Mostly Nebbiolo at Peking Duck House

I was at the Italian (really Piedmont) table for the Berserkerfest at
Peking Duck House Friday night. It's always hard to take notes of any
sort at these huge events, but a slight cold (flu shot reaction?), 3
hours of sleep, and a rushed trip to PDH meant I was even less
attentive. Actually I was just proud not to fall asleep at table. So
what follows is less notes than fleeting blurred impressions. I know I
missed some wines; I also probably missed quite a few designations on
the wines I did note.
There was a mag of 1981 Lanson, fully mature, some pleasant cheesy
notes, good length. NV Taittinger Champagne (from Big A#$ bottle,
didn't ask how many liters) was typical of one of my favorite big
house bubbles. Thanks Leo.  I passed around a bottle of the NV Bernard
Bremont "Cuvee Prestige"  Champagne, which I'm quite fond of, and
figured few would have tasted.
There was a lone white at our table, the 2001 Pepe Trebbiano. While
tight, I really thought this had something nice lurking underneath,
and it tasted even better at end of evening. Great acids, a strange
but appealing Epoisses meets dirt note, good finish. There was also a
truly excellent bottle of 2001 Muller-Catoir Spatlese from neighboring
table, I thought '01 was supposed to be iffy for M-C, but this was
flat out delicious -like fresh fruit cocktail -thanks Jay.
We went to our one Barbera and several non-B or B Nebbiolos. The 1998
Vietti Barbera was quite popular at table, but had a weird smokey/
ashey thing I didn't care for (but I generally don't care for aged
Barbera- -young or not at all is my theory). There was a 2000 Nebbiolo
d'Alba (producer?)  that was rounder and pleasant, but not compelling.
Next up, 2 Gattinaras. The  1974 Travaglini was beautiful, and easily
one of my wines of the night. My notes just read "sweet, sweet, still
some structure, earth, tar, delicious." A 1970 Antoniolo was tasty,
though not the marvel the Travaglini was. The 1967 Vallana "Cinque
Castelli" Spanna was tasty and typical, serious earthy funk over a
solid fruit base, I liked this a tad better than a good bottle of 64
Vallana I served recently. Never gonna mistake these for Barolo, but
fun wines.
On to the B & Bs. I had opened the 1967 Oddero Barolo at home for
sediment reasons, when I double-decanted I got a touch of a sherry-ish
note from the rose colored wine. I was debating switching to another
bottle, but as I double decanted my other first team bottle the color
darkened, flavors deepened, and the oxidative notes seemed to fade, I
decided it would be fine (the mystery of old Barolo). But when we got
to it at PDH, the maderized notes were back with a vengeance. Damn. On
to a pair of '88s. I think I was only one to prefer Roagna to
Conterno. The 1988 Roagna Crichet Paje had high acids with good
length, classic tar and earth notes, a bit of spice.  The 1988 Aldo
Conterno Bussia Soprana was larger framed, softer, and also appealing.
1995 Roagna La Rocca e La Pira was a bit lifted on nose at first, a
bit too much for me, but a little revisit had calmed down, leaving a
pretty classic Barolo. I thought the 2000 Elio Grasso Ginestra Vigna
Casa Mate was ok, but showed a bit of heat and caramel, while the 2000
Marcarini Brunate was still tight 6 hours after I decanted it - I
thought 2000 might be more approachable, but this was mostly showing
potential. After a sip of the 2001 Bartolo Mascarello I started to say
to James that the tannins were more manageable than I expected, when
my mouth seemed to suddenly be hit by a wave of astringent tannins.
Hands off, but think this will be a beauty.
There was also a delicious taste of the 1982 Bartolo Mascarello from a
neighboring table (thanks Greg), and a sip from a mag of 1990 Parusso
as well- showed the 1990 ripe/roast character, but not over the top
(thanks Brad). The 2004 Rhys Family Farm Pinot seemed to generate a
lot of disagreement. I thought it muted with just a hint of merde at
first, but when I went to pour out an impulsive resample seemed rather
elegant.
At end I felt like going back to whites after a bt of tannin overload
with the 00s and 01, besides the Pepe I sampled a bottle of 200x
(label torn on last digit) Ferret Pouilly Fuisse (not the basic, but I
didn't note which one) that was quite delicious, long and minerally
with just a touch of oak and very vibrant. There was also a Weinbach
where I didn't note bottling, a Chambolle, a Brunello, and several
others.
I was a bit less socialable than usual, but everyone there more than
compensated. Ok appetizers, tons of duck (I wish they had brought more
gradually, as last ones weren't as appealing cold), good greens and
beans. A really fun crowd (except me), and good to see old friends
and meet new people. Special thanks to Michel for all of his
organizational work, and Leo for getting our table going.
Reply to
DaleW
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