What Wine Did You Drink Today #2? 2021-now

According to the thermometer on the shelf in my wine fridge, about 55F.

For today’s outdoor, meat-centric, BBQ, went with this superb, ever-popular Pauillac ‘star’.
Rich, smooth, robust, deliciously dense but not overly full-bodied.
After all these years, still perplexed as to why it is not ranked higher than its lowly 5th G


rowth status

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There was a time when a Third Growth was our summertime bottle – Rose de Calon. Haven’t seen it for ages, or for that matter, any Bordeaux saigne’e.

The classifications seem to serve some other constituency - but the French aren’t alone. Super Tuscans being another case in point, fabulous wines overlooked by the establishment.

Gives new meaning to “taking the 5th”…

2016 W-S Eastside Road Neighbors, a lovely, restrained wine, glorious fruit and nary a hard edge. I erred in pairing it with pasta sauced with a spicy arrabbiata. The spice somewhat overpowered the Pinot. A second postprandial glass was much more enjoyable.

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Paired with Alaskan King Crab prepared 6 ways and other goodies:

A Decanter 97 pts, Dopff au Moulin 2017 Grand Cru Brand Gewurztraminer. An exuberant off-dry white wine, fabulously perfumed and aromatic ( lychee, pineapple, rose petal… ) that was rich, energetic and complex on the palate. Very elegant and classy. Absolutely great with the sweet, delicate and umami packed crab meat.

Next, a magnificent and gorgeous Bordeaux first growth……1998 Chateau Haut Brion! Perfectly balanced, rich, unctuous but not too weighty. Deeply harmonious with endless honeyed, cherries and earthy complexity. Really long finish! A ‘supernova‘ that erupted and outshines the King Crab ‘star of the evening‘! I ended up enjoying the wine alone since IMHO, no food was needed to bring out the best of this wine!

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2001 Rotllan Torra Priorat

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Noodling around my wine cellar (actually the part of the basement where I keep wine), I found a bottle with ullage to the bottom of the neck. It was Yverdon Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon from 1971 that had been hiding from me for about 40 years. The price tag said $25.99. I opened it despite a bad case of crumbling cork, with half the cork ending up inside the bottle. Nevertheless, the wine was quite good, with a full deep color and complex fruit flavor, with only a very slight hint of oxidation. We had it with an aged local alpine style cheese (Mecox Bay) and toasted and buttered sourdough bread, which neutralized any overaged notes. I gotta look through the cellar for more purchases from that era.

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Nice find ;-). I keep one of those “Ah So” wine openers around for bottles with older corks. Saves a lot of fishing/filtering.

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The cork looked solid so I just tried my Screwpull. When the crumbling started after the cork was half out, I switched to the Ah-so but it just pushed everything into the bottle. Next old bottle will start with the Ah-so. Every once in a while I think about getting a Durand, which combines a screw and the two finger puller, but the price is like a case of wine.

*HE ‘RED AND WHITE’ MARGAUX SHOW!

Ever since Covid restrictions were lifted and restaurant dine-in has become part of our daily life again. I have started to engage in more and more culinary related activities. One such event involves a weekly ‘Chinese food‘ dinner gathering amongst foodie friends and relatives.

Initially, the main focus was indeed centred on food. Wines brought along for the ride were treated mostly as supporting casts. However, unbeknown and slow to recognised by the food-centric gourmands in our group, this weekly event has somehow morphed into a ‘Vino’ affair instead. An outcome generated by the insertion of much better quality wines from some participants. Suddenly, the wines commanded a front row seat and became the stars that outshines the food!

Tonight’s event was another such scenario. After enjoying weeks of wine orgies fashioned by the likes of Gran Reserva Riojas/Priorats, Super Tuscans, Grand Cru Alsaces, Classed Growth Bordeaux……etc., and culminating in last week’s climax brought about by a First Growth bottle of 1998 Haut Brion. This time, we decided to elevate things up a few notches more……How about indulging in two bottles of Red and White from First Growth Bordeaux Estate?! Our choices settled on the esteemed and illustrious Chateau Margaux. A 1999 Chateau Margaux and a 1998 Pavillon Blanc de Chateau Margaux. ( plus a bottle of 2014 Leoville-las-cases, Clos du Marquis as backup……just in case?! ). Once again, the wines ended up costing more than the meal, trumped the food effortlessly and shifted most of our attention and enjoyment away from the edibles.

1999 was a fine vintage year for Margaux. True to its ‘consistent form‘, the Chateau offered a seductive and fabulously perfumed wine. Taking over a couple of hours to open-up, the wine exudes aroma of black and red fruits/currants, vanilla and a nice shot of dark chocolate. Acidity was balanced; medium to full bodied, with a formidable mouthfeel of fine, cedar tannin. Austere, complex and concentrated and IMO still has some ageing potential.

The 100% Sauvignon Blanc, 1998 Pavillon Blanc, was one of the best Sauv Bl I have tasted and indeed worthy of being called best white in the Medoc. Green and flinty with a lively bouquet of white peach, Chinese plum and lemon/lime citrusy notes. The typical grassy element was minimal. Wine was well balanced, smooth and well rounded with crisp acidity. Almost Burgundy-like, probably due to its oaky component. A very classy wine!

As for the food. Since the venue was O’Mei……Yup! you guessed it right! It’s back to the good-old ‘Giant Lobster Multiple Ways‘ routine……AGAIN!..tasty but to some of us, becoming repetitive and boring! Sigh!!

However, based on taste and the evaluation criteria laid down by Michelin, this superb and delectable creation by O’mei, IMO, should deserve a serious mention in future edition of Toronto Michelin Recommended Guide for Chinese Restaurant!!

Lastly, for a change, maybe time for me to form a more humble and less profligate ‘ Noodle and Congee ‘ splinter group?! Ha!
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1999 Chateau Musar. My SO and daugther indulged me with a half-bottle for birthday brunch at Harvest in Harvard Square. My first taste of this storied wine from Lebanon. Though popped and poured, it was immediately graceful and elegant. A considerable amount of sediment no doubt diminished its concentration (as the rather pale color hints), but really a beautiful wine.

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Bordeaux futures are available for pre-sale for the 2020 and 2021 Pavillon red and whites. Trying to decide if I want to pull the trigger on them. I’d probably have to wait until I’m about 75 to open them!

Get a case and open one every year starting in about 5 :wink:

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Unless there’s something in the ’ Margaux ’ name that makes it a must have for you?! Otherwise, for the price one is paying for a second wine and a luxury ’ Sauvignon Blanc ', IMHO, there are better and cheaper choices out there. A great Sancerre from Boulay or a Cloudy Bay from New Zealand can be equally enjoyable at a fraction of the cost!

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Polished off the remainder of this 2018 Kit’s Killer Cab from Clif Napa.

Exemplary wine from Clif, if a tad expensive. Leather, blackberries, raspberry jam, velvety finish.

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1997 Mount Eden Estate Chsrdonnay. The best aged chardonnay of my life! Opened for our 34 anniversary drunk a day late w/razor clams and salad.

Pretty amazing conincidence of wine and dish being absolutely spot on for our anniversary.

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I was in Europe a few weeks ago. Had this bottle at a Spanish tapas place in Glasgow called Malaga. Pretty versatile and went well with the tapa ‘mains’ like albondigas.

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