This year, after a brief California hiatus, ThanksGavin returned to Philadelphia — but to a new house (about a mile away). My cousin Matt and his wife Andrea picked up the baton from the elder generation.
From my cellar: NV Billecart-Salmon Champagne Brut Rosé. VM 92. Pale orange. High-pitched red berry, orange zest and jasmine aromas, with suave mineral and smoky lees notes adding complexity. Spicy and precise on the palate, showing very good punch to its strawberry and bitter cherry flavors. Opens up smoothly with air and picks up a bitter rhubarb quality that lingers onto the long, tightly focused finish. This bottling showed more brawny character than many past renditions of this <em>cuvée</em>, but with no lack of vivacity.
From my cellar: 1995 Domaine Anne Gros Clos Vougeot Le Grand Maupertui. VM 92. Deep red-ruby. Extravagantly rich aromas of blackcurrant, pepper, smoke and tar. Large-scaled, deep and very sweet; explosively fruity and impressively tactile. Chewy tannins are buried under a wave of finishing fruit. A knockout Clos Vougeot truly worthy of its grand cru status.
From my cellar: 1995 Paitin di Pasquero-Elia Barbaresco Sorì Paitin. VM 91. Medium red, some amber at the rim. Plum, cherry and enticing smoky, toasty oak on the nose. Smoky, sweet and velvety, with insinuating flavor. Has firm backbone and finishes with some oak tannins but avoids dryness. Rather Pommard-like in its solidity.
From my cellar: 1996 Château Ducru-Beaucaillou. VM 94+. Bright medium ruby. Deep, superripe aromas of dark berries, black cherry and bitter chocolate; slightly exotic crystallized fruit aspect. Dense, sweet and wonderfully rich; a lovely combination of palate-caressing chocolatey fruit and firm underlying structure. Finishes with excellent grip and great palate-saturating sweetness. Another outstanding 1996 Medoc wine in the making. Drink 2010 through 2030.
My plate this year.
The homemade dessert spread.
Bob’s custard pie. Almost savory, perfect texture, a bit like a giant Macau tart.
I tried to be moderate.
Overall, the best ThanksGavin food yet! It usually is, as the standards keep going up and up!