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
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