Notes from a blind tasting lunch. Held at my place as the restaurant we used to use has closed, but the chef is willing to do a meal for me at home.

2014 Terravista Fandango – this BC wine is a blend of Albarino and Verdelho, the only such wine made in Canada at the present time, from a local BC winery. Light colour, clean wet stone and sweet fruit on palate, citrus and very well balanced, finishing with clean acidity.

2014 Honorio Rubio Lias Finas Blanco – a white Rioja made with 100% Viura. Delicious leman-butterscotch nose, fennel hints and smooth and tasty on palate, finishing medium long and clean. Very nice. Brought from Spain very recently by an attendee, who told us that there were almost no whites available at the wineries for sale at the moment.

2010 La Soufrandière Pouilly-Vinzelles Les Quarts – this Bret Bros. offering was light to medium yellow, had a very nice slightly nutty lemon nose with some floral hints in the background. Very dry, clean finish. Very slight oxidative notes that would be troubling if one planned on long cellaring.

There was a short pause while I presented a wine, not blind, that I had held in my cellar since the early 1980s and figured it was time to open my only bottle. I chose to serve sautéed foie gras with it, simply prepared, and it worked very well. We also managed to set off the smoke sensors on my home alarm system, which took a few minutes to rectify, even though I have a 1200 cfm extractor fan strong enough levitate small animals.

1976 Weingut Johannishof (H.H. Eser) Johannisberger Hölle Riesling Beerenauslese – We’ve done foie gras dinners several times, mating various preparations with various sweet and dry wines, and have concluded that it doesn’t get any better than a simple seared slab lf FG (we had over 500 g for 8 people) with either a sweet German wine or a Sauternes/Barsac. We heated the cast iron pan to a very high heat ad seared it, serving it on a crouton topped with Maldon salt.

The wine was now fairly dark, a brown/orange tone rather than amber, and showed a typical petrol nose and wasn’t overly sweet. The 1976 year was arguably the vintage of the century for late harvest German wines (rivalled by 1990 and 1983, both of which I have, and have tried and found not quite as good – in the specific wines I tasted – as the 1976s). The wine lived on for hours in the glass and I enjoyed the last of it after everyone had departed. Well balanced and very long finish. I have always found that age results in a lessening of perceived sugar in sweet wines – no idea whether that results from an actual change in RS or more likely and slight reduction of acidity with time.

2003 Dr. H. Thanisch Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese – medium yellow with a good varietal nose with some ripe melon and very good balance, especially considering the vintage. Has a long life ahead.

1978 Franciscan Vineyards Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon – this wine showed what all the tasters felt was a typical Pinot Noir nose! Very pure fruit, somewhat light colour, good acidity, a fair bit of dill from the American oak, and decently long. Good showing at that age.

1978 Louis Martini Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reserve – as with almost all of the wines of this champion of low or no oak wine making, there was no dill whatsoever in this nose. The wine was darker, heavier and well fruited with some orange rind in the nose. Lots of terminal acidity, but a survivor and great fun to taste. Liked it the best of the pair.

1996 Peter Michael Les Pavots (Knights Valley) – still a dark wine showing an excellent cab nose with mushroom/earth and dark fruit – cherry and blackberry aromas. Smooth entry and ample fruit on palate, with some remaining soft tannin. The wine was very smooth and dirking at peak and was one of the most enjoyable mature Cal-Cabs I have tasted in a long time. My wine of the day, and the fact that it came out of my cellar had no part in that assessment. Sadly, only one bottle left! Cab, cab franc and merlot in this vintage (petit verdot is also used in the blend sometimes).

2016 Gatto Caresana Ruché di Castagnole Monferrato – an unusual grape varietal native to Piemonte threw us completely. Fairly dark with a spicy assertive nose and some light plum fruit. A wine to drink young.

2004 Domaine du Pégaü "Cuvée Réservée" – I have some of this in 500 ml. Bottles which came to this market for some reason. This one was a 750, though, and the wine showed a peppery syrah nose with some truffley notes and black olive in the mix. It was full and rich on palate and had a lengthy finish. It seems to be mature at this point but will likely hold for some years. Intend to get into my smaller bottles.