Photos: Kim Adams
Cooper and Mark Looker
Mancy's Italian, a Trattoria
Moe and Chairman Moe
Chairman Mao..., er, Moe had suggested an Italian theme for our first evening, and had made reservations at a fine local restaurant, so we made our way to
Mancy's, where we were greeted by our host, George, and his Lieutenant, John. We were made quite comfortable in a private room, away from the rabble, and our serving maid, Sherry was most attentive and accommodating. We began with a few whites, courtesy of
Mr. Looker, whilst indulging in various hors d' oeuvres. Why they weren't Italian whites, I have no idea, and wasn't about to bring it up...
1997 Guffens-Heynen Macon Pierreclos "Le
Chavigne": Medium straw, with a pretty floral pineapple/pear bouquet; flavors show nice notes of oak over pear and mineral. Looker the Lurker said this was much more acidic 6 months ago, "but the oak has taken over nicely;" Larry called it "lush and creamy." Most, if not all of us agreed that this is a very nice white Burgundy (especially for a Macon), and the better of the two here.
1997 Etienne Sauzet Puligny-Montrechet: Medium straw, with a reticent nose that expands to show flavors of nice round pear/Chardonnay, along with hints of oak and more acidity than the Macon. A
good wine that will benefit from some cellaring.
Patt and Jeff Gillikin
Most were in
the mood for red wines, so we moved right on to them, starting with two
1993 Bricco de Uccellone (13.5 %
alc.): A ruby garnet Barbera, with smoky dried cherry flavors and aromas; medium bodied, soft and approachable with good acidity.
1995 Il Baciale Monferato
(13 % alc.): Ruby garnet blend of Barbera and Pinot Nero with a wet dog
fur over cherry nose that carries over to the palate; medium bodied,
with good acidity; tastes more mature than the Bricco.
1988 Boscaini Vignetti di Marano Amarone Classico (15 %
alc.): Dark garnet, with not much brick, this was a crowd pleaser that drew plenty of comments;
"fortified-like and raisin-y
"a little bit of nuttiness," and "one of the best Amarones I've tasted in a
(Larry)." I noted "candied smoky port-like dried cherries, very smooth, yet still good acidity." Continued to evolve in the glass, and would have been wonderful to linger over for hours.
and Mary Meehan
1988 Ruffino Cabreo (13 %
alc.): 70 % Sangiovese, 30 % Cabernet Sauvignon; dark garnet with only the slightest hint of brick;
BD noted a "nice licorice nose,"
Larry mentioned "mushroom/tar" and someone added "a little spearmint." There's a smoky quality to this as well; a lovely wine that has plenty of life left.
1995 Sodole' (13 %
alc.): Dark garnet, with what some called "barnyard," BD described as "sweaty armpit,"
Looker noted as
"brett/matchstick combo" (not unlike their humor), Kim called
out "sourdough yeast," and I found it "sewer-y." The stink blows off, revealing rich fruit, big black cherry character, a hint of smoky leather, good acidity and
significant, but not intrusive tannins. Just a baby, with a great future.
It was then that our entrees arrived, at just the opportune moment, as they were accompanied by the two most appropriate wines, in the opinion of most. For the record, I ordered the rack of lamb; the two chops not breaded were superb, whilst the two that were breaded were very fatty. Mark O. complained of a similar experience with the same plate. Hmm...
1990 Terriabianco Compaccio (13 %
alc.): Dark garnet, with a huge nose of black cherry and a hint of wet dog fur that
Larry called "wet musty earth." These followed through on the palate, with notes of smoke and licorice. Tasted young to me; beautiful stuff.
1990 Banfi Summus (13 %
alc.): This rusty garnet has been previously noted in these pages, so it should come as no surprise that it was my favorite of the night, and others agreed.
Larry mentioned "spice and leather" qualities, whilst I found typical smoky dried black cherry flavors and aromas. Strangely, I found this to be more elegant than the
Compaccio, while Larry,
Moe and Curly..., I mean
OVERBERG, disagreed. (What do I know, I'm just the humble scribe...) And yet, Larry called this his favorite!
1995 Masi Amarone Classico (15 %
alc.): Dark garnet, and just too young; my notes only describe "leather and drying tannins" and "some
1989 Fontana Fredda Barolo di Serralunga d'Alba (14 %
alc.): Ruby dark garnet; leather and drying tannins; "rocky convoluted texture" and "no tar at
1990 Seghesio Barolo La
Villa (14 %
alc.): Ruby dark garnet, and silky soft, but then it should have been after sitting in a $4 (yes, $4, but it's not my story to tell...) Riedel decanter.
Chairman Moe didn't care for this, calling it "thin and vegetal," and tasting "like it's been kept in an apartment in Lexington." Again, leather and drying tannins were mentioned...
1992 Seghesio Barolo La
Villa (14 %
alc.): BD said this tastes like "Black Cherry Warheads, really sour!" Someone
(Pam?) added, "lots o' smoke, like standing over your grill." More round fruit than in the '90; I was reminded of black cherries and roses.
In all, we had a wonderful time, and if none of the wines sucked, there was some disappointment expressed in the Barolos. The general consensus was that the
Summus, Compaccio, Cabreo and '88 Amarone were the best wines here. And though my note taking capabilities were deteriorating somewhat, we weren't finished by any means. After returning to the Inn, some of us reconvened in Matt's room, and sipped yet a bit more, staining tongue and tooth badly...
1993 Banfi Brunello di
Montalcino: I decanted this before leaving for
Mancy's, reasoning that it needed the four hours of air, and this was indeed so. Dark garnet, dense and intense, with big plum/dark cherry/earth/coffee flavors and aromas, this showed better than it had the right to, given its youth. And whilst I agreed with
Chairman Moe that it is tannic and needs time, I wondered how he could tell it was said tannins that obliterated the finish, given the Cuban maduro he was smoking... };^)>
1982 Chateau Latour-Figeac St.
Emilion: The 'deauxnut opened one of these for Madame and me a few months ago, and this was much as I remember it. Dark garnet, with big cassis/plum/tobacco character, it's one beautiful claret that has yet to reach maturity.
1998 Fox Creek JSM: This Aussie Shiraz/Cab Franc/Cab Sauv is a monster; purple with a pink rim, and legs that just don't quit! Tons of chocolate and black fruit, smooth and creamy in the mouth despite the tannins, this was the culprit that irrevocably stained everybody's mouths so completely.
At last, we ended things with a '96 Rosemount Balmoral
that no one needed, and everyone loved. I took no notes, due to some incidental frivolity taking place, but suffice it to say that it is typical of a young
Balmoral; it can cellar a while or you can savor it now.
That morning, I slept the sleep of the self-righteous.