TNs-- TWEC (TM) Final 2017 Wine and Food Potluck Blowout

Imbibers and Revelers,

The Toronto Wine Elitist Cabal ™ got together at member Mike Grammer’s condo for the last food and wine blowout of 2017. Your Humble Notetaker, Mike, Jay, and Linda made up the Canadian contingent while Tim, Alyssa and special guest Tim’s visiting sister Betsy made up the American contingent. The dinner was a potluck gathering bolstered by excellent bottles from everyone’s personal collections to ring in the holiday season before we all take off on various travels. Let’s eat and drink:

Kim Crawford 2016 Rosé – Linda brought this. Huge marketing lesson from this wine to close out 2017: its original name was “Pansy! Rosé.” Why you would give a wine a name intended to mock half of your paying customer base around the world is beyond me. Wonder if that affected sales and forced Kim Crawford to drop the name. Marketing person who came up with that idea probably thought they were being clever and cheeky; I think should be fired. This was a pleasant aperitif full of white grapefruit flavor, grassy notes, and a touch of sour cherries. I was sure this was a cheat of a Rosé made with Sauvignon Blanc and tinted with a bit of red wine. To my surprise, its composed entirely of Merlot and Malbec. So depending on your tastes, its either a good or a bad thing that it tastes so much like NZ Sauvignon Blanc. I like it, so this was a nice Rosé to open with.
G.H. Mumm 2006 Champagne – My contrib. I was truly concerned about this vintage champagne after the huge letdown that was the Baron-Fuenté from my previous notes. So much so that I almost traded it back in to the LCBO before changing my mind last second and bringing it to the potluck. Good move. Solid crystalline texture, light toast flavor from the lees, and very bright green apple flavors make this a winner. Great balance.
With our apertifs, we had some crackers and artisanal cheeses Linda bought, baked brie en croute that Tim made, and beef carpaccio that Jay picked up from Brothers restaurant in TO.

We then moved to the table where two whites awaited us:
Domaine Duc de Magenta 2012 Chassagne-Montrachet “Morgeot” – Mike’s contrib. This was highly unusual to me in that it was typical gunpowder nose but as soon as I tasted it my palate was coated with sweet and very creamy baked apple flavors. It was the creaminess in particular that struck me. Totally opposite from the flinty, taut, lean and acidic bodies that make white Burgundy so refreshing. This was a very pleasant surprise and the perception only got sweeter when paired with food. Great surprise as it was not what I was expecting at all.

Campolargo 2010 Diga? Branco Bairrada – This Portuguese white from Jay was full of sweet honeydew melon flavors but then finished with a phenolic bitterness. I had trouble placing what it was made from until I looked it up and it turns out to be Viognier. It actually came off more like Chenin Blanc in behavior. It really didn’t have the floral nose I associate with Viognier so it threw me off. Very large disconnect for me, but that aside the wine was decent. It didn’t blow me away, though.
With the whites we had my New Orleans turkey gumbo, followed by Mike’s lamb empanadas.

We then had Linda’s lemon-garlic and pecan dressed salad greens as a palate cleanser. The Magenta was a particularly good match with the salad, turning even sweeter and fruitier on the palate.
Then the reds came out to play:

Sojourn 2013 Pinot Noir – Some high heat on the nose is misleading, this had a very light body and some nice Bing cherry flavors to it.
Rhys 2010 Pinot Noir – In contrast, lots of pencil lead on the nose and on the palate, complemented by herbaciousness and sour cherry flavors.

Sea Smoke 2008 Southing Pinot Noir – Remarkably high acidity really makes this Pinot stand out, followed by ripe cherry flavors and a really interested sea salt note. Easily the most complex of all the Pinots, but I must admit I enjoyed the Sojourn the most.
For our next course, out came Alyssa’s pine nut risotto. The richness of this dish made it a great match for the reds. This was followed by Mike’s beer and cream salmon. The rich beer and cream sauce prevent the normal clash between the salmon and the red wine that leads to that tell-tale bad metallic taste on the palate. This said, I did notice people pouring more of the white wine to go with this though I enjoyed it very much with the Pinots myself.

Raul Perez 2009 Ultreia – We have had this Mencia based wine before but something was off with this bottle. It had a very strong bitterness, was highly tannic, and pretty much tasted of pencil lead and nothing else. Mike and Jay noted it was highly VA affected and would only get worse through the night so it eventually went down the drain when it proved to be unsalvageable. Too bad.
Luis Cañas 2014 Crianza Rioja – Not pictured. This wine had a very rich structure with smoothed out tannins but I found it very light on the Tempranillo fruit. Very good with the lamb, though, so I suspect this is a wine that requires red meat to go with it. I wouldn’t drink it on its own.

Our last main was my lamb saddle which I pan-seared before slow roasting in the oven to medium doneness and was dressed with a demi-glace made from the pan drippings after searing the lamb and the remainder of my Balvenie 21 Year Old Portwood single malt Scotch whisky as well as a bit of Century Reserve 21 Year Old Canadian whisky. The Balvenie died off for a good cause.
For our finishing wines, Tim and I brought a great pair of stickies: the Royal Tokaji 2005 5 Puttonyos and the Chateau La Tour Blanche 2007 Sauternes.
Chateau La Tour Blanche 2007 Sauternes – Extremely floral Sauternes, honey sweet but light on its feet. Hight heat on the nose, but also appealing vanilla blossoms. Honey, lavender and dried pineapple on the palate. Very nice.

