Grilling and drinking up in the Hollywood Hills at Joe Wu’s. Joe had a bunch of fun folks over to enjoy his multi-storied back deck area. Tons of great wines showed and were popped later on. Good group of wine geeks and non tried to stay warm with wine and huddling near a fire that even Charlie couldn’t screw up…or maybe the resident fire marshal just kept it going for him. Thanks to everyone that showed up and made it a blast!
Four of the wines were blind, of which the Chave turned out to be corked. The Dehlinger had everyone guessing Cote Rotie. The Shafer left everyone guessing the variety.
I’ll leave some quick notes on what I can remember and hopefully some of my drinking companions will fill in where I can’t.
N.V. Marguet Père et Fils Champagne Reserve Grand Cru (France, Champagne)
1999 Bollinger Champagne La Grande Année (France, Champagne) - Powerful yet balanced. May never reach the heights of better vintages but very good none the less. Seems to drink differently every time I’ve tried it so probably warrants more sleep.
2007 Dönnhoff Norheimer Kirschheck Riesling Spätlese (Germany, Nahe)
2007 Dönnhoff Oberhäuser Brücke Riesling Spätlese (Germany, Nahe) - I tried one of these two and wished I had taken the time to compare them. Clean and precise, pretty yet packed.
2007 Lucien Crochet Sancerre Le Chene (France, Loire Valley, Upper Loire, Sancerre)
2007 Sine Qua Non Body & Soul (USA, California)
1937 Domaines Grivelet Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Vignes de Chateau (France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru) - Didn’t get any of this but word was the nose was good and the palate left them wanting.
1986 Ridge Santa Cruz Mountains (USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains) - JL68? - Ripe in character but still brightly fruited. Mixed bag and not one of Ridge’s best efforts but still pretty good. No danger of going anywhere soon.
1986 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage (France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Hermitage) - Corked!
1992 E. Guigal Côte-Rôtie La Mouline (France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Côte-Rôtie)
1993 E. Guigal Côte-Rôtie La Landonne (France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Côte-Rôtie)
1996 E. Guigal Côte-Rôtie La Landonne (France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Côte-Rôtie)
1996 E. Guigal Côte-Rôtie La Turque (France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Côte-Rôtie) - I remember thinking the 96’s were drinking the best and had terrific peppery notes. If I remember the '93 seemed fairly weak and the '92 showed terrific balance.
1996 Kathryn Kennedy Syrah (USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains) - Served blind. Guesses were all over but generally Rhone in variety. Some spice among some rich dense fruit but not too thick. Nose showed some age while the palate seemed very young.
1997 Bouchard Père et Fils Chambertin-Clos de Bèze (France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Chambertin-Clos de Bèze Grand Cru) - Tannic. Linear. Meh. Oh wait…famous Burgundy so it was awesome and amazing. I nearly fainted after having tasted this.
1998 Dehlinger Syrah Estate (USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley) - Served blind. The best surprise on the night. Everyone was guessing Cote Rotie. Excellent.
2001 E. Guigal Côte-Rôtie La Landonne (France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Côte-Rôtie) - Powerful and packed. Needs time. There’s a very good wine in here but the '96’s drank much better on the night for me.
2003 Jacques-Frédéric Mugnier Chambolle-Musigny (France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Chambolle-Musigny) - Smelled like RRV Pinot. Palate was light and acidic.
2004 Ferrando Nebbiolo di Carema White Label (Etichetta Bianca) (Italy, Piedmont, Northern Piedmont, Nebbiolo di Carema)
2005 Sine Qua Non Syrah The 17th Nail in My Cranium (USA, California) - Not as soft and fleshy feeling as I usually find their Syrahs which is probably due to the extended barrel aging. Showed pretty good balance yet still huge. Wrapped up some in the mid palate.
2005 Sine Qua Non Grenache The Naked Truth (USA, California) - More complex but not as together as the Syrah. I liked this a tad better but not as much as I have liked the Grenaches in the past. Recommend long decant for either one.
2005 Lillian Winery Syrah (USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Barbara County) - Dense and dark. A very nice black pepper note came out of this after an hour or so of air. Still pretty straight forward to me. Very good but not up to the billing it usually gets.
2005 Far Niente Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Bottled (USA, California, Napa Valley, Oakville)
2005 Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select (USA, California, Napa Valley, Stags Leap District) - Served blind. Guesses all over the map for variety but not many for Cab. Super ripe blackberries on the nose and palate. Bizarre. Evil thing to do to that Cab fruit.
2006 Saxum James Berry Vineyard (USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles) -
2006 Saxum Heart Stone Vineyard (USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles) - I’ve noticed the 06 Saxums seem to be getting softer and rounder in bottle recently which seems to mask the acidity some. Leaving mine alone in the hopes of the mid palate chilling out. The Heartstone showed a darker fruit profile than the James Berry and also stronger tannins. The James Berry being brighter and more red fruited.
2006 Rudius Grenache (USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley) - Tart and very spicey.
1998 Dönnhoff Oberhäuser Brücke Riesling Eiswein (Germany, Nahe) - Showing lots of color already. Tart stone fruits with good depth. Wish I had more time to spend with this.
2005 Château Rieussec (France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Sauternes) - Big and sugary today but terrific fruit expression and depth. A baby but with lots of potential.