I was so impressed with the party celebrating The Wine Raconteur Jr. turning forty, that I felt that one article would not do the evening justice. While the ambience of the theme was working, their home was not filled with cigarette and cigar smoke that was so natural back in the Sixties. While we tried to recreate the era with our clothes, I even found my Allen Edmond Wing Tip Brogues to lend authenticity, though I went with navy blue, as I figured that if there would be any one color it would have been gray flannel, but not in August.
I went to my cellar to see if I could find something suitable for the party. Alas I only had one bottle left and while it would have been fitting for the occasion, it was not one that I wanted to enjoy in a big party. I have one bottle left of Chateau Mouton-Rothschild 1964, a legendary wine from Pauillac. I shall leave it resting for another event; it was even older than the Thunderbird parked in the driveway.
My Bride has been an avid Chardonnay drinker and she doesn’t seem to veer from it that often, so I went and got something for her that she would not normally have. I grabbed a bottle of Puma Road Reserve Chardonnay 2012 that we had received from our wine club A Taste of Monterey. One of the few times where the term Reserve actually means something, because this wine was all from a single vineyard Vigna Monte Nero Ranch in the Santa Lucia Highlands AVA and this designation is becoming more dear to me after each bottle that I have opened. The Franscioni family started making wine in 2003 under the RF Wines label, but now they have the present name. There were only one-hundred-twenty-two cases of this wine produced and the hand harvested fruit was aged for ten months in 40% French Oak and 60% neutrals. The aging potential for this wine was five to six years, but when I wrote about getting this wine back in June, I jokingly said that it probably wouldn’t last a year, and I was right, only three months; I guess that I am like a kid sometimes.
The other wine that I brought was definitely keeping to the theme of the party, as it was Chianti, but not one of those wicker wrapped fiascha bottles, where the bottle cost more to produce than the wine. This was a wine that I first had at Il Tinello Ristorante in Midtown Manhattan and I went and bought some for myself after that great dinner, and by the way the restaurant is still going strong, black tie waiters and all. I opened the bottle of Gabbiano Chianti Classico DOCG 1993 and the cork was still firm and even gave me a big of a battle as I guess it didn’t want to be opened. Castello di Gabbiano has been making wine for around three hundred years and they have found documents showing that wine was a principal product on the grounds since at least 1464. This bottle of pure Sangiovese grapes from one of the famed delineated areas in Tuscany was unbelievable. It was not over the hill, but it was the most subtle and well rounded Chianti that I have ever had, in fact, in a blind tasting I would never have opined that it was Sangiovese, let alone Chianti. When I gave the guest of honor a glass of it, he could not place the wine, and was amazed that it was Chianti as well. I left him the balance of the bottle to enjoy at his leisure.
As great as the party was, I had to leave early, as my back was in agony and the wine-medicine was not helping, in fact the next day I did nothing at all. I have no idea what I did, but I must have done something. As we were making our good-byes to everyone, just like with my family, it takes at least an extra half hour or more, we were heading to the door. Our hosts mentioned that we had to take some thank you gifts from them for the guests, and it continued the theme of the party. The gift bags had a mini-bottle of liquor (one had vodka and one had gin), a box of bubble gum cigarettes (though I was told that unlike the old days, there was no powdered sugar between the wrapper and the gum, that one could pretend to blow smoke with) and a commemorative box of matches. They are just a classy couple and I am so glad that we were invited.