TN: Dinner At The Bristol -12/20/11

Fun evening with friends in Chicago - food was outstanding as always.

2001 Dr. Loosen Erdener Prälat Riesling Auslese Goldkapsel – From 375. Flinty earth, lovely peaches, white pepper, grapefruit and limestone on a lovely balanced nose. Really lovely texture, and balance on the palate with very similar flavors to the nose. Great balance between acidity and sweetness. A wonderful way to start the evening.

2009 Rex Hill Wilamette Valley Chardonnay - Still a little tight and young. Nice clean lemon curd, just a hint of oak on the nose. Good richness and structure on the palate. Not a blockbuster, but a nice clean starter.

2007 Sea Smoke Southing – No decant. Started out a little monosyllabic, but really blossomed in the glass with some air. Nice funky cola, stemmy underbrush and black cherry fruit on the nose at first. Cranberries and rose petals made an appearance with some time. Quite well balanced between sweet fruit and acidity on the palate.

1999 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape - Another very clean bottle. No decant and consumed over a couple of hours. Underbrush, sweet brambly blackberry and black raspberry fruit. Great structure, sweet seamless palate, surprisingly fruit forward upon opening. As it sat and got some air, actually seemed to pick up weight and structure. Hot limestone rocks, more tannin and underbrush started to show up as it firmed up, but still a good underlying level of fruit. Very nice.

1998+ La Mission Haut Brion – Had been open for 4 hours or so before consuming. Coffee, leather, tobacco and just a hint of bell pepper on a gloriously rich nose. Beautiful texture and similar flavors on the palate with some nice black fruit on the attack and a pronounced tannic backbone. Tight but wonderful. Still going to improve and another 5-10 years will do it a world of good. My wine of the night.

2005 Bryant Family Vineyard DB4 Cabernet Sauvignon – Very hedonistic coming right after the LMHB. Chocolate, black fruit and a hint of leather on the nose. Ripe, unctuous black fruit on the palate as well. Nice, but lacking in a little complexity.

2002 Quintessa – This was quite a departure from the other two cabs. This was all about structure, more red fruited notes – lots of currant, cinnamon and sour cherry on the nose. Really balanced between some sweet fruit and structured acidity. An elegant Napa cab.