Garden Dinner Notes

Notes from another garden evening.
Jacquesson Cuvee #728 - a nonvintage Champagne that is an unusual blend - 37%
Pinot Meunier, 36% Chardonnay, 27% Pinot Noir. Pleasant and with some flavour
interest, a medium weight wine, featuring doughy nose and lemony flavours.
Blended from 2000 vintage (68%) and the balance is reserve from other years.
Drunk during garden perambulation.
2002 Dageneau Buisson Renard Pouilly Fume - a delicate nose of honeyed melon
and light grassiness lead into a smooth integrated wine on palate that had a
long clean finish. I think this was even a bit better than the Pur Sang we had
a little while ago. These bottles were brought over by Denis Dubourdieu on a
recent visit to one of the dinner guests, and we thank him for it. Tasted while
settling in to table, sans food.
1998 Cedar Creek Platinum Label Chardonnay - my last bottle. Now showing a fair
bit of colour, and a nose that heralds intimate association with a certain
amount of oak, with some caramel. It was still very much alive and might hold
another year or so, but it should be drunk up while still in this good shape.
Smooth and long and a good accompaniment to leeks and mushrooms a la Grecque.
1978 Ch. Palmer - we just lined up all the wines we'd brought and this was the
unanimous candidate for the next course, which was a terrine de campagne with
slivered endive dressed with Sassicaia EVO. Beautiful fruit in the nose and
smoooooth in the mouth, this is a lovely balanced claret that should continue
to drink well for several years.
The next two wines were served with butterflied leg of lamb, marinated in
spices (cumin, coriander, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, mint and others), grilled
and served with parsleyed potatoes and balsamic zucchini (broil thick slices,
drizzle with balsamic vinegar, broil some more, top with parmesan, broil some
more and then serve cold).
2000 Vergelegen - a Bordeaux style blend from this South African producer -
quite dark and at 14.5% a big wine, but with no detectable heat. Well oaked, it
has length and balance. At $49 in Ontario (they have 4 Vergelegen wines, we
have NONE) a good buy. This one was very young, but I'd love to be able to
revisit it in 5 or 6 years.
2000 Onix Evolucio Priorat - this wine is NOT what you expect from Priorato's
traditional producers. It is a new age style, becoming very popular in recent
years as a result of well deserved good reviews by the critics. Also a 14%
wine, it is dark with a sweet nose and it is middle weight rather than a big
black bruiser as so many of these are. Delicious, and at under $30 Can. a must
buy. I generally view co-op produced wines with a rather jaundiced eye, with
the few exceptions like Produtorri del Barbaresco, that somehow manage to keep
quality at high levels year after year. Too many co-ops pay by the tonne and
take pretty much what members bring in. The people at Onix are obviously doing
things right and the price is ½ to 1/3 of what the high end Priorats demand.
With cheese and a walnut and blue cheese tart:
1993 Ridge Pagani Zinfandel - I wanted to expose the out of towners to
something they wouldn't have had much of - zinfandel. Ridge Zins can age very
well (especially the Geyserville blends) and this one was sweet and completely
mature. 14.5% alcohol, 82% zin, 12% mataro (mourvedre), 4% alicante, 2% petite
sirah. This was a bit of a monster in youth, when I enjoyed a few bottles, and
I decided to leave a couple to see what age would bring. Glad I did.
1985 Rocha Port - one of the minority of Port houses owned by the Portuguese,
this one celebrated its 150th anniversary a couple of years ago, so its been
around awhile. They often make colheitas, but their vintage port can be pretty
decent and more reliable than other 'minors' like Royal Oporto. You may ask why
I buy these sorts of Ports? To have something to drink while waiting for the
heavy-weights vintage Ports to mature. Besides, everyone needs a garden
Port….. A bit on the hot side with a ripe nose and medium body, sweet but not
overdone, and smooth on palate. Much readier for drinking than an 82 Malvedos I
opened recently.
Reply to
Bill Spohn
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