Wednesday, August 22, 2007

TexaCali Ali, 9 wines, 30 Master Soms...whew!


Master Sommelier Dinner

2007 Texas Sommelier Conference

Austin, Texas August 19, 2007

Featured Wine Selections for the Evening

LeClaire Gaspard Champagne Grand Cru

Not a drop leftover of this gorgeous blanc de blanc bubbly from Champagne! Finally, I have my first champagne to represent in Texas! And oh yeah - this is a good one! 100% Grand Cru Chardonnay displays notes of ripe citrus fruit and silky honey with just a touch of toast. Structured and balanced on the palate - I’d say it’s in the “seductive” category.

First Course: prince Edward island mussel and wine bacon roast

2005 Domaine Jo Pithon Savennieres La Croix Picot

Always a crowd favorite Chenin Blanc. Rich aromos of baked apples with a touch of ginger. The Loire star is very full-bodied, dry with a nice balance of minerality. Incredibly long finish, I wish I could put a few bottles away for a few years, fat chance, it’s perfection right now.

Second Course: dayboat scallop and gulf shrimp ravioli in lemon-parmesan reggiano broth with tomato powder.

2004 Ch. Puligny Montrachet – Les Folatieres Premier Cru

Such a pretty wine. Slightly floral nose with hints of white pear and touch of toast on the finish. Of the three whites tasted, this is the most versatile and could easily become a nice wine for some serious porch-sitting at sunset.

2004 Ch. Puligny Montrachet Meursault Les Poruzots 1er Cru

I couldn’t make up my mind about this wine, it was so fullbodied compared to the other whites and I was really warm when this was served (long-story). Here’s what Meadows wrote: A surprisingly elegant and high-toned nose for this cru that features pure orchard fruit and floral aromas that introduce pure, rich and sleekly muscled medium full flavors that offer a terrific combination of intensity, depth and finishing complexity, all wrapped in a backend touch of pain grillé. In a word, impressive.

Third Course: duck confit, purple hull pea and hamhock vol au vent

2004 de Montille Volnay Premier Cru

The first sip brought me back to my very first sip of pinot from Volnay. Very ripe but also elegant – extremely lady-like and polished – the texture was like spring rose petals. Not a Paris Hilton – more like a Katie Holmes. Will love to open this again in a few years to see the true beauty inside.

2003 Hospice de Nuit-St. Georges Premier Cru

So Veritas Imports obtained two barrels of this macho beauty! Deep dark berry and spices hits you right in the face when pouring, the texture is so smooth but full of rather large flavors of cherry and clove. A tremendous example of Nuit-St. Georges. I also tried this 48 hours later…it was singing!

Fourth Course: grilled lamb loin on potato boulangere with lacinato kale and black trumpet mushroom ragout.

2005 Susan Balbco Malbec

As always, Susan’s Malbec is full of fresh fruit. She uses a little French Oak – so it’s not a big thick wine at all. Still a baby, this wine is almost “refreshing” in style. Nice violets on the nose with round juicy blackberry fruit flavors that party on! Can’t wait to open this one up in a few years as well.

2004 BenMarco Expresivo

Ahh, the combination of Malbec, Cabernet, Syrah, Bonarda and Merlot may sound scary – but this is a extremely well made red wine by Susana Balbo and her husband Pedro Marchevsky. Everyone should have a 6 pack of this in their cellar (yeah, the wooden box is from staves and has the wicked vine burned on the top lid). It’s a great fun wine to pull out for a cozy night and goes awfully well with typical Argentine fare – but also is a favorite with fresh baked brownies.

Dessert Course: orange and lavender risotto tart with mexia peach compote

2004 Jo Pithon Quarts de Chaume Les Varennes

Oh, I held out just to have this glass of sweet Chenin Blanc in all it’s glory. Paired perfectly with the fruit tart – it was like liquid crème brulee. Jo Pithon only made 25 cases of this – the perfect ending to a great wine evening! Cheers - Ali

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