Lobsters are $4/lb at Stews, so Wednesday Betsy decided to make
lobster rolls and a tomato/yogurt gazpacho with basil and pecorino for
our riverfront picnic. When the weather stayed drizzly and concert
was moved indoors, she added a spinach/bacon salad, rain actually
stopped and we ate on patio. It was Bastille Day so I stuck with
French even if we weren't playing petanque, opening the NV Dumont
Champagne Brut. Betsy really liked, but I found it a tad plodding-
certainly correct, with apple/citrus fruit, bread roll nose, ok
length. B-

Thursday we hosted some friends who have been through a traumatic
roller coaster 10 days with their teenage son, they came back from
upstate after dropping him at school. We had the rest of the gazpacho
for a first course, with the 2008 Brun/Terres Dorees Beaujolais
Blanc. This seemed a little flat and thin at first pour, and I
worried the synthetic cork had claimed a victim. But it quickly perked
up and showed as classic Brun blanc- white fruits and citrus, a bit
floral, some almost Chablis-like mineral on finish. Not flat or thin
at all! B+

Main course was yakitori chicken, with rice/furikake and chard.
Bordeaux wouldn't have been my first choice, but during their crisis
they had to cancel their 20th anniversary plans, so we toasted them
with the 1990 Ch. Meyney (St. Estephe). I've always liked this wine,
but thought it a step (or two) behind the 89 and 86, and probably the
88/85/82 for that matter. But this bottle showed better than I
remembered, fresher and less roasted.. Solid cassis fruit, good
acidity for a '90, some cigarbox and leather. Good length, very solid
if not so exciting mature claret. B+

Ron had brought along the 2005 Ridge Zinfandel (Paso Robles). This
spoke more of Zin to me than Ridge, big red berry fruit, a dirt and
bramble note. Juicy, soft, sweet, full. Quite tasty if not complex. B

Dave joined us and gave me an excuse to add one more bottle, the 2008
Maipe Malbec. This is on the sweet and juicy side of the Malbec style
continuum, a soft and easy going wine with blackberry fruit, soft
tannins, soft acids, soft interest. C+/B-

Grade disclaimer: I'm a very easy grader, basically A is an excellent
wine, B a good wine, C mediocre. Anything below C means I wouldn't
drink at a party where it was only choice. Furthermore, I offer no
promises of objectivity, accuracy, and certainly not of consistency.**