We like to have Thanksgiving lunch/dinner (Linner) at 4:00PM. This gives everyone the chance to eat and drink as much as they want and still not get home too stuffed too late. Our linner usually lasts for 5 or 6 hours. This year was no exception. Michele made gougeres to start, followed by a mushroom soup and of course turkey with a fennel, sausage and rice stuffing and many side dishes, followed by a cheese course and pumpkin pie for dessert. We have been having Thanksgiving every year for several years together with Tom Maresca http://ubriaco.wordpress.com and his wife Diane Darrow http://dianescookbooks.wordpress.com. Diane is a very good baker and brought baked bread and a pear tart. Travis and Nicole, who were also there, brought wine.
Champagne Extra Brute NV “Les Boguines” La Closerie 100% Pinot Meunier. This is the first time I had Champagne that was 100% Pinot Meunier. Jerome Prevost, the winemaker, believes in intervening as little as possible. Therefore, the wine was not fined, filtered, or cold stabilized. This was one of the driest Champagnes that I have ever tasted with nice fruit and very good acidity. It had a long finish and a lingering aftertaste.
Chablis Grand Cru “Les Preuses” 2000 Réne & Vincent Dauvissat. It has been my pleasure to have had the 1993 and 2007 “Les Clos” from the same producer. This was the first time I tasted the “Les Preuses”. The Les Preuses was not as big and round as the Les Clos. It had a more mineral, earthy and steely character to it which made it an excellent food wine. They are both great examples of Chablis grand cru.
Barbaresco 1979 Podere del Pajoré Giovanni Moresco 100% Nebbiolo (rose sub -variety). This has always been one of my favorite Barbarescos and to my regret it was my last bottle. There was severe pruning that limited the size of the yields and the grapes were harvested late when they were totally ripe. The rose sub-variety is one that is reputed to produce the lightest Nebbiolo wines, but you could not tell it from this wine or the others I have had over the years from this producer. This is a big Barbaresco with all of the classic Nebbiolo aromas and flavors and it will age for a few more years. In 1979 Angelo Gaja become involved with the winery and took over the management of the vineyards. I believe Gaja brought the vineyards because he now makes a wine called “Sito Maresco”.
Morey-Saint-Denis 1989 Domaine Dujac 100% Pinot Noir. I have not had much experience with this producer but this was classic Burgundy at its best. A wise man once said there is Pinot Noir and then there is Burgundy.
Just before Thanksgiving Michele showed me a very interesting article in the The New Yorker, November 28 2011, Letter From Rome entitled “The Renovation.” It was about an American Rita Jenrette that married Prince Nicoló and is now the Princess Rita Boncompagni Ludovisi. They are now living in a villa just outside Rome. They did not mention Fiorano in the article but I am sure there is a relationship somewhere. After reading the article I had to serve a bottle of Fiorano for Thanksgiving.
Fiorano 1992 Vino da Tavola Boncompagni Ludovisi Alberigo Boncompagni Ludovisi, Principe di Venosa made with merlot and cabernet sauvignon grapes. Burton Anderson, in his landmark Italian wine book Vino, called Fiorano Rosso “the noblest Roman of them all”. The Prince’s few acres of vines are planted along the Appian Way about 20 kilometers southwest of the center of Rome and almost right next to Roman’s second airport, Ciampino. It is the best cabernet/merlot blend made it Italy and one of the best in the world! In my opinion–and I am in the minority here–one of the best places in the world to grow Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot is in Lazio close to Rome.
The 1970 Chianti Classic Badia Coltibuono was not good and I replaced it with the Grato Grati declassified Rufina Vino Rosso Toscano da Tavola 1982 Grato Grati 100% Sangiovese. It is a wine that I really like and you can tell by the number of times that I serve it, it is my favorite Chianti. The wine is aged in large Slavonian oak barrels. It is declassified Chianti Rufina. I have been drinking this wine for a number of years now. The vintages I have had over the last few years have been the 1979, 1982, 1988, 1990, 1995 and 1997 (the last three are labeled Chianti Rufina) and have never found them wanting. To my great regret they are no longer available in NYC.
On Friday Michele and I went with friends to Legend an excellent Chinese restaurant in NYC and had great food. I was in the mood for a Martini and gave the waitress exact instructions on how to make it for me. The bartender, a woman in a man’s hat, followed them to the letter and it was a perfect Martini. It fact it was so good I had another.
Saturday we stayed home and a friend gave us a bottle of Barbaresco 1997 Cantina Vignaioli Elvio Pertinance.(cooperative) 100% Nebbiolo, to try. The grapes for the Barbaresco come from the hills of Treiso. It is a blend of Nebbiolo grapes grown on the vineyards belonging to each of the cooperative members. The selected grapes are crushed immediately on their arrival at the winery. The must ferments on the skins at a controlled temperature for at least 15 days. Following malolatic fermentation and a brief stay in stainless steel the wine is aged in casks of Slovenian oak for over one year prior to bottling. This Barbaresco is a very approachable wine with good fruit and soft tannins but will last for a few more years.
On Sunday we had friends over for lunch and we drank Barolo Riserva “Monprivato” 1993 Giuseppe Mascarella. The vineyard is in the village of Castiglione Falletto. There is traditional style floating of the cap fermentation for 20 to 25 days. The wine is matured in Slavonian oak barrels of medium size for about 38 months. The wine is bottles four years following the vintage.
Barolo 1983 Cantine di Marchesi di Barolo 100% Nebbiolo the grapes came from different vineyards. The soil is of medium consistency with a substantial amount of quartze sand. Soft pressing of the hand harvested grapes and fermentation takes place in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. Skin maceration is for 8 days and the wine is racked when the fermentation has been completed. This is for the current release. For the 1983 the skin contact would have been between 25 and 30 days. The wine is aged for the most part in Slavonian oak casks of 30-120 hectoliters for about two years. It is kept in bottle for another 12 months before it is released.
Both 1983 and 1993 were not considered to be great vintages. These two wines however were showing very well and even the1983 had a few years left. They both had classic Nebbiolo aromas and flavors.