the rustic elements one sometimes encounters with this producer. In the mouth, it demonstrates great flow and fine acidic definition, with a purity of medium-bodied red fruit but also soft spices, smoke and cocoa dust accents. The finish is gorgeous, with a real lasting sense of flavor and great balance. This is a delightful bottle and garnered my #3 WOTN vote.

2006 Shea Wine Cellars Pinot Noir Estate Shea Vineyard Willamette Valley. I really didn’t like the 2005 version of this, and while this is better, it still does not press many of my pleasure buttons. The nose shows off mushrooms, toasted stems and brambly berries initially, later folding in some sassafras and cola nut notes. It is fairly creamy in the mouth, with spiced blueberries and menthol overtones. It does have some verve to it and it marries fleshy fruit to tingly acidity fairly adroitly. Some sneaky tannins do creep in toward the back and provide some hope for future development.

2006 Williams Selyem Pinot Noir Westside Road Neighbors Russian River Valley. This Pinot is much more to my liking. I like the nose a good deal, with spiced red cherries, cranberry sauce, nutmeg nut, sassafras, cola and brown spices in a lifted package showing fine layers of definition that come in gentle waves. It is smooth, creamy and rounded in the mouth, with gently caressing tannins framing brambly berry, cocoa and ripe stem notes. The lithe acidity provides a nice punch to the core of blue briery fruit. It is not yet expansive or fully unfolded, but it still drinks nicely at this young age, with great promise. I had this as my #4 wine of the night.

2003 Cabreo Il Borgo Toscana IGT. This Super-Tuscan is 70% Sangiovese and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s dark and dense in color, with dark and dense aromas of black leather, moist tobacco, black currants, dark Belgian chocolate, tar oil and a hint of jalapeno pepper. The dark theme continues onto the palate, which is rather serious and coated with thick, chalky tannins. One can sense that there is a lot of depth to the fruit here, but it is just so tannic right now that one ought to really wait a good while to approach this. The fruit concentration is pretty impressive, actually, and there is no sense of roasted qualities or high alcohol—it is just big, rich and thick with a whisper of freshening acidity lurking below everything. The finish is bone dry, with an iron ore edge to it. Again, I am hopeful that this will be good, but I suggest 4-7 years of cellaring.

1998 Domaine Paul Autard Chateauneuf-du-Pape. We did have one clearly ‘off’ bottle and this was it. The nose is all roasted and volatile, with caramel and some weedy and sweaty stank aromas. On the palate, it tastes oxidized, cooked or both. Too bad, as I had an extremely pleasant bottle of this earlier in the year and was looking forward to trying this one.

1994 Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon Special Selection Napa Valley. Perhaps not wanting to have the evening end on a down note, Gerry very quietly popped this beauty very late in the evening. Boy, did I like this--despite Leo’s near-constant caterwauling about the bottle being too shaken up and the fine particles floating around in it not representing how the winemaker would want us to drink it. He even filtered the wine through a bleached napkin and claimed that the result was an improvement. I somehow doubt that, but will have to take him at his word. So, the “unfiltered” version of the tasting note goes something like this: This wine has an absolutely gorgeous bouquet that cascades in a kaleidoscope of dried black cherries, sweet raspberries, creamy red currants, fresh and dried red flowers, shaved sandalwood, soft cream and gentle jalapeno layers. It presents beautiful integration of all components in the mouth, with a pitch-perfect sense of a wine at its resolved peak, even though there are some ticklish tannins still hanging around. It feels medium-bodied, with soft but driving acidity and fine flavors of red currants, darker fruits and cocoa. The finish feels fresh, but the overall sense is still one of falling into a comfortable easy chair. This was a great way to end the evening and represented my WOTN.

Thus ended Day 1. Day 2 took it to another level...

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Re: Our benevolent Mao-derator hosts a wine weekend in VT (Day 1)

Post  Zachary L A N G on Tue Jan 27, 2009 2:59 am

I thought Gerry completely lost his mind opening that caymus at 3am, but wow...that was a hell of a wine to end a great night on. That thing was just drinking in it's prime!

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Re: Our benevolent Mao-derator hosts a wine weekend in VT (Day 1)

Post  Todd F r e n c h on Tue Jan 27, 2009 3:03 am

I am a huge fan of the '97 Dominus as well...it's so perfect right now.

