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2004 Le Serre Nuove dell'Ornellaia. Enjoyable, but the tannins demand a few hours of air or better yet, 5 more years hibernation. Saved half the bottle for later this week to see if it settles down.

Edit: Day 2: in balance now, a beautiful wine. Ripe dark red fruits and lengthy finish reminiscent of a young Bdx. Glad to have more of this.
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Last night, at a blind tasting with a few of the locals:


1999 Bollinger Champagne Brut La Grande Annee
Just lovely. I love this style. One taster nailed the vintage. I knew what it was, but I brought it!
2003 Jean Claude Mouzon Champagne Brut Integral Grand Cru Verzenay
Everyone knew it was Champagne, but no one got close, even on vintage. Showed like an older bottle. Large bead. Lovely flavor and aromas. Never would have guessed it was a Blanc de Blancs from color or taste.


2002 Nicolas Joly Clos de la Bergerie Chenin Blanc Savennieres
Obviously Chenin. No one guessed vintage or producer. Very nice.
2008 Benzinger Chardonnay Sangiocomo Vineyard Carneros
Most guessed California Chard. Noticeably oaky and buttery. Would be very nice with a cream based seafood dish.


1995 Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
Again, universally identified as California Cabernet. Very dense. No one got producer or vintage.
1997 Fattoria di Monsanto Chianti Classico Reserva
Nobody came close on this one. It was added to the tasting by the owner of the restaurant, who joined us for most of the wines. I was further embarasssed, as I have this wine in my cellar and had opened one 4-5 years ago. This wine was just singing and showing no signs of tiring. Lovely.
1982 Chateau La Lagune Haut Medoc
Several had this pegged as Left Bank Bordeaux. Nobody came close on vintage. Everyone guessed younger. This came from an impeccable cellar. I'd love to try this again on its own. Delish.
1998 Giuseppe E Figlio Mascarello Barolo Monprivato
A majority at the table identified it as Barolo. A couple got the vintage. No one guessed the producer. Right in the sweet spot now. Really good wine.
1994 Lopez de Heredia Rioja Gran Reserva Vina Tondonia [Tempranillo (75%), Garnacho (15%), Mazuelo and Graciano (10%)]
Only one taster got this one right. We were all over the place on this one. Very, very good.
2001 Flaccianello Della Pieve, Sangiovese
Decanted and rebottled after 3 hours of air. Still young, but really nice. Several guessed Brunello/Sangiovese. No one guessed it was Flaccianello, and there are several bottles in our cellars. I brought this one, so I nailed it!
2006 Kistler Pinot Noir, Sonoma, Cuvee Catherine
Laydown for varietal and location. No one got the producer or vintage.
2005 Les Cailloux Chateauneuf du Pape, Cuvee Centenaire
Several of us nailed this as a CdP. No one got the producer. This wine is a brute. Really lovely. Maybe my "nose" of the night.
2005 Chateaux Pavie, Saint Emillion Grand Cru Two of us guessed Pavie. A really delicious, non-Bordeaux like bottle.


2005 Domaine des Baumard, Quarts de Chaume (750ml)
Most guessed Loire Chenin. Most of us have a bottle or more of this in our cellars. It seemed a little lighter/thinner/more delicate than my last tasting of this wine. Last bottle of the night. My palate was toast...

Each bottle was tasted and guessed at before we moved to the next. It was very informal, very humbling and a lot of fun. I need to taste blind more often. A very generous bunch of gents, too. The restaurant was great, the food was excellent, service outstanding. I have a long day in the office today, and am not enjoying it too much so far.... Roll Eyes

At a tasting tonight in Chicago presented by the winery:

2012 Chateau Montelena Rose Napa Valley (Zin)
2012 Chateau Montelena Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley
2011 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay John Muir Hanna Vineyard
2003 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon Estate
2009 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon Estate
2009 Chateau Montelena Petite Sirah Napa Valley
2009 Chateau Montelena Sauvignon Blanc Late Harvest Nspa Valley
Trialto French tasting (wines that stood out for me)
Pierre Gimonnet Fleuron Blanc de Blanc 1er Cru. Soft, smooth, great apertif champagne.
1998 Gosset Celebris Extra Brut, Slight oxidized/rancio/whatever you prefer to call that thing that happens to champagnes as they age. Good now.

2010 Faiveley Burgundies (6). Light vintage but some good ones. Vougeot and Clos des Cortons were great as expected. Beaune Clos de l'Eclu 1er was great for the price point ($60)

Zind H:

2010 Pinot Gris Heimbourg. Luscious and beautiful
2010 Riesling Brand VV GC. Superbly structured and balanced Riesling
2010 VV Vendage Tardiff Gewurtz. Yum. Rose water/Thrills gum and bright fruit. Not to sweet.

All the ZindH were beautifully balanced and showed typical characteristics of the varietals.

Dinner after at Marben w VinChanted, Sunnylea & friends:

2001 Vincent Girardin Chassagne Montrachet La Romanee
Wonderful, light hazelnut, butter.

2006 Ballot-Millet & Fils Pommard Rugiens. The 2006 is open for business, opened up nicely. Fuller than some of the 2010s. Excellent. Earthy, cherry..

1999 Jean Michel Guillier Gevrey Chambertin. WOTN. Mature with forest floor, cherry, strawberry. Surprisingly fresh with bright acidity. Still lots of life.

1998 Muga Rioja Riserva. Still young. Very good. Nice wine to finish up on.
Last night with some excellent Szechuan food, 2001 Fritz Haag Riesling Auslese Brauneberger Juffer-Sonnenuhr Goldkapsel #12; this is outstanding, light in texture but still intense, citrus, apricot/peach, green apple and honey, great acidity, very long finish. I have one more bottle that I might leave for a year or twenty; this is going to live for many years yet, wonderful Riesling. I think this would show even better with some good cheese rather than the spicy food we had with it.

Tonight, taking to dinner a 2001 Les Cailloux Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Centenaire, which I last had 4 years ago; we'll see whether it's completely open yet.

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