December 09, 2012

Giving thanks

It's been a while since Thanksgiving, but the wines we enjoyed have stayed in my mind. Thanksgiving is such a food and people centered holiday. I'm on record saying that I don't think Thanksgiving is great for your most special wines. Save those for their own days. If any day is simply about delicious wine, and perhaps a few experiments, Thanksgiving is it. This year we again did pretty well.

To start, the 2008 Rollin Pernand-Vergelesses was everything I'd been told (convinced?) when encouraged by a friend who sells the wine to buy it. He was right. This is serious white Burgundy, crystaline and so lemony, I can't stop thinking about this wine weeks later. The chardonnay I am making this year will be nothing like this wine, yet I can't help but be inspired by such expressive and refined chard.

After sampling a bottle of one of my own 2011 single vineyard Pinots, I opened two more wines to have with dinner. The first was this lowly, old Nebbiolo, something I wasn't at all sure would be worth drinking. I purchased this bottle last year from Chambers Street Wines, a throw in only because it's from my birth year. The 1969 Berteletti Nebbiolo is probably the lowest level  bottling of a not great vintage, not very old, from a not well known producer in a region good for this grape but no Barolo or Barbaresco. And the wine? I was shocked. I was more than alive. It was lovely. A touch of beef bouillon but still a little fruit and intact flavors. This is why we age wine, or purchased reliably sourced aged wine. With each bottle I purchased last year, I get more interested to open the rest. No duds so far.

The second dinner wine was an old Thanksgiving favorite, the 1994 Ch. Grand Mayne St. Emilion. This bottle came with us from California, the last of a purchased from the Wine House in San Francisco back in the late '90s. I remember opening one with Thanksgiving then, and again in our first year in Portland with my brother and another old friend visiting. I lost track of the others but knew the last bottle would fall on Thanksgiving. Mature, gravelly red fruit, gently oaky, delicious claret and an easy match yet again with the range of flavors on our table. What a lovely last taste of this wine.

Thanksgiving is a time for the classics, so we had Sauternes for dessert. Here, the second wine of Suduiraut, the 2005 Castelnaut Sauternes. I love this label for good value. The wine tasted golden, with sweet but balanced flavors, lots of figgy botrytis notes and good length. Sometimes lesser Sauternes are too bitter or sweet. Not this. Must find more.

A guest posted a picture of a few of these bottles on the table, quipping something to the effect of must be a winemaker's house. What can I say. This is all my way of showing thanks.

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