Former AFWers Salil and I had some wine to trade,we made a plan to meet so I decided to invite some folks over and make a dinner of it. I had taken Betsy to airport at 4:30 AM Sunday, and I should have had most of day to prepare, but work and weather conspired against me. With some glitches, goofs, and timing errors I eventually served most of the planned courses (anyone need arugula, rillettes, or white anchovies?).

Mains were pintade (guinea fowl) legs in a leek/morel sauce, and some rain-grilled Bulgogian sirloin. There was also a maderia/mushroom soup, rice andcauliflower. Cheeses included a Cowgirl "Red Hawk", a local "Hudson Red", Sottocenere, and a Rogue blue.

The crowd was considerably less geeky than initial invite list, but drank enthusiastically and we managed to open plenty of bottles, though not necessarily giving scholarly attention.


2001 Leitz Rudesheimer Klosterlay QbA
Nice, fully developed, good acids, balanced sweetness. In a good place B

2008 Prager ďAchleitenĒ Smaragd Riesling
Young, vigorous, pineapple and peach with just a hint of petrol. With time more stony. Very good. B+

2001 Alfred Merkelbach "Urziger Wurzgarten" Riesling Auslese #20
On drier side of Auslese (at least by current standards). Nice presence, good length, quite enjoyable and very 2001. B+/A-

(this was an addition when forecast changed menu from mostly a mixed grill to mostly pintade)

1972 J. Drouhin Pommard-Epenots 1er
Iím not sure where I got this, no memory of acquisition. Showing itís age, but not decrepit- sweet strawberries and cherry, earth, a pleasant funk, I enjoyed. B/B+

1993 Prince Florent de Merode Corton-Clos-du-Roi GC
A lot of favorable comments around the table, I was probably a bit biased by my opinion of producer but as I retasted I decided for Florent de Merode this ainít bad. Good acids, surprising sweet fruit, a little hint of mushrooms and earth. This was a part of a mixed lot where we wanted the other wines, so Iím ok with an ok wine. B/B-

1964 Ch. Beychevelle (from 375 ml)
I pretty much regard anything over 20-25 years from a half as a total crapshoot. But sometimes you roll 7s. Cigarbox and lead pencil over surprisinglyfresh fruit, typical Beychevelle elegance, this is pretty not powerful. B+/A-

1978 Domaine de Chevalier
Label from hell (it had been laminated, and then turned black and flakey under laminate-Craig wonders if underwater at some point, but to me it seems a sound wine). Tobacco, cedar, nice length.B+

1978 Ch. Bouscaut
Perfectly acceptable mature claret, apparently popular with the non-geeks, I just thought it seemed a little simple and tired next to the DDC in the '78 Graves sweepstakes. B-

1978 Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon
I had opened a mag of this at my 50th about 18 months ago and thought quiteyoung. This is unsurprisingly a bit more towards end of life in 750, but donít call the funeral director yet, I like this and would happily drink in a few years (though no reason to hold). Cedary, red fruit, herb, good length, I like this a lot. B+

1974 Clos du Val Cabernet Sauvignon
Iíve always liked this wine, but the mint and methol notes on this bottlewere strong enough to detract a bit, giving the Mondavi the edge, B/B-

1996 Penfolds Bin 389
Sure, itís ripe and Oz-zy, but thereís structure and a bit of complexity (lots of black pepper). Solid wine for itís then under $20 tag, happy to have held (but I donít pay for storage). B+/B

1998 Penfolds Bin 389
This is pushing towards jammy, but still within my pleasure zone. B

2001 Ogier La Rosine (Collines Rhodaniennes)
Another $13 bottle that is fine to cellar if you ainít paying. Darker fruits and a bit of smoked meat. Not complex, but fine for its level. B

1989 Foreau/Domaine du Clos Naudin Vouvray Moelleux Reserve
First from this lot, but another great bottle of this, my WOTN. Orange marmalade meets mango chutney, with apricot and honey to round out picture. Nice balance of acidity and considerable sweetness. A-

I am always happier hosting if (a) Betsy is there or (b) weather allows us to eat and cook outside (both is even better), but fun night. I was aiming for interesting but not trophy wines, despite iffy formats, labels, etc there was nothing I wouldnít drink, even if few stars,

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.