We began with G's champagne, Leclerc Mondet 2000. We've had a fair amount of this over the years and I expressed the view that "it has never failed to disappoint" which others were quicker than me to work out was a triple negative and thus the opposite of what I meant, oops. We all agreed that it was a very good, mature champagne. There was some speculation as to the mixture of grapes, with the view expressed that there was a relatively high percentage of pinot noir in there. How vintage champagne should be.
Next up we had P's Volgar sauvignon blanc 2007 from Italy. I hope I've deciphered P's handwriting correctly, and that it is called Volgar. This was a revelation. It had a very vibrant sauvignon nose, but was quite creamy on the palate, and the finish went on for ages. Everybody liked it.
After that, we moved on to a Penns Woods cabernet reserve 2005 from D. A whopping 14% according to the label but US labels are notoriously inaccurate and we thought it might be even higher. This was like a young, serious claret. I'd never come across a wine from Pennsylvania before and according to D, they have trouble getting the cabernet to ripen but in 2005 they were lucky. We suspected there might be some merlot in there too but I see the website says it's 100% cabernet sauvignon! Very good indeed.
Also provided by D, the oldest wine of the evening, a 1968 Freemark Abbey Napa Valley pinot noir. This had the enjoyably precise figure of 12.9% alcohol on the label. It reminded me of an old Burgundy and reminded G of old Alsace pinot noir, with a very sweet, jammy, tinned strawberry kind of nose. P detected rosewater. I would say it was reaching the end of its life but it was a real treat. I love drinking wine that's older than me!
After that, with the cheese course, we had my contribution: a vin jaune from the Jura, Chateau-Chalon 2000 from Domaine Berthet-Bondet. This came in a strange-shaped bottle which only held 620 ml. I got it from the Wine Society and followed their instructions to open it 24 hours in advance and serve cool. It reminded everyone of fino sherry - the best word I could find to describe it was "pungent". Interesting and austere, but I'm not sure it was actually very likable. I almost wonder if it would have been better as an aperitif, but think I will be sticking to sherry in future. Still, live and learn...
And finally, with pud, we had the 1982 Rivesaltes which I have blogged about before. G and I both felt it wasn't quite up to scratch compared to the other wines we'd had over the course of the evening, but P and D said nice things about it in the Book - "pleasantly medicinal" (no semi-dissolved paracetamol on this occasion), "long sweet finish". All in all, an evening of fascinating wine.