On Saturday, May 21, the Highdesertwines hosted the Pinot Envys and the Wine Cats, along with a few other friends, at the Chateau Chang restaurant in Victorville, California.
The night’s festivities had actually began prior to arrival at the restaurant, as two half bottles of 1989 Ch. D’Yquem were consumed with an accompaniment of chicken liver mousse on toast points. The d’Yquem was epiphanal, showing ripe mango and apricot fruit wrapped by crème brulee aromas and flavors. Perfectly balanced, it put to shame a 1997 Ch. Rieussec and a 2000 Stony Hill Semillon dessert wine.
98 points for the 1989 d’Yquem
In true Southern California fashion, where Chaos Reigns Supreme, the following wines were consumed in no particular order:
2001 Kistler Chardonnay, Cuvee Cathleen – This was the tweener chardonnay of the evening, striking a middle ground between the Lewis and the Leeuwin. The sharp oak wood notes have still not fully integrated with the solid core of ripe, fleshy stone fruit.
2001 Leeuwin Chardonnay, Artist Series – Before dinner (the crew was very impatient and thirsty), it was overshadowed by the other two chardonnays. With the meal, it was in a class by itself, revealing elegance and layers of lemon cream, fig, hazel nut, toffee, and a long, lingering finish.
2003 Lewis Chardonnay, Barcaglia – Not the best bottle of this I have had, but still impressive for its rich, fleshy tropical fruit with nutmeg shadings. It was deemed the best without food.
2002 Patz & Hall Pinot Noir, Hyde Vineyard – An in-your-face style of Pinot, prototypical of California, with bright, jammy, black raspberry fruit.
1988 DRC Richebourg – Unfortunately, this wine was cooked beyond recognition.
1995 Denis Mugnenet (sp?) Nuits St. Georges – Still backward when first opened, it took a good two hours of aeration to hit its stride. Once it did, it was all silk and elegance, with pretty, refined red cherry fruit and whiffs of mint.
1998 Roc de Cambes, Cotes de Bourg – A pleasant surprise, this is a Bordeaux that is drinking at its peak now. A compelling nose of roast coffee and cinnamon wrapped around black currant fruit. Not as full on the palate as one would expect from the nose, but nicely balanced and enjoyable.
1997 Ch. Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon, Estate (from Magnum) – This is a real powerhouse of a Cab, just now beginning to shed its tannins. It was decanted for considerable sediment three hours prior to dinner. It’s a layered wine, with lots of cassis and black cherry fruit intermingled with cedar, leather, pipe tobacco, mint and more. A complete wine still going strong at the end of the evening.