Redhawk hosted a great lineup of Champagne, and started popping some serious reds afterward. Thanks so much for the hospitality Redhawk, great party.
1) (N.V.) L. Mawby Blanc de Blancs Leelanau Penninsula sparkling wine
My first Mawby sparkler. I could not believe the quality. Higher residual sugar content in this cuvee made it a likely crowd pleaser for many of the guests. Bright fruit over a clean, mouthwatering spine. Funny that at a retirement party before I went over to Redhawks, I met one of my old employees who works at L. Mawby in her retirement. Lucky her. 89 points, serious QPR.
2) (N.V.) Pierre Peters Cuvee de Reserve Blanc de Blancs
This wine was very clean and tight. Some citrus flavors, toast aromas. Appealing. I don't know what the price was for this wine but it was enjoyable and I would not hesitate to buy some if the price was really good. 88 points.
3) (N.V.) Taittinger Champagne Brut La Francaise
Lemon custard up front, very mouthwatering and crisp. Wet stone accents that follow through on a nice finish. My favorite of the NV lineup. 90 points
4) 2007 Domaine Carneros Brut Cuvee
This cuvee was controversial. I loved it, most hated it. It had a toasted/burnt caramel nose with very unusual nutty flavors. I noted a gamy, creamy finish similar to raw milk. Very strange compared to the rest of the lineup, but I really liked it. Unfortunately, it had a very bitter finish that most found extremely off-putting. 89 points for me.
5) 2000 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs
Nose had a strong, fresh grill-char component that I really found appealing. This was a perfectly balanced wine with very fine bubbles. Easy favorite for the night's Blanc de blancs, not even close. Round and mouthfilling. 93 points.
6) N.V. Billecart-Salmon Brut Rose
Redhawk related to me that other WS forumites had referred to this wine as "LPR" (Liquid Pantie Remover). Well, if I had panties, I would have taken them off, but none of the ladies seemed to be of similar mind last night. Delicious. I have had quite a few rose still wines and a couple of rose sparklers, but this provided me with a great benchmark of great quality. It was one of my favorite wines of the night. It had very clean and clear flavors with not one iota of bitterness that I seem to find in some rose. The pinot was expressed lightly with rose-petal, floral aromas and delightful cherry on the palate. This was a really great sipper and I found myself going back to it again for more. 93 points.
7) N.V. Krug Brut Grande Cuvee
FULL, PURE, focused yet extremely giving. This thing just packed a mouthfull of deliciousness and the finish was unbelieveable, going on and on. After getting into my glass about halfway, I could just sit there with the residual in my mouth enjoying it for a minute or two. Pretty awesome. The front of this champagne was just a laser of delicious toasty light fruit, cream, bread, and finished with an incredible taste of plum jam...yeah, that's what I am calling it...plum jam. 96 points.
REDS REDS REDS
1) 1997 Schweiger Napa Valley Cabernet (From Magnum)
Open for business. Middle to late drinking window, had very nice cherry kirsch nose and flavors. Tannins were very nicely integrated. A great wine for me. 93 points.
2) 2001 Chateau Lynch Bages
A little bit closed. Great structure, smooth glycerine tannins, delicate wood, restrained fruit. Hard to judge at this stage, but definitely a very good Bordeaux from this vintage. 91-93 points for me.
3) 1999 Beaucastel CdP Rouge
Intense floral bouquet. Slight bricking here, not a very deep hued wine at this point for a CdP. Has a pinot-like quality at this stage. Fruit is a bit restrained...had some earthy, tart strawberry, garrigue, and sour cherry flavors that really were nice. Alcohol seemed a bit hot, but this wine was in a nice place. 92 points.
4) 1996 Calon Segur
Delicious. Barnyard nose that blew off to leave a great bouquet. Deep Ruby color. Flavors of Iron, black olive, salt, mouth-watering beef blood, some spice. I loved this wine. 95 points.
5) 2001 Clerc Milon
Similar to the Lynch Bages, it had a restrained quality to it that made it hard for me to judge. If you gave me both of these wines blind, I might suggest you poured me the same wine. Pretty sure I had some palate fatigue at this point 92-94 points.
I had to shut it down at this point and head home. Again, thanks to Redhawk and his wonderful wife for a great night and great company.
Sounds great! What did you eat with the Champagne?
Just one more sip.
Hi board-o. Everyone in the group brings something along. As you can imagine there were a lot of very rich foods and some great desserts as well. There was a pretty good cheese board and a really large selection of dark chocolates and truffles as well. There was some fresh marinated sliced salmon. Funny but the one thing that got hammered the most was a huge pile of chicken quesadillas.
'Sounds fantastic! A great line-up of wines, and it sounds like you had really good variety in food pairings. Good on y'all!
De gustibus non est disputandum.
So many foods pair well with Champagne. We rarely do Champagne dinners. That should change.
Just one more sip.
Why didn't this go down when I was living in Michigan?
Great evening obviously. Well done, guys!
