Mark hosted SOBER last night, and did a brilliant job. Fun wines,
great food, great company.

As we arrived we were greeted by the 1996 Pol Roger "Cuvee Winston
Churchill" Champagne. This seemed to create divided opinions, I was on
the side that liked. High acidity, but I found lively rather than
sharp. Toast, walnuts, mineral, big and long. B+/A-

Craig had brought along a blind wine that we sampled. Soft, matured
tannins, red fruit with earth and leather. Nice, clearly Bordeaux, a
decent wine that's a bit tired. Guesses of midtier 1964 or 1967. Turns
out it was the 1970 Trotanoy from mag, but from slightly suspect
storage. Those that know the wine said definitely not what it should
be. B-

There was a nice assortment of cheeses, pate, and pheasant terrine.
With the Champagne and the white flight, also a great dish of whiskey-
cured salmon on flatbread.

First blind Flight
Wine # 1: I'm thinking Sancerre, but when John says Graves makes
perfect sense. High toned green fruit, hint of grass, some coconut
oil. Develops and I like it more and more. Once revealed, some with
experience felt it should have been more backward, but in any case I
like this a lot. 2001 Domaine De Chevalier blanc. A-

Wine #2: A guess of Viognier, but I think too subdued. Couple of
people are firm with white Burgundy, sounds right, though for one
second I think pf a Jura Chardonnay. But it's bigger, and a bit
tropical (2003 Burg?), big, fairly soft. 2000 Louis Jadot Chevalier
Montrachet Les Demoiselles B

Wine #3: Some petrol makes the Riesling pretty clear. Hint of
sweetness, fairly soft, rich, I make my guess Boxler. Nope. We're
pretty surprised at the 2000 Trimbach Clos St. Hune. B
(I did revisit later, more minerally and typical, though not the laser
like intensity I expected from CSH, but now a B+ )

With the reds came beautiful short ribs and mashed potatoes (or as
John said butter with a little potato flavor)

First Red Flight
Wine #4 - initial guesses are Cal Cab, but when we find out Bordeaux
(flightmate was guessed first) we start looking for fairly extracted
styles. Cassis, cocoa, black plum. I liked this better than I would
have predicted, Mark says by far his favorite of the Perse era. 1998
Chateau Pavie B+

Wine #5 - dark fruit accented with eucalyptus and herb that elicts
Mayacamas guesses, but once it's revealed as Right Bank I think
someone gets early. Lovely, long, interesting. 1998 Chateau Figeac A-

Second Red Flight
Wine #6 - at first pour I find this dreadful- VA, soy, maderization,
but with some time it perks back up- must be Nebbiolo. With time red
fruit, tar, and still a little soil. Nice rather mature Barolo, but
I've had a much better bottle from Mark's stash before. 1978
Valentino Barolo B

Wine #7 - also a bit lifted, brown sugar and warm red fruits. Big,
others like a lot, but I'm just not an Amarone guy. 1976 Bertani
Amarone B-

Third Red Flight
Wine #8 Some thought this DOA, I thought advanced but still with some
interest. Sweet to candied red fruit, forest floor, a bit clipped.
John said good bottles of this can still be interesting. I liked more
than others. 1969 Drouhin Charmes Chambertin B-

Wine #9 Red cherry fruit, earth, leaves, black tea. Vibrant and
sweet. Someone pins as California Pinot, I venture early (late 80s?)
Williams Selyem, nope then we get Swan. Apparently first vintage. 1973
Joseph Swan Pinot Noir A-

Wine #10 Clear edges show age, advanced, sweet cherry, I come around
to liking. Mark gives clue of "lieu dit only bottled by this house one
year" and Craig gets Clos des Reas (though not negociant). 1955
Bouchard "Clos Des Reas " Vosne Romanee B

Port Flight
Wine #11 Spice, sweet, brawny. John gets house quickly. 1995 Taylor
Quinta Do Vargellas Velhas Vinhos B+

Wine #12 Fuller, showing a bit of heat, though that's probably due to
using large stems, big and long, could age forever. 1994 Taylor A-

Great time was had by all, and we didn't even finish late.

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.*