Well, if everyone made it home or to the airport successfully, the tasting was a great success. Spit buckets were not in evidence nor should they have been considering the outrageous quality of the wines. If you read the previous entry, you no doubt have visions of copious notes and rigorous analysis. Well, that's just not the way things go down. Pleasure drives kick in and that means just plain drinking. Still amazing stuff went down. I'll go briefly through the wines with a bit of play-by-play. We tasted through most of the wines and then revisited them for final conclusions and then opened a couple more just for good measure. The wines were accompanied by fabulous Salumi/Cheese platters and pizza's at Urbino's on Henderson. The flatbread pizza's were just delicous, check them out!
#1 Descendientes de Jose Palacios Corullon Las Lamas, 2003. Showed aromas of red fruits and minerals which were reinforced on the palate with an abundance of rich fruit and mineral laced gripping tannins and acidity on the long finish. Proved a tough one to crack. First guess of Burgundy was shot down, followed by Spain. John then followed with a series of 'nots': not Bierzo, not Corullon not Priorat, not Rioja as he danced around the true identity. Most tasters were familiar with the lower tier Petalos, which Palacios produces from the same region and were not anticipating the intensity of this single vineyard expression.
#2 La Cedre, Cahors, 2004. Wow! Another tough one to crack! Truly opaque black wine, the moderate rim variation indicated an old world wine, but the smoky blockbuster fruit scooted us out of most familiar haunts. The deep, smoky black fruit was followed a touch of acid and some red fruit and cranberry notes before the wine yielded to rich sweet tannins. The first guess was Mourvedre from Bandol and was followed by the correct designation of Malbec. From left field came the discovery of Tannat which also proved to be correct. Finally, after a second tasting, the wine was identified as Cahors. But, wow! I know I've never tasted a Cahors with this level of opulence and power!
#3 Ca' Marcanda Promis, Toscana, 2006. The floral aromatics of rose petals, violet and soy had everyone chasing this wine in the wrong direction. With the acidic finish it seemed to be definitely from from Italy's Piedmont. But no! The wine softened by the second go round revealing notes of silk panties according to some tasters (that was definitely considered a good thing!) We were told the wine had three grapes which threw out most Italian regions. The blend was unusual: Merlot, Sangiovese and Syrah.
#4 Tenuta dell'Ornellaia Masseto 2005. From the get-go, this wine had everyone spinning. Both the aromatics and flavors revealed copious rich black fruits, cassis and licorice, backed by firm oak and integrated tannins. Tasters were staggered. Before anyone could even gather their thoughts, John nailed the wine dead to rights. He shall henceforth be know as Number Four! Thanks to Jeff for such a treat!
#5 Melis 2008, Priorat. Aromas of cedar, floral fruit and earthy minerality led to dark cherries on the palate and a long finish with tart red fruits. Another wine that had tasters grasping at straws. The Spanish origin was identified, but characteristics led tasters to an old traditional Rioja, John however kept calling out Grenache! The wine opened up some on second tasting and the Grenache (not Carignan) dominated Priorat was revealed.
#6 Palomero 2000, Ribero del Duero. Wow. Another blockbuster. This one was not presented blind. The massively funky nose dominated intense aromatic black fruits while on the palate the fruits trumped the funk. All this massive flavor was layered over a richly textured, massively integrated structure. What a treat!
#7 Groth Cabernet, Napa, 2006. Though tasted blind, tasters lept at the joy of being on familiar territory, and this did not disappoint with its classic Cabernet profile. Pricewise, it might have been the star of the day. Napa producers can do Cabernet very, very well and this is a great effort from a longtime producer.
Goodness, that was a tough afternoon. THANKS to all!