A rumor was circulating that my favorite local restaurant was closing, so the only thing to do was...bring them a lot of (blind) wine and beg them to reconsider.
The fill on the J Lauerburg Bernkasteler Dr Auslese 1983 was on the low side, though an ah-so got the cork out in one piece. The color was described as "concentrated pee". Fortunately the wine smelled and tasted nothing like that. The nose was reticent for maybe an hour before announcing itself as old auslese. In the mouth just a wisp of sweetness remained, and the wine has acquired a very delicate honeyed waxiness. Just enough acidity to hold it all together. Delicious to my palate, but not something to hold for much longer. The wine worked beautifully as a starter with a very rich bone marrow over grilled toast, with onion jam and parsley; and also, sitting at 55 degrees for two hours, as a small taste after the meal.
Next up was a 2005 Kistler "Kistler Vineyard" chardonnnay, with seared scallops. A perfect match, needless to say. This was very nice, and in perfect condition, though not my favorite rendition of a Kistler chard with some age. Tending toward a New World profile. Still quite bright. Lemony. When Kistler is at its best IMHO I am transported to Meursault. Maybe too young? Amazingly, my friend guessed Kistler "mid-aughts", and he was only slightly off with "McCrea Vyd".
Next up was the most delicious pork secreto dish. As homage to its Iberian origins, we brought some older rioja. Frankly I had my concerns about the 1976 Muga "Prado Enea" gran reserva, given the fill. But the cork very slowly emerged in one piece, and the wine was immediately delicious. The nose suggested the gamey side of rioja, which over time evolved into more of a bloody tomato. What really resonated, though, here was the silky texture. Normally everyone would have happily gone home with the Muga on their minds, but...the real surprise and clear wotn was a 1952 Berberana rioja gran reserva, which everyone at the table guessed as a younger rioja than the Muga. This one took longer to reveal itself, but ultimately blossomed into a potpourri of old leather, sour cherry and dusty books, with a dollop of cinnamon and cardamon. The acid here was remarkable, as was the complexity. Perhaps even more amazing was the fact that the entire cork was floating in the bottle, which fell with an immediate splash even after the most gentle prod from the ah-so. Happily it proved not to detract from the wine -- at least until the tin foil was removed for the reveal.
The somm is a friend who loves old rioja yet also (somewhat) jokingly calls himself a "merlot slut", so the final wine, with ribeye steak, was a play on that theme. A big transition from the previous wines, the 2014 O'Shaughnessy "Howell Mtn" merlot seemed to arrive from a different planet than the previous flight. It was pretty much exactly as I would have expected: Dark as night, enormous, hedonistic. But quite balanced, and drinking really nicely given its youth. Needless to say, a sharp contrast from the rioja -- which created, in the words of my friend, "impossible comps".
I sure hope they don't close.
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Tasting notes, varietals, grapes - anything related to wine
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