Dinner with a PYCM rose, 4 champagnes incl 06` Dom Ruinart, 3 white Burgs, 5 Super Tuscans and an 07` Klein Constantia

Our dinner group enjoyed another fabulous evening, this time at the ocean front Convivo Restaurant located in the Santa Barbara Inn. Eight of us dined on the outside patio and shared in the wine theme of champagne, white Burgundy and Super Tuscans.

As usual, we ordered a gazillion appetizers, passed a gazillion wines across and around the table in all directions and actually had room for some huge entrees, one of which included 2 orders of a 40 oz Porterhouse steak. Being a situational vegetarian, I partook of a small bite or 3.

Our wines in the order as received from all angles:

2017 PIERRE-YVES COLIN-MOREY ROSE de PINOT NOIR- evidently, this is a tough get as one of our group represents PYCM and can’t get it, but I did at Envoyer; this was the 2nd bottle I’ve opened and it had consistent notes of the typical rose mild flavors, body and texture which in this case is slightly sweetened strawberry; its certainly refreshing on a warm summer evening and had a degree of elegance that separates it from just any other Pinot based rose which I prefer over other varietals.

NV LAUNOIS PERE et FILS BRUT ROSE LE MESNIL-SUR-OGER — this rose was the perfect segue into our champagnes after the above wine; it had more noticeably sweet strawberry flavors with dried cherry taking over past mid palate; it had a frothy mousse that added good mouthfeel and length.

NV LAUNOIS PERE et FILS VEUVE CLEMENCE GRAND CRU BLANC de BLANC BRUT LE MESNIL SUR-OGER — this had some straw, hay, herbal, pear and apple notes delivered in a fine mousse that added charm to the experience; it was full bodied, rich and pleasing. This wine gets 4 years of aging on the lees to the Reserve’s 3, and comes from older vineyards.

NV RUINART BLANC de BLANC BRUT- the classic bottle shape of Ruinart seems to just suggest something extra special and I always seem to find lots of love for all of their wines as I did for this one; with bright acidity, it gave balanced notes of citrus, apple and pear with lemon zest most prominent; I also discovered a bit of mild red cherry as well as a degree of acceptable sweetness as I learn more toward less, if any.

2006 DOM RUINART BLANC de BLANC BRUT- disgorged in July, 2017 at 4.5 gpl; our order of wines to this point seemed to be perfect for building up a crescendo and reaching a grand finale and this champagne achieved that position with its really full body, super rich, complex and layered depth and overall luscious profile; some lightly toasted brioche, saline and minerals provided just the right accent to the lemon zest and it seemed to expand on the palate and finish at its apogee; my one and only bottle was worth the bring; it got the white WOTN.

2009 HENRI BOILLOT les PERRIERES MEURSAULT 1er Cru- flint and minerals jump out of the glass followed by mellow citrus, pear and green apple notes; it was medium bodied at best and everything seemed to be just moderately expressed or suppressed as the case may be.

2014 HENRI CLERC MEURSAULT- this comes from several parcels of vines in the prestigious lieu dits Le Tesson, Les Rougeots and Les Chevalières; lively citrus fruit is most prevalent with some minerals in the background; it had nice acidity and pleasant mouthfeel.

2016 PIERRE-YVES COLIN-MOREY VIELLES VIGNES CHASSAGNE-MONTRACHET- pretty nice village wine here showing beautiful balance while delivering mineral infused citrus notes to the back end; it had a medium body and decent mouthfeel.

1999 EREDI FULIGNI SJ (San Jacopo) TOSCANA- this was pretty much an unexpected adventure as it was very Amarone like throughout; it had dark chocolate laden raisins and black currant served up in a thick syrupy like texture; it certainly was full bodied and intense and to a certain extent, was enjoyable, if not quite different.

