. Vite Vinifera De Vino's Blog: Another Late Night

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Another Late Night

I was very happy to spend some time with Roberto Cipresso, after a year or so apart. In my short wine life, I have had few mentors; people that drastically made an impact on my wine education. They are my father and mother, who kindled the process; Luciano Maddi AKA Il Frasca; and of course, Roberto, holder of the title of winemaker of the year awarded by the "Associazione Italiana Sommelier" and author of Il Romanzo Del Vino. He and I met up for the first time here in New York, at a friend's house. I remember blind-"tasting" something like 25 bottles of wine between 5 of us (not a bad way to start a friendship...). After that, I had the chance to work with him on a project in Sicily and the pleasure to share the 2002 harvest in Mendoza with Achaval Ferrer.
Needless to say the amount of information I've learned from him was huge, but one thing in particular had a resounding impact on me; I had learned the human side of the wine, the famous hand behind it; I saw how a great wine is made from the initial stage of an unborn idea until is mature in the bottle - he showed me the emotional side of the nectar of the gods.
Last Wednesday, Roberto and Daniel Oliveros had invited me for dinner at La Masseria in midtown.
The theme of the night was Cotes du Rhone and the lineup was pretty intense. There were 7 of us at the table, and guests included: Mary Ewing Mulligan, the editor of Wine For Dummies, and her husband Edward V McCarthy; Laurie, who works with Daniel; and Daniel's wife Natalie, who joined the table just shortly after we arrived. (I have to interrupt myself momentarily, just to say that after I saw Natalie, it took me good 5 minutes to regain focus on the wine I was sipping)
The Oliveros make a series of wine with Roberto
called Sogno, the first one (Uno) is a red, based in Cesenatico (a grape that grows in Lazio). the second, which will be released in the near future, is a Falanghina; they also have the "Tre" and "Quattro" in progress (contents undisclosed).
Going back to the dinner - we were welcomed with 2 bottles of Louis Roederer Champagne from 1990. There was an interesting difference between the 2 bottles; the first was more austere and probably showing more hints of age than the second, which had fresher flavors of berries. Then we started in on the reds; they were all very good, showing complexity and highlights of terroir and old vines. Jean Louis Chave, Chaputier and Bernard Faurie were among the stars of the evening. Chave's wines, Hermitage from 1998 and 2000, were full, open, and bursting with character, a bouquet of intense berries balanced
by austere tannins and the spiced flavors derived from the terroir. Bernard Faurie was more enigmatic and closed with strong minerality - we had the Hermitage 1995 vintage. Chaputier was somewhat in the middle of the two. After a while, I must say that the experience became a little blurred and overwhelming; with so many good wines, it was hard to focus and remember. So I can say that also the Levet' s Cote Rotie and the 1985 Cornas were impressive, but beyond that, the details start to get a little hazy in my memory.
The last bottle was something I could not forget; Chateau d'Yquem 1921!!! What to say - just the emotion of looking at that golden juice gave me the chills. The wine was still fresh over 85 years after its bottling - it had lost most of its sweetness, and had left citrus flavors of grapefruit and candied orange peel. As the wine opened up in the glass the more typical flavors of dried apricot also started to show.
It was a memorable night for the company and the amazing wines we drank, so memorable, in fact, that I really didn't mention anything about the food, which was very good, but surpassed by everything else.
That night was about friendship and strong relations that last long like a standing promise.
Grazie Daniel and Natalie for the wonderful evening and grazie Roberto for fueling my passion.


Terence said...

Wow, what a night. Sounds like a dream, even if the hangover was something of a nightmare!

De Vino said...

No hang overs but the next day I was still a bit tipsy... :)

Tracie B. said...

i had a 30 year-old sauternes too about 7 years ago, and i will never forget it. like liquid buttah :) they have a way of doing that...

De Vino said...

There are few things the French can do, after all they had good teachers in the past..;)