Sun 23 Nov 2008
This wine, consumed the night of Nov. 19, 1983, will be the last that I mention from my first wine notebook. You’ll notice that the Sebastiani “Tailfeathers” “Très Rouge” Pinot Noir 1976, Northern California — how many nicknames does a wine need? — is number 89 from my initial year of keeping notes and labels; the wines in the (conveniently enumerated) notebook go to 100.
At seven years of age, this was an astonishingly youthful and vigorous pinot noir and certainly the best pinot noir I had tasted until then. I bought it for $7.99 and took it to dinner with my first wife and another couple at a splendid (but alas short-lived) French restaurant in Memphis called Bradford House. The wine was terrific with duck a l’orange, a dish seldom seen today. My notes say that the wine was “dark,” “fragrant and fruity,” “tannic,” “rich and complex.” The terms aren’t exactly rich and complex, but they do conjure for me the occasion and a sense of what the wine was like.
The wines we tried between #8 in the chronicle of 100 wines — Chateau d’Agassac 1975, from Sept. 17 and 18 — and the Sebastiani Pinot Noir 1976 were these:
*De Luze Classique Red Bordeaux 1979. $4.99.
*August Sebastiani Country Pinot Noir. A non-vintage jug wine, $5.85.
*De Luze Classique White Bordeaux 1981. $4.99.
*Charlemagne La Crevette 1981, Entre-Deux-Mers. $2.98 and pretty damned good, in fact much better than the generic De Luze “Classique.”
*Domaines F. Ravel Cabernet Sauvignon 1981, Vin de Pays des Maures. $2.99.
*Concha y Toro Cabernet Sauvignon 1976, Maipo, Chile. $3.99.
*Domaines F. Ravel Semillon “Blanc de Blancs” 1981, Vin de Pays des Maures. $2.99. This wine and its cabernet sauvignon stablemate were wonderful values back in the early to mid 1980s. We drank gallons.
*Iron Horse Zinfandel 1981, Alexander Valley, Sonoma County. $8.79.
*Parducci Chenin Blanc 1982, Mendocino County. $5.69.
*Hawk Crest Cabernet Sauvignon 1980, North Coast. $6.49.
*Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Gamay Beaujolais 1981, Napa Valley. $6.99. When was the last time Warren Winiarski made wine from gamay grapes?
*Louis M. Martini Cabernet Sauvignon 1978, California. $4.99.
*Lous Latour Mâcon-Lugny Les Genièvres 1981. $6.96. (“Definitely worth the price.”)
*La Cour Pavillon Bordeaux Blanc 1981. $9.90 at a restaurant.
*Dourthe Vineaux Rouge Red French Wine. A non-vintage “zip code” wine. $4.79 for a 1.5 liter jug. (“Weak body, muddy flavor.”)
*Tokay d’Alsace 1981. $NA. The couple we had dinner with at Bradford House had been in Alsace and brought back this pleasant, light, delicate wine.