A Mini-Berserkerfest to fight the pandemic

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J a y H a c k
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A Mini-Berserkerfest to fight the pandemic

#1 Post by J a y H a c k » September 7th, 2020, 1:37 pm

We has a mini-Berserkerfest in the backyard last night with appropriate social distancing. Very Mini. There were only four of us, compared to the normal 60+ people, but we were forced to open more bottles than people to go with the traditionally outrageous menu. Here are the wines, with no notable theme except the idea that we would start with whites to go with the early courses and then graduate to the big boy SQN for the last course. Then we added the barolo because we felt compelled to open another bottle.
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Wines.jpg
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The menu was Berserkerfest average.
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1. Brie with Fishkill Farms self-picked apple slices
2. Grilled Fresh King Salmon with a sweet chili glaze and Seared Tuna with wasabi
3. Gazpacho with Fishkill Farms tomatoes (assorted varieties) and New Jersey horse farm (my bookkeeper) cucumbers
4. Beef Wellington with duxelles and fois gras de canard
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Beef Wellington.jpg
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5. Costco Chocolate Cake (I was lazy)
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Brief notes on the wines:
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2014 Pierre Pallaird Les Maillerettes Bouzy Grand Cru Blanc de Noir: An excellent champagne. Just the right balance of yeasty brioche and citrus fruits with a bit of pineapple for the accid component. Reasonably hedonistic, which is my preference for champagne. Depending on the light, it took on a tiny bit of a rose color, but that may have been a function of sitting outside under a large light brown umbrella.
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2012 Bollinger Grand Annee: Of the Tete de Cuvee champagnes, Bollinger Grand Annee is my least favorite (which I announced before I tasted it) because I find it to be a bit too austere and not hedonistic enough for me. It is sharp citrus and white fruit, acidity and minerality. After a while in the glass, it blossomed a bit more, and we saved about 4 ounces in the bottom of the bottle to see what happens to it today. I will report back. This is a style issue, not a quality issue. Everyone else liked it more than I did and for its style, this is an excellent champagne. I suspect that with another 5 to 10 years in the bottle, I will like it more.
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2010 Ceritas Porter Bass Chardonnay: This is an excellent California Chardonnay that appropriately balances ripeness with acidity. It is just beginning to show some tertiary characteristics of age. This was a pop and pour, and I think it would’ve been even better after a one-hour decant because it gained complexity with air. Porter Bass is my favorite Ceritas cuvee. For a while, I think the winery fell off the rails chasing the highest possible level of acidity at the expense of pleasurable drinking, but they seem to have righted the ship with the past few vintages and returned to the 2010 style that I prefer. It is not as ripe and creamy as, let’s say, Aubert, but it is not a caricature either.
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2010 Sine Qua Non Stockholm Syndrome Syrah: An outstanding wine. The oldest SQN that I own, coming from a box that went immediately from FedEx to my wine cellar and was never opened until yesterday morning. Per advice from CT, I gave it a three-hour decant, and it could have used even more. Power, dark red fruit and berries, and spice. The ABV was noticeable but not a problem. I did not get specifically differentiated pepper spice, possibly because this was my fourth wine, but everyone else noted pepper on the nose and on the palate. Although one of our guests suggested that the wine seemed to be aged more than its vintage, I did not agree, and I think that it will not peak for at least five more years, more likely 10 years.
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1996 Fontanafredda La Delizia. Rebecca had wanted to open this to accompany the Beef Wellington, but I had promised our guest a SQN, so I decanted that and poured it first. However, everyone felt that four bottles for four people was not enough, so I opened this, because I knew it didn’t need much of a decant. I bought a case of this cheap at auction a year ago and this seemed to be the most advanced of the bottles so far. Just barely on the downslope. Unquestionably Barolo with a violet nose and a forest floor, earthy, light creosote palate. Fontanafredda used to bottle their wines in oddball bottles with very narrow necks. I had a 1971 where the neck was actually beveled in the wrong direction (narrower at the bottom and wider at the top) so the cork came out as though was barely acting as a closure, resulting in a DOA wine. Although this bottle had a very narrow neck and a cork with a narrow diameter, the neck was straight up and down and the cork fit well, presenting an appropriate job for the Durand. Despite the age, the wine infused the cork only about 25% the way up.
Yes, that's a DM of 1978 Mouton!

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