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Thread: Prado Enea, Beaucastel, Kenwood, Dow......

  1. #1
    Bill S. Guest

    Default Prado Enea, Beaucastel, Kenwood, Dow......

    Got together with a small group of friends that meets 5 times a year
    to create excuses to haul out our most interesting wines. This weekend
    was my turn to come up with a dinner and solicit wines from everyone.
    Took a day and a half of cooking and prep for me to do it all on my
    own, and it reminded me (and my aching back) why I only do this once
    in awhile!

    I created a menu and the assigned each member a course to match a wine
    with. They nominated 2 or 3 wines and I made the final decision on
    which one they should bring. That way they get to share in the
    thought process of doing the wine matching but still get a surprise
    when they see the menu and the wines the others have selected. In
    this case we tasted the first few blind at first just to exercise out
    palates and memories.

    1989 Henriot Brut this was surprisingly fresh and young in the nose,
    the complexity only showing once you tasted the wine. The wine has
    considerable acidity and would work well with many different foods,
    though in this case I served it on its own as there was more than
    enough food to come.

    First course salmon and asparagus en croute a filet of salmon
    topped with a mixture of crme fraiche, dill and the finely sliced
    asparagus tops, then a layer of asparagus stalks (uncooked) on top of
    that, all done in puff pastry. Cooked in a very hot oven, the fish is
    completely cooked while the asparagus remains al dente. I served this
    with a finely sliced fennel salad with citrus dressing, orange and
    lemon rind and pine nuts. Choices of wine offered to me included a
    Chablis, another Chard and the following:

    1999 Dom. Weinbach Riesling Schlossberg this wine wasnt showing as
    well as it has with other bottles. Rather dark in colour, very dry,
    and a slight bitterness at the end I havent experienced last time I
    tasted it. Cest la vie. Mated fairly well with the salmon and would
    probably have worked even better if it had been a better bottle with
    more fruit.

    The next course was a mushroom soup made with cepes and finished with
    chanterelles. Again, suggestions ranged through the conventional
    matches that were sure to work, like red Burgundy, but I selected an
    outside choice:

    1996 Muga Prado Enea Rioja Gran Reserva colour a little darker than
    Id expected and there was lots of oak/vanilla in the nose as well as
    dark fruit. It has excellent flavour intensity, soft tannin and a good
    finish. Went well with the soup. I later thought that had I been on
    the other end of the selection process and was offered this course to
    match, a really good Madeira would be most interesting.

    Next course was pork tenderloin with rosemary and pears, spiced with
    fresh ginger and cooked with bacon. I served it with sliced endives
    sauted with golden raisins, the sweetness working well against the
    pear in the main dish.

    2001 Ch. de Beaucastel now you may be wondering where my head was at
    choosing this wine. Traditionally Beaucastel has always been blended
    with a high Mourvedre component and it has needed about a decade to
    sort out and hit drinking plateau. I had tasted this wine before,
    however, and been amazed at how forward it was and with so little
    tannin. Checked the usual reviewers and they were calling this a long
    term wine. This bottle was exactly how I remember the last one. Dark
    quite lovely colour, still some purple at the edges but a deep red in
    the body. Nose absolutely clear of any Bret, a classic Rhone
    garrigue, leather and a hint of mushrooms. Ripe, forward and showing
    amazingly soft tannins, this drinks so well now that I have a problem
    agreeing with Parker, who said it would go into the usual closed dumb
    phase for 7-8 years when he reviewed it in 2004 (it hasnt), and with
    Perrin himself who allowed as how this was similar to the 1990. This
    is a great wine for those who are not into delayed gratification, but
    it remains to be seen if it is also a good one for those of us that
    prefer the wines well cellared and mature.

    The main course was a North African preparation of lamb, red peppers,
    preserved lemons, black olives, orange peel, garlic and a huge range
    of spices (10 different ones) cooked a day ahead and then served the
    next day topped with fresh cilantro and toasted almonds. Ive found
    some great matches with this sort of food and red wines. Served with
    cous cous (why? Just becous!) and minted baby peas with lettuce.

    1997 Rodney Strong Reserve Cabernet big nose on this one, sweet
    entry, soft and smooth, but ultimately lacking in brightness and
    length. My least favourite of the three.

    1997 Kenwood Artists Label Cabernet darker wine with a very
    interesting nose that you wanted to tarry over before tasting the wine
    more depth, albeit a bit heavier. More tannin on palate, but smooth
    and showing the beginning of complexity, this drinks well now but if I
    had it in my cellar Id leave it a few years yet.

    1986 Kenwood Jack London Vineyard Cabernet this wine must have been
    a brute when young, rivalling the 1975 Bordeaux for tannin levels, but
    it has finally come around, though it still shows higher levels of
    tannin than the 1997 did. Darkest most tannic wine of the three, but
    also most complex, and a nice smoothness through the mid-palate. This
    has turned out well and there is certainly no rush to drink it.

    Finally, although I am not a dessert type, I opted to do my sort of
    dessert for this event to give one participant the chance to match
    wines with it. It was a duo of Stilton walnut tart (not sweet) and a
    pear half stuffed with Stilton butter. The latter is made simply by
    creaming together equal amounts of Stilton and butter, adding some
    Cognac, stuffing the pear halves and then grinding some coarse black
    pepper on top. Id normally top that with a couple of walnut or pecan
    halves, but thought that would be redundant given the tart. Offered a
    challenge of matching this, the possible ranges of wines go from sweet
    white through dry red to what my friend finally chose, a sweet red.

    1977 Dows Port this wine was right up there with some of the best
    Ports Ive tasted there were no flaws at all and youd be very hard
    pressed if asked to point out any aspect that you like changed. It is
    still obviously young, but was neither too sweet as many vintages of,
    for example, Grahams are, nor too spirity, a characteristic that I can
    endure but prefer not to. My call on this one is that it is probably
    just entering the drinkable stage (shame on anyone that drank all
    theirs ten years ago you know who you are!) and should stay there
    for a very long time. How nice to take an early look at this wine,
    and how unfortunate that I didnt buy far more of it when I could,
    especially at the prices back then!

    So thats it, all over but the washing of (many) glasses and the slow
    recovery of my aching back!

  2. #2
    John T Guest

    Default Re: Prado Enea, Beaucastel, Kenwood, Dow......

    1977 Dows Port this wine was right up there with some of the best
    Ports Ive tasted there were no flaws at all and youd be very hard
    pressed if asked to point out any aspect that you like change

    Thanks for the notes Bill

    77 Ports are up there with the best, I have none, but a friend has. ( memo,
    must stay on his good side)


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