Last night a few of us carpooled to New Canaan for a SOBER tasting. Our newest member John hosted, and did a fabulous job. We were greeted with speck,proscuitto, salomon canapes and more. Greeting wines were a couple of Champagnes:

2002 Philipponnat “Clos des Goisses” Brut
This was surprisingly advanced, and we debated if representative bottle (and p’ox in Champagne?). Full, toasty, with some oxidative notes and very round. I usually love CdG but not this bottle. B-

2006 Jose Dhondt “Mes Vieilles Vignes” Blanc de Blancs
No much experience with this producer, but I need to get more- this was very good! Crisp, brisk, full, and lively. A-

A Blind white
We had no clue to origin or grapes (turns out a blend, mostly varieties I’m not familiar with, except a little Vermentino). My guess was Slovenia/Brda, as I thought maybe it was a partial skin contact wine. Herby, piney, some mineral. Nose seemed to suggest age while palate didn’t. Interestingwine, but not a buy for me at a $80-100 price tag per 750 ml (this came from a mag). 2010 Abbatucci “General de la Revolution” Blanc B

Blind red
Offered as the counterpart to the white, I got Corsica based on some comments by John, not by tasting. A bit funky (John has originally wondered if corked). Cranberries, pine, garrigue. Again, interesting till I heard similarpricetag. 2010 Abbatucci “ Ministre Imperial” B/B+

First Blind Red Flight (with mushroom/truffle ravioli)
This took us a while to get. #1 and #2 were funky and floral at first, withripe black cherry- I wondered if could be CaliPN a la Rhys/Arcadian/ Littorai, which got a laugh from host. Oops.

Wine #1-slightly lifted, flowers and cherry cough drop, settles down with some air, in the end I quite like. B+/B. 2006 Burlotto “Monvigliero” Barolo

Wine #2- initially quite weird aromatically (someone suggested aftershave)-herby and spice, a little VA, somewhat tight with air, maybe potential butmy least favorite of flight. B. 2004 Burlotto “Monvigliero” Barolo

Wine #3- my favorite, and most clearly Nebbiolo of bunch, crunchy red fruits, tar, smooth tannins and apparent but easy acids. A- 2001 Burlotto “Monvigliero” Barolo

A non-blind addendum. The 2003 Burlotto “Monvigliero” Barolo is certainly a rounder/riper version, but it is elegant despite the fat, easygoing tannins, maybe my favorite 03 Piedmont to date. B+

Second Blind Red Flight
I thought certainly #2 was California Cabernet, someone beat me to Cali guess so I went with Medoc, these were almost totally primary. A good argumentfor letting these sleep.

Wine #1- the only one that showed Bordeauxy, some wood and tannin, but expressive cassis fruit and leather. B+ 2000 Leoville Barton

Wine#2- Oak and coconut over black fruits, big, coarse, I’m disappointed when revealed, B-. 2000 Pichon Baron.

Wine#3- Tannic, stern, oak and a green note over monolithic fruit. B- 2000 Pontet-Canet

Non--blind Faro flight
One guest is an importer of the Burlotto and an owner of this estate. Very fun to try, as I’ve heard a lot of recent chatter re the tiny Faro appellation but never tried one.

2010 Casematte Quattroenne
Quite sweet, red fruit, herb/underbrush. Interesting, and I admire the owners’ dedication to doing everything as traditionally as possible; however I agreed with Mark who made the point maybe earlier picking might be in order, as this seemed to have RS and needed more verve. B-

2009 Casematte Quattroenne
Still some noticable sweetness, but less, reminds me more of CdP than say Etna (the only other Nerello-based wine I know). B

Third Blind Red Flight (with a knockout osso buco with gremalata and polenta)
I think someone got Piedmont rather early.

Wine #1- red fruits, leather, a little vanilla, kind of a midmodern style. B. 1996 Azelia “Bricco Fiasco” Barolo

Wine#2 = glossy, smooth oak over red fruits, someone calls it as mid-90s Marc de Grazia (both it and Azelia are). B-/C+ 1996 Parusso “Bussia Vigna Rocche” Barolo

Wine#3- quite complex compared to it’s flightmates, mature but with a bitof tannin remaining, black cherry, orange rind, tar, I eventually guess 1985 for vintage, never had an ‘86 before. A- 1986 Giacosa “Rocche di Castiglione Falletto” Barolo

Fourth Blind Flight
Wine #1- favorite of flight- ripe and modern, but structure underneath, notquite ready. B+ 1998 Angelus

Wine#2- ripe, black plum, someone got RB quickly, quite modern, showed a more Perse-y than a bottle Mark blinded us with last year, B/B+ 1998 Pavie

Wine#3- round/soft, plummy fruit, short, I didn’t recognize it though I had recently, but still don’t think much of this! C+/B- 2000 Gruaud Larose

Two pies, which the dessert eaters loved, I was content with the dessert wines, the 1988 Climens. Great acids, vibrant, nice melange of flavors: pineapple, candied orange, apricot. A/A-

Fun night. Special thanks for Mike for driving (and not pretending he was on the Nurburg Ring).

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 ata
party where it was only choice. Furthermore, I offer no promises of
objectivity, accuracy, and certainly not of consistency.