Good friend and boardmember Brian Pattrick has decided he needs to cull his cellar a bit. I was a fortunate invitee to dinner, together with Brian’s friend Bryce and boardmember Chris McCart. I haven’t been to a smaller dinner in a while and I really enjoyed the opportunity to have some extensive conversations with all 3. We had a relaxed and wonderful time, and I discovered Cumbrae meats—the lamb was oh-so-delish.
The title comes from the fact that Brian’s choices here were his last bottles of each of these.
1990 Stoney Ridge Lenko Estates
This is somewhat evolved, but still quite interesting. There’s a kind of loaminess, earthiness and truffle quality on the schnozz, also a little lactic going on–maybe yeasty? Hard to place it as a chard, it reminds me more of a Roussanne, but it has some minerality still and floats nicely across the tongue. The fruit is mostly gone, but there are nips of herbs and more of the sort of thing that reminds me of fresh-rained meadow. Regardless, this has held–and does so for another hour or so, which for a 21-year old Ontario Chardonnay is saying quite something.
1991 Kalin Livermore Valley Chardonnay
I know it’s not everybody’s thing, but I like Kalin stuff. This is still quite vibrant aromatically, with oak, hazelnut, pear and some sour cream. Soft and very surprisingly sweet to taste, has a sort of creme de menthe lift at the back. Zip of banana at the side with a coconut oil ending. I want more vivacity in my white wine, but this is again an interesting beast.
1995 Chateau Musar White
This is my first Musar white. There are tinges of ginger and cardamom, but honey and 'shrooms are also showing up. Brian is right–this has the texture and even some taste of dry sherry, but also a lemon counterpoint. It is “savoury” in texture and zings around the mouth. Later, a bit of sweet lemon pie crust emerges, more expressive. This is very good, actually.
1979 Calera Selleck Vineyard Pinot Noir
Brian cottoned onto Calera pretty early. This is, he says, either the first or second vintage and we theorize that it must be one of the last bottles in existence. A very great honour to try. And…it’s quite alive, people, plums and dark cherry and lots of baking spices present themselves. Le gout, it’s only a little stripped of fruit, there are still raspberries and wild strawberry to find. A sweet finish and lots of acidity still, plenty of carry. And about an hour in, a tremendous aromatic and even tasting hit of sandalwood. We were all astonished at not only how well this showed, but how well it held. A unique and memorable experience.
1970 Chateau Leoville Las Cases
Classic and classy, green peppercorns, blackberry, roasted thyme and rosemary and lots of pipe smoke make up a lovely bouquet. Palate has some grip and also some subtlety and levels–this is relatively quiet with currant and some meat. I think this still has plenty of time to go, but nice smoothness now.
1980 Chateau Musar
Brian invited us in part because he feels we’re open-minded about our wines At any rate, this was the first of two Musars (I had tried, thanks to Brian’s generosity, a 1981 quite a number of years ago). Lots of leather and lots of cumin in the sniffer. My goodness–remarkably round and very, very sweet. Bunches of cherry, very sweet plum some milk chocolate I think. Just so sweet as it continues in the glass, plum and cherry cordial and strawberry too. Very different from any Musar I’ve ever had.
1986 Chateau Musar
I think there’s some VA here, maybe just funkiness, but it works. There is also a bit of anise and sweet basil. This is more classic for me dans la bouche. Plenty of brambles and berries and herbs and also a little smoked leaves here. More lively than the 1980, lots more. Coffee grounds become much more prevalent later.
1983 Paul Jaboulet Hermitage La Chappelle
Chris and Brian talk about their variable luck with this wine. Well, this is a brilliant example on the nose, with scads of mocha, coffee crisp, dark, dark plum, roast meat and chestnuts. So complete on the palate, a great minty/spearmint accent right through rich blackberry and plum. Did I say it’s very, very complete? A terrifically balanced wine with blueberry accents at the end, outstanding stuff it is consensus WOTN.
2002 De Bortoli Noble One botrytis Semillon
I was happy to see this, as I still have one bottle of my own resting for future consumption. Just so much aromatically—botrytis, but also lots of flowers, lots of vanilla and touches of apricot and fig. Some spicy on tongue, quite a bit actually, some apricot, but “unripe” if I use that descriptor. I’m surprised at the lemoncurd and acidity which is plenty lively at 9 years of age. This is a fine example of this Aussie sweetie with room to further improve. Very glad to try—the 2002 might’ve been their best effort.
Again, huge thanks to Brian for sharing and for letting me be a part of a special evening.