Yeah – part of my job is that I get to taste a lot of wines. It’s really helping with stressful midterm season, and my co-workers and I decided to taste some stuff at one of our houses (Thanks! I’m sure we annoyed your neighbours oops). Unfortunately one of us was sick and couldn’t make it, which really sucks because we tasted some pretty cool things, but I guess more wine for us OH WELL.
Also, we all had these blind with the exception for the last one, which is always fun. I’m glad everyone waited for a co-worker and I to close and travel to the place – I’m sure everyone was itching to open the first bottle, which was delish. Also there were like five cheeses but I don’t really remember what they were. Brie (omfg yum)? Cheddar? Raclette? Something salty? Something I don’t remember? I’m some version of lactose intolerant. I survived. This was a screaming success.
We started off with…
1) 2008 Benjamin Bridge Méthode Classique Rosé
Wow. This was cool, and it really rekindled my love for Champagne and other sparklings of the traditional variety. Typically Champagne doesn’t do it for me, and I shrug at expensive autolytic characteristics. This was interestingly disjointed, with more red fruit on the palate rather than the expected savoury rosé notes and minerality. This wine put off at least one of my co-workers, but I found it awesome, because this is another example of a wine that does that Old World-New World dance. Ultra super. Fantastic with the Brie. Forty dollars isn’t so bad for this kind of quality, and the packaging isn’t shitty. I’m just sad that this is from Nova Scotia. And impressed.
(Apparently 50 percent Marechal Foch, 40 percent Seyval and l’Acadie, 10 percent Pinot Noir. WAT?)
2) 2002 Domdechant Werner Hochhemier Kirchenstück Riesling Spätlese
This was a confusing one. Brilliant golden colour – obviously showing some age, but the nose was devoid of any petrol-ly characteristics. Riper than expected for Riesling (we all knew it had to be Riesling considering whose bottle this was) so most of us agreed on the Rhinegau. Juicy, high acidity, dried apricots, sweet stone fruit. Medium-sweet (so definitely awesome with the salty cheese and the brie). So good, but can definitely age. I mean, it’s not a baby, but it’s not at its peak either. It’s like a fresh college graduate who thinks he or she can own the world but is really going to work at Starbucks for the next 3 years.
3) 2005 Champalou Le Clos du Portail Vouvray
SO different from my first review of this. Could have been bottle variation or some weird oxidation going on, but assuming it was from 6 months of age, this was definitely gone over the hill. Ripe apple and quince notes were replaced by this burnt apple strudel thing going on, also with some ashy burnt cigarette notes. Just like grandma’s house. It’s also quite possible this tasted off because we had it after the sweet Riesling.
4) 2010 Domaine Paul Autard Côtes du Rhone
A co-worker actually opened this up a couple days ago and brought it to the store for some of us to try if were were interested but I decided to bring it later that day just to be a little annoying trickster. It was interesting to note that some people still thought this was quite tight and very much like I had just opened it (then again the whole subject of decanting is heavily debated anyways). I don’t really remember what it was like. It was deece.
5) 1997 La Rioja Alta Rioja Gran Reserva 904
Probably the unanimous favourite of the night. SO complex. I sort of danced around with my guesses, starting from the Rhône and moving into Italy. Reminiscent of an ’05 Rosso di Montepulciano – had some stewed fruit notes going on, but it also had so much more. Definitely Old World, though – leathery and soy sauce characteristics going on – you get that very aerobic winemaking thing on the nose. On the palate, this wine exploded. Very much the opposite of a tight wine. Lots of herbal dill and rosemary notes with some savoury red fruit. So deceivingly complex, and the wine that everyone agreed you could keep smelling or tasting and come up with something new each time.
6) 2002 Springfield Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Méthode Ancienne
Considering the pretty penny, I expected a bit more from this wine. I didn’t exactly get that South African weirdness out of it (which I’m a fan of), but I definitely did peg a New World wine. There were some balanced herbal green notes (eucalyptus, mint; green pepper?) that made some people lean towards a high quality Australian Shiraz, but for some reason I wasn’t sold on that idea. Blackcurrant jam without being Australian. This was a bit one note, but that being said, it was still delicious. I would have never guessed a 10-year old wine, and I would love to see what more age would do. Not at all lacking in concentration. I expected more from this wine considering their fabulous 35-dollar Wild Yeast Chardonnay.
7) 2008 Château des Charmes Vidal Icewine
Received this as a gift around six months ago and it was probably better back then. Super low in acid and flabby on the palate but the nose was quite complex. It had this dried stone fruit character with this interesting nutty almond flutter on the nose. The group was polarized: some loved the guiltless sugar while some weren’t partial to the structureless texture. Not bad at all.
This was probably the point in time where I decided I probably shouldn’t go to school the next day.
8 ) 2006 Gres Saint Paul Sévillane
This was a cool 500 mL bottle that everyone has been curious about so we were glad to have tasted this. Smelled a bit boozy like paint thinner and the alcohol was a bit out of balance. Sweet-ish although I can’t remember. I’m pretty sure this is fortified Muscat. Maybe I thought this wasn’t that great because we had it after the icewine which was maybe a little sweeter.
9) 2006 La Preceptorie de Centernach Vin Doux Naturel
I’ve had this described to me as being something in the middle of a sherry and a port. Although I don’t remember much at this point, I do remember not being entirely partial to this. The alcohol was a bit sassy on the finish, and the nose wasn’t anything special, although this was comparatively good to many low-quality ports out there. Fortified Grenache. Sweet.
Further edits: it seemed that many of my co-workers liked this more than I did. I guess take this particular rating with a grain of salt, because I was probably not even able to articulate thoughts at this point, or something equally blissful and stupid.
That was the night. My co-workers are super and wine-ing up with them is always fun and amazing. If they were all wines, they would be: a Napa Syrah, a New Zealand Chardonnay, an Italian Barbaresco, an Australian Sémillon, a German Pinot Noir, and an Aussie Shiraz-Viognier. Although I’m never telling who’s who or why. CHEERS!