One of the best things you can do as a wine consumer is join (or form) a tasting group. There’s nothing better that getting together with friends who share your passion for wine and pulling the cork on a few great bottles.
If you have any doubts, here are some notes from a recent tasting lunch with some Seattle wine lovers.
1995 Lynch Bages – Deep garnet in color. Pencil and cherries on the nose. Restrained on the palate with tobacco, leather, currants and graphite. One taster thought this was corked. I think it had a touch of brett. Either way I’ve had much better bottles of this particular wine. My rating: 90 points.
1990 Dunn Napa Valley – Ruby in color. Aromas of cedar, pine and plums. Tart cherries, horse saddle, chalk, currants and cherries on the palate. Far less tannic than I expected, and much less so than recent bottles I have tasted including the ’93 and ’95 Dunn Napa. So at 22 years it is safe to say you can “pop and pour” this bottle of Dunn. My rating: 91 points.
2001 Fontodi Flaccianello – Dark red in color. Cherries, all spice, oak and wet earth on the nose. Cranberries, raspberries, strawberries and leather on the palate. Slight acidity with just a touch of tannins. Surprisingly approachable, even more so than a recent bottle of the ’97 Flaccianello. My rating: 92 points.
2004 Clos du Mont-Olivet Papet Chateauneuf-du-Pape – Bright red in color. Anise and brandied cherries on the nose. Kirsch, garrigue, asian spices, plums, orange rind, raspberry and truffles. Exceptionally long finish. Gorgeous wine. My rating: 95 points.
(As an aside I continue to think that ’04 CdP’s are a bargain right now – underrated and under priced.)
2001 Domaine de la Mordoree Cuvee de la Reine des Bois – This wine was rated 100 points by the Wine Advocate and the Rhone Report, and did not disappoint today. Dark purple. Brooding. Savory nose of olives, smoked meats and blueberries. Concentrated, pure and fresh. Kirsch, strawberry jam, earth and spice explode on the palate. Exceptional wine. I suspect this wine will age well for another 8-10 years. Awesome stuff. My rating: 98 points.
Plans to get together again in January are in the works. There’s talk of a Pichon Baron – Pichon Lalande showdown!
Are you in a tasting group? If so, how often do you meet? Any recent tasting highlights?
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5 thoughts on “Resolve to Join a Tasting Group: Notes From A Recent Gathering”
Wow! Sounds like a good group! Earlier this year my wife and I started a small tasting group with two other couples. Each month one couple chose the region & varietal and would cook a meal they felt paired with the chosen wine. The other couples were responsible for bringing the wine(s). Frequently the “hosts” would contribute as well. It was a good approach, however not all participants were equally serious about the wine, so there were frequently outliers on each side of the quality/enjoyment spectrum. It would be nice to participate in a formal wine society. I was thinking about this the other day as I read the following article in the WSJ:
I saw that article. Sounds a little over the top but they are clearly passionate about wine.
Nice read and thanks for the motivation. I’ve been talking about doing this for a couple of years now and need to make it happen. Curious what the make-up of your group is. Merchant/sellers, writers/bloggers, enthusiasts?
Enthusiasts with deep cellars!
Can’t go wrong with that!