The Super Bowl and a slew of wines...

The Super Bowl and a slew of wines…

The Super Bowl… North America’s World Cup? Not quite but you get the idea… Funny how closely (or not) you’ll follow a sport depending on if your team is still in the hunt… in this case, my team is the Indianapolis Colts… and they let the %#$R#$# San Diego Chargers kick the crap out of them in the second (or first?? Too long ago) round. So you see, my interest here was subdued and the commercials were right up there with the game.

The evening started off with a gorgeous white 1989 R. López de Heredia Rioja Reserva Viña Tondonia. This baby sees a full 6 years in wood and yet it was young, fresh and vibrant. There was perfumed floral and toast notes mixed with serious minerality and on the palate, this had striking clarity and precision paired with ripe fruit and vibrant acidity (93pts.) Next up was a surprisingly smooth and supple 2005 Domaine Bernard Millot Puligny-Montrachet. While slightly subdued on the nose, the palate was rocking with seamless integration, a complete texture and plenty of length. Given how well this was drinking, I wouldn’t hesitate to crack another bottle of this (92pts.) We paired some fantastic crab cakes with a bottle of 2004 Zind-Humbrecht Pinot Gris Rangen de Thann Clos St. Urbain and the spice and butter in the cakes paired beautifully with the wine. The nose on this just jumps from the glass with its slat and mineral notes mixing with ripe stone fruit aromas. The palate took some time to unwind and was surprisingly ripe and carries a viscous, almost heady feel (90pts.)

That concluded the whites and with the reds we went from young and sweet to mature and austere.

The 2004 Montes Syrah Folly La Finca de Apalta was a revelation. Anyone that thinks Chile can’t produce stunning Syrah should try this wine. The color is deep purple and the nose is just packed with perfectly ripe blackberry and cassis aromas that are backed up by subtle spice and earth. Pure, defined and crystal clear, this is medium to full bodied on the palate with perfect balance and subtle, fine grained tannins that are balanced by vibrant acidity. Just a beautifully built wine, this is approachable now but given the balance and fruit quality, I’d love to hang onto a bottle to see what happens (93pts.)

From here we jumped into two relatively mature Chateauneufs and the 1999 Clos des Papes Châteauneuf-du-Pape showed well with a sweet core of cherry and raspberry fruit, floral and spice aromas. On the palate, this opens up in the glass and is medium bodied with nice sweetness, a lush, rich texture and plenty of length. This showed better than a previous bottle and seems to be right in the middle of its drinking window (92pts.) In complete contrast to the sweet fruited, easy drinking Clos des Papes was the masculine and slightly austere 1995 Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe Châteauneuf-du-Pape La Crau. This is still young and fresh with a blackberry, leather, licorice, river rock and hot tar scented bouquet and a concentrated, medium bodied palate. Really gorgeous with pure flavors, solid structure and a long finish, this had just started to open up on the second day… Is this what the 2005s will be like 13 years? I think the 2005 have more fruit but we’ll see! (93pts)

Never serve Bordeaux after Chateauneufs… they just don’t show well and it’s hard to go from the sweet fruit and richness of CdPs to the more structured, herbaceous Cabernet dominated wines. It probably took a full 10 minutes and a full glass of the 1990 Château Saint-Pierre for me to actually start to warm up to it. The seemingly herbaceous, earthiness morphed into a complex, rich wine with cedar, lead pencil, cassis and assorted dark fruit notes and flavors and I’m sure this was my palate adjusting and not the wine. The wine was rich, balanced and had plenty of life left (90pts.)

Somewhere in here I also had a glass of the 2000 Poderi Luigi Einaudi Barolo that was packed with sweet red fruit, spice and earthy notes. Ripe and perfumed on the nose, this had gorgeous fruit on the palate and was surprisingly forward and accessible (90pts.)

Time was flying, the 4th quarter was here and the 1990 Azienda Agricola Montevertine Le Pergole Torte Riserva Toscana IGT emerged from the cellar. This is in a good spot and possessed a core of sweet, spice laden fruit but also had a slight austerity that seemed a wee bit harsh by this time of the night. Medium bodied and rich on the palate, this showed nice length. (91’ish pts.)

And Pittsburgh wins and all is right in the world… Even though I secretly was rooting for the underdog Cardinals, I didn’t really want them to win… I mean, hell, I was at Rico’s house and the dude’s from Pittsburgh… you should always want the host to be happy! I sipped on a final glass of 1987 R. López de Heredia Rioja Reserva Viña Tondonia just before Traci showed up to drive my drunken ass home. Delicate, subtle and beautifully balanced, this has big acidity but also a silky, smooth texture that leads into a long finish.

Salut and thanks for reading!