Marybeth and I just arrive to a beautiful house we rented in Bend, Oregon for a short anniversary trip. Just the two of us. We’ll be hiking, fly fishing, and chilling, and of course, eating and drinking well. Our original anniversary reservations were to Paris & Champagne. Like everyone else in the world, 2020 didn’t go as planned. Our backup trip was Tofino or Whistler, which were also nixed by our American persona non grata status. So it’s Bend, and we love it.
Life doesn’t go as planned, but life is very good.
Night one, upon our arrival in Bend, we shared another beautiful bottle of 2002 Piper-Heidsieck Cuvée Rare. It’s in the optimal zone (for me) of youthful freshness meeting early signs of maturation, with citrus, almond brioche, honeysuckle. We were road-weary after the eight hour drive last night, and neglected to notice there was still a glass worth left in the bottle until I awoke this morning. Even after sitting uncorked at room temperature, it was still beautiful with breakfast.
2008 Pierre Péters Champagne Grand Cru Cuvée Speciale Blanc de Blancs Les Chetillons; Unbelievably good. Dense lemon cream and citrus peel, apricot, honey and white flowers. There’s also a savory brown spice component. It’s yeasty with a long mineral finish. The flavors and acidity amplify and crescendo into a long finish. It’s still taut, and probably a long way from it’s prime drinking window. Fantastic BdB. It paired perfectly with Charlie’s Schrenckii caviar.
Another fun bottle of 1996 Calon Segur. We’ve been opening a bottle nearly every year since release. This was the most advanced of any bottle we’ve opened. The tannins, which just a few years ago were still impenetrable, were fully resolved. Great melange of currant, leather, licorice, five spice. Great with Flannery tenderloin seared in cast iron.
Night four; our anniversary!
1996 Dom Perignon.
I thought I only had very old disgorgements, but this was an auction purchase from 2018 that I suspect was a more recent disgorgement. I’ve read some tasters finding advance bottles, but this wine was a beauty.
Upon opening a bit cold, it was restrained but with perfect balance and little tertiary characteristics. It took a bit of air and warming to show its true character. Once it opened up, it was a thriller. Dense and generous, with lemon, orange, yellow orchard fruit, heady brioche, roasting hazelnuts, jasmine and a very savory note I couldn’t put a name on. This bottle could have lasted another decade or more. I don’t know how this can be so good considering how many cases they produce.
This week we’ll open one of my three remaining 1996 Dom Perignon from one of the original disgorgements. I’m hoping it held up. '96 was a good year to marry! We’ve also opened a '96 Calon Segur every anniversary since release. The last three were stunning. I have enough of these to last 30 years, as well a two three liter bottles for the 25th (next year) and 30th anniversaries. That’s assuming we can celebrate with a large group of friends by then…