Thursday, November 18, 2010

Yo! Bum Rush the Show!

A routine Friday night and asked to deliver wine to a client after a long and busy day in the shop. Nothing really out of the ordinary here. Grab the 3 cases and jump into my car. The client (let's call him Jack X) lives about ten minutes from my apartment so its really no inconvenience at all...except for the fact that I was dog tired having run up and down the steps at 56 probably 56 times at minimum. 7pm shadow in full effect and adorned in a thermal shirt, jeans, black polar fleece and black skull cap, I certainly looked more 50 Cent than wine director. Pull in the driveway and grab one of the boxes from my trunk and spot a man having a cigarette in the back yard. As I approach, he gives me a look like I was carrying a gat as opposed to two magnums of Elio Grasso Barolo Runcot. I ask, "Is Jack here?" He motions to the sliding glass doors where I see six or seven men laughing in the kitchen. I enter and Jack X yells out, "Joe! Fantastic! You have to stay!" Now, I know two of the gentlemen there and the others both give me the same look as the one outside. File this under, "When you dress like a hood rat, don't be surprised when folks in beautiful homes give you odd stares when you waltz into their party"...

I tell J-X, "No, really, I have to go," knowing that I'm neither daisy fresh nor really in the mood to be charming or even social. He insists, "No, you have to stay! I had a cancellation and we're blind tasting a ton of wines!" Once again, I tell him that I really can't. "Nonsense! Here!" He whips out two Champagne flutes with the quickness of a gazelle. "In your left hand is 93 Dom Perignon and in your right hand is 96 Dom. Just a warm up and everything else served will be blind. We've got 23 wines open! We need help drinking all this!"

1993 and 1996 Dom? Really? Ok, I'm staying for a while.

I run off to the bathroom and try to clean up a bit. I meet everyone there. A lovely bunch of wine fiends who have a local blind tasting group. Each month or so, a different gentlman hosts and provides the wine and food. J-X did it to the max! We tasted the following blind flights with J-X's titles...

First Flight - Red Burgundy - Hard to Find Vintage Variations
1955 Charles Vienot Richebourg Grand Cru (no misprint, 1955!)
1995 Haegelen-Jayer Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru
2005 Armand Rousseau Gevrey Chambertin Lavaux St. Jacques 1er cru

Second Flight - Chateauneuf du Papes - The Single Varietal King
2000 Chateau Rayas
2006 Chateau Rayas

Third Flight - Chateauneuf du Papes - The King of Blended Chateauneuf du Papes
1985 Beaucastel
1989 Beaucastel
1994 Beaucastel

Dinner Break - Special Guest Tony Grande, Executive Chef and Owner of Il Capriccio
Cooking Demonstration - Taglierini with White Truffle followed by Pan Seared Lamb Chops with Dr. John's Rosemary. Paired with 2001 Cappellano Barolo Otin Fiorin from MAGNUM.

As for the blind tasting, I think I fared well. I guessed the first flight as Burgundy correctly, although the Rousseau had me thinking Oregon Pinot due to its youth and twiggy personality. The second flight I thought was Chateauneuf UNTIL Tony X said to me, "Joe, you've been to this place! You know these wines!" Having never been to the Rhone ever (don't know why he thought I had) I adjusted my guess to Burgundy, the only appellation I have visited. Stick with your instincts is the lesson here. The third was a "banker" as Chris Cree would say...clearly aged Chateauneuf and probably my favority flight, as I am a huge Beaucastel fan. At this point, satiated and saturated with great wines and glorious food, I profusely thanked everyone and took my leave. They on the other hand had other plans, as they were just hitting third gear. I missed a flight of Chilean Bordeaux Blends, aged California Cult Cabernets, dessert of Strawberries Sabayon and finally 1995 Chateau d'Yquem and 1959 Chateau Climens. Wow!

JCB the 4th

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