Recently, we participated in a wine tasting with friends in San Francisco. The theme was Rhone wines and the dinner held at Pera Restaurant. While the company was enjoyable, overall the tasting was disappointing.
As we planned the dinner, highly anticipated a four bottle flight of Paul Jaboulet Aine Hermitage La Chapelle, a Chateau Rayas, and an aged Beaucastel. It had the markings for an excellent lineup of wine. In practice however, we had a few oxidized and corked bottles, the wines were unfortunately poured in a loosely younger to older format, and sadly, flights were rushed. Very brief notes were taken during the dinner and wines are sorted in order of personal preference by flight:
White Rhone Flight – The wine of the flight was the Charbonniere, crisp, almost White Burg like with a subtle appealing sweetness. Sadly, the Beaucastel initially came across as corked and oxidized, it made a surprising turn around and got better, but in the end, thought it was at a minimum, lightly corked. The Georges Vernay Condrieu was ok, light, some loamy lemon citrus, but became off putting in time. Sadly, the Faury Blanc was oxidized.
2009 Domaine de la Charbonniere Chateauneuf du Pape Blanc
1998 Beaucastel Châteauneuf du Pape Blanc Cuvee Vieilles Vignes
2009 Georges Vernay Condrieu Les Terrasses de l’Empire
2006 Domaine Faury St. Joseph Blanc
Rhone Flight 1 – Not a very enjoyable flight, the Janasse showed coffee, dark chocolate and heavy toast, which normally, might be a good thing, but the wine never quite came together. The Saint Damien was more extracted, youthful and plummy. In contrast, the Pierre Usseglio was funky, burnt, and had notable acidity. No standouts in this flight unfortunately.
1995 Domaine de la Janasse Chateauneuf du Pape Vieilles Vignes
2007 Domaine Saint Damien Gigondas Les Souteyrades
2005 Domaine Pierre Usseglio & Fils Chateauneuf du Pape Reserve des Deux Freres
Rhone Flight 2 – The Rayas was the most complete wine of the flight in the short amount of time tasted. Noted excellent balance, complexity and mostly black fruits. The most interesting wine of the dinner was the 1952 Plantin Brusquieres. Noted cognac, caramel, dark coffee, tasted like a fortified madeira. Unfortunately the fruit vanished quickly. In contrast to the first wines, the Beaucastel was animal, some interesting funk, however lacked a nose. The least enjoyable wine was the Vieux Telegraphe. Had some citrus, notable acidity, and a barrel sample like quality, interesting enough, it was enjoyed far more by others in the group.
1992 Chateau Rayas Châteauneuf du Pape Reserve
1952 H. Plantin Brusquieres Chateauneuf du Pape
1985 Chateau de Beaucastel Chateauneuf du Pape
1990 Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe Chateauneuf du Pape La Crau
Rhone Flight 3 – The 1989 should have easily been top wine in the flight, sadly, our bottle was corked! The top wine of the flight turned out to be the 1996, a pleasant wine with nice length, earth and game. Styllistically different, enjoyed the 2003 as well, far riper, fatter, more clean and pure than the 1996 and 1998. The 1998 was nice and had more in common with the 1996, not a bad wine, not a great wine.
1996 Paul Jaboulet Aine Hermitage La Chapelle
2003 Paul Jaboulet Aine Hermitage La Chapelle
1998 Paul Jaboulet Aine Hermitage La Chapelle
1989 Paul Jaboulet Aine Hermitage La Chapelle
Certainly, this was no where near one of the best wine dinners we have attended, the lack of thrilling wines was fortunately made up by enjoyable company!
Santa Rosa Fine Wine