TNs: 96` Dom, 99` Salon, 3 GC red Burgs, Margaux, Mouton, Ringland, Beaucastel, Chapoutier, more

Our monthly wine tasting group held its annual fine wine dinner recently to the pleasure of 11 gracious and thankful participants. Our venue over the years has been the stellar Stonehouse Restaurant located on the property of the classy, high end San Ysidro Ranch in Montecito. We were treated to the highest quality of service, stemware, 2 side tables with ice buckets and extra stemware and menu choices with many wonderful options.

Our individually selected courses for dinner were complimented with the following wines:

1979 RENE COLLARD CUVEE de ROI RENE- as expected, this bubbly had some aging character evidenced by its gold color and nutty, sherry notes and viscous more than usual texture; even at that, it drank pleasant enough to the delight of those who appreciate this evolution of a 34 year old Champagne.

1999 SALON BdB- my first dip into this newly acquired fine Champagne and it showed quite well in its infancy; nice acidity; balanced; lemon lime dominated citrus notes; smooth and luscious; elegant; a complete treat from nose through the finish; this is not a block buster; grace, charm and elegance are the more apt descriptors.

1996 DOM PERIGNON- this was as good as any I`ve had since initial release; lots of toasted biscuit, spice and a dash of pepper inside the citrus flavors; big, full bodied; complex; a complete winner which is still evolving and in a great place right now.

2010 BONNEAU du MARTRAY CORTON CHARLEMAGNE- lots of graphite, flinty, steely and mineral notes with a dollop of oak showing up in this not yet integrated white Burg; it provided good joy and gave us the intro to the Pinot Noir/ red Burgs to follow.

1991 WILLIAMS SELYEM ROCHIOLI PINOT NOIR- the first surprise was to find the cork still in tack with mid shoulder ullage; then what followed was an amazing wine showing brilliance and fortitude for its survival of time; a classic example of a California Pinot Noir that was made righteously and has aged beautifully; there`s some of the requisite spice that accompanies the primary strawberry and raspberry fruit profile still prevalent; jaw opening and mouth watering for most if not all at the table.

1997 PONSOT CLOS de la ROCHE VIELLES VIGNES- somewhat muted nose and fruit flavors may be representative of a valley phase for this wine which I expect to have a better showing at another date when the peak phase reappears; still pleasant enough; I did not see any dump bucket use, in fact, I did not see a wine poured out all evening.

2001 HUBERT LIGNIER CLOS de la ROCHE- this CDLR was to the point good; spicy raspberry and red cherry notes sang out with glee and contributed to some smiles on many faces; nice balance, good acidity and fine length; why I love red Burgundy.

2002 COMTE GEORGES de VOGUE MUSIGNY- I loved this one too although the one who brought it felt it was under performing; I`ve had a few previously and found all including this one to shine; nice fruit, good layered depth and a complete package.

1990 CHAPOUTIER le PAVILLON ERMITAGE- surprising youthfulness here in color and fruit; theres almost a sweetness at mid palate; its sexy and tantalizing and demands moving into deeper dimensions to explore its treasures that are just below the threshold of the initial perception.

1995 BEAUCASTEL HOMMAGE a. JACQUES PERRIN- a complete package of joy in every respect; balance, depth, fresh fruitiness; this is so nicely integrated and in a perfect place now.

1998 CHRIS RINGLAND [THREE RIVERS] SHIRAZ- I would have never guessed the 16.2 % alc. shown on the label; from 120 year old vines, this huge extracted wine was one of the 1,200 bottles produced from this vintage [#0189]; it`s serious, inky, teeth staining dark and laden with wild black and blue fruit; a major statement in the world of Syrah/ Shiraz and seemingly, an ageless wonder.

2007 TURNBULL WINE CELLARS CABERNET SAUVIGNON FORTUNA VINEYARD- brought as a back up, this was fortunately opened as if we did not have enough already; no-one complained; it`s way good; lots of vanilla, spice and some oakiness, not to a fault, but not yet integrated; soft and easy on the palate and a fresh ripe minty black fruit profile that builds and builds to the back end and lingers on; thank you.

1995 MARGAUX- obviously, an early version of this highly adored First Growth; it showed well and has all of the make up to be a really good Margaux; I actually picked up some of the character Ive enjoyed in the 83 which I consider as good or better than the 82; its soft and easy on the palate, has a bit of talc to compliment the black fruit; medium body; well structured and expected to really hangout and evolve for many years down the line.

1986 MOUTON- this highly acclaimed wine has beautiful balance and reeks of royalty; comprised of 80% Cabernet, 10% Merlot, 8% Cab Franc and 2% Petit Verdot; it was rich, lush, silky smooth; all one would want in a top echelon Bordeaux.

2007 KLEIN CONSTANTIA VIN de CONSTANCE- thanks to our “Prince of Sweets”, this fill in was a new exposure for me; from South Africa, it is replete with creamy honeyed apricot and peach that showcases the Muscat de Frontignan grape when it is allowed to raisin on the vines; delightful dessert in a glass.

This grand evening epitomizes the shared passion by all who attended and contributed to a class and quality wine and food experience which was immensely treasured and appreciated as echoed throughout the evening and into the next day.

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Hi Blake,
Thanks for the great notes on some “heavy lumber”. I agree with you on the '83 vs '82 Margaux, but the '83 Palmer is often even better, as is well documented on this board. My few bottles of '86 Mouton have never been breached…it sounds like your bottle was closer to a peak than I would have expected given the firmness of that vintage.
(PS Its a great week to be a Jayhawk!)

Hi Bruce. I also like the 83 Palmer a lot. From some of the voices at the table for this dinner, there was a lot of varied opinions re the 86 Margaux in general, but all agreed this bottle was just at the right place albeit more mature than most of the highly tannic version some of us have had in the past few years.
Hopefully, it`s a great season to be a Jayhawk. Certainly, it was great to beat Duke, but we have not looked all that good in the other wins, especially Wiggins.

more pics coming in:
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