Dinner 3 > Spanish Reds – Wine Redux

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O’la! Dinner 3 came and went, but not before 18 gringos and gringas descended upon Dave and Lorea’s beautiful home to sample the some of the best (and some only decidedly decent) of what Spanish growers have to give us using red grapes. We had a fine turnout of east coasters, including our host Dave Morgan, Gary Savoy, Nick Bumstead, Jason Krebs, Jim Meskauskas, Kevin Webb, Stephanie Vautravers, Adrienne Skinner, John Piccone, Paul Debraccio, Michael Hirshoren, Mark Westlake, and myself. Ad:tech was in town as well, so we got ‘lucky’ and had some serious West coast presence in form of Steven Comfort, Norm Page, Scot McLernon, and Rich Johnson. And from even further west (although some might arguably say far east), “TK” Tanemura came in from Japan.

Now, although we have made our best attempts to put together tasting notes from our previous two events (dinner 1, dinner 2), we were very fortunate to have the ultimate wine scribe, Steven Comfort, attend this event, and Robert Parker might call his note taking and posting efforts from the evening “a prodigious effort, possibly the best of the vintage.” Were you too inebriated to remember your Priorat from your Rioja? Well, look no further than Steve’s notes to understand what you were drinking, why you were drinking it, how much you spent (and how much your peers spent…or did not), and what unofficial ratings were bestowed upon your wines. The average cost-per-bottle of the evening (with 21 bottles consumed) was $49 with a range from $11 – $120…you know who you are and what you brought 😉 Truly, Comfort’s notes are not to be missed.

Nick wound up as the winner of the evening for best in show, followed by Stephanie. Coincidentally, they both brought R. Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia Gran Reserva Rioja, albeit from different years (Nick a 1985, Stephanie a 1987). Both were also decanted (Nick’s at his wine shop, Chambers Street Wines, Stephanie’s in a decanter at the house), and both have a style not unlike the great Grand Cru Burgundies (see Comfort’s notes for further details), so I can’t help but wonder if a) some of the other wines in our group would not have shown better with some decanting of their own, and b) we are so accustomed to French wines that they steer our palates towards their essence. But these questions are part of what these dinners are all about; tasting some of the world’s great wines from various regions with great people and enough sober notes taken during the evening to reflect back on the ones you want again.

Our next and last event of 2006 will take place in exactly one month’s time on December 14th at Paul Debraccio’s home. The theme is world-class Barolos, and we’re in for a treat this evening, for the west coast wine group is also having their December event on the same night, so we’ll have a simulcast broadband-enabled two-way messaging toast. The first taker for 2007 looks to be Adrienne in late Jan/early-Feb. Details will follow for that event as well.

A couple of quick site updates: as of this evening, the wines page will include links to Wine-Searcher for all the wines we’ve had from the last 3 events.

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