On Saturday the 27th of December my good friend from high school, Mike McCauley, and his wife Lindsay hosted a wine and cheese party at their house. I was surrounded by career chefs. There were nine of us all together. Mike runs the culinary program at Sur La Table in Columbus. Brad, accompanied by his wife Jenny, was the Sous Chef at M, Cameron Mitchell’s top restaurant. He now sells culinary equipment. Teewanger, accompanied by his girlfriend or maybe wife, works a kitchen somewhere. Another friend of Mike’s, also accompanied by his wife, is the Executive Chef at Jefferson Country Club. His name always escapes me.
Mike and Lindsay prepared some delicious Bruschetta and put together quite an assortment of cheeses – cranberry Stilton, goat cheese, brie, Jarlsberg, cheddar and parmesan reggiano.
The night was a lot of fun and we drank a lot of wine. France, Italy, Argentina, Chile and California were all represented. Naturally I went French, bringing a $13 dollar bottle of Côtes du Ventoux that faired alright but I wasn’t too impressed. The bottle was recommended by the manager at the Wine Vault. It makes me wonder how many sub $15 dollar bottles of French wine can be found in Columbus. My favorite two bottles were the Layer Cake Malbec and the Artezin Zinfandel. Every bottle was under $25.
The night was capped off with a bottle of Domaine Chandon Pinot Meunier, which clearly stole the show. I’m omitting the bottle from the list below because I featured the bottle in my previous blog. I must say I enjoyed the bottle even more, when paired up against the below bottles. The complexity and terroirism on the nose was quite compelling.
2006 Terres de Truffes, Terraventoux Rhone Valley Vineyards
Blend: 50% syrah, 50% grenache
Appellation: Côtes du Ventoux, Valle du Rhone
Tasting Notes: Leather and pepper aromas and flavors of tobacco, strawberry and raspberry. 13.5% vol.
Wine Spectator 88 Rating: This has nice polish, with fleshy cherry and plum fruit backed by a layer of tobacco and mineral. The tasty finish fleshes out.
2007 Layer Cake Malbec
Appellation: Mendoza Valley, Argentina
Tasting Notes: Earth, mushroom and vegetable aromas. Medium tannins, balanced acidity and full-bodied with flavors of plum, blackberry, black cherry and blueberry. 13.9% vol.
2007 Gaetano D’Aquino Sangiovese
Appellation: Sangiovese di Toscana
Tasting Notes: Leather and vanilla aromas. Cherry, leather and wood flavors with pronounced tannins. 12.5% vol.
2006 Artezin Zinfandel
Appellation: Mendocino, California
Tasting Notes: Leather and tobacco aromas. Dark chocolate and black fruit flavors. 14.5% vol.
Wine Spectator 90 Rating: A real spice bomb, loaded with black cherry and caramel notes and jammy, appealingly complex huckleberry, toasty licorice and loamy sage flavors.
2005 Tres Picos Garnacha, Borsao Bodegas
Appellation: Campo de Borja, Chile
Tasting Notes: Wood, leather, subtle sulfur and smoke aromas. A tannic palate with dark chocolate, smoke, plums and citric peel flavors.
Wine Spectator 90 Rating: Vivid and concentrated, yet still focused and nimble, this red delivers plenty of black cherry and raspberry flavors, framed by toasty, smoky oak. The tannins and acidity are both gentle, but there’s enough to keep this balanced and lively.