About this Blog

The blog focuses on the essence of wine and food, not how many points or stars it receives. The opinions are mine and should be taken only as that, an opinion not gospel.

Like many collectors, initially I was very much influenced by wine ratings. I purchased wines based on points, even if I had never tasted the wine. And it was much worse than that. I would drink a wine with a high rating, not like it, yet since it was highly rated I’d rationalize that I did not yet appreciate the wine, or that my palate was not sophisticated enough to understand the wine. How’s that for lunacy? As a result my cellar grew in all directions while my palate narrowed. By the time I realized the style of wine that I enjoyed, my cellar abounded with wines whose styles I did not enjoy. All of these wines were very highly rated, just not my cup of tea, or glass of wine to be more accurate. Fortunately I was able to sell many of these wines to those who either enjoyed them or wanted highly rated wines. Don’t misunderstand, I am not against wines with high ratings, in fact I own many. It is just that I now purchase wines based on the producer, the style and my palate, not the rating. Nor do I shun reading reviews. I very much respect Antonio Galloni, Alan Meadows, Eric Asimov and John Gilman and read their reviews routinely. I pay attention to what they write, not the points they award.

Friday, February 24, 2012

A Most Enjoyable Dinner & Tasting

I was recently invited to join a small but long-standing wine group comprised of 5 personable and knowledgeable wine guys. The group meets monthly at a local BYOB restaurant. One member is responsible for the wine and another for the dinner tab. Notes on the wines are provided. This month the tasting and dinner took place at Fascino in Montclair, NJ. Owner/chef Ryan DePersio's menu tends to focus on what I would categorize as Nouveau Italian Cuisine. The restaurant has received rave reviews. As I prefer more rustic traditional Italian food, I am not a regular here. I did discover that on Tuesday nights (the night we met) chef DePersio has a selection of more traditional Italian dishes. Right up my alley. I thoroughly enjoyed an appetizer of seared Foie Gras and a main course of perfectly al dente Rigatoni in a tomato fennel sauce. The others had similar comments about their selections, however I did not pay close enough attention to them to report on them.

Emil was responsible for the wines on this evening and his selection of four red Burgundies and one Chateauneuf-du-Pape made for a great tasting. The wines in the order we enjoyed them were:

1983 P. Dubreuil –Fontaine Pere & Fils Corton Bressandes Grand Cru
This was a new producer for me. Funky barnyard nose upon opening the bottle that never really left. I have not had much experience with older Burgundies, so not sure what to make of it. It did not have the classic Burgundy nose or palate that the ensuing wines possessed. For me the wine had passed its prime and was in decline. $140

2006 Denis Bachelet Gevry Chambertin Vieilles Vignes Grand Cru
While the bouquet upon opening was distinctly Pinot Noir, it possessed, as Jeff commented, a distinct California Pinot Noir nose. On the palate however there was no mistake that it was from Burgundy. I have always enjoyed the purity that Bachelet wines have and this was no exception. A rich and lush wine with a lengthy finish that should age beautifully for many years. $77

1995 Francois Gaunoux Volnay 1er Cru Clos des Chenes
I thought this was a very nice Volnay especially when considering the difficulty of the 1995 vintage in the Cote de Beaune. As with be Bachelet this was wonderfully pure and balanced on the palate. I thought the finish was a bit short however. $90.

1999 Meo Camuzet Nuits St. Georges 1er Cru Aux Boudots
This bottle from a top Cote de Nuits producer drank very well. It was completely round and elegant on the palate with a lengthy finish. $180

2001 Chateau Rayas Chateauneuf-du-Pape Reserve
This was to be the back up wine in case any of the primary wines were corked or otherwise flawed. We opened it anyway and as I might have guessed it was the wine of the evening. I have had many vintages of this wine and they always leave me speechless. There really are no words to describe the CDP wines of Rayas other than they are completely round and delicious. $200.

All of the wines for the evening were purchased from The Pluckemin Inn Wine Shop in Bedminster, N.J. The Pluckemin Inn is one of NJ’s top restaurants with a great wine list. They also have a very well stocked wine shop of great wines at reasonable prices.

All in all it was a terrific evening. Thanks fellows for inviting me into your group.


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