Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Night of Debauchery Redux

You read about the first Night of Debauchery in a previous post.   Well, here we go again.  Back to DefCon1. My drive once again brings me back to the trimmed hedges of Lancaster Park, ultimately ending up at the steps of Robert's beautiful home nestled on the shore of the lake.  The first dinner was supposed to be catered by a professional chef who, for some reason, ended up having to cancel for another affair. Perhaps our perceived reputations conjured up emotions of fear, which wouldn’t make much sense since he’s the one holding the knife. Or was it a case of mistaken identity as the less-heralded JV squad?  All kidding aside, it was well worth the wait.

Our host Robert put a clear stamp on the theme of the wine dinner… ‘GO BIG’. This fired up my anticipation. Robert sensed this so he felt the need to text me pic's all the potential wines he was considering...Ste. Cosme, Janasse, Clos Des Papes!!! Of course, all the suggested wines were issued a professional score of 100 points.  Perfect. What a tease!! I thought to myself, ‘he will pay for his insolence’!

So now you have a hint of foreshowing leading up to what is in store. The Night of Debauchery should never be taken lightly. It’s a night where passive posture turns to pea- cocking. Past stories become unheralded tales of delusional glory. When coherent vernacular gives way to slurred speech and clear sight melds into jumbled images. Crazy thing is, this takes place before we open the wines!!! So you see this event is not for the meek.

We're fully alert to the delicatable dishes of culinary art in attendence, but we’re all here for the wines. If you want great wines we’ve got them in spades. Tonight, the crew came out swinging!!! An impressive sacrifice at the alter of pickled livers. The heavyweights came into the ring led by…quick cue the dude on the snare…

2007 Ch. de Ste. Cosme Gigondas 'Hominis Fides'
2000 Pichon Baron Bordeaux Pauillac
2005 Marcassin Three Sisters Sonoma Chardonnay
2005 Clos Figueres Priorat
1999 Ch. de la Negly Clos des Truffieres
2004 Cos D'Estournal Bordeaux Saint Estephe
2005 Henzell Pinot Noir
2009 Merry Edwards Sav. Blanc Russian River

Like a crazed sorcerer chef Bram Fowler (of Journey’s fame) conjured up his six course magic in the kitchen. He whipped up succulent sea bass, scottish sockeye, fresh mussels, tender pulled pork and mouthwatering lamb shanks, oh my!! As we waited patiently we were treated to little bit of history as TK turned through the fragile the pages of his law book collection that goes back to the mid 18th century. Amazing!

Our patience was rewarded with a night filled with all types of temptations to tantalize the taste buds. I must extend my vote to the stand out pairing of the evening. Wafting from a warm dish was a delicately placed braised short rib comfortably hugging the smoked chipolte gouda polenta. Salivary glands shuddered as this dish delivered seismic waves of pungent aromas. On the palate I was entranced by the flavors akin to watching flamenco dancer on speed. No subtlety whatever-so-ever, this brash dish rocked my face off and as I placed the glass of the ’00 Pichon Baron to my lips it became clear the Pauillac was my WOTN. The Pichon was like a locked treasure chest. At first taste, it's locked up tight offering no glimpse inside. After a long decant the lock opens offering up a peek at all it's riches. As you enter the realm of Pichon you are treated to notes of leather, beef carpaccio, sweat, smoke, tobacco and hints of sweet pepper. The elegant balance of this wine is profound. A strong showing from Robert’s Ste. Cosme "Hominis Fidis" Gigondas gave the Pichon all it could handle. The Gigondas was a wealth of complex cracked pepper, creosote and dark fruits. One wine that threw me for a loop was Ivan’s 1999 Ch. de la Negly Clos des Truffiers. Can you say baby killer? This wine was so young, candied and new world. How could this be this is from the 99' vintage? I sat dumbfounded scratching my head, heck I thought it could be a Clio. Never in a million years could I guess this wine blind. Another honorable mention is the Marcassin 3 sisters. A noticeable burgundian profile stood out, but this was too big to be French. A potential contender for wine of the night, it unfortunately fell victim to it’s underwhelming lack of acidity.

In our wake, empty bottles of the world’s most distinguished estates are tossed about. Dusk transitions to twilight and the night comes to a close. Fresh faces have now transitioned into hard lines and sunken cheeks. We head off into the dim moonlight fixated on staying between the lines. You enter your home as fumbled keys and heavy footsteps announce your arrival. You fall into bed, still hazy and as silhouettes fade to black, you awaken the next morning realizing it was just another memorable night at one of Roberts wine dinners. Thanks again for the invite. Until next wine…


  1. Wow, quite a write-up . . . as I casually hide my Thesaurus from view . . . .

    Thanks for coming and for your genorosity with your wine. The Pichon Baron was spectacular. The cab-heavy Bordeaux has always been one of my favorites. I visited that estate on my honeymoon in 1996, tasting some unfortunately modest vintages during that visit, but will never forget the 1989. Perhaps one of the best non-FG Bordeaux I have ever had, and fortunately have had on several occasions. The sweet, sweaty leather on the 2000 is gorgeous. Reeks of the perfume of Bordeaux that is so intoxicating. The oak has integrated nicely; saw some notes on CT that seemed to suggest otherwise.

    But alas, just like you, I have violated the unstated tasting etiquette against declaring your own wine as WOTN. Sorry, but the Giggie kicked butt. I have been a huge fan of Chateau de Saint Cosme for many years. Perhaps you guys should do a profile on this wonderful property. The Gigondas wines are world-class, and seem to flirt with that line of slightly modern with an appreciation of the past. The cooler elevation and location of this etstate in Gigondas escaped some of the heat that impacted the 2007 Rhone region, especially CDP, so they are not showing too much heat or overly-ripe fruit. The Hominis Fides was outstanding, a classic. My favorite Gigondas ever from this estate. As you note, heady cracked black pepper. Provencal spices. Black licorice. Tangy black raspberries. And creosote (did you steal that discriptor from me!?). Cannot wait to try it again after some maturity, and indeed, the other old-wine cuvees that I bought, Le Poste and Le Claux. The Valbelle is excellent as well, but showing more opulent fruit over spice. Very different wines.

    So when is the next tasting?


  2. Yes, of course, stop thief. I was not taking formal notes. I did omit out the licorice note on the Ste. Cosme, maybe to cockeye'd to remember.

  3. I got it from your tar comment! I'm so bad!!

  4. PS. I just ordered more Ste. Cosme this morning. Little hint: The Little James Basket Press made by Ste. Cosme, the red and the white, is about as good of a $10 bottle of "everyday" wine as you will ever find. The 2007 basic domaine gigondas for $25 is about as good of a Rhone as you will find for that price.

  5. Thank you for your input and the wine tips.
    Yes idea's for future blogs!!

    Yes, read those of notes about unresolved oak in Pichon. Ahhhhh, not in our wine.

  6. Thanks Marc for your email. Your tasting looked like a lot of fun. A Night of Debauchery, indeed. Best wishes,JM