Dinner with Oregon Winemakers at Paley's Place, Portland, Oregon

This meal at the superb Portland bistro called Paley's Place (I highly recommend it) began with the 1999 Ponzi Pinot Noir (from a single vineyard, but I did not write down the name since I don't believe the wine has been released). It is an excellent, elegant Pinot with a premier cru Côte de Beaune-like style. Somewhat perplexing was the 1998 Ponzi Pinot Noir Reserve. It revealed leafy, autumnal characteristics, high acidity, and nasty tannin in its emaciated personality. Performing fabulously well, the sumptuous 1998 Kistler Chardonnay Cuvée Kathleen totally blew away a brilliant bottle of 1998 Coche Dury Meursault Rougeot. I know the Coche needs more time, but who can't acknowledge the Montrachet-like richness and complexity of Kistler's top Chardonnay cuvée? The fabulous magnum of Marcassin's 1997 Pinot Noir revealed a blockbuster bouquet of plums, figs, currants, black cherries, and a hint of raspberries intermixed with autumnal leaves, earth, and gamy notes. It is full-bodied, rich, and a tour de force in winemaking. Readers who never get a chance to taste the Marcassin wines must think that proprietors Helen Turley and John Wetlaufer and I share a Swiss bank account, but that's not true. I just call the wines the way I see them. Obviously I can not comment on the 1999 Beaux Frères Pinot Noir, but I will say it was not completely embarrassed by the Marcassin. The wine of the night was Jasmin's 1978 Côte Rôtie, the greatest Côte Rôtie the late Robert Jasmin ever made. This magnificent wine revealed the exotic bacon fat, raspberry liqueur, cherry, spice, and gamy notes of a great, traditionally made Côte Rôtie. It was to die for.

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