As I sit here, stranded in a sea of wineglasses waiting to be polished, I cannot help but think: unbelievable, just unbelievable. This is a weekend I will not forget quickly (if ever)! Here they are: the results of a three-day offline with tsunami and his girlfriend Andrea, Ronnie and Lady Roots and myself: the Tsunamithon!
I split up my tasting notes per day, so for your reading convenience here’s the complete list of wines tasted this weekend:
* Bethany’s 2001 “The Manse” Semillion / Riesling / Chardonnay (Barossa Valley)
* Romariz 1994 Vintage Port
* Trimbach 1989 Gewurtztraminer SGN (Alsace)
* Trimbach 1990 Riesling Cuvee Frederic Emile SGN (Alsace)
* Trimbach 1993 Riesling Clos Ste. Hune (Alsace)
*Gallo Estate 1994 Dry Creek Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (Sonoma)
* Graham’s 1955 Vintage Port
* Niepoort 1952 Garrafeira Port
* Gould Campbell 1977 Vintage Port
* Churchill’s 1998 Late Bottled Vintage Port
* Kiralyudvar 1999 Tokaji Aszu “Lapis” 6 Puttonyos (Tokaji)
* Bollinger 1995 Grande Annee (Champagne)
* Niepoort 1997 Redoma Branco Reserva (Douro)
* Domaine du Pegau 1995 (Chateauneuf de Pape)
* E. Guigal 1995 Cote Rotie
* Roger Perrin 2001 (Chateauneuf du Pape)
* Rosemount 2000 GSM (McLaren Vale)
* Fonseca 1985 Vintage Port
* Gaja 1997 Sperss (Barolo)
* Cockburn 1983 Vintage Port
* Muller-Catorz 2001 Haardier Mandelring Scheurebe Eiswein (Pfalz)
Not a bad list, if I may say so myself!...whenever possible, the wines were tasted blind. In the tasting notes, comments in Italic were made after the wine was revealed. Let’s get started!
Day one: Dinner at The Roots’ – part I
Joea joined us for this evening as well. As I arrived at the Roots’ after a slow day at the office, a lovely smell already emerged for the kitchen, where tsunami was already busy with preparations for dinner. As a welcoming drink, we drank the Bethany’s 2001 “The Manse” Semillion / Riesling / Chardonnay (Barossa Valley); a fresh, crispy white.
Once we were complete, we started with the Port tsunami had used to marinate the foie gras:
Romariz 1994 Vintage Port: dark, almost black, with a purple red rim. Obviously extremely young. A lovely floral nose, fresh, with cherry and some aniseed. Good bodied, not too thick but with a massive structure and packed with fruit. Rather hard tannins. Medium finish with enormous grip. A very nice VP, if a bit straightforward.
All (tsunami included) were really surprised with the incredible youthfulness of this Port. We guessed it to be much younger, 2000 or 2001…leave this for plenty more time.
Time for dinner! First course: terrine of Romariz 1994 marinated terrine of foie gras, with mixed green salad, tomato, plum / macadamia and apple / pistachio chutneys.
Trimbach 1989 Gewurztraminer Selection de Grains Noble (Alsace): A light golden colour. Powerful nose, very honeyed. Quite thick and sweet with lots of yellow tropical fruits. Very long, rich and smooth finish.
Trimbach 1990 Riesling Cuvee Frederic Emile Selection de Grains Noble (Alsace): Just a bit darker than the Gewurztraminer. Delicate nose, very fragrant, honey and apricot. Medium bodied, and beautiful balance between medium sweetness and racy acidity. A bit smoky. Long smooth finish with a bitter touch.
Nobody identified this as a Riesling. I though this one was the better pairing with the foie gras, but preferred the Gewurztraminer for drinking on its own.
Second course: broth of beef, with lobster dumplings and fresh morels.
Trimbach 1993 Riesling Clos Ste. Hune (Alsace). Pale straw yellow. Like the nose of this wine! Subtle, with a typical Riesling touch, with a nice flint component. Nice round body, fresh with lots of minerals, a touch metallic. Long crisp finish with green apple.
