Friday, January 15, 2010

Wine Tasting Notes from Dinner at Horizons

Chateau Margaux Pavillon Blanc 2004

Made from 100% Sauvignon Blanc from Estate vineyards in the commune of Margaux. This is on the left bank of the the Garonne river in the Medoc region of Bordeaux. Of course, most are familiar with Chateau Margaux Rouge which is one of the five First Growths of Bordeaux. Typically the Pavillon Blanc fermentation is in oak barrels and then aged for 6 to 8 months in oak barrels.
Tasting notes:
At 14.5% alc., the alcohol did seem a little high. The oak aging was obvious in the rich butterscotch and vanilla notes in this dry wine. It offered a wonderful finesse and complexity, a beautifully made wine. It was clean, yet had a dusty quality with anise and white spice. We decanted it to help it open and was only beginning to do so by the time it was gone.

Domaine Weinbach Riesling Schlossberg Vendage Tardive Grand Cru 2000

100% Riesling from Northern France in the Alsace region on the high part of the Grand Cru Schlossberg's hill. The Estate was established by Capucin monks in 1612 naming the domaine after the little stream that meanders through the estate "wine brook". The soils are sandy, rich in minerals, not very deep at the top of the slope and based on granite parent rock. A classic Alsacian pairing is with choucroute (a typical Alsacian dish made from cabbage and sausage).
Tasting notes:
Again, I drank another wine much too young but was very pleased to indulge myself. The honeyed fruit, caramel, white spice, honeysuckle blossoms with hints of lavender was almost more than I could take. The minerality was evident from the soil from which it came. While the mid-palate dropped off slightly, overall the wine was a beautiful pairing with a duel appetizer of foie gras and veal sweetbread.

Chateau Grand-Puy-Lacoste Saint Guirons 1984

Bordeaux blend from mostly Cabernet Sauvignon with about 20% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc. The Estate is in the commune of Pauillac in Bordeaux and was classified as one of the 18 Fifth Growths in the Classification of 1855. The soil consists of deep gravel top soil on a limestone base. The wine is fermented in tank and then aged for 18 months in oak barrels.
Tasting notes:
We decanted and for the first 45 minutes the tannic earth and musty characters were more prevalent on the nose and palate. But as this wine opened up it showed itself to have held up very well. Dried black plum and black currant, chalky slate, cedar and herb notes held delightfully in balance. A gift from a very dear friend made even better since I shared the wine he gave me with him over dinner. Paired with Kobe style filet from Strube Ranch in Texas - I was in heaven!

Mount Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon 2004

Another Bordeaux blend again with Cabernet Sauvignon being the most prominent joined with 22% Merlot from thin rocky soils on rugged terrain atop Mount Veeder. Part of the Mayacamas Range dividing Napa and Sonoma, it is an ancient seabed pushed up into steep slopes by a volcano that created the nearly 2700 foot peak. Mount Veeder is a sub-appellation of Napa Valley. The wine is aged for 24 months in oak, 91% of which is French oak.
Tasting notes:
Also a gift from another wonderful friend, who joined us for dinner. This Cab is structured with velvety blackberry fruit integrated tannin and dusty spice notes. Full bodied but approachable and balanced with a drawn out finish. This was a perfect match to foie gras butter atop roasted duck and beluga lentils.

C.N. Kopke Colheita 1964

Kopke is the oldest brand of Port, founded in 1638 by a German family of the same name. Kopke is better known for their famous Colheita Ports than from Vintage Ports. Colheita is a Tawny Port from a single vintage (so a Vintage Tawny, if you will).

Tasting notes:
1964 is my birth year, so the wine already has sentimental value for me. But beyond that, it is just plain amazing. Anything that can make it 45 years and not suck has to be given alot of credit just for that. I love this wine though. It offers subtle caramel and hazelnuts in a round velvety body. It is well developed with hints of wood and a tantalizingly long finale. This was ideal with Stilton topped with aged balsamic to finish our meal.

Horizons restaurant at the Grove Park Inn is a perfect spot to savor a meal. Asheville's only Four Diamond Restaurant is also known for achieving the Best of Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator Magazine as well as the Distinguished Restaurants of North America Award. Three of the wines were purchased in the restaurant and they allowed me to bring in two wines from my cellar. Check with the manager before bringing wines though.

Good food, good wine and good friends adds up to one incredibly memorable evening.



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