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I'm having my anniversary dinner with the wife this Sat. and going to one of the best restaurants in San Diego. We've looked at the menu and agreed that we're probably going to be having the grilled NZ lamb with wild mushrooms. Wanting to bring the wine and suffer the corkage fee, but torn between a really good CA Meritage or going with Burgundy or even possibly So. Rhone...suggestions?

I guess it'd be hard to go wrong with a Bordeaux as well?
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Originally posted by spo:
Are you bringing the bottle or buying from the restaurant? If you are buying from the restaurant I think the most important question is which wine is open for business.

Definitely bringing it...$25 corkage fee, but they waive that with a purchasing a starter cocktail which we are doing. Given the reputation of the restaurant, I'd not bring anything less than "premium" and willing to spend ~ $100 at the local wine shop. Kinda leaning toward French, Bordeaux or Rhone.
Why didn't I get on these forums sooner! This is a wealth of concise information.

"Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed." - Proverbs 15:22

Originally posted by vinole:
Lamb is a favorite regional dish of Bordeaux and their wines are considered a classic match. The earthiness and higher acidity of Bordeaux will go better with lamb than the low acid fruit driven CA meritage blends. Save Cali cabs and meritage for a nice steak. Second choice would be a CdP or N. Rhone.
Originally posted by JHM:
OK, Bordeaux it is...with a $100 budget, what specific Chateaus should I be looking for...? Not as well versed beyond the top Grand Crus and certain name first growths.

Be nice to find a good 'sleeper' brand at a reasonable price... Cool

That's the catch with Bordeaux. The better ones need age so it's not the best choice if having to buy and immediately serve a current release. Of course, you can buy older vintages at significantly higher prices with usually a limited selection at stores. If you have to go with current releases, I would go with the more early accessible 03 vintage, though the higher the price, the more in need of aging they generally are. Therefore, somewhat "lower" wines might actually perform better than higher ones as they are more ready now. Wines like Lagrange, St. Pierre, Branaire, Duhart Milon, or Pontet Canet would probably drink OK right now. Check recent notes on, and try to have them decanted. The 01 vintage might also be a good bet as they are still around and also fairly ready, like a Smith Haut Lafitte (03 & 04 of that might also be good) or a number of St Emilions, as that was a better year for the right bank.
Looks like I'll have a couple of hours before dinner and can drop the bottle off for decanting well prior to the meal. I am also going to have them decant it with my Vinturi aerator in to the decanter, so it should have the equivalent of 4-5 hours decant time. Looks like '03 & '04 were pretty good years, but maybe too early to drink...? I could go with a Rt. bank '98 that seemed to be stellar for that region of many choices... Confused
OK, second guessing the Bordeaux choice at this point and thinking about CdP instead. Mainly because the wife likes more upfront fruit in her wines and might not fully appreciate a complex Bordeaux. Plus, budget-wise, CdP goes a bit further for the finer labels.

Going out Fri. to shop for it and I'll let you know how Sat. goes and the final results.

Thanks for all the input... Wink
Well, I decided on a 2004 Usseglio a 92 or so from Parker and said it is drinking really well right now and better than the Beaucastel...$90 from a local guy here that has a decent selection of premium French.

SPO, we're going to the Skyroom at the La Valencia Hotel in La Jolla. I'll report back Monday...(actually see you at the 3rd corner Sun. maybe...?)


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