I would tell you to come back, but this place has gone to the wolves.....
We have been having some good wines this year Clickythough:
Agree. Champagne and Riesling often under-appreciated food pairings.
I always wanted to be a procrastinator.
Thanks for the Notes, WineTrooper.
I sort of set up the tasting to feature Chard-dominant bubblies, and then we stumbled into an unexpected bargain on the Krug, so we had to toss that one in.
As the host, I was kinda running around (and drinking up any left-overs ), so I did not take any formal notes, but I have a few impressions:
NV L. Mawby Blanc de Blancs-- Nice fruit. This was dry, not at all sweet to me, but the fruit was more fresh and expressive. The bead was coarser, and there was a vein of acidity on the finish that demanded food, but might be off-putting if just sipping without food. I still think this is a great QPR at $20, and an awesome pairing with a cheese board. I would probably score this more in the 87 range.
NV Pierre Peters Blanc de Blancs Cuvee de Reserve Grand Cru--Yes this wine was lighter than the others, but my, my, what elegance and finesse! A far more complete wine than the Mawby, for example. Soft, elegant bead, with a smooth lingering finish. I wasn't sure where to put this in the line-up, and I'm still not sure. WineTrooper, I doubt you would find this on your QPR list. It was middle of the pack in price--I think the sticker at our LWS is $69.
NV Taittinger Champagne Brut La Francaise--This has become our "house" Champagne, so I am very familiar with it, but I was glad to have the chance to see how it matches up with others.
2007 Domaine Carneros (by Taittinger) Brut--I wanted this to be a pure Champagne tasting, but we put in the American bubblies mainly to keep the cost affordable. I chose this one to play off the other 2 Taittingers that were going to be on the list. This, for me, was the worst of the bunch. You say "raw milk", I say "sour milk"--OK, maybe not that bad, but there was a bitterness on the finish that I just didn't like, and the flavors up front also just seemed flat. Mawby blew it away.
2000 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blacs--This was excellent. This time I just chose to savor, and neglected to take any notes. Although I might give the Krug the WOTN honors by a hair, the two are obviously very different wines, and the Taittinger was clearly a star in its own right.
NV Billecart-Salmon Brut Rose -- This is definitely lighter, brighter, and more elegant than most Rose Champagnes I've had, a testament to the higher Chardonnay content that Billecart-Salmon features. I loved this wine, too, with just a wonderful mouth feel and lingering flavors, with just a touch of cherry.
NV Krug Grande Cuvee-- This is my first experience with Krug, and I was very impressed. This had layer upon layer of beautifully integrated flavors, and a long finish.
The bead and refinement on the last 3 wines were just beautiful. Of note, I was playing around with different glasses to show these wines, and I found that my smaller Riedel Ouverture red wine glass seemed to be the best at capturing the nose on these wines, while preserving the bubbles somewhat. I may have to abandon flutes all together.
As for the reds, the Schweiger was just singing, I thought. I have gone through a 6-pack of 750s of this, and so, barring a spoiled bottle, I kind of thought my final Magnum would show well (and it certainly did!). Plus, I thought I would toss something red and New World into the mix to satisfy folks in the group whose preferences tend to lean that way.
The three Bordeaux ('01 Lynch Bages, '01 Clerc Milon, and '96 Calon Segur) were hard to chose a favorite from, as they were all so nice. I was surprised they were all as open as they were. Every one improved after they had a little air time, but none were totally closed. The Lynch struck me for its refinement and linear grace. The Clerc showed greater boldness of fruit, and slightly grippier tannins. The Calon was somewhere between the two stylistically, and I'd give it the nod by a point. The '99 Beaucastel was a pleasant surprise to me. Earlier in its life, it was too pruney and hot for my tastes, but time has changed the stewed fruits into something far more beautiful. The evolution is quite remarkable, and I honestly did not appreciate any heat this time.
Redhawk, Krug is a fantastic house. If you enjoyed the Krug NV that much, you'll be absolutely enchanted by their vintage bottlings. Prepare thyself.
I have a couple '95s and '98s (birth-years of my 2 eldest children) resting comfortably in the cellar, which I am looking forward to opening when the occasion presents itself.
I'm right there with you. For what good bubbly costs, it would be nice to get my schnozzola close enough to the wine to be able to smell it. Currently I use a standard white wine glass for champagne.
"You can never get enough of what you don't really need to make you happy." -- Eric Hoffer
Word. Vintage Krug has ruined me. The 95s are probably drinking well now but I haven't tried one in years.
After much experimentation with different glasses we use Zalto flutes almost exclusively now. They have a good design that allows you to get your nose right in there, are lead-free and surprisingly tough for such a delicate glass. Win-Win.
Note to self: be nice to Redhawk in case I find myself near Saginaw.
You are welcome to stop by anytime.
His kitchen is so large, you might as well stop by with your entire extended family.
I tried to wheel out his commercial oven and cooktops while his head was turned, but he must have eyes in the back of his head.
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