The Tsunamithon: 3 great days of food and wine – Day 1

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:

Day 1:
* 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)

Day 2:
* 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

Day 3:
* 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.]
Original Post
This was a great night with beautiful wines and wonderful cooking. I would like to thank tsunami again for the superb time we had! Cool

Some short comments on (some of) the wines of this night:

Romariz 1994 VP:
I was extremely and very pleasantly surprised by this port. The power it showed was incredible. It may not have the complexity of for instance a Fonseca, but it is very well made and will hold for quite some time.

Trimbach Gewurztraminer and Riesling:
I totally agree with Stevie that the Riesling was the better match with the food. On their own, I thought both wines were of very high quality. For my taste, the Riesling was somewhat more interesting.

Trimbach Clos st. Hune 1993:
This was closed. Tsunami suggested to leave it and drink it later, and that is what we did (see day 3 for that).

Gallo estate 1994:
A very good wine, but it seemed to be lacking a bit of backbone. I also had the 1996 of this wine and recall that to be much more structured and full. Was this perhaps already a bit too old? I don't know. It looked like there should have been something more to this wine. It was still very good though.

Graham's 1955 VP:
WOW. I loved this to pieces. A unique port that is full of power and live. The remains with the sediment that we tried the next morning ( Eek) had even gained in colour, complexity and power, and proved that it could have been decanted in advance.

Niepoort garrafeira 1952:
Again WOW. Lady Roots and I were so incredibly happy that we found this port a while ago that we thought it would be an ideal wine for this offline. So together with Stevie we bought another bottle and drank it on day 1. All I can say is that I am very happy to have another bottle. Where the 55 VP showed lots of power, this port was an example of enormous subtlety. Wonderful and unique experience.

Gould Campbell 1977:
Young, closed, a powerhouse, and completely worth its high WS rating. We tried it again on day 2 and right now I am sipping the last remains.

Kiralyudvar 1999 Tokaji Aszu “Lapis” 6 Puttonyos:
I didn't guess this was a tokaji, but I am deeply in love with this wine. Tating this wine means finding out about another wine region that needs to be seriously explored!

A wonderful first day Cool Big Grin Smile Cool

[This message was edited by Ronnie Roots on Apr 13, 2004 at 05:56 PM.]
Two things I forgot to put in my original post:

- The Niepoort 1952 Garrafeira was bottled into Demijohns in 1955, and rebottled into a 750 in 1984.

- The cork of the Gould Campbell 1977 VP: I was not present when this Port was decanted, but I have the cork at home. Apearently, the top half centimetre of the cork had turned into dust, pure dust. There were also some strange markings along the side of it. These markings reminded me of the traces one can find of burrowing beetles in old pine trees. I took the cork home with me, and left it to soak in a shot glass filled with vodka (as I did not have laboratory grade alcohol at home). Sure enough, as the little bits of cork floated to the top of the glass, I was able to extract a small insect from the cork with a fine needle. It was rather damaged, but under magnification it was obvious: these were the remains of an insect (or larvae)

Yes, this bottle was infected with cork weevils! I really thought that this was just a myth, but now I have the proof at home. Even though we opened this Port before its prime, it was probably the best thing to do: imagine walking into the cellar to find the floor drenched in Port, and your bottle of ’77 without a cork…
LadyR: that was a bad typo indeed. I corrected it.

Stevie: Good work! The scientist in you still lives! When I opened the bottle, the top centimeter of the cork had indeed changed into dust, or very fine sand (looked like that a little bit). I was very worried by that, especially when I pulled the cork out and saw the marks on the side. The cork (the remaining bit was luckily pretty long) was solid and not soaked. But a very good thing we opened it. And luckily it was in a good condition.
Now, you probably think you're funny...
Boy, this has left me salivating like mad after going through the whole thing. I feel like cooking and popping corks for a week. Hate you (all of you I mean)!
Must visit Switzerland. November sounds good enough! Wink

Free Winona!
I was only able to make day 1 of the Tsunamithon, but WOW, great food and wines.

I was really impressed by the first two Trimbach wines we had with the fois gras. But I still don't see the 99 points WS gave to one of them (I think).

What can I say about the Ports - an unbelievable experience with all of them. I still can't get over how youthful some remain even at 50 years of age! Each one was a RARE, SPECIAL treat. Thanks everyone for sharing such incredible wines Smile

I think Stevie nailed the Tokaji. I simply ruled it out as a Tokaji because of the color - it was so light and youthful. Another treat!

Stevie: Thanks for reporting on the Gould Campbell cork. I completely forgot about what we witnessed - very strange indeed. Good thing it was opened sooner rather than later. Odd, very odd.

I was also impressed to see the Port Thongs at work. I've never heard of this process so it was quite unique to see firsthand.

Thanks again to Tsunami and Andrea for all the prepartion and allowing us to have this experience! Hopefully we will see you both again!

Again, a great night and something one experiences rarely!
andrea and i like to thank you guy for that weekend! Smile

i do olny ad to steve's tn's:

Romariz 1994 Vintage Port,
i was very surprised!

Trimbach 1989 Gewurztraminer Selection de Grains Noble (Alsace),
typical rosegarden-nose.
what, 99 points from ws?
well, it depens on the paradigma, i have to think over this,,,, i certain have had a few "better"
sdgn's but no one was a gewürztraminer, hmmmmm..
i have to go and try sdgn's from weinbach because
i always felt like that they make better G.T.,
that's interesting!

Trimbach 1990 Riesling Cuvee Frederic Emile Selection de Grains Noble (Alsace),
i liked this this one!
but all bottles have had showed better than this one, and keep in mind that the 1989 was the best i have had, and there is a big way to that point!
so i would have rated this bottle 92p (usually 95)

Trimbach 1993 Riesling Clos Ste. Hune (Alsace),
nothing to add.

Gallo Estate 1994 Dry Creek Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (Sonoma),
well made, nice fassade but not much behind,
would rate it highter than i would enjoy it, because there is nothing wrong with it but i just
don't like this jam'iness without a character from
spice and tercial aromas.

Graham’s 1955 Vintage Port,
i soooooooo happy with that bottle!!!!!!!!!!!
did got this from an auction and you never know.
wonderfull tastes of the old and the fresh, with
the amarone like black cherry, and a spiciness never had bevor (chave on port Smile )
i did enjoy it from the first sip to the morning
when i had to share the depot-glass with ronny (ronny it was almost an sacrifice to share Wink )

Niepoort 1952 Garrafeira Port,
the first garrafeira of my live,
therefore no rate!
thank you guy's to showed me this one! Smile

Gould Campbell 1977 Vintage Port,
now i understand sucklings rate!

"It was now close to 2 in the morning"
bman did warning you Big Grin

Kiralyudvar 1999 Tokaji Aszu “Lapis” 6 Puttonyos (Tokaji),
i did always liked this wine!!
tokayjurney with my friend dave attention this is a bit long Wink

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