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TN: Champagne, Claret, Piedmont with white truffles

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Dec 13, 2023, 10:53:16 AM12/13/23
One of the highlights of my year is always Ben and Wendy hosting our “Bordeaux” group for a December dinner (generally featuring Nebbiolo and white truffles). This year they expanded invite to significant others, not all could make it but 18 people had a great dinner in their lovely Greenwich Village loft. After a couple meh years,truffles were spectacularly aromatic this year. We had 3, the largest was 5.5 ounces and the size of my fist.

We did mostly mags, and some 750s (Paul and I paired Barolos and claret that we both had). We got very lucky with no corked or otherwise flawed bottles, and quality was high.

Smoked salmon, creme fraiche, caviar, blinis
1995 Roederer Vignoble de la Montagne Late Release (mag)
I’d never had (nor heard of) this cuvee. Rich, vibrant, with orange zest, pear, brioche, and a chalky mineral finish. Delicious! A-
2006 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne (mag)
Very young (especially as we thought we were drinking 2002) in this format, lemonade and biscuits with citrus zest, feisty and long. A-

Soft scrambled eggs with white truffle (and John’s wonderful bread)

1997 Giovanni Canonica Paiagallo Barolo (mag)
Big, rich, tannic, quite ripe, I liked but not as much as some others did. B
1999 G Mascarello Monprivato Barolo (2 bottles)
Both bottles (from different cellars) showed similarly (and well). Black cherry, tar, and roses, some tannic structure but quite approachable. Lovely. A-

Tajarin with white truffle
1999 Gaja Sori San Lorenzo
Cherries, vanilla, mushrooms with a touch of tomato juice, big framed. OK , others liked more. B/B-
1999 G. Conterno Cascina Francia Barolo
Full pure and lovely, red and black cherry, meat/venison, orange zest and rose petals. A-
2004 Cavallotto Bricco Boschis Riserva Vigna San Giuseppe (mag)
Young, bright acids, slightly chewy tannins but not so much they get in the way. Tar, rich black fruit, a tasty wine that is destined for greatness. A-
2011 G. Rinaldi (mag)
Young but surprisingly approachable, supple tannins, moderate acids, juicy. B+
Roasted prime rib with Brussels sprouts and potatoes
1986 Gruaud Larose (2 bottles)
An old favorite, just a hint in barnyard in each bottle, sweet cassis with cigarbox and leather. I thought my bottle was just a tad more advanced than Paul’s, but still drinking well. My bottle B+, Paul’s B+/A-
1990 La Conseillante (mag)
WOTN in a great lineup; exotic with sandalwood and spice over delicious blackcurrant and plum fruit, velvety Pomerol texture, great length. A-/A
2005 La Conseillante (mag)
Very tight, muscular and very ripe black fruit, a wall of tannin, some obvious oak. I don’t really enjoy now but sure this will be good in 15, say B- now and B+/A- potential.

There was also a '03 Willi S Spatlese I didn't take notes on, thought good/bright for '03

As Ben had used 43 egg yolks in the tajarin, Wendy had used whites to make 3 Pavlovas- coffee, lemon, and chocolate. I don’t eat dessert but Betsy raved. I think she’s going to want to come to all my wine dinners now. Incredible night with a very fun crowd.
Grade disclaimer: I'm a very easy grader, basically A is an excellent wine, B a good wine, C drinkable. Anything below C means I wouldn't drink at a party where it was only choice. Furthermore, I offer no promises of objectivity, accuracy, and certainly not of consistency.
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