Another blind wine tasting dinner: 2013 Vilmart Grand Cellier d'Or, 2016 PYCM En Remilly, 2005 Potel Charmes-Chambertin; 2010 ABC Sanford & Benedict Pinot Noir

Our Monday night blind wine dinner group enjoyed another fine evening although missing one of our members who has relocated out of state.

Just like wine, things change and it was a different vibe on this night although we sent photos and texted our friend back and forth during the dinner.

Our blind wine theme on this night was for a champagne, white wine and 2 Pinot Noir from anywhere. We were challenged as usual and I not only was way off on the champagne, but did not recognize my own bring which I’ve had a few of in the last couple of years and had a 50% chance to get it right.

Here’s some notes:

2013 VILMART & CIE GRAND CELLIER d’OR 1er Cru- blind; 80% Chardonnay, 20% Pinot Noir aged 10 months in oak barriques and 42 months on the lees; sees no ML; typically dosed around 7 gpl, this was disgorged in October 2017; the color was a light yellow with a pink hue around the edge; the nose offered splendid and inviting green and yellow apple and lemon with a touch of brioche, all of which continued on to the back end once tasted; it had super bright acidity, was big, rich, powerful and complex with layered depth and had an impressive structure that suggests this can go at least a couple of decades before reaching its apogee; it seemed clear to me it had to come from 2008, the vintage of powerful, big and rich wines and more specifically, it was Taittinger Comtes. Surprise, surprise.

2016 PIERRE-YVES COLIN-MOREY EN REMILLY SAINT AUBIN 1er Cru- blind; the color was a hazy yellow; mild aromas of toasty lemon were most prominent and did not reveal the flint, match stick and minerals that were so evident on the palate that complimented some mild apple notes; it had an appropriate mineral oil like texture and seemed to fade out toward the finish; no doubt, this was Burgundy and knowing the one who brought it strongly suggest PYCM, but the mild notes were atypical though the flint and minerality was not; one had it as Meursault, another Chablis and I was OK with either; the bottom line was, I enjoyed the wine immensely.

2005 NICOLAS POTEL CHARMES-CHAMBERTIN GRAND CRU- blind; the color was a medium red purple suggestive of a younger wine and I’m thinking it’s the one I bought from 2010; aromas of spicy, smoky, wild and briary cherry also dominated the taste profile; it was medium to full bodied and a bit astringent, especially at the end; I was shocked to discover what is was not expecting it to come from Burgundy, this vintage and being Grand Cru.

2010 AU BON CLIMAT SANTA BARBARA HISTORIC VINEYARDS COLLECTION SANFORD & BENEDICT VINEYARD SANTA YNEZ VALLEY PINOT NOIR- blind; I did not recognize this as my bring and thought it to be Burgundy; in fact, I bought 4 bottles for 4 of us not only because it was really good, but we had planned to do a blind tasting with each of us decanting it for different lengths of time, but we never did do it; decanted for 1 hour; it had a dark purple color with a pink border; the nose had spice and talc accented blackberry and black cherry that made up most of the taste profile along with a touch of sweetness and some wild character; it had youthful energy, was full bodied and finished with everything coming together nicely and impressively; loved it.

This was a special bottling Jim Clendenen did to honor specific local vineyards that he designated as being part of a Santa Barbara Historic Vineyards Collection; it was planted in 1971 and now has the oldest Pinot Noir vines existing in Santa Barbara County.

The collection originally represented five iconic vineyards which were essential in elevating the recognition of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from the Central Coast. Today ABC’s Historic Collection includes wines from Los Alamos, Bien Nacido, Talley and Sanford & Benedict vineyards.

As usual, this was another humbling blind wine tasting that furthered my awareness of how much there is to know and evaluate even with wines I’m quite familiar with. The learning process continues.