2007 TUA RITA GIUSTO di NOTRI ROSSO TOSCANA- this wine shined big time with an abundance of flavors, massive texture, body, power and length; the intense dark purple color started out the journey and then came dark chocolate and tar laden blackberry, plum and black cherry in the aromatics and thereafter on the palate; it was super rich with lots of depth and complexity; it was my #! red WOTN and voted near the top.

2013 ANTINORI TIGNANELLO TOSCANA- 80% Sangiovese, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc; I hesitated to bring my one remaining bottle of the 1990 as one of our members is not a fan, but was happy to see this arrive and get an update as to where the younger versions are hanging out; this is hanging out just fine with generous amounts of blackberry accented with some tar and milk chocolate; it had lots of power and yet lots of finesse even in its youth; there’s a bit of oakiness yet to be integrated, but enough history here to support an assurance of forthcoming balance.

2015 PETROLO GALATRONA {Vineyard} TOSCANA- 100% Merlot; our group has affectionally called this the “baby Masseto” and we’ve long been a fan of this release; we got 2 on this night, both very good; this was the younger brother and had a bit more youthful, vibrant energy, but definitely needs a lot of time to integrate and grow up; having all of the makings, structure and such, it`s loaded with super ripe, grapey fruit which more specifically translates into mostly plum and black currant; past mid palate, the tannins take over and its puckering time.

2010 PETROLO GALATRONA TOSCANA- a bit more evolved than the 15, it had more semblance of balance and was fully loaded with grapey, dark fruit and my childhood movie candy, jujube; there was also toasty, spicy, chocolate and licorice flavored blackberry, black cherry fruit and all was delivered in a very pleasing velvety texture; although a bit dry at the finish, it had enough overall pizzaz to get voted the #1 red WOTN. Id take this and the 07` Giusto di Notri and call it a pretty good night.

But the night isn’t over as our Prince of Sweets pulls out his sweetie bring:

2007 KLEIN CONSTANTIA ESTATE WINE VIN de CONSTANCE “NATURAL SWEET WINE” CONSTANTIA SOUTH AFRICA- 500 ml; 14% abc; made from Muscat de Frontignan; some might call this seductive, others might say its sinful, let’s just say, its downright beyond reason as in raisin {that someone made a wine like this}; the dark amber color was deceiving as the first nose was more like a Sauternes with honeysuckle, caramel and orange rind notes; on the palate comes buttered toast and honeyed apricot nectar; and this from Wine & Spirits: “Napoleon Bonaparte purportedly guzzled 30 bottles of Vin de Constance a month. If those vintages were anything like this 2007, it’s easy to see why. Made from muscat de Frontignan planted at the original 1650s site, the grapes are left to raisin on the vine……”

and another one for the sweet tooth:

2016 ZOTOVICH LATE HARVEST CHARDONNAY STA. RITA HILLS- on the heels of the Klein Muscat, this paled, but did have some redeeming qualities; it had very intense and concentrated pineapple fruit accented with a grassy, herbaceous character that seemed more like Sauvignon Blanc than Chardonnay; it was delivered in a thick and viscous, almost chewy texture.

Another wonderful dinner with the gang. Its almost a tease that we have to wait 2 weeks for the next one, but hey, this has been going on for over 20 years and its getting better and better by the month and adds to my philosophical contention, “Life is good”.


The PYCM rose is one of my favorites, and I’ve gotten it since PY started producing it.

And I love the Ruinart NV bottling so the 2006 must be a step or two up. Interested in getting some 2008 when it’s available.

Jerry, the 06` Dom Ruinart is quite a few steps up from the NV and I like the NV. Its really in the league with most of the Grande Marques IMHO. It stood out above and beyond those we had before it on this night.

Great job Blake. On the lookout for the 06 Dom Ruinart.

Had the 2006 at the winery when we visited last summer. It was fabulous, but very young. I think my favorite luxury Cuvees may be Dom Ruinart and Taittinger Comte de Champagne [Salon is too expensive for me.]

Great notes, as usual.