This weekend w/ friends old & new

There’s a lot to share…when you’re with friends new & old.

Thoughts & comments to follow over the next few days…there’s a lot to type here.

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Maine + Keller = my new friend!

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We started with a pair of OR Chardonnays & a blind Champagne.

2008 Cameron Blanc Clos Electrique - This was all acid & pain. I have to be honest, I haven’t experienced that in a wine before…and as much as I liked this in it’s youth left that I was deeply disappointed. It was the darker of the two as well, but for a white wine that’s 13 years old, it looked like an appropriate color to me.
2008 The Eyrie Vineyards Chardonnay Original Vines - This was the exact opposite, there was no perceptible acidity and it felt far, far too flabby.

After that we dug into the sushi and Ara opened a blind Champagne for us.

1993 Taittinger Champagne Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut - This was a lovely golden hue, and very much reminded me of the 1996 Comtes I had back in late 2019 but I think I called this as the 1995 and was off a bit…but this was so deep, rich, and complex that everyone swooned Just a bit.

A Trio of GGs

2013 Wittmann Westhofener Brunnenhauschen Riesling Großes Gewächs - This was richer & had a fuller bodied style. It was deeper in color and a little more medium bodied than the Kellers that were lean, striking, and had a laser-like precision. Having said this, that should not take away just how special this wine is. To me it’s like looking at three beautiful diamonds, maybe this isn’t quite as clear, but it’s still beautiful.

2014 Weingut Keller Abts E® Riesling Großes Gewächs - This was my favorite wine to drink out of these three. It was pure, crystalline, with a piercing intensity and laser-like focus. The scents cling inside the nose and the finish lasts for close to a minute.

2016 Weingut Keller Abts E® Riesling Großes Gewächs - I think my first words after sticking my nose into the glass were, “This is like a blend of chalk & cocaine” It’s one of those wines that convinces you that you can taste wines all night, and open far more than you probably should. In time, I expect the 2016 will be the more complete of the two Keller wines. However, it’s still brilliant right now.

After the GG’s I’m not really sure of the order of the line-up. Most, were served blind, in fact…I think after this maybe only one wine wasn’t blind. I think this might be where we tasted the same two wines blind…I’m pretty sure this is where the tasting went next.

2018 Hofgut Falkenstein Krettnacher Euchariusberg Riesling Kabinett Alte Reben “Gisela” #8 - This had a little more depth and it’s surprising what two years can do for a wine. This felt more “classic” than the 2020. It’s a lovely wine, that goes down far too easy. Bravo.

2020 Hofgut Falkenstein Krettnacher Euchariusberg Riesling Kabinett Alte Reben “Gisela” #8 - This was possibly the lightest & most elegant of any Riesling that I’ve tasted. To say that there was no color and this looked more like water feels like an understatement. The quality is undeniable, but these are wines that need time for the complexity to come.

After this was (I think) a 1989 Mosel Riesling Spätlese (I’m not sure of the producer) This was a deep golden hue in the glass, and while everything in my mind was screaming Kabinett, as soon as another person called Spätlese I knew they were right. For anyone that wants to tasted an aged Riesling, this would be a great wine that’s probably under $50.

The next white wine was brown…like “wow”!

More blind wines…

1947 Chateau Climens - Tasted blind, and what a treat. I found myself wishing for blue cheese & a mixture of salted nuts. Medium bodied, medium acidity, and a long finish filled with notes of botrytis and a bit of wooly-ness on the nose and a finish that lingers nicely on the palate. certainly a rare experience to get to taste something this old that’s both still in tact & highly enjoyable.

On to the reds…


This is where I’m certain I’m going to get some in the wrong order. I think Ara had a pair of blind reds to start us off with. Or maybe I started with the 2001 Beaucastel, but let’s start with the Beaucastel because it seems to work in my memory that way.

