Oysters and champagne
Fresh kumomotos and kushis with lemon wedges and fresh grated horseradish. A perfect start!
- NV Laurent-Perrier Champagne Grand Siècle - France, Champagne
I don't know what iteration this was, but it had some edges rounded by age, compared to other bottles I've had. I'm guessing '99-'02-'04. This was one of the better champagnes I've had this year (and I've had many!). Elegant! Delicious! Zesty yet at the same time soft lemon and lime, minerals and white flowers. The crowd favorite.
- 2006 Taittinger Champagne Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut - France, Champagne
My first magnum of this vintage. 750s have drunk well since release, but this bottle gave me the impression the mags would be better off laying on their sides a while longer (duh!). Maybe it was because it followed such a great bottle and rendition of the Grand Siecle, which clearly had more age and depth. This was still beautiful, with the Comte glycerin infused mouthfeel, lemony and orange cream, mineral. Still beautiful, but I won't open another in this format for 5-10.
We had to draw straws for the steak bone! Two wines approaching perfection.
- 2001 Renaissance Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve - USA, California, Sierra Foothills, North Yuba
Wow, this was really a fantastic bottle. Great depth and balance in a medium body. The acid cut went well with Flannery Jorge steak. Complex and utterly drinkable. Eucalyptus and cedar danced with red fruit, pipe tobacco and interesting lilac floral notes. It has a little leathery earthy aged flavor, but the fruit and flowers dominated. Excellent!
- 2016 Vine Hill Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon VHR - USA, California, Napa Valley, Oakville
Opened early then decanted for a few hours. Paradoxical delicate-opulent, graceful-luxurious. A cassis bomb and so much more; plum, loam, cigar, anise, fragrant flowers. Great structure keeps it from being opulent or ostentatious. It's not a style of wine I open often, but I'm happy to have more.
It's worth a trip to the Pacific Northwest just to try a Pure Bliss cake.
- 1959 Domaine Singla Rivesaltes Ambré Héritage du Temps - France, Languedoc Roussillon, Roussillon, Rivesaltes
The darkest white wine I've ever opened? Some I know don't give Rivesaltes much respect, but I've loved several, including this one. Like a tawny port with less density, with buttered toffee, tobacco and spice. Delicious!
None reached the levels of the previous bottles, but they were solid.
- NV Billecart-Salmon Champagne Brut Rosé - France, Champagne
Old Faithful, when we need an unplanned bottle (or half bottle in this case). Distinguished strawberry and tart orange.
- 2004 Domaine Charvin Châteauneuf-du-Pape - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
An unplanned bottle; a request for CdP. I've drunk a lot of Chateauneuf through the years, but not much recently. Charvin was always a favorite. To me, this was solid but uninspiring. Red fruit, garrigue, a little heat. The bottle was emptied, but didn't generate the awe or chatter like others.
- NV René-Henri Coutier Champagne Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Brut - France, Champagne, Champagne Grand Cru
These really rock for the price. Toasty citrus and apple, better as it warmed. Would be a great house champagne. Modest but not pedestrian.
This was one of those rare nights when the dishes and wines neared perfection, and friendships invigorated the gloomy year.