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CHICAGO ROTATING HOST WINE DINNER SERIES - MAY 2013 - RPM Italian - Chicago, IL (5/14/2013)

For the May installment of the RHWDS, Izzy Nosnik was the host and the theme was, "Exploring the 60's and 70's". He nabbed the private Boardroom at RPM and worked with chef Doug Psaltis and sommelier Ryan Arnold to craft a wonderful evening of wine and food.

Big thanks to Izzy for setting up this evening, and to the staff at RPM who managed our group incredibly well. It was a wonderful night.
Flight 1
Doug prepared a very nice Vitello Tonnato with fried capers & flat leaf parsley to go with a two white burgundies. Both whites showed very nicely and I found the food a great pairing.
  • 2002 Louis Jadot Charlemagne - France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Charlemagne Grand Cru
    Loved the combination of richness and acidity. Tingly lemon and pear were kicking on the palate - overall great balance and precision. (92 pts.)
  • 2006 Vincent Dauvissat (René & Vincent) Chablis 1er Cru Séchet - France, Burgundy, Chablis, Chablis 1er Cru
    For a 2006 Chablis, I was really impressed by the firmness and energetic nature of this. Had the intoxicating seawater/lemon nose that I go bananas over. The palate was ALL sucking on a wet nickel. Yes sir. (91 pts.)

Flight 2
This flight featured a serious piece of grilled foie gras that was served with strawberries, watercress, and rhubarb. Izzy prepared this as a blind flight - we all knew the wines were desert wines by nothing else. Both wines were great, but the 1937 La Tour Blanche was a real show-stopper. Great flight!
  • 1937 Château La Tour Blanche Sauternes - France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Sauternes
    Served blind. Nose had coconut, soft floral notes, butterscotch, in a truly wonderful perfume. You could tell this was old, but I didn't think it was this old. The palate was remarkably balanced. My notes say, "goldilocks". Everything was just right. Beautifully vivid tropical fruit flavors, nice minerality, and tons of energy characterize this lovely wine. (97 pts.)
  • 1993 Disznókő Tokaji 6 Puttonyos - Hungary, Hegyalja, Tokaji
    Explosive nose of tangerine, peach, and mangos. Incredibly dense and sappy, this was bold and youthful. Had nice acidity that balanced out the sappiness of the fruit. Really liked it. (91 pts.)

Flight 3
This flight featured a series of older Rioja wines and a beautiful pigeon dish. The pigeon was served with turnips, star anise, and black olives. The real hero in this dish was actually the pigeon's earthy broth. Fireworks. The highlight of the wines and consensus red wine of the night was the 1964 Lacuesta Reserva Especial. Great stuff.
  • 1978 Marqués de Murrieta Rioja Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva Especial - Spain, La Rioja, La Rioja Alavesa, Rioja
    Really funky/bretty nose. Lots of poop and earth that was unrelenting. I let this sit for a while and while the degree of funk shifted, most thought this was slightly off. NR (flawed)
  • 1964 Martinez Lacuesta Rioja Reserva Especial - Spain, La Rioja, Rioja
    A truly spectacular wine. Nose was a perfect combination of rustic earth, dried leaves and florals, with perfectly ripe, cool red fruit. A nose you could smell forever. The palate was equally seductive. Layers of florals, cranberry, earth, and fallen leaves. Wonderful stuff, and very Burgundian in its balance and complexity. (97 pts.)
  • 1964 Marqués de Riscal Rioja Reserva - Spain, La Rioja, La Rioja Alavesa, Rioja
    This had that nutty, oxidative nose that can be so lovely with older Riojas. The whole wine was extraordinarily well balanced. Lots of red fruits, leather, earth, and smoked nuts. Really nice stuff and full of life. (94 pts.)
  • 1970 C.V.N.E. (Compañía Vinícola del Norte de España) Rioja Viña Real Gran Reserva - Spain, La Rioja, La Rioja Alta, Rioja
    A beautifully rustic wine that had a distinctly dusty profile. The nose had red fruits and florals that seem to be directly from grandma's basement. Great composition to the palate with lovely rich fruits, earthy undertones, and some leather. Really great. (93 pts.)

Flight 4
For this flight we had some older Baroli and ravioli with speck and parmesan. Doug nailed the ravioli...perfectly cooked and an excellent pairing for the Baroli.
  • 1967 Comm. G.B. Burlotto Barolo - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    I really loved this. Gorgeous nose of tar, some rubber, dark fruits, and some barnyard notes. The palate was classy and supremely balanced. A beautiful melange of dark berries, smokey minerals, and earth this also had a great backbone and structure. Some nebbiolos seem ageless. (94 pts.)
  • 1970 Comm. G.B. Burlotto Barolo - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    Austere is a good way to describe this wine. Outside of some leathery red fruit, there wasn't a whole lot going on at the moment. The tannins were soft and smooth, but the flavors just didn't have a ton of complexity. Hard to give this a rating.
  • 1967 Antoniolo Gattinara - Italy, Piedmont, Northern Piedmont, Gattinara
    Really juicy and intense. Had lots of leathery dark fruit, earth, and some tar on the nose. Its palate was tense and edgy with great acidity and lots of dark berries and rustic notes. Thought this was excellent, but didn't have the fireworks the '68 Burlotto had. (92 pts.)

Flight 5
On to the steak! Two monstrous dry-aged porterhouses were sliced up and served with a light and creamy roasted garlic potato puree. We had this was another blind flight. Izzy mentioned it was Bordeaux Blends and I think most of us were able to place the first and last wines. Sadly the second bottle (Musar) was incredibly funky and either over the hill or somewhat flawed...hard to tell sometimes with Musar.
  • 1978 Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon Special Selection - USA, California, Napa Valley
    Tasted blindly. A really beautiful Caymus that was nicely mature. The fruit was dark, juicy and vibrant and it had that lovely rustic edge that older Californian wines can have. Dusty dark fruits, leather, cedar notes, and underbrush come together in a complexly layered package. Really top notch stuff. (93 pts.)
  • 1967 Chateau Musar - Lebanon, Bekaa Valley
    Tasted blindly. Something was off with this wine...or was it correct? Hard to tell with Musar (in general), but given its age it was even harder for us to really know. Lots of VA and nail polish. NR (flawed)
  • 1976 Château Cheval Blanc - France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru
    Tasted blindly. Felt good asserting that this was from Bordeaux, but I was thinking Graves, not St. Emilion. Wonderfully aged Bordeaux nose that's truly hypnotic. Dried leaves, tobacco, cedar, red and dark fruits, leather, and earth. The cabernet franc greenness wasn't overtly noticeable here, but it did had a fresh pea note to the nose with some air. The palate was in a great spot. Some '76s can be a big cloying given the heat of the vintage, but this was firm, trim and fresh. Impressive bottle. (95 pts.)

Flight 6
For desert, Doug prepared gorgonzola piccante that was served with black mission figs. This paired beautifully with the 1963 Warre's. We also had a chocolate budino served alongside hazelnut gelato and salted caramel. Luckily, I still had some of the 1937 La Tour Blanche and happily drank that alongside these deserts.
  • 1963 Warre Porto Vintage - Portugal, Douro, Porto
    I imagine that bottles like these are what turn casual port drinkers into fanatics. The aromas were great with some nutty notes, dried fruits, and a floral airiness to it. The palate was distinctly edgy and had lots of structure and acidity going on. An amazing pairing with desert. (94 pts.)

A truly great night of food and wine. Again, big thanks to Izzy for organizing everything and the staff at RPM Italian. Wonderful food and service.
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