||And even a bloody pulpit:
All in all, a really wonderful evening with great wines and special friends.
Bob was hosting a winemaker dinner at DocMartin's restaurant at the TaosInn.
It's a restaurant I've always enjoyed over the years and one that has one
of the better wine lists in NewMexico. Chef Scott Radek's menu was: Assorted
Hor d'Oeuvres Butter Poached Petite Lobster Tail w/ Lemon Sabayon on Basil
Ravioli Cassoulet of Duck w/ Seared Duck Breast and FoieGras Sausage Mixed
Greens w/ Pear & Pomengranate Seeds Colorado Double Lamb Chop w/ Roasted
Vegetables, Polenta, & Balsamic Jus Apple Tart Tatin The menu was particularly
well-executed, especially the Lobster and the lamb. The Roussanne and the
lobster were probably the best match of the evening.
Marsanne: Bob's Marsannes are always pretty underwhelming upon their release
and show a lot of simple/appley character. This is a wine that badly needs
some age on it to show the complexity of which it is capable. The '95 was
pretty much what I've come to expect in fully mature Marsanne; a slightly
hazelnutty near-oxidized character that a lot of people don't particularly
like. The people at my table pretty much dismissed as a too-old/oxidized
white wine. I liked it quite a bit, but thought it a bit further along
than I expected of a '9However, the '94 was probably about the best mature
Marsanne I've ever had. It had a slightly herbal character that I'd never
found in them before, a roundness & lushness on the palate, and a wonderful
complexity. Beautiful wine.
Roussanne: Bob makes two Roussannes, a Bien Nacido Vineyard version
and an Alban Vineyard one. They are sorta betwixt his Chard and his
Marsannes. Lovely aromatics w/ a slight touch of Fr.oak and a slight volatile
lift to them. I like his Chards a lot, but often find them w/ a pretty
hefty dose of oak and sometimes a little volatile. The Alban Roussanne
though, is almost always my favorite; with a steely backbone to it that
the Bien Nacido somewhat lacks.
Central Coast Syrah 2000: I remember when I tasted this on its debut tasting
at the SantaFe Wine&Chile Fiesta in September and proclaiming it the
lightest/weakest most ordinary Central Coast Syrah Bob has yet made. Tasted
a month later, I was still very unimpressed with it. But, tonight, it was
really tasting wonderful and had put on considerable weight since last
September. Bob thinks it's one of his better Central Coast Syrahs, but
I'm not sure I agree (yet) on that one. The wine contains a little Lodi
old vine Carignane and Zin and a shot of far-EastSidePaso French Camp Syrah.
This gives the wine a certain earthy/funky character that resembles a lot
a better Cotes-du-Rhone. I liked it a lot better in the early '90's when
I thought it had more Santa Barbara Syrah in it and more of an expression
of pure Syrah. So it's changed some over the yrs. It is probably one of
my most favorite restaurant wines I order and, because it comes often in
half btls, I probably drink over 10-15 btls in restaurants over a year's
time. But I never ceased to be amazed on how this wine seems to put on
weight from its release every year at SFW&CF.
Bien Nacido Reserve Syrah: This is another wine that seems to put on weight
with age. Both of these tonight were nowhere near the lightweights I remember
when I first tasted them upon release.
Mocha character: One of the techniques Bob uses in his Hillside Syrah is
to saignee some of the juice off early on and put it into new Francois
Freres barrels. I once tasted this in Paso and it showed an overwhelming
mocha.coffee character. Some of this is then blended back into the Hillside
Syrah to give it the additional complexity of that mocha/coffee character.
The rest goes into the regular Reserve Bien Nacido or the Central Coast.
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