TNs--Lunch with Dave, Dinner at Cava with TWEC (Baroli, Ruinart, Rhys, Cos, Others)

This was my kind of day. Lunch was with good friend David He and his friend Roy. Dave is a crack chef and cooked a terrific 3-course lunch of seared angus beef and arugula salad, chicken pasta alfredo and lamb. We had a couple 07 Baroli and a 14 Kutch McDougall to wash it down.

2007 G.A. Vajra Albe Barolo Riserva

This and the next were served blind and while I could get to Piedmont with the Conterno, I missed that here. Red berry fruit but also a dollop of cured meats on the sniffer gives way to a solid and semi-crisp red fruit core, but with a sweet accent and hints of cocoa and meats. Add the suavity of the tannins and I was thinking top-end Chianti, believe it or not. This wine went down tremendously easily and was a pleasure to drink. I also don’t think you need to hold it for any further ageing.

2007 Paolo Conterno Barolo Ginestra Riserva

Some tart black cherry and mix of red and black fruit as well as a more earthy tone to the bouquet speaks of Piedmont to me. This too, when it gets on the tongue, is quite suave and very shapely, with fruit replays and an earth/mineral whisk at the back. What was most interesting was how these two wines came very much together in profile as they both gained air in the glass and decanters.

2014 Kutch McDougall Pinot Noir

My first taste since July, I was very enthused by how fresh both nose and palate were on this. Mountain air is really in the aromatics, with maybe sweet herbs and a shining cherry-berry fruit profile. To taste, it does have years and years to go but is already giving plenty of pleasure with earth-and-mint/herb framed focused red berries, and a slice of cola in the middle, but only as a small component of the whole. There’s now a strong shape and some woodsiness to the wine that indicates you really should decant for an hour if you can at this point. All signs pointing up.

After an hour of tennis and an hour in the pool, it was on to the dinner destination, Cava, where I was joined by Tran, Jay Shampur, Jeff Wong, our friend Heather and her friend Clint and WBer Tim Burnett, joining us for the first time. Cava continues to shine as a true tapas place with excellent food and service.

The wines didn’t suck either.

2002 Domaine Ruinart Brut

This was one of my contributions. ‘mysterious’ scent of apple, light marzipan, ginger and kind of evergreen…the aroma doesn’t settle in anywhere, but teases deliciously. There’s a fair amount of replay in the mouth, where what impresses me the most here is the sublime balance, how consistent the feel and taste is from front of tongue to back of throat. That said, it is a little bit reserved compared to the BdB and some of the other Champagnes I’ve been lucky to have. Very good, though.

2012 Massican Annia White

One of the few others besides Matthiason making a Ribolla, this is a blend with Tocai Fruilano and Chard also in the mix. Flowery scents and some light tropical fruit. For my palate, this is a “segmented” wine, but it works very well here, with a yellow fruit entry, some salt and spice in the middle and a light, misty floral finish. “engaging” is a really good word as a descriptor here. Thanks to Heather for this bring.

2010 Rhys Alpine Chard

Tim opened this for us, baked pear and cinnamon waft up the glass, maybe even graham cracker or coffee crisp notes. This does have vibrancy and still an oak influence, with a back-end citrus tang and a touch of heat, but is softer than I’m used to from Alpine. This is still a fine individualistic wine that also was quite flexible with food.

2008 Niepoort Charmes

Jay’s contribution, this took a lot of swirling to get it going, but has plenty of fruit hiding behind the rugged minerality. I do think this is right in the middle of its sleep phase, as only near the end of the night did the currant and boysenberry begin to peek out. It shows plenty of character, though, and should have an upward curve.

2009 La Ferme du Mont Premiere Cote Caplan CdP

Quite a bit of meaty side to this nose, sweet strawberry on top, tart other berries underneath. It follows up with sweet-kissed red fruit, some liveliness but all on one level for me. I don’t hate it :slight_smile: but…Heather, who brought this as well, said it may be a mix of the vintage and the wrong time to open it. Me, I think it’s just my Grenache aversion showing :wink:

1995 Cos D’Estournel

Jeff contributed this, it had about an hour’s decant, maybe a bit more. Still reticent in the nuzzie, but it is tobacco-driven and cedar and dark cherries as well. To taste, though, WOW. That is a winner . Granted, it’s not near fully open, but so much depth, authority and future nobility here. Fine currant and woodsy combination, but it’s all about the style statement, and a gorgeous espresso breathe-back. 6-12 more years, probably, but this could end up being a star of the vintage at that time. Really a young treasure.

1999 Philip Togni Cab

Maybe I’ve convinced myself of this with his cabs, but for me there always seems to be a note of creosote or vulcanized rubber in the bouquet…which I actually rather like as it serves to distinguish this wine. and it pairs with cracked pepper and lovely maraschino cherry. This is quite nice on the palate, flavourful with carry, good base of red berry with apple peel. A solid Cali Cab

2009 Sonkin Cellars Persona Syrah

I wanted to share my last bottle of this with the group. I am pleased. There is still plenty of lively red cherry and strawberry fruit to be found. And it has settled in some from my last taste from about 3 years ago. Still plenty of forward fruit but has some balance to the heft now. 7 years out, it’s so nice that Loren’s first vintage continues to hold up. In fact, only half-poking-fun, it seems to be following the same track as Saxums as they age :slight_smile: (which for me is a good thing that I quite enjoy)

2007 Molino Real Mountain Wine

Tran’s bring for us this time was a passito-style muscatel. I get some vin santo smell and feel here, with a particular melon side although a touch of citrus is there too. There is a freshness to this that is a surprise and makes it quite easy to drink.

Thanks all for a very fun night.


Great notes, Panos. We had the 2002 Dom Ruinart on New Years, and our bottle was very different from yours. Note is here:

I loved it, but it had an eccentric personality.