Tag Archives: Williams Seylem

Lupa Pinot Noir Dinner

Recently got together with friends to enjoy Pinot Noir at Lupa in San Francisco. It was a very informal get together. While most of our palates lean toward Burgundy, looked forward to visiting some California Pinot Noir. The star of the night was Calera, where the top two wines of the evening came from this exceptional producer. What made this dinner stand out more than others unfortunately was the unusually high number of flawed bottles!

All wines were served pop and pour, no decanting. Brief notes follow and are sorted by flight in order of personal preference.

White Flight – While the wine theme was basically Pinot Noir, it is rare for us not to start with a few white wines. The 2007 Sheldon was a pleasant, easy drinking Chardonnay. It leaned more toward a candied, sweet, butter style Chardonnay, not crisp and can easily be enjoyed young. Sadly, the 2006 Marcassin Three Sisters Chardonnay was badly corked.

2007 Sheldon Chardonnay
2006 Marcassin Three Sisters Chardonnay

Aged Pinot Noir Starter – The 1987 Calera Pinot was easily my wine of the night. A perfectly aged, perfectly balanced wine. Nuanced raspberry and underbrush, it showed surprisingly youthful. Have had numerous Calera Jensen over the years, and the style is highly consistent. Had this been served blind, would never have guessed 1987!

1987 Calera Jensen Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir Flight 1 -Prior to the dinner, had a little fun with this flight. Noticed a Robert Parker note on two of them, that the 2000 Peter Michael Moulin Rouge “. . . reveals a La Tache-like perfume of . . . ” and the 2000 Kistler Vineyard Pinot “. . . is a Comte de Vogue Musigny-like effort . . . ” At the tasting, they were no where near a La Tache or Vogue Musigny! The Peter Michael had a high alcohol, ethyl acetate nose, clipped finish, nothing really thrilling going on and the Kistler, our second corked wine! To make matters worse, the Swan was disjointed, with notable VA. That left the clear top wine of the flight, a 2000 Calera Reed. Stemy, blue fruits, and wonderful balance, thought it the second best wine of the night.

2000 Calera Reed Pinot Noir
2000 Swan Trenton Pinot Noir
2000 Peter Michael Moulin Rouge Pinot Noir
2000 Kistler Vineyard Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir Flight 2 – Both the Williams Seylem Westside and Rochioli showed well in this flight, the William Seylem, more chewy and sweet, the Rochioli brighter cherry with very good balance. Each was enjoyable and aging well, no rush to open. Sadly, the Williams Seylem Allen was another flawed wine, ethyl acetate.

2003 Williams Seylem Westside Pinot Noir
2002 Rochioli West Block Pinot Noir
2003 Williams Seylem Allen Pinot Noir

Have never attended a dinner, where near the end of the evening, 50% of the wines opened were flawed for one reason or another! Fortunate for us, our good friend Eric Lundblad of Ladd Cellars joined us with two delightful Pinots to the end the evening, a 2008 Ladd Cellars Abigail Pinot Noir and 2008 Ladd Cellars Russian River Pinot Noir. Hopefully the track record of flawed wines this night, does not repeat itself in the future!

Nick Wittman
Santa Rosa Fine Wine
http://www.santarosafinewine.com/

Commonwealth Dinner

A local wine tasting group we are part of recently got together in San Francisco for dinner at Commonweath restaurant. The food was spectacular, and included Black River Ossetra Caviar, Salmon Tartare, Corn Custard Lobster, Veel Cheeks and a few enjoyable desserts. A highly recommended restaurant in the Bay Area!

Wine for the dinner was focused on Burgundy varietals from the United States and France. While nearly all wines were enjoyable, the standout was a bottle of 1945 Beaulieu Vineyards Beaumont Pinot Noir. It was remarkable how youthful the wine looked and tasted. The label said Pinot Noir, but suspect the wine included Gamay, Petite Sirah, or other varietals. Suspicion aside as to the exact varietal makeup, it was an outstanding wine. Brief observations follow of all wine opened.

Champagne Starter – The Krug was extremely young, firm acidity with hardwood, orange citrus fruits and a pleasant yeasty component. Could continue to age this gorgeous wine for a significant period of time. In contrast, the Bollinger RD was far more mature and a little funky. Tending to prefer Champagne on the younger side, did not show as well for my particular palate.

1990 Bollinger RD
1996 Krug

Flight 1 – The Leflaive was fully mature and resolved, in a sweet spot right now. Was interesting to taste next to the Williams Seylem, the color of which was significantly browning, yet showed surprisingly well, sweet, floral and butterscotch on the palate. The Bouchard was very young and tight, could easily continue to age this excellent wine for years. As a whole, loved the flight. At this point, a Ceritas Chardonnay was opened. Had it been served blind, would have guessed a Chablis! Plenty of Oyster shell, steely, and firm acidity, an age worthy wine.

1998 Domaine Leflaive Pucelles
1998 Williams Seylem Hirsch Chardonnay
2002 Bouchard Corton Charlemagne
2009 Ceritas Ritchie Chardonnay

Flight 2 – The wine of the night, was absolutely surprised by the 45 BV Beaumont Pinot. Expected this to be a wildcard wine, probably dry leather, light mineral, and light fruit or perhaps just oxidized and long past maturity, it tasted youthful, structured, full bodied and highly complex, with earth, minerals and an abundance of well integrated dark fruits. The 67 Burgundy was more strawberry, stemy, soy, a cool, clean enjoyable wine. Sadly, the 79 was completely oxidized and undrinkable.

