Fairly odd-ball grouping brought together for the Thursday Night Gang this week… I purposely brought what I figured would be OPPOSITE ENDS of the white-wine spectrum–even though having never tasted the Blatty, I assumed it’s style–and wasn’t wrong. Someone dug around in the cellar for the 06 Bodegas El Nido and the almost-20 YO fizzer came off the wine-shop shelf.
The only predictable wine of the set: Lieu Dit’s ridiculous amazing SMV Melon (where does this come from BTW? Garey? Sierra Madre? Not BN). Clear-cool frizzante so refreshing and just flat-out delicious. Pale essences of pineapple and apricot slide along almond-butter paths but it’s all so shyly imperceptible. 10 point MF oh!
I wanted to bring something warm and round to offset the Melon and the LA Sauv-blanc/