The format for a meeting of my tasting group is pretty standardized: first we sit down with a glass of 'warm-up' wine to set the mood and get the palate ready while we let the main panel of wines air out in their decanters, then we move to the dining room to dissect a theme-based panel of wines, blinded, using a rank order method to crown a 'winner'. Each taster gets a clean glass for each wine to be tasted, sheets for taking notes, and a spread of complementary food is served to enjoy with the wine.
Usually the warm-up wine is a cheap version of the main event wine, but tonight Lloyd decided to warm up the palate with two not-so-cheap Burgundies, wines worthy of their own write ups.
I started with the white, a 2001 A et P de Villaine "Les Clous" from one of my favourite producers. Ripe green apples and a nutty almond extract on the nose, creamy, yeasty, and mushroom notes as well. While the nose hinted at age the palate was crisp, stern, and minerally, with a green earthiness - surprisingly fresh at 7 years of age, I loved this cuvee once again, but the buttery chardonnay crowd disagreed with me...
With the crowd surging towards the Hermitages I nearly forgot to try the red warm-up, a 2003 Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair Vosne Romanee 'La Colombiere'. After 30+ mins in the decanter it was spicy Dr. Pepper, wet ashes, candied raspberry, damp wood and old leather and old leather on the nose, very well put together. Velvety ripe fruit and very minerally on the palate, a very nice wine.
Seriously, two great Burgundies before a Northern Rhone extravaganza? Its gonna be a good night...