Monday, January 21, 2008


How often do you get to celebrate birthdays? Once per year, so better make it a good one. Natch, that includes some fine refreshment. And it doesn't get much better than this.
The teaser to start was one of the most expensive Canadian red wines you can buy - the Mission Hill, Oculus, Okanagan 2003 from B.C. It's still too young but we want to try a bottle per year to see how it develops. Plum compote nose. Chewy, tannic, full bodied but smoother than last year, it seemed a little straightforward at first yielding dry black fruit. However, with a bit of bread and cheese mushroom and coffee notes became apparent. I still think this hits the "wow" factor but will be better in a few years. Struggles for value at about $60/bottle, but you Canucks out there have to sacrifice a bit and try out these kind of wines - they might surprise you with what Canada can produce.
Unfortunately for the Oculus is got compared to the Torre Muga, Rioja, 2003. "Wow" right off the bat. A fantastic nose of warm fresh toffee. Plush and teeth coating, this absolutely attacks your palate with rich fruit. I remarked - "this is like a double Oculus". The best wine I have tasted yet this year? Pricey at $78, but you're not going to get this kind of class much cheaper.
Next I pulled a bottle of Bordeaux to try. I bought this bottle of Chateau Prieure Lichine, Margaux, 1989 at the winery in 1991. Good job we drank this one now - check out the cork on the bottom photo - it was just hanging on without leaking! The wine was fine, though. Bricky colour as would be expected. Gorgeous aromas, earthy but the berries are still there - I could breathe this forever. Supersmooth silky forest flavours. Wow. Enough said. This reminds me why I buy and store Bordeaux. How much does it cost? - well, it's priceless unless you shop at auctions. Just hope your friends have deep cellars.
For the slab of beef served at dinner some kind old soul brought a magnum of the Kenwood, Artist Series, Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon, 1997. Full bodied and smooth also, it is perhaps a little less refined than the Prieure Lichine. But it had more fruit plus some chocolate flavours. Wow!! (am I getting sick of saying that? No...!!). Can't do a value judgement as this one is not available for buying either...).
The last wine up was the one that probably shouldn't have been opened - our palates had taken such a pounding it was difficult to do it justice. The Pesquera, Reserva, Ribera del Duero, 2003 was also pretty damn good. Mossy, forest nose. Deep and dark fruit with hints of cola (!?! - my taste buds were really reeling). Wow.
So, there you have it - a perfect evening.
(and no, the Dow did NOT get opened - that goes back into the cellar to be enjoyed at a later date).


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