This has been a great week of tasting and drinking (two very different things...and, typically, while I do a great deal of the former, the latter is often rather limited). I attended a fantastic Barolo tasting for the Wine Media Guild this past Wednesday, and had the chance to assess the 2005 vintage in a 25-bottle horizontal divided into the various crus of the region (Brunate, Sarmassa, Cannubi, etc.). And yesterday, I attended a fascinating seminar and press tasting of the spectacular new Louis XIII Rare Cask Cognac that was led by Remy Martin’s Cellar Master, Pierrette Trichet. I’ll be reporting on both of these tastings in the coming weeks.
As for the drinking--and I know: I should have posted this note on Wine Review Wednesday--that highlight took place last weekend, at a dinner I enjoyed with my family at Philadelphia’s R2L restaurant to celebrate my birthday.
Once we were seated--right at the window, 37 floors up and with an amazing view of the city--a gift bag was delivered to the table. In it were two of those glass jars that homemade jelly and jam are stored in, and I knew immediately who was responsible: My friend Scot ‘Zippy’ Ziskind, who I’ve written about here a number of times before. Whenever he opens up a great bottle, he saves a bit of it in these jelly jars so that his friends who were not there when the bottle was originally uncorked can enjoy it. And, man, were these two serious birthday wines: A 1966 Chateau Latour and a 1970 Chateau d’Yquem. Both were fabulous--fully mature and at the sweet spots of their drinking windows. And while I loved them both, the Sauternes, for me, was the wine of the night.
The nose led off with a wild combination of apricot, honey, pronounced toffee, golden chanterelle, and spice notes. In classic Yquem fashion, the sweetness of the botrytized fruit was secondary to its perfume and its hint of earthiness; those chanterelles from the nose were also present on the mid-palate, though balanced out there by still-surprisingly-fresh pineapple, exotic spices, and bright, singing acidity. The texture was breathtakingly silky, and I could still feel it on my tongue throughout the minutes-long finish.
With apologies for the phrasing, what a sweet way to celebrate a birthday.