Saturday, January 30, 2010

A Get-Together with a Whole Lotta Wine (Ontario, Austria, California, Australia, and France)

Getting together with friends is always a lot of fun, especially when it's those you've shared a lot with and haven't seen one another in awhile. It had been a good six months since we had a little get together so we had plenty to catch up on and plenty to share - especially wine.

We kicked the evening off with a bottle of Chateau des Charmes Estate Bottled Brut sparkling wine, because all good bashes begin with bubbly.

Next up, an Austrian oddity, Sauvignon Blanc: Tement Berghausen 2006 Zieregg. This wine took a good ten minutes to fully open. At first it lacked the freshness of fruit you expect from a Sauvignon Blanc, especially on the nose; the palate had hints of vanilla and a high sulfur content that detracted from both the nose and taste. Ten minutes later the wine came alive with grassy-vanilla and grapefruit notes, there was also a citrus-tangerine tang on the finish. Quite nice afterall, though we were ready to write it off, thankfully some of us are more persistent and passionate about Sauv Blanc that others.

The cap was then twisted on a bottle of Bonny Doon's Ca'Del Solo 2008 Albarino from California. This one was more Sauvignon Blanc-esque than the Austria Sauvignon Blanc; lots of grapefruit and citrus accosted the nose. The Sauv Blanc character continued through to the mid-palate, though it had less than expected acidity. Flavours are citrus, vanilla and spice.

We moved on to the late last of the night, an Australian McPherson 2007 Basilisk Marsanne Vignier, which was underwhelming to us all: under-ripe fruit like peach and pear along with high tone petrol notes; the palate was bland, flavours were bosc pear, petrol and wet stone, but very boring with a lack of balancing acidity ... time did not improve this wine; the bringer kept going back to it hoping his bottle would improve ... it never did.

We plowed through the whites in record time (more tasting them then drinking full glasses) because we were all looking ahead ot the very special bottle: Bouchard Pere et Fils 1990 Vigne de L'enfant Jesus (Pinot Noir from Burgundy) ... according to Mr. Robert Parker this wine was 2 years past its drinking date, yet it still tasted fine to all of us. The nose showed earthy, bacony, black cherry, leather and cigar ash notes, while the palate had dried fruit (cherries and cranberries mostly) with a woody character which still held some smooth tannins within. Parker wasn't far off, I think the bottle is on the decline, had we waited another year or two it wouldn't have been very enjoyable - as it was it was quite good, and it's always fun to taste a piece of history, 20 year history at that.

Two more bottles were popped, both from Ontario: a Lailey Vineyard 2002 Canadian Oak Pinot Noir and a Thirty-Bench Winemakers 2006 Small Lot Cabernet Franc - you can read abotu those on my two other blogs (click to be linked over). We left about half of each bottle behind for out hostess, except for the Bouchard Pinot and the Thirty-Bench Franc ... those we polished off pretty quickly.

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