It might not have had enough air time, so we left some to try another day. Good match with the broth!
Main course: grilled horse tenderloin with a Port sauce and assorted spring vegetables.
Gallo Estate 1994 Dry Creek Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (Sonoma): Sweet, dark cherries, a bit like bubblegum and with a nice herbal backbone. Medium bodied, full and smooth. Light red berries, nice and spicy. Oaky, but not too much for my taste. Some cinnamon. Good finish, with blueberry and more spice, very warm.
Tsunami correctly identified this as a Californian Cab, and guessed it to be either a ’91 or ’94.
At this stage, we took a short break from the wines, to enjoy a selection of cheeses from all over Europe. After we had aired out the room a bit (some of the cheeses were rather pungent) it was time for some Port!
Graham’s 1955 Vintage Port. Obviously a very mature Port; still a bit red in the heart, with broad brown rim, fading to colourless on the edge. Not a very powerful nose, a bit alcoholic at first (although this soon blew off) with dried fruits (figs, perhaps?). Thick, rich, super. Mature for sure: strawberry, liquorice, something like iron, fried bacon. Quite sweet. Superb finish, VERY warm (and not hot) with dried cherry. How this Port lingers…incredible. Yum!
This was opened with tsunami’s Port tongs, so we knew beforehand it would be an old one. Decanted just before serving. We guessed sixties or fifties VP, but had no idea about the producer. A glass with the deposit had gained even more weight the next day! A real treat.
Niepoort 1952 Garrafeira Port: lighter and more brown than the ’55. Nose: nice! Sweet for sure: molasses and caramel. Rich, very rich and full bodied. Sweet, with chocolate and prunes. Smoooooooth finish, with more caramel and coffee. Very long. More Colheita than VP in character.
This was an extremely tricky Port for tsunami to identify, and none of us had ever tasted a Garrafeira Port. It was decanted some six hours before serving.
(As an aside: Garrafeira Port is a very old style of Port making. Niepoort is the only house that still makes it. The wine is aged for a short period on (old) wood and then bottled in demijohns; large, 9 to 11 litre glass bottles. After a long period of ageing on these bottles, the wine is decanted and bottled in regular 750 bottles. Production is EXTREMELY limited.)
Gould Campbell 1977 Vintage Port. Young! Nose a bit alcoholic, fruity but very closed. Medium bodied, a bit hot, and very tannic. Long, tight finish with loads of grip and not revealing much. The brandy and wine don’t seem to have integrated yet. Hard as nails.
Decanted 12 hours in advance. This Port was not identified. Estimates of its age ranged from 1985 or even 1994. Tsunami had tasted this before, and commented that that must have been slightly off, as it was much more mature. Do not even think of opening this yet; it is so closed it is almost not enjoyable. We left some in the decanter to try later.
At this time we brought out the cheeses again, and I sipped a glass of Churchill 1998 Late Bottled Vintage (bottled 2002). No real TN, but nice, young, fruity and very good!
It was now close to 2 in the morning, and I felt ready to retire to Amsterdam. However, tsunami thought it would be nice to have at least one more wine…who am I to argue?
Kiralyudvar 1999 Tokaji Aszu “Lapis” 6 Puttonyos (Tokaji). A single vineyard Tokaji. Light golden. Extremely fragrant, almost more a perfume than a wine, very floral, clover honey. Unbelievably rich and thick, and soooo complex: pineapple, citrus / lime, apricot, acacia…and SUCH a beautiful balance. A fresh, vibrant and super long finish.
By process of elimination I thought this to be a Tokaji. I adored it. Unlike anything I have ever tasted. The way this develops in the mouth is like a rocket launch: taking a sip, not many flavours are apparent, but as you keep it longer in you mouth, more and more and more show themselves... Bad news for us Europeans, good news for the US-posters: the entire production of this wine is destined for the USA. Buy this!
As I got home at 4 in the morning, I quickly decanted the VP for the next day, and went to bed a happy man…
(click here for day 2)
[This message was edited by StevieCage on Apr 12, 2004 at 12:12 PM.]