Royal Tokaji 2005 5 Puttonyos – Whoa, bracing high acidity on this took me by surprise, easily the highest acidity I have ever had in a Tokaji. Vanilla, honey, toasted pecan, roasted pineapple, and lemon drop flavors round this one out. This is great!
For dessert, I made and brought a refrigerated Ontario peach cheesecake topped with an Ontario peach vermouth coulis. Linda brought a cranberry steamed pudding. Not pictured.

A funny moment at the end as we were wrapping up. Mike asked Tim if he wanted to take home the rest of the Tokaji which he didn’t exactly seem enthused about… because his eyes were focused on the Sauternes. I caught this because my own eyes were focused on the remaining Tokaji. So as our gazes met, I simply asked “Wanna trade?” He immediately grabbed the Sauternes remainder, I grabbed the Tokaji remainder. Who says we can’t work out a free trade deal between Canadians and Americans? [wow.gif]

And so the last major food and wine extravaganza of 2017 came and went. As usual, the quality of the food and wine was surpassed only by the quality of the company that was kept. A Merry Canadian/American Xmas season to one and all on both sides of the 49th parallel. champagne.gif

Notes?! You call these notes? Oh, my friend. My lost and forlorn friend [grin.gif]

here’s what really happened:

I was happy to once again open my condo to some of the Tweccers for a last convivial evening for 2017. It was great to have Tim and Alissa come and to welcome Tim’s sister Betsy. And always a pleasure to host Linda. Even Tran and Jay, even that was OK :slight_smile:

2016 Kim Crawford Rose

nothing complicated here. Mildly refreshing red-fruited wine with a bit of watermelon. An OK starter.

2006 G.H. Mumm Champagne This certainly thralled me a lot less than Tran. While it had some bubbles and some apple peel to it, I wouldn’t mistake it for a Winston Churchill or Cristal anytime soon. Decent but with a very definite ceiling, nothing wrong with it, but nothing remarkable either.

2012 Jadot Duc de Magenta Chassagne Montrachet Morgeots Clos de la Chappelle

Now THIS is why one drinks white wine. such delicate harmony both in the bouquet and on the palate. Demure yet insistent with very light pear and apple tastes around some flinty, this is so much more about the soft-yet-firm texture. Absolutely lovely wine. I didn’t get any creaminess at all. And 3 days later? Out of recorked half? It had fanned out fabulously, gaining character and depth. A wine to restore your soul, on this day it earns a 94 and sniggles into my WOTY listing. Certainly WOTN, even if it was my wine. I also decanted it for about an hour.

2010 Campolargo Diga? Branca Bairrada

Well, here I am in some agreement with Tran. There’s just no playfulness, no engagement to this wine. It seems angular to taste and 3 days still leaves it unresolved and kinda thin. Possibly some kumquat backhit and maybe pine nuts (though that could have been the risotto too). Jay and I have both had a much better example of this, so it’s hopefully just bottle variation

2013 Sojourn Reuling Pinot Noir

Right at peak drinking, IMHO. Fine bing cherry base with some pomegranate swirl and plenty of baking spice. Super-smooth to taste, really lovely feel with aromatic replays and a touch of plum jam in the middle. Great stuff right now. And holds firm 3 and 4 days later. Tonight (Wednesday) a chocolate side has come right to the front and it’s liquid black forest cake. Yummylicious, my #3 on Sunday.

2010 Rhys Family Farm Pinot Noir

Tim decanted this for about 1.5 hours and it probably needed more, but I can expand on Tran’s laconic note. Still fairly tightly wound in the glass with tinges of iron around dark strawberry and plum nuances. It does open up with time in the glass, showing very good structure and a coolness of red fruit. Three more years won’t hurt this a bit.

2009 Sea Smoke Southing Pinot Noir

Also showing absolutely beautifully tonight. Yes, there’s an elevated high-toned quality about it, but now that quality has had time to settle into the velvety presentation of red and black plum and some sidebar cherry and strawberry. Will re-taste today, but “classic” expression of this wine. Bravo. Doesn’t budge over 3 days. My #2 this night just for how much of an exemplar it was of this kinda idiosyncratic wine.

2009 Raul Perez Ultreia

Yeah, too bad about this one. Decanted and then it surprised with how angry and lashing it was. I thought glass time might settle it down, but then I picked up some VA and I think Jay and Tim did as well. Talking to Heather a few days later, she said that VA isn’t uncommon with these wines. I like a little of it–witness Musar—but this time it was just that too much to imbalance the wine. Certainly the structure was there to see a good bottle through another decade at least.

2014 Luis Canas Crianza

From Rioja, this was very sweet red fruit forward, so much so that blind I might have guessed some appassimento treatment for this. While it had loads of sweeter plum and currant flavour, I would have been hard-pressed to identify tempranillo too.

2005 Royal Tokaji 6 Putts

very citrusy scents, this surprised me with how sharply cut it was in the mouth, very insistent acidity to go with citrus replays and star fruit add. Good wine for those who like this style–and I do.

2007 Chateau La Tour Blanche Sauternes

Nice indeed of Tran to bring this, since I think it’s a vintage of LTB I don’t have. I have always referred to LTB as the ‘fairy princess’ for how light on its feet it is, and this vintage is no different. I agree with Tran’s notes of vanilla, honey and dried pineapple, but everything is light and also not quite showing true intensity…yet. Lay this one down for 4 or 5 more years–my hunch is that there is more development ahead.



This is why Mike should ghostwrite Tran’s Bumble profile.