Dinner with Friends at Home

Following a terrific bottle of delicate yet flavorful 1990 Clos des Goisses we drank one of the world's best kept white wine secrets, Domaine des Baumards Savennières. The 1997 Cuvée Spéciale is a dry, 100% Chenin Blanc that sees no new oak. The essence of fruit and minerals, it is a great wine with 10-15 years of aging potential, but who can resist it now? Another disappointing bottle of 1985 Chave Hermitage seemed herbal and acidic, and not nearly as good as other bottles I have had. Why is there so much bottle variation with Chave? The 1985 Faurie Hermitage revealed deeper fruit, but a monolithic character, and little of the character one expects of a great Hermitage. The two wines that rocked were once again southern Rhones. The 1983 Fonsalette Côtes du Rhône Cuvée Syrah tasted like the two Hermitages should have. It offered crème de cassis, smoke, mineral, earth, pepper, and gorgeously opulent flavors that went on and on. Believe it or not, this wine is still youthful! One of the great vintages for Vieux Donjon Châteauneuf du Pape is the 1990, a wine I have touted since its early days in foudre. Fully mature, with notes of Provençal herbs, garrigue, licorice, and gorgeously high quantities of luxuriously concentrated black cherries, blackberries, and a touch of blueberries, it is a full-bodied, hefty, high alcohol Châteauneuf offering compelling drinking.

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