Another year has gone by, and with it, we each get a little older. I still can’t believe that a person born in 1991 can legally purchase alcohol…
Anyways, we at Midtown celebrate each new year with our annual wine dinner, and 2012 may have been the biggest yet. We had more than 25 people, including our full staff and some close friends, and of course we had some of the best wine we’ll drink all year. Just like last year, The Clay Pit in Murfreesboro catered our party, providing us with another night of absolutely delectable authentic Indian cuisine.
This year we held the party in the rooftop ballroom at The Days Inn by LP Field, offering a stunning panoramic view of the stadium and downtown Nashville skyline. As tradition dictates, we got things going with some delicious bubbly, whites and rosés to go with our appetizers of assorted cheeses, crackers and naan (a handmade, oven-baked flatbread with garlic and spices).
– Heidsieck Monopole Blue Top Brut Champagne
– Soter Vineyards Sparkling Pinot Noir Rosé 2006 (93 RP)
– Veuve Clicquot Rosé Champagne 2004 (93 WS)
– DuMol Russian River Valley Chardonnay 2007 (90-93 RP)
– Louis Latour Puligny Montrachet 2008
– Meyer-Fonne Pinot Gris 2006
– Trimbach Riesling “Cuveé Frederic Emile” 2001 (90 WS)
– St. Urbans-hof Riesling Laurentiuslay 2005 (93 RP)
– Poma Aurea Spanish Sparkling Cider
– Chateau de Selle Domaines Ott Rosé 2010 (90 WE)
– Contelucio Pinot Grigio Ramato 2009
Each year we always pull a bottle of the St. Urbans-hof — it’s a store favorite and we love to see how it is evolving over time. This year, it had less of the classical petrol notes you find in a fine Riesling and had much more honeysuckle. The DuMol is more than just a Chardonnay — it’s an entire meal. You can taste the 15 months the wine spent in 40% new French Oak, and it’s loaded with vanilla créme brulée. A friend of Midtown brought the Contelucio with him, and upon pouring it, we thought it had gone bad as it poured a color closer to a tawny port than a Pinot Grigio. However, that’s exactly how it’s supposed to look. “Ramato” refers to the old school Friulian style of winemaking where the grapes are fermented on the skins, resulting in the coppery color. It blew us away! And sadly, the only bad wine of the night was one we all always love — Latour Puligny Montrachet. Ain’t nothing you can do about a corked wine…
From here, we shifted into the red wines as we began to munch on spicy Vegetable Pakora (assorted vegetables dipped in graham flour batter and deep fried) and Tandoori Chicken. We tried to maintain some semblance of professionalism, tasting the lighter and older vintage wines first.
– Brolio Chianti Classico 1980
– Chateau Gloria Bordeaux St. Julien 1981
– Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 1995 (93 RP)
– Coppo Pomorosso Barbera d’Asti 1997 (90 RP)
– Chateau Souverain Alexander Valley Merlot 1999 (92 WS)
– Talley Arroyo Grande Valley Pinot Noir 2004
– Bouchard Pere et Fils Beaune du Chateau Bourgogne Premier Cru 2006 (90 WE)
– Domaine Lecheneaut Chambolle-Musigny Bourgogne Premier Cru 2007
I’ll be honest — most of us didn’t expect much from the Brolio or the Gloria. Though certainly very respectable, neither of these bottlings come from absolute powerhouse producers or particularly good vintages. But on this night, we were taught the very important lesson of always tempering your expectations when it comes to opening a bottle of wine as both bottles drank impressively well!
The Brolio still had life in it, showing tart black cherry notes to go with classical sangiovese flavors of leather and tobacco. Most surprisingly, the bottle continued to taste good over the course of an hour whereas most wines this old would fade very quickly, if they even tasted good at all.
Then came the Gloria, and our prospects were grim as the cork disintegrated and collapsed into the wine as I attempted to open it. Thanks to some quick thinking on the part of one of my colleagues, we quickly poured the wine through a coffee filter and were able to salvage it. Like the Brolio, this wine impressed us quite a bit. A lot of the primary fruit had faded, but loads of cedar and spice were prevalent on the palate. It did, however, fade very quickly. After 30 minutes open, it tasted its age while the Chianti continued its life a while longer.
From here, it was time for the rockstars of the night — big, bold and rich reds.
– Robert Foley Claret 2004 (95 RP)
– Muga “Prado Enea” Rioja Gran Reserva 2004 (94 RP/WE)
– Sella & Mosca “Tanca Farra” Alghero 2004 (91 WE)
— Morgenster Lourens Rivery Valley Stellenbosch 2005 (92 RP)
– Whistling Eagle “Eagles Blood” Shiraz 2005 (95 WS)
– Durigutti “Familia” Malbec 2005 (91 WS)
– Switchback Ridge Peterson Family Vineyard Petite Sirah 2005 (95 RP)
– Tenuta Sette Ponti Toscana “Oreno” 2007 (96 WE, 95 RP)
– Cuvelier de Los Andes 2008
– M. Chapoutier Bila-Haut “Occultum Lapidem” 2008 (92 RP)
– Montes “Purple Angle” Carmenere 2008 (91 WE)
– Eberle Steinbeck Vineyard Syrah 2009
– Eugenio Bocchino “Roccabella” Nebbiolo Langhe 2009
Ah, where to begin? Well upon arrival at the party, I immediately decanted the Oreno, Purple Angel, Switch Back Ridge and Foley Claret. We gave them a good 2-3 hours decant time, and while they definitely benefited from it, they would have been even better the following morning. The Foley and Purple Angel may have been the consensus favorites, both being near black in color and displaying layer after layer after layer of flavors.
And what’s a party without dessert and some accompanying wine? We munched on Gulab Jasmun (juicy fried cheese balls dipped in honey syrup) and sipped on Quady Essensia Dessert Wine and Klein Constantia Vin de Constance Dessert Wine 2006 (95 WS/RP).
We even had a little high gravity beer appearance, in the form of the coveted Dogfish Head Bitches’ Brew, brought by one of our former employees (many thanks to Matty).
All in all, it made for one of the more memorable nights in Midtown party history. And on a final note, let us say that more than 25 of us consumed these wines over the course of more than six hours, and we also went through two 36-bottle cases of water.