Monday, March 23, 2009

Another indulgent evening at PPI

This month, it almost didn’t happen. Several cancellations (including my own) had George poised to call the evening off. But Lance convinced me, last minute, to keep it alive. And boy am I glad I didn’t miss this one……a quiet Wednesday night at Pratt’s allowed Jon to join us in assessing a kickin’ batch of juice that included an armada of samples from Argentina, and some more serious picks from our own cellars.

Amongst the various Malbecs and Malbec blends, there were few wines to speak kindly of. But amongst our special contributions, there were no slouches this time. Neither Mark’s ‘00 Jean Grivot Nuits-St-Georges les Roncieres nor my ‘06 Pierre Matrot Puligny-Montrachet les Chalumeaux were served blind, so there was no guessing game here. While the Grivot needed an hour in a decanter to reveal its supple texture, forward minerality and reserved, classic ‘00 personality, my Matrot was hot-to-trot right outta the gate, with a creamy, generous Chardonnay profile and a gorgeous pear/nut/mineral interplay. Both were picture perfect and consumed at the right time.

George and Lance’s contributions kicked it up a notch, as they were both celebrated bottlings from older vintages, again consumed at a perfect point in their evolution. Our guesses pinned it down to region on both, but Lance’s detective work maneuvered him to within one vintage of George’s very wine. It unleashed a rustic, aromatic attack of tobacco, Balsamic, soy, fennel and underbrush that screamed, what else……. Nebbiolo! The wine was clearly mature, but depending upon producer, it could have been anywhere from 10 to 30 years old. Lance settled on the halfway point, and guessed ’93 Giacomo Conterno Barolo Cascina Francia. Turns out it was the ’94.

Lance’s wine, at first, seemed over-the-hill, but upon one-hour’s decant, blossomed into what appeared to be a Burgundy of considerable depth and expression. Subtle herb, game and wet stone aromas jostled the olfactory instincts, preparing the palate for a sophisticated and surprisingly-sweet delivery of sexy, maturing Pinot. We’ll call this one the cougar! After some group deliberation, Lance tore away the paper bag on his bottle of ‘89 Louis Jadot Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Clos St Jacques, certifiably the Wine of the Night!

An honorable mention is in order for a supplemental wine that Lance threw into the mix. I was only able to guess its identity after multiple juicy hints. An ‘06 Pride Sangiovese from Sonoma was fat, fleshy, satisfyingly-sweet to the core and very good at being what it is, but was intrinsically-unable to impress this group of old-world wine fans. Great ringer, Lance, and a nice finish to a particularly-delicious evening for our group. Here’s to many more! -Michael Koehler –

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