Saturday, June 5, 2010

Birthday BBQ Bonanza

Last Tuesday night I attended a family birthday BBQ for Papa, who generously opened his "cellar" and produced some very fine wines. The other main topic of interest for me on the night was this humble blog, whether I would be blogging on the wines, the anonymity or lack thereof of this blog, whether I am an idiot who knows nothing about wine etc. Lots of interesting stuff and I will be doing an in depth examination of some of these issues very soon.

Let's get on with the wines, I did take pictures with my phone but the crappiness of the camera and my increasingly unsteady hand meant that the pictures are of insufficient quality to put up.

First up was a Louis Roederer Cristal Brut 2000. Unfortunately, this had not aged well. It seemed to be a bit flat. I have never had Cristal before so I was disappointed that this example didn't seem to be drinking well.

Next up, a Puligny-Montrachet Jean Claude Belland 2004. I do love a Montrachet, even if I rarely drink it due to our impecunious circumstances (the last time was here). So I was really looking forward to this. Alas, at first sip I was not pleased. Both myself and Eldest Bro thought this wasn't quite right, there was a little metallic sharpness present that was hard to get past. If it was just me who had thought this I would have been happy to write it off as my own error, but as I was not alone I waited 'til the second bottle was open to see it was the same - we were 0 for 2 at this stage so I was praying for success. Happily, the next bottle proved a winner. I really liked it but this is a very austere wine, dry and minerally, and probably in need of food to set it off. This is not a white for the faint hearted, or anyone who grew up on fruity sauvignon blancs.

Onto the reds, yay! One of my all time faves up next, Chateau Lynch Bages 2000 Pauillac. I had a bottle of this on Xmas eve and loved it. This time up I got some Blackberry fruit and lots of chewy tannins. For the first time I got that Cabernet fruitiness which to my mind often overpowers all other flavours in Aussie Cab Savs, but here its part of an integrated package.

Unfortunately, any wine following the Lynch Bages has a lot to live up to and so it proved. Next up was a Chateau Labegorce 2000 Margaux. This just didn't do it for me, it was perfectly drinkable but the fruit didn't seem well integrated and the wine as a whole wasn't balanced as I like it.

I had assumed, naively, that the 2000 Bordeaux would be appreciably better than the 1999 but I was incorrect. The Chateau Latour-Martillac 1999 Pessac Leognan was my wine of the evening. All supple tannins and velvety fruit, delicious and very fine. I could have drunk this all night but we had to move on.

We moved on to Chateau Haut-Bages Averous 1999 Pauillac, the second wine of Lynch Bages. As the evening wore off and taste buds became clogged with wine and meat , the wines had an increasingly tough job to do, this red acquitted itself well though. It obviously didn't have the depth and complexity of its bigger brother (who does!) but it was well balanced and very drinkable.

Last of the reds was a Chateau Haut-Pontet 2000 St Emilion Grand Cru, I have to confess I don't have a strong recollection of this wine, so lets assume it was great. There, done.

Lastly, a little sweetness to finish off the evening, a Chateau d'Yquem 1994 Sauternes, I was a d'Yquem virgin before this night and boy was it worth waiting for. I do not have a sweet tooth, although you'd never know it to look at me, but I loved this wine. Sweet as sin with lots of orangey fruit, the finish on this went on and on.

A big thank you to Papa for the meat and the wine and to Grandma for everything else.

Next up, either a long existential piece on the nature of blogging, identity vs anonymity, family vs friends and all that sh*t or some reviews of the first couple of the Bergerac/Bordeaux wines I got here.

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