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Re: Our benevolent Mao-derator hosts a wine weekend in VT (Day 1)

Post  Tyler Rico on Tue Jan 27, 2009 3:09 am

I think the 3am caymus venture is what had me hugging the toilet later that night Embarassed
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Re: Our benevolent Mao-derator hosts a wine weekend in VT (Day 1)

Post  Zachary L A N G on Tue Jan 27, 2009 3:32 am

Todd, we've decided to make this a seasonal event...I think you have to get to VT this spring!

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Re: Our benevolent Mao-derator hosts a wine weekend in VT (Day 1)

Post  Terence T-Bone Livingston on Tue Jan 27, 2009 4:16 am

Zachary L A N G wrote:Todd, we've decided to make this a seasonal event...I think you have to get to VT this spring!

How many season's in VT? In CA, we have Green and Brown.
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Re: Our benevolent Mao-derator hosts a wine weekend in VT (Day 1)

Post  Bob Wood on Tue Jan 27, 2009 4:31 am

Zachary L A N G wrote:I thought Gerry completely lost his mind opening that caymus at 3am, but wow...that was a hell of a wine to end a great night on. That thing was just drinking in it's prime!
At 3AM, how would you know?
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Re: Our benevolent Mao-derator hosts a wine weekend in VT (Day 1)

Post  Michael Malinoski on Tue Jan 27, 2009 4:42 am

It was a full moon, so 3 AM was the best possible time to drink that... Twisted Evil

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Re: Our benevolent Mao-derator hosts a wine weekend in VT (Day 1)

Post  L e o F r o k i c on Tue Jan 27, 2009 1:45 pm

Zachary L A N G wrote:Todd, we've decided to make this a seasonal event...I think you have to get to VT this spring!

Good idea Zach, we need some music while we drink. Can Maestro bring harmonica instead of Cello?

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Re: Our benevolent Mao-derator hosts a wine weekend in VT (Day 1)

Post  mike pobega on Tue Jan 27, 2009 1:53 pm

So you guys in the woods DO know how to live?
Nice notes.
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Our benevolent Mao-derator hosts a wine weekend in VT (Day 1)

Post  Andy Jepeal on Tue Jan 27, 2009 3:10 pm

Tyler Rico wrote:I think the 3am caymus venture is what had me hugging the toilet later that night Embarassed

Sure Tyler, it wasn't the other 12 bottles split between 7 people.

Or that Zach wouldn't let us go to bed until the bottles were empty.

It was the 2 onces of Caymus that did you in.


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Re: Our benevolent Mao-derator hosts a wine weekend in VT (Day 1)

Post  Zachary L A N G on Tue Jan 27, 2009 3:11 pm

what can i say..... "I was wildly sober!!!!!!!!!"

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Re: Our benevolent Mao-derator hosts a wine weekend in VT (Day 1)

Post  Michael Malinoski on Tue Jan 27, 2009 3:13 pm

Quote of the year so far...

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Our benevolent Mao-derator hosts a wine weekend in VT (Day 1)

Post  Andy Jepeal on Tue Jan 27, 2009 3:19 pm

Zachary L A N G wrote:what can i say..... "I was wildly sober!!!!!!!!!"

I forgot about that. That was classic.

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Re: Our benevolent Mao-derator hosts a wine weekend in VT (Day 1)

Post  john b l a i s d e l l on Tue Jan 27, 2009 3:48 pm

Tyler:

I didn't want to mention it while we were up in VT for fear of creating an 'awkward' situation, but just be aware: that WASN'T the toilet you were hugging late Friday night. And its been over 2 weeks and you haven't as much as even CALLED me Crying or Very sad
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Re: Our benevolent Mao-derator hosts a wine weekend in VT (Day 1)

Post  Michael Malinoski on Tue Jan 27, 2009 5:00 pm

It's a beautiful thing you two have going on I love you sniff. Crying or Very sad

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Re: Our benevolent Mao-derator hosts a wine weekend in VT (Day 1)

Post  Gerry Morrisey on Tue Jan 27, 2009 5:01 pm

Tyler Rico wrote:I think the 3am caymus venture is what had me hugging the toilet later that night Embarassed

Obviously you must have sampled the wine that Leo "filtered" for that dreadfull sediment. Clearly, Chuck Wagner's intention to make you throw-up when you drank it.

I actually opened the Caymus SS just because Zack was "so wildly sober!!"
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Re: Our benevolent Mao-derator hosts a wine weekend in VT (Day 1)

Post  Tyler Rico on Tue Jan 27, 2009 5:15 pm

I think good ol' chuckie called me and told me to shake the bottle up. Twisted Evil

Anybody got a coffee filter around here? Twisted Evil Twisted Evil
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