My friend Dave Rickert was in town again, and came bearing gifts of the liquid variety. I've mentioned him in the past, and how his hobby of collecting wines during his U.S. Army service in Germany has ended up exposing me to a lot of fascinating bottles. We gathered over at Paul's house with some delicious ribeyes and set in on three great wines.
First we tried the 2007 Castaño Monastrell from Yecla in Southeast Spain. $10, 13.5% abv, 100% Monastrell (Mourvèdre). Delicious aroma of bacon fat, rich currants, touch of cedar, smooth. Minimum tartness, follow through on flavor of currants with a short finish. I really enjoyed this wine, and it showed how Mourvèdre can have an aromatic, mellowing influence on Rhone wines. (Also, if you're interested in this grape, check out Vine Geek's Mourvèdre Mondays, a year-long project he just started.)
Next we opened the 2005 Tintara Cabernet Sauvignon from the McLaren Vale, Australia. $18, 14% abv.
Black cherry, green bell pepper, herbs, firm tannins. Flavors of licorice, with tart cherry skin aftertaste. It's one of the only Australian red wines that had a strong Bourdeaux/Claret profile to it, and it's certainly an amazing wine for the price. I'd love to see how this one develops over time.
Finally we got to the Bordeaux that had been decanted an hour earlier... the 2000 Château La Louvière, €24 in Germany a few years ago, 13% abv, from the Pessac-Léognan subregion of Graves. 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc, 3% Petit Verdot. Truly a spectacular wine and one that required a lot of thought and examination over the course of a long evening. Lots of tobacco, green tomato leaves, touch of cherry and black pepper. Tremendous balance and structure, just so well put together... This bottle had been properly aged thus far, but could probably go for another 5-10 years.
Afterward we were treated to another delicacy. Dave's mother, Ann Rickert, made her famous Caribbean Fudge Pie, a 1960s-era recipe involving walnuts and a rich chocolate filling. I could only manage a small slice, but it was incredible. Thick and decadent, it was a great way to finish the meal. And chocolate does go well with great red wine, but at this point we'd moved on to an assortment of Ports, Sherries, and whiskies. Unfortunately, I don't have the recipe, but I might see what I can do.