2001 Beaucastel Rouge - This bottle was fully mature, and in a place where it’s still quite enjoyable. However, in the company of the wines that were to come behind it…I don’t think I gave this a fair shake. Those around the table were pretty spot on, the more it opened in the glass, the more they landed on Grenache based, Southern Rhone, and eventually Chateauneuf. It’s such a privilege to taste with others that openly talk through how they’re thinking & evaluating the wine as it opens. I did buy this bottle in a store without air-conditioning, sometime around 2008, so it’s possible this was in temps above 70 for 3-4 years. If I had another bottle, I’d be opening it again within the next year.

After this Ara opened a pair of blind reds, one was not enjoyable…but the other seemed to have unanimous agreement around the table that it probably was from Bordeaux

“Maybe we set this bottle aside for now” - 1979 Remoissenet Pere & Fils Nuits-Saint-Georges - This was difficult to place, and while it was clearly old, there was no joy left in this bottle.

1993 Montrose - A hazy bricked color in the glass, with scents of bell pepper, earth, and spice this immediately made me want to go sownstairs to pour a wine I planned to blind the group on side-by-side with this. So I went & blinded the group on

1985 Château Ducru-Beaucaillou - There is a strong note of pyrizines on the nose, while there is some bricking, this wine looks quite youthful. Released from the Chateau in 2016, this really seems like a wine that could go again for another 20+ years. Lovely balance, when others tasted this blind guesses were 2001, 2004, or 2005 Bordeaux. Still ruby, with faint bricking, and a wine that is of a lovely balance, medium bodied, medium fruit, medium acidity. It really makes such a difference when a wine is stored at the winery…such a huge difference.

After each Bordeaux was revealed this is where the blind start going a little wonky. I think I next brought in

2015 Clos Rougeard Saumur-Champigny - This was lovely, medium bodied, medium acidity, medium fruit, with scents of earth, bell pepper, and white pepper and a palate full of black & blue fruit that had a smooth medium length finish. These wines are special.

I’m pretty sure that after the Rougeard there was a transition to the 2014 Conti Boca and not long after that Yuran brought in 2011 Cappellano Barolo Piè Rupestris Otin Fiorin.

The Boca was lean, well balanced, and similar to the Cappellano offered up notes of tar, roses, yet there was a depth & layers here that the Boca was missing. This was when I jumped into the kitchen to put together a little pasta, mushroom, & truffle dish (thank you RWC) to go with these wines. As the pasta was ready & I started to dish it up, I opened up the 2007 Bruno Giacosa Barolo Riserva Le Rocche Del Falletto and served it non-blind. There was a deeper red fruit profile here with the Giacosa. While it’s easy to love this is a wine that will show better with another 10+ years sideways. This might have been the most “sexy” Barolo I’ve ever had…in that it felt flawless & polished in a way I’ve rarely encountered in Barolo. A special, special wine.

Nice notes and great line up!

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After the pasta & mushroom dish once all the Piedmont wines were opened we transitioned to a few more wines from Doug.

A pair of blind Reds

2009 Alain Voge Cornas Les Vieilles Vignes - This was lovely, had a great balance, and at this stage in the night, not being totally sober all my deductive reasoning went strait out the window. I’d love to hear Doug’s memory of how I called this. I think I called it French Syrah…but I’m not really sure. All I really remember was the feeling of visceral violation from the next wine.

2011 Cayuse Syrah Cailloux Vineyard - I stuck my nose in this and feel like I pretty much called this wine(not in a good way), it’s like I went from zero to two-year-old in 3.4 seconds. It’s not really fair, (I wish I had kept my mouth shut longer) if you’ve had enough of Christoph’s wines, they all have a signature to them that is easily identifiable in the same way that Musar, or Bartlett does. While I did not like this wine, the exercise in tasting these two wines side by side was invaluable. For me, these wines are often dirty/bretty, but when they are clean…they’re beautiful. To me, this was a flawed wine, however, I could see many enjoying this.

Finally there is the Madeira, I wish I had taken a picture of the label. This was quite possibly the 2nd or 3rd best Madeira that I’ve had in my life. Rivaled only by the 1863 Miles Madeira Malvasia Solera or a hidden gem in Olympia while visiting. This was just the perfect wine to end the night on. Such a treat…and probably twice the cost of any other wine opened tonight. Justifiably so.