Sometimes we like to invite friends on a Sunday for a combination late lunch and early dinner. We begin at 4PM so that we are able to take our time eating and drinking well into the night. I don’t know why this type of meal hasn’t caught on the way brunch has. Maybe it’s because “linner” sounds more like something from the dry cleaner than a meal.
The rule of thumb for wine service at any meal is one bottle of wine less than the number of guests, which I feel is the perfect fit. Like all rules, this one is made to be broken and we often go to one bottle per person, not counting grappa, etc., depending on the guests. This time was no exception. The food, the wine and the company could not have been better and we did eat and drink well into the night. There were six wines altogether and two very interesting “after dinner drinks” to end the meal.
Billecart-Salmon Brut Reserve NV made from 40% Pinot Meunier, 30% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay from three different years and the majority of the base wine is from the 2005 vintage. It had full fruit, clean with hints of citrus, flowers and slight mineral character.
Ferrari Centanni 1902/2002- Millesimo 1995-Sboccatura 2002 Method Classico(Trento) The winery was founded in 1902 by Giulio Farrari. The wine is from the 1995 vintage and it was released in 2002. This bottle is, I believe, a replica of the one used in 1902.
Meursault-Charmes Premier Cru-Domaine Potinet Ampeau 1969 100% Chardonnay
Chateau Musar 1998– Lebanon-after fermentation, maceration is for 2/4 weeks and the wine is aged in Bordeaux type barrels of Nevers oak for 12/15months. At the end of the second year blending takes place with the proportions of Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan and Cinsault varying with each vintage, the only deciding factor being taste. It is blended in the third year before being bottled and is aged in the cellar for 3/4 years. The wine is released after seven years. The grapes are grown in gravely soil with a limestone base in the Bekaa Valley. The grapes are hand picked. The wine is not fined or filtered and there are no chemical additives with the exception of the minimum dose of sulfur.
Barbaresco “Pora” 1978 Produttori del Barbaresco 100 % Nebbiolo
The clay soil is rich in limestone with sandy veins. The Pora vineyard is at 300 meters with a south to south east exposure. The grapes are handpicked and placed into small baskets. Fermentation is in stainless steel vats for 2/3 weeks. Maceration is 18/20 days and then the wine is aged for 36 months in 20/50 hl oak barrels. It remains in bottle for another 8 months before it is released. 1978 was a great year in Barbaresco. This is classic Barbaresco, more rustic than elegant with hints of cherry, leather, tea and spice. It was drinking very well. This is one of the oldest cooperatives in Italy and it may be the best. The name of the grape growers is written on the back label.
This was classic red Burgundy at its best, very mellow and not showing its age.
The red wines were complemented perfectly by the Lamb Shanks Osso Buco Style that Michele had prepared in the slow cooker.
The year 1942 was not a good year for wine or for the world as it was the middle of WWII. However it was a great year for Armagnac. This was the last bottle and I doubt if I will be buying any more as the price has gone over $600 a bottle.
There was only a little of the Armagnac left so I brought out my last bottle of Levi Grappa. The last bottle for two reasons, it is the last bottle that I have and it was one of the last made by the “Angel of Grappa”, Romano Levi, before he died a few years ago.