Another Tuesday night in Perth

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Another Tuesday night in Perth

Postby waiters friend » Thu Oct 30, 2014 3:07 pm

Hello

Five of us got together at Bistro Felix in Subiaco (WA) to belatedly celebrate our graduations from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (Level 2) course earlier this year. Bistro Felix has a separate room at the rear of the restaurant (lined with wine bottles, appropriately), and we can BYO on Tuesday nights ($15 per bottle).
Each of us therefore raided the cellar for something interesting to mark the occasion. The notes below are collective notes from the group, and not just mine.

KRUG NV, CHAMPAGNE, FRANCE
All of the expected yeasty, autolytic, brioche characters you look for in Champagne. There is also a hint of strawberry, amongst a stronger aroma of pear skins and a touch of apple. The wine has good acidity and finishes dry and long. The mousse is creamy (possibly a further outcome of the autolysis) but faded quite quickly.

JULIEN LABET ‘LA REINE’ CHARDONNAY, JURA, FRANCE, 2011
14.3% alcohol (but carries it well). The initial indications were of an oxidised wine, but this faded with a little air, and the oxidative characters are actually part of the wine’s appeal. Apart from the fruit characters (white apricot, nectarine) there is also honeydew melon (one taster narrowed it down to “the white bit under the skin”), lots of nuttiness, Jersey caramel and fudge. There is also a slight vanillan note (presumably from oak). Some creaminess on the palate indicates a little time on lees, and this is balanced by good acidity. A slight sulphur / match-stick note rounds this out.

SENHETMER LAY SPATLESE RIESLING 1989, MOSEL SAR RUHR
I hope I got the spelling right! This was purchased from Peter Lehmann’s personal cellar. 8% alcohol. The wine opened with lots of kero / petrol (“a glass of Diesling, anyone?”) but that quickly retreated into the background with air time. There’s a mix of fruits happening here: dried apricots, some pineapple, honeyed lemon and honeysuckle, and vanilla bean.

This follows through the palate, which reminded a couple of us of crème brulee. Acid has softened over time, as the honeyed / developed characters emerged. A really interesting wine, and one that confirms my suspicions about the age-worthiness of non-dry Riesling.

These wines were accompanied by some oysters, scallops, and liver parfait. It was time for the chateaubriand main course, and we had three very different red wines to accompany the carnivore course:

PENFOLDS GRANGE HERMITAGE, SOUTH AUSTRALIA, 1984
I’ve had a couple of these in recent years, but this was the best of those bottles. Unmistakeably Grange, and in great condition. Passed the Clinic 2 years ago.
Brambly, with coffee grounds, and dried leather. Some mint at the start but that disappeared early on. Fruits include rich dark plum and blueberries. Firm but fine tannins that coated the palate. The dark fruits flowed across the palate also. Good acid and an incredible length.

XANADU STEVENS ROAD CABERNET SAUVIGNON, MARGARET RIVER WA, 2011
We came back to this wine in the glass over the course of the evening, to see if it developed. It’s a typical young Margaret River caberbet with lots of blackcurrant fruit, prominent acid and cedary oak. However, it did not open up as much as hoped, and the owner of the bottle has the happy task of trying the remainder a couple of days later (when we suspect there will be much more to talk about). Having said that, I suspect this will age very well.

SAN VICENTE RIOJA, SPAIN, 2005
Apparently made from ‘hairy tempranillo’. This was a new one on me, and I had to do some research to discover that what we are talking about is ‘tempranillo peludo’, which produces smaller, more concentrated bunches, and therefore a higher skin/juice contact ratio. The grower is sacrificing quantity for quality.
This wine had lots going on – violets, blueberries, five spice, cinnamon, white pepper, coffee, leather, dried cranberry, all vying for attention on the nose. The palate is medium weight, with soft but broad tannins. A very interesting wine indeed.

Dessert (or blue cheese) was accompanied by a bottle of CHATEAU SIGALAS RABAUD, SAUTERNES FRANCE, 1997. 13.5% alcohol, and a deep golden brown in colour. T showed concentrated dried apricot, with vanilla bean, crème brulee, marmalade / candied citrus peel, cumquat, and ginger. The alcohol was also noticeable. There was also an interesting discussion about the acid level – it appeared different depending on whether you were eating a sweet-ish dessert (therefore moderate appearing acid), or the blue cheese (higher acid). I suppose we just had to try both.

These nights are fantastic – opportunities to try wines you might not otherwise see, or to share special wines with people who will fully appreciate them. Also, my congratulations to the WSET graduates – I suspect Level 3 will be a lot harder, and that’s a challenge for me for 2015.

Cheers

Allan
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