Acquerello risotto: squash blossom, zucchini, bottarga, parmesan, mint. One of the best Risotto’s I have ever tasted. The rice was creamy and perfectly al dente, while the other ingredients were in symphonic harmony with each other. A magnificent dish!
Lava Lake Lamb with white eggplant, broccoli rabe, charred tomato, black olive, rosemary.
Niman Ranch Pork with gala apple, parsnip, savoy cabbage, dried plum, fennel, cider jus.
1964 Marquis de Terme Maragux. A Fourth Growth Bordeaux, the wine had a brownish red hue and an earthy bouquet. For a 49-year-old wine, this still had quite a bit of life to it. A typical Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot, the old world style of this wine was quite appealing to me. Don’t think you will find any of this vintage but current vintages appear to be widely available in the $40 range.
1979 Solaia. In general Super Tuscan blended wines are not to my palate. I find them to be very modern in style, perhaps in an attempt to please the critics and receive high point scores. The 1979, the second vintage ever of this wine, that we drank was very much old world in style and simply superb. At 34 years of age it still had lively fruit and a round and elegant palate. I liked it very much. It was my favorite wine of the night. The ’79 is a blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Cabernet Franc, compared to today’s blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Sangiovese and 5%, Cabernet Franc.
Solaia grapes come from the sunniest part of the Tignanello hill, from the best grapes grown in the best vineyard. The wine is aged in Barriques for about 12 months and for a further 12 months in the bottles and is only produced in superior vintages. The wine was not produced in 1980, 1981, 1983,1984, and 1992. Current vintages of the wine are widely available at about $150 - $200 a bottle. A price, in my opinion, more reflective of the cult status of the wine as opposed to its quality.
1969 Larcis Ducasse St. Emilion. A blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc, the wine had a pleasant earthy bouquet, however on the palate it seemed very tired. I think its peak days have long passed. My least favorite of the evening.
1970 Beaulieu Georges de Latour Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvigon. I do not have much experience with old vintages of California Cabernets, but if they are like this one, I would love to drink more of them. I was really surprised how superbly balanced and youthful on the palate this wine was. It drank beautifully and had quite an elegant finish. Still available at about $200. Wine-Searcher.
This was a terrific selection of wines for me, as readers of my blog know that Super Tuscan Blends, Bordeaux Blends and California Cabernets are not to my liking. In these wines however I found the earthiness, purity, finesse and elegance that I find in traditional Baroli and Burgundies. Perhaps that it is because these wines were made prior to the advent of wine publications such as the Wine Advocate and The Wine Spectator and therefore the winemakers concentrated on making wines for consumption as opposed to receiving high scores from wine critics. Just a thought. In any case, thanks Jeff for helping me and the other members of our group to continue to learn and marvel at the many wonderful experiences wine has to offer.