Another fabulous Orange County dinner with spectacular wines including Bouchard Roses de Jeanne, Laflaive Les Pucelles, Musar, Allemand Cornas, Guigal La Turque, Haut-Brion and Switchback Ridge Petit

Once again, I joined some of the elite and righteously fine Orange County wine geeks for a wonderful dinner featuring a wine theme created by the event coordinate par excellence, Chris Seiber, who suggested each of us “bring one special bottle you’ve been saving”.

This was my 8th journey to OC for similar fun events and it was as good as all of the spectacular ones before it.

Seven of us enjoyed some fabulous Italian dishes at Foretti’s in Corona del Mar which specializes in traditional Italian cuisine at its finest.

Thanks to one of our group and a co-owner of the restaurant, Steve Nordhoff, he coordinated our dishes with the waitstaff and chef and we ate generously and graciously.

Unlike most previous dinners, all 7 wines were revealed and tasted non-blind. We had 1 champagne, 1 white Burgundy and 5 red wines ranging from Lebanon to Bordeaux to Northern Rhone to Napa Valley.

Here’s some notes:

2016 CEDRIC BOUCHARD ROSES de JEANNE ‘PR-PRESLE- this extra special limited release consists of 100% organic Pinot Noir that are farmed from 15 rows (0.25 hectare) of 10 different Burgundian Pinot clones co-planted in 2007, all of which are massale selection using superior cuttings, a practice that is becoming more popular replacing clonal selection; it is made by using first press juice only, hand harvested, foot crushed and then fermented with indigenous yeasts in stainless steel, bottled unfined and unfiltered and aged 36 months sur lie, zero dosage; the color was yellow with a hint toward gold; the nose was redolent of honeyed golden delicious apple with a touch of lemon and a mild accent of ginger, all of which continued on to the back end while being delivered in a mellow, soft and frothy textured medium; it was subtly rich and more elegant than powerful; best off all, it’s already achieved a level of balance and should just get better with time. A fabulous no dosage bubbly and a great bring, one I considered for WOTN.

2015 DOMAINE LAFLAIVE Les PUCELLES PULIGNY-MONTRACHET 1er Cru- although the vineyard is rated 1er Cru and surrounded by Grand Crus, this release has been Grand Cru quality for decades and our bottle confirmed such IMHO; it was stupendous and a candidate for the WOTN; hallmarked by perfect balance, this gem had a yellow light green hue and offered intriguing and inviting mild aromas of flint, minerals and honeysuckle which were joined on the palate by pear, lemon and orange; it just reeked of class and elegance and improved immensely in the glass over time after a stellar start; but, it was its amazing balance all the way through that stood out above and beyond all of its attributes; another outstanding bring.

1993 CHATEAU MUSAR ‘GASTON HOCHAR’ LEBANON ROUGE- this is made mainly from Cabernet Sauvignon and Cinsault with a bit of Carignan and Grenache blended in; I selected this wine primarily because Chris is a big fan of the producer and it certainly fit the requirement for “one I’ve been saving” for a special occasion; since I was traveling, I did not decant this and it needed decanting big time as it evolved later on in the evening into something more drinkable after a pretty rough start; my first immersion after noticing the intense dark purple color was it may have some brettanomyces, the 4-ethylphenol type, that gives off the barnyard, bandaid character; it also seemed discombobulated with bits of this and bits of that, large bits at that; there was some graphite, cedar, earth, pine tar, clove, cigar box, leather and spice that showed up to compliment the blackberry, black currant, red plum and black cherry fruit and it kept changing for the better as some of the component parts started to blend in, but it still had some of that funk and I’ve learned a lesson I should have known to do, DECANT Musar. I heard that after I left, some re-tasted it and it was so much better and more together.

2011 THIERRY ALLEMAND CHAILLOT CORNAS-not decanted; dark, inky color; it had a lovely nose of fresh blueberries with some pepper and spice in the background, both of which were more prominent in the taste profile; there was a nice addition of blackberry that came in about mid palate; it was medium to full bodied, very tasty and very mellow throughout showcasing more grace and finesse than anything else; it had that profile I’ve enjoyed over the years from many N. Rhone Syrahs, especially that spicy, black pepper note and I love blueberries.

2016 E. GUIGAL LA TURQUE COTE-ROTIE- of the 3 La La, Las, La Turque has been my fav over the years and this bottle perpetuated that position beautifully albeit needing some age to gain maturation for more ideal balance although this was not that out of balance; aromas of talc, violets and bacon fat laced blueberry and blackberry provided the perfect invitation to move on through and I found some additional welcoming notes of dark chocolate and black currant that embellished the flavor profile; it was super smooth and finished with everything coming together for a grand finale; I loved it and was super grateful for the opportunity to drink a young La Turque and get a read on where it is now and an educated guess as to where is will end up= stellar…

2001 CHATEAU HAUT-BRION PESSAC-LEOGNAN- great bring; 52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc; the color was dark and inky suggesting something a lot more serious than we got as this had class, sophistication and balance personified; its fabulous profile included some mild accents of earth, leather and cedar accented ripe and mature black currant and blue plum; it was rich and full bodied and yet light weighted with silky tannins which served to add to it elegance; however, it was its outstanding balance throughout that hallmarked it for me; if the Les Pucelles was not the WOTN, this was and there was at least one other candidate, the Bouchard Presle and the La Turque was not too shabby.

2005 SWITCHBACK RIDGE PETIT SIRAH PETERSON FAMILY VINEYARD NAPA- I was happy to see this as over the years, it won my Santa Barbara Wednesday night dinner group’s blind theme of “winner gets dinner”, TWICE; this bottle followed in the same vein as those I’ve had before it with first a dark, inky teeth staining purple color and then intense aromas of bacon fat, black cherry cough drops, coffee, licorice, spice and pepper laced dark fruit which on the palate showed up as mostly blackberry and black cherry; this is just a massive wine that has enough subtleness to soften its intensity to allow one to take small sips and admire, seemingly forever, as it was fitting for this to be the final wine on a wondrous evening that included many fabulous wines and great Italian food as well as heart felt fellowship.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t remark about the amazing array of classy personalities and righteously good people among this group of Orange County folks. I’m blessed to have connected with them and thanks to Chris Seiber, these 8 visits have been made possible by him reaching out a few years ago to make it happen.

Here’s to the next OC journey.


@Chris_Seiber @Steve_Nordhoff @Andrew_Christiansen @ToddFrench @Viet_Ly @Sean_Kennedy @brigcampbell @AstridKG @Mikael_OB


What an amazing line-up!

The wines look nice, too!

1 Like

I was hoping you would make this one, but understand that night was not good for you.

Orange County tasting with no orange wines? :astonished:

Seems like you drank really well anyway.

Dan Kravitz

1 Like