Surprising end to the day yesterday as friends called with an impromptu dinner invitation. They had been busy all day slow cooking a beef brisket. We accepted on the spot.
I pulled a bottle from the cellar and when I arrived there were two more sitting there waiting.
The first wine was a 1997 Domaine Zind Humbrecht Rotenberg Pinot Gris. Deep honey colored, it certainly looked aged, but there were flowers and apricots in the nose. Very full bodied, almost viscous, it was anything but over-the-hill. Bright acidity balanced by residual sweetness, its apricot and dried peach flavors went well with some appetizers while the brisket finished cooking.
There were two wines with the beef. The first, pictured above, was my contribution, a Paul Jaboulet Aine' 1997 Domaine de Thalabert Crozes-Hermitage. Spices, dirt and mature fruit on the nose, the taste kicked in with mature strawberries and fully ripe raspberries. It had both a medium body and a medium color, but the taste was bigger than what the color indicated. Good firm tannin on the finish and great acidity. The wine was fully mature and I don't think it will improve any more, but it was a nice wine with the beef.
The third wine was a 1999 Col Solare, the Washington state project of Piero Antinori and Chateau Ste. Michelle. Full bodied and tannic, it was still a young wine. Deep currant and cherry flavors up front with good acidity, but the tannins overwhelmed everything at the start. After an hour or so the tannins receded a little and the fruit came forward. It was a full bodied wine with a very long finish.
The verdict was that all three wines were very good. We also agreed that the Crozes was the best with the beef but the Col Solare made for a great after dinner drink. It needs three or four more years before it will be at its best. A great way to end the day.