Sunday, September 25, 2011

Dinner at the Fearrington House featuring 2000 Du Tertre and Auteur Durrell Chard

At a kind of going-away dinner with dear friends, the ravishing Connie Renz and the distinguished Hans Warner, we enjoyed superb food, as good as the best in this area of fine restaurants on Friday Sept. 23. And for the occasion opened the last of my 2000 Du Tertre, from the Marguax area of Bordeaux. Quintessentially Margaux: a lavender/violet perfume, lovely dark purple color with just a bit of lightening at the rim after 11 years. Du Tertre also showed a chocolate & cocoa dust aroma, wonderful fruit-acid balance with soft tannins and a mellow oak adding some vanilla to go with blackberry taste. Tannins faded nicely into the background. Alcohol just right to carry a long finish. 2000 was a hyped vintage that was then eclipsed by even more hyped 2005. I've found it somewhat uneven at the levels I could afford to buy, but Du Tertre was just terrific, a textbook example of how 10 years or so of age creates a miracle in the bottle for good bordeaux. Wish I'd bought 3 cases back then.

From the winelist we chose an Auteur chardonnay from Durrell VIneyard grapes (Sonoma County) 2009. it offered a wonderful amalgam of tropical fruit, butterscotch, & caramel, with good acid and some citrus too; this new winery is absolutely up there with top California chard producers. I recommend it for those who like the buttery/oaky chardonnay in moderation with plenty of other aromas and tastes. The wine went beautifully with the fish-related dishes in our feast.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

2008 Matrot Meursault

Not sure if what I had was Thierry Matrot or Joseph Matrot but I really enjoyed it and think it's a relative bargain for white burgundy. Writing from memory, having this wine at Dahlia Lounge in Seattle on 9/1/11 with Andy Rojecki, it was the typical reluctant white burgundy for first half hour. With time, the wine developed a pleasant perfume that was I think typically Burgundy and typical Meursault--not as fruity and oaky and California-like as for a Puligny-- but more complex and nuanced than most California chards. Again, for a relatively low-priced white burgundy this one is worthwhile. 90 points.

2008 Januik Chardonnay Cold Creek Vineyard (Washington)

Eating at Etta's in Seattle, with Regina Lawrence, Scott Althaus, Jack Yeager and Amber Boydston at APSA. It's apparently a legendary local eatery that indeed has outstanding seafood. Reluctantly ordered a Washington State chardonnay. Good choice. It is fruity with pear overtones, a mild dose of oak, nutmeg and other spices. Medium body, straw-green color, good acid-alcohol-fruit balance. As the waitperson insisted, it's not a big California chard, but it's also not an austere cold climate chard either. For the price one can do better when buying chard at the wine store but in a restaurant this is a pretty good bet. 89+

Parker: 89 points

The 2008 Cold Creek Vineyard Chardonnay displays a nose of poached pear, apple, and white peach. Medium-bodied, round, and spicy on the palate, this nicely balanced, lengthy offering will also drink nicely over the next 3-4 years. It is an excellent value.

All Mike Januik does is make good wine, year after year, without a lot of fanfare or glitz.

Chateau St. Michelle 2008 Horse Heaven Hills Merlot

This is a simple but thoroughly enjoyable wine from Washington State. Drank a glass with John Tryneski at Urbane in Seattle (APSA meeting). Warm black cherry and vanilla scents. Soft, silky, medium body on the palate, balanced and ready to drink with a short but pleasant finish. Not sure what this wine costs but if it can be had for $10-12 it would make a great daily red wine.