1945 Beaulieu Vineyards Beaumont Pinot Noir
1967 Beaulieu Vineyards Burgundy
1979 Beaulieu Vineyards Burgundy

Flight 3 – All three wines in this flight were excellent. The Bonnes Mares showed blue fruits in contrast to the raspberry fruits in the Cazetiers, and in contrast to both, the Clos Vougeot was leathery and dry. Given the age on the Clos Vougeot, it was a vibrant wine that maintained some subtle sweet ripe fruit.

1964 Jadot Clos Vougeot
1985 Bouree Gevery Cazetiers
1999 Jadot Bonnes Mares

Flight 4 – The Chalone was the youngest tasting wine in this flight, huge tart jammy raspberry fruit, showed superior to a previous time having had the wine. The 99 Calera had the best balance of the group with subtle all spice and steminess. Sadly, thought the 97 Calera was a little disjointed and astringent, it never quite came together. A mystery wine, the 05 Yarra Yering was guessed early on as Australian, big ripe fruit wine from a solid producer.

1980 Chalone Pinot Noir
1997 Calera Mills Pinot Noir
1999 Calera Jensen Pinot Noir
2005 Yarra Yering Pinot Noir

Collectively, the wines for this dinner were very impressive and paired with equally impressive food. Along with delightful company, it was a highly enjoyable wine dinner!

Nick Wittman
Santa Rosa Fine Wine
http://www.santarosafinewine.com/

Burgundy in the City

Got together with a small group of friends from the San Francisco Bay area recently to enjoy some Burgundy. Among a very enjoyable group of wines, thought the 1990 Lafarge Volnay Clos des Chenes showed best overall. It had all the qualities of an exceptional wine, balance, complexity, good structure, and a seductive style that kept making you want to go back for more!

Another highly noteworthy and enjoyable wine, the 2004 Domaine Chevalier Corton Charlemagne. It showed extremely well and similar to the red, had all the hallmarks of an exceptional wine in terms of balance, complexity as well as subtle nuances that made it both interesting and thrilling to revisit over a few hours. Tasting 2004 and 2005 White Burgundies regularly, continue to prefer 2004 for drinking in the near term.

As with previous blog entries, brief observations of all wines opened follow, sorted in order of personal preference by flight.

Champagne Starter

1996 Bollinger RD – Yeasty, nice acidity, lemon rind, dough, meyer lemon, a young Champagne that kept improving over the span of the evening. A very exceptional wine.

White Burgundy Flight 1

2004 Fevre Les Clos- Very shutdown, firm acidty, mineral. No where near ready to enjoy, needs years to resolve. Took hours for it to even begin to show its potential.

2000 Fevre Valmur – Right out of the gate, highly enjoyable. Clean, pure, good balance, also mineral. In about an hour, started to decline and became less interesting.

2002 Ried Klaus Jamek – Dry, yet well rounded, paraffin and creamy in texture. Little experience with Austrian wines, but this showed very well.

White Burgundy Flight 2

2004 Domaine Chevalier Corton Charlemagne – Well structured, big wine, excellent power and balance, slightly flinty and highly age worthy. A gorgeous wine.

2005 H. Boillot Corton Charlemagne – More floral than the earthy Chevalier, sweet, big, though young and unresolved. Great long term potential after years of cellar aging.

1986 P. Dubreuil-Fontaine Corton Charlemagne – Wax, honey, oxidized, drinkable, but past maturity. Opened more as a curiosity than anything, did not show very well.

1988 Pierre Bitouzet Corton Charlemagne – Oxidized and undrinkable.

Mystery Wine

2000 Williams Seylem Allen Vineyard Chardonnay – A blind ringer, correctly guessed as aged Chardonnay. Fully mature, creme brulee, nice minerality and balance, a good drinking wine that indicated 16% ABV, but did not show heat.

Red Burgundy Flight 1

1990 Lafarge Volnay Clos des Chenes – Gamey, red and blue fruits, menthol, an absolutely gorgeous nuanced and near perfect drinking wine. The wine of the night!

1995 Lafon Volnay Santenots du Milieu – Black pepper, rich big fruit, took a long time for the wine to open up, when it did, excellent balance, showed very well.

1990 Lafon Volnay Santenots du Milieu – Wet saddle leather, sappy, full mouthfeel and firm tannin, a nice wine that should improve with additional cellaring.

1995 Lafarge Volnay Clos des Chenes – High acidity, like the 1995 Lafon, took a long time for the wine to open up. In this case, it never quite came around. Continue to cellar for years.

Red Burgundy Flight 2

1980 Roty Charmes Chambertin – Chewy texture, earth, mineral, leather, with a touch of appealing green. Mature and very enjoyable, showed better than expectations.

2001 Drouhin Chambolle Musigny – Firm acidity, simply in style, not a lot to the wine that made it particularly appealing.

Sweet Ending

1990 Huet Vouvray Moelleux – Sadly, did not take notes on this wine. Vaguely recall a very pleasant end of evening wine. One of those instances of, a small group and lots of wine!

Cheers to a highly enjoyable evening that will hopefully repeat itself again!

Nick Wittman
Santa Rosa Fine Wine
http://www.santarosafinewine.com/