I was recently invited to a dinner by my friends Megan & Chris. I met Megan last year as we were both living in the same area (well almost) and posting on the same wine message board.
In her spare time, she helps out at my favorite WA winery, Cadence and at one of their annual "release parties" I had the chance to finally meet her in person. About a year ago, she and her husband invited my wife and I to join in an offline vertical tasting of Ridge Geyserville and the rest is history.
Recently, Megan invited us to join them and another couple for dinner, to explore some delicious Chateauneuf du Pape bottlings. Knowing it was going to be a great night with serious wine lovers, I brought four bottles along to make sure we'd all be sated. Don't worry, this was a wonderful and long evening spent with good friends and by the time we departed many hours later … we had all sobered up.
Megan is a very good cook and her stew was absolutely delicious and was specifically chosen to complement the earthy flavors of excellent Chateauneuf du Pape, which was the theme that evening. Here is our wine lineup:
N.V. Bereche et Fils Champagne Reflet d'Antan - toasty, earthy, some crazy sous bois and creamy mousse. Excellent acidity, a fine finish and an interesting bubbly to start off the evening. 90 points
2005 Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe, Blanc La Crau - admittedly, I am not a fan of most Rhone whites. This was better than most and texturally it was spectacular, smooth and rich. The nose and flavors were quite enjoyable with old school appeal, mostly white peach and lemon zest, and a very light kiss of oak. 91 points
1994 Chalone Chardonnay - at 15, still a youngstah. Actually, this shows its age but has held up nicely and provides some delightful bosc pear nuances along with suave notes of buttery brioche and baked apple. A long and supple finish add to the pleasure. 89 points
2001 Domaine du Pegau, Cuvée Laurence - What's not to love? An outstanding CdP, and this bottle was surprisingly a bit ahead of the aging curve. Nonetheless, it is not only delicious now, but the sublime mouthfeel and elegance really wow the palate. Spicy, red fruited and crammed with black olives, tar and cedar highlights, the finish was sexy and sublime and deserving of its 94+ points.
2001 Domaine du Pegau, Cuvée Reservée - How does the Reservée beat out the Laurence in this vintage? It is not supposed to happen that way. Although the prior bottle was a tough act to follow, this was a notch better, although not as easily approachable as the Laurence, yet it's significantly more youthful and emerged big, bold and probably has another 2 decades ahead of it. Stunning complexity and offering gamey, tar, herbs and smoked hickory both in the nose and on the palate, a gorgeous CdP. I am not touching any more of my bottles until the mid-point of the next decade so the tannins can meld better with the brilliant fruit. I brought this to compare with and complement the Laurence, which it certainly did, in spades. A lovely pair. 95+ points
2001 Roger Sabon Cuvée Prestige - although not in the same league as either of the Pegau's, it is a beautifully made Chateauneuf nonetheless. I really enjoyed the plush mouthcoating blanket that enveloped my mouth and was glad I decanted this well in advance. Spicy and smoky, yet gentle and round, soft, dark and meaty. Will drink best in about a decade. 92 points
2006 Chateau Beaucastel - I am not used to drinking Beaucastel at this young stage and only have done so in "vertical" situations, but this was a really tasty number. Plenty of earthy characters in here with dark flavors of dried red currant, kirsch, garrigue, dried herbs and a bit of spicy oak. Exuberant to drink this young one and it will be a contender someday. An opulent and long finish really kept me smacking my lips. Keep your hands off! 93-94+ points
1983 Guiraud Sauternes - I was gonna bring a Port but wanted to offer something delicious and appropriate, because I knew that Megan was preparing an apple pie. Little did I know how much her husband Chris loved Sauternes. Yummy, what a great pairing this was with Megan's awesome homemade pie. Overripe pineapple and apricot marmalade dominated the profile and really brought it full force with enough acidity to keep everyone happy and balance off the sweetness of the dessert too. I really liked the way this has aged. Maybe not up to the 1983 Rieussec and certainly not the DeFargues or Yquem, but this was showing beautifully and I heard the remainders were even better the next night. 93 points
Megan and Chris are wonderful hosts and becoming good friends too. I look forward to our next vinous rendezvous!