TN: Wine dinner for a great charity; Vilmart and DP, '01 Sauternes, old Alto Piemonte, CdP

WINE DINNER FOR A GREAT CHARITY - Samish Hill, Bellingham, WA (11/4/2023)

We donated a tasting dinner for six to Brigid Collins Family Support Center, who are dedicated to ending child abuse and building strong families. Most of the attendees had joined us for past charity dinners.

Welcome, with cheese, charcuterie, vegetable plates

I started with a rosé that proved to be outstanding. I then sabered a great NV Rosé Champagne with a little bit of age.

Classic pairing; Champagne and caviar

Generous servings of caviar with shallots and crème fraîche on blinis, toast points and deviled eggs.

  • 2008 Dom Pérignon Champagne - France, Champagne
    A beautiful but still young DP. This bottle showed less of the flinty reduction I associate with this cuvée, although some previous bottles had generous matchstick aromas. Pretty orange and lemon, honeysuckle, marzipan...
    2008 Dom was outstanding on release, then shut down tightly. They're starting to come back around, and while they're a pleasure to drink, the three bottles I've opened this year suggest waiting at least a few years will be beneficial.

Another classic pairing; foie gras and Sauternes

Mousse of fois gras perfectly paired with an outstanding Sauturnes.

  • 2001 Château Suduiraut - France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Sauternes
    My love affair with 2001 Suduiraut continues. Orange marmalade, cardamom, honey, botrytis, brown spices. Energetic and acidic, never cloying. This bottle was loved by all and quickly finished.

A surprising old Alto Piemonte nebbiolo with a pasta and truffle dish

Tagliolini with fresh black burgundy truffles, more butter and olive oil than could be absorbed, and mounds of aged reggiano parmesan. Another classic pairing, and gorgeous course.

  • 1970 Cantine Fratelli Francoli Ghemme Riserva "Expo" - Italy, Piedmont, Northern Piedmont, Ghemme
    What a pleasant surprise! I was hoping this would be interesting and drinkable. It was so much more! The color was more translucent ruby than amber. The wine was not merely alive, but proudly carrying fresh red fruit and rose in addition to tertiary notes of leather, mushrooms, moist earth. Light bodied and delicious. Benefited from a long decant.

Waygu ribeye and CdP, plus broiled lobster tails

The '98 was an anniversary year for one of the couples. The old Chateauneuf paired beautifully with Japanese A5 Waygu seared hot but kept rare.
Maine lobster tails split, then broiled with a homemade butter compound of ramps, parsley and shallots.

  • 1998 Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe Châteauneuf-du-Pape La Crau - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
    Still very bright and clean. Red fruit and garrigue, licorice, and a little iodine and moist earth. Out of a 750, it's not at all tired, but I won't hold my remaining bottle for long as it won't improve going forward, unless one prefers a purely tertiary CdP.

More classic pairing; Port and Stilton cheese

While typically go with a VP to close out the evening, I chose a Kolheita from one of the attendee's birth year. Another great pairing, and another superb bottle.

  • 1968 Krohn Porto Colheita - Portugal, Douro, Porto
    Lively and complex, a delicious bottle. Caramel, toffee and dried fruit. Light on its feet, those who eschew overly sweet and viscous port wines would love this, as I did.

It was a fantastic night of food, wine, and conversation, all for a great cause. Attended by old friends and new, the gods smiled upon us with perfect bottles and wonderful fare (although this meal is best paired with lipitor).


Beautiful dinner and wines Warren. And such a worthy cause. Thank you!

Warren, you’re doing it right, brother. Keep passing it on! :cheers: