Wish you all had enjoyed the extra long weekend. I certainly enjoyed mine as I had a chance to blind-taste three very interesting wines.
The wine was like a liquid gold in the glass. Just the color itself was simply alluring. However, you would need a bit of patience in the glass as the aroma was a bit muted and its fruity palate was only slightly detectable at the beginning. We put it aside and let it sit for 45 minutes. Then, this Guigal’s masterpiece demonstrated why this was a classic white wine. The typical Condrieu white flower notes appeared, along with apricots, peaches, lychee and lemon zest on the palate. It was full-bodied but not overly buttery and caramel. It continued to evolve and was very enjoyable throughout the 2.5 hour meal.
Condrieu is located in Northern Rhone where Guigal produces its best white and red wines. It uses 100% Viognier, a local grape varietal. We were able to guess this wine’s origin but only through step-by-step careful elimination, as this wine really possessed almost everything that a superb white wine had to offer.
On the contrary, this wine was enjoyable once it was poured into the glass. We knew instantly this was a well-aged wine – very smooth, silky and elegant. It presented plenty of fruit on the aroma with floral, black / red currants and tobacco. Tannins were well-integrated, and fruity notes were still well-supported by good acidity.
1984 was one of the best vintage in the 80s from Napa and this was the second vintage from Dominus after its debut in 1983. It was a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon with 25% Merlot. We were most surprised by how elegant a Cabernet Sauvignon dominated Napa wine could be after 30 years of development, but still had so much fruit left in it. Brilliant!
Bollinger Coteaux Champenois La Côte aux Enfants 2009
The third wine, was the hardest to guess at the dinner. The friend who brought it gave us some hints: you all know this brand, and can probably quickly identify the type of the wine, but most likely you haven’t tried this before. We were all scratching our head. With 100% Pinot Noir on the nose and palate, we were all leaning towards guessing it from Burgundy. Interestingly, on the nose, it had distinctive notes of cloves and liquorice. The texture was velvety, coupled with good balance of power and elegance.
When he showed us the label, he was absolutely correct. None of us guessed it correctly. It was a 100% Pinot Noir red wine from the Champagne region, and produced by the famous house of Bollinger. We all forgot that Champagne was originally known for its red wine (well back in the 14th century). Bollinger now produces a small volume of red wine during good vintages from this historical vineyard outside of Ay to showcase how great Pinot from Champagne can be.