As part of the annual ThanksGavin celebration it’s traditional for cousin Abbe to cook and host the Friday night dinner. This year she joined forces with girlfriend Jody to whip up this feast.
And what would cheese be without wine?
When I arrived, my dad had already opened this wine. It’s not my usual snob fare, but it was very enjoyable.
The 2006 MEANDRO DO VALE MEAO is a pretty nice second wine in this difficult vintage. One reason may be that a lot of declassified juice that would’ve have gone into the grand vin was used for this bottling. On first taste, this seems exceptional, elegant in weight, yet mouth filling and delicious. As with most 2006s, the proof is in the pudding, or rather the aeration. That first taste is not a reliable indicator in this vintage with most wines. After it airs out, it shows more hollowness than seemed initially apparent in the mid-palate and a shorter finish. It doesn’t have the penetration and power of its predecessor, the fine 2005, either. All that said, it tastes awfully good, will be approachable immediately and it is very reasonably priced.
Then from my cellar, reversing the appropriate order, I opened this mature Burgundy.
Ampeau holds their small batch wines in their cellar until they’re “Ready” for release — a la Rioja but by the subjective decision of Ampeau themselves, rather than “DO regulations.” Robert Ampeau and his son Michelle have never released a wine under 10 years of age, and their twenty-foot high cellar are chock full of un-labelled bottles of wine with chalk scrawling on their base to indicate the vineyard and the cintage. The Pommard is beautifully aged on the nose with faded flowers and old furniture, mulberry spice and a husk of licorice on the palate with a pine needle and cinammon finish, succulent, and chewy and desipits its tertiarity very young and fresh tasting (think Lopez de Heredia but Pommard!).
This is one of the benefits of my “Italian Mastery” certification, unusual Italians like this! I love me a good Nebbiolo.
Parker 92, “The 2008 Carema Etichetta Bianca wafts from the glass with sweet dried cherries, tobacco, sweet herbs and crushed flowers. A mid-weight, delicate wine, the 2008 is quite typical of these hillside vineyards. In 2008 the acidity is a bit on the high side, which readers should keep in mind when considering food pairings. This is a gorgeous wine from Ferrando.”
Luigi is the man bottling Carema DOC underneath Mont Blanc straddling the border between the Vallee D’Aoste and the Piedmont. Nebbiolo from Carema strikes the balance between the more Alpinous highland reds and the longevity of Barbaresco and Barolo. For over 35 years this wine has been a benchmark of their portfolio, surviving the coming and going of Billecart Salmon (no one heard of them until Neal brought them here!), Castell’in Villa, and all the new growers from the North I offered you guys from that Wednesday luncheon tasting which was phenomenal. I’m giving you this background simply to say that the gold standard for Neal’s palate was, from the very beginning, formed by these wines.
From my cellar: Parker 95, “Between 1978 and 2007, this 1998 is the greatest Vieux Telegraphe that was produced. It has taken a good decade for this wine to shed its tannins and come out of a dormant, closed period. It has finally emerged, and notes of iodine, seaweed, black currants, incense, and sweet cherries as well as hot rocks jump from the glass of this full-bodied, powerful wine. It possesses considerable elegance and purity, along with loads of raspberries and incense, in a round, juicy, rich style that is just emerging from the closet. The wine is still youthful and a pre-adolescent in terms of its ultimate evolution. Approachable now, it will continue to evolve for another 15-20 years. Bravo!”
Another contribution from my dad, the reliable but rustic zone of Gigondas is found on the slopes of Mont Ventoux not far from Avignon. The solidly made 2006 Gigondas Romane Machotte is somewhat rustic, with more noticeable structure and tannin. It does not possess the depth of fruit found in its three siblings, but it is a cleanly made, spicy, firm, structured effort.
And a scrumptuous chocolate chip bread pudding. The only thing it was missing was the Crème anglaise.
Overall, another great evening, can anyone say “wafer thin mint!”