I seem to have started a trend in our group. I had some of the gang come to a dinner at Montecito where I brought the main and dessert wine—a full of 2001 Rieussec and a half of 88.
This time, our benefactor was Jay Shampur (those who know Jay know that the words “benefactor” and “Shampur” do not automagically go together ). And he was exceedingly generous in donating the following to a delicious and interestingly interactive 5 course dinner, again at Montecito. Tran and our friends Michael and Heather joined us for this fabulous exploration
As opposed to last time, when I wanted Heather to have significant input into fashioning the menu for the Sauternes, this time she let Chef Matt taste beforehand and let him come up with the menu on his own. For my taste, he is growing increasingly skilled, adventurous and confident in showing his talent.
2014 Artadi Valdegines
Michael ordered this off the list. Plenty expressive for being so young. Meats and fur and sweet berries. Taste replays, it still has the backbone and dark of Rioja but does have a bit of Gevrey sauvage about it. More time will improve this, but already good
2011 Raul Perez Ultreia la Claudina
Mossy…kind of funky, greens. Silvery and unripe cantaloupe deep down there. My, this does have a smooth and rich, quite a complete presentation. Lemon and walnut, amazingly—raw. This continues to change and develop over the course of the evening and holds interest for that
2010 Raul Perez Muti
Lovely mushroom-edged apple and pear. Also bits of leaf smoke in and out. Livelier in the mouth (no surprise, really), accents unripe pink grapefruit, a bit of grape seed and mustard. There’s a mite of juniper berry with the food. Later some cheesecake/custard. I thought this was the best wine with the various food and the one that was in the best place for drinking. At the end of the day, very slimly, my WOTN, but with more time, the Rara Avis and the El Pecado will both surpass this
2009 Raul Perez Sketch
Skating on the edge of oxidized, more in style than substance. Has body, and some tastes of apple and white plum, but definitely in an awkward spot right now.
2007 Raul Perez Rara Avis
Beautiful purest gunflint. Bring the 12 pounders in and light 'em up. Fine binned apple underneath. This is dazzling. Such class. Rocks and stones and white pepper and lemon. Dagueneau’s personality albeit a fully different wine. Incense too. Food doesn’t make a dent in this wine. It is strong—tempted to keep this for a meat dish. Even the spicy-ish fogo cod is no match. Does not play well with others. We theorize, though, that epoisses would be dreamy with this. It’s a strong, strong wine and my #3 tonight
2010 Raul Perez El Pecado
Mencia–opened at noon, decanted after 5, so 4 hrs. Not shy. Love the coffee and mocha. Real dark mocha, dry mustard seed. Well, now. If Barbera were to grow a set and add a charcuterie plate, this would be it. Not hot or big at all, but so vibrantly alive. And truly fascinating transformation in the glass. Heather’s right—later it starts to take on some very different characteristics. There’s no question that at that point, blind, I would have been humiliated in guessing RRV Pinot. This is what can happen with a talented natural wines winemaker and we were all enthralled by this bottle. My #2 and it was close.
Again, huge thanks to Jay to give us this truly rare opportunity to explore this producer, something he’s wanted to do with us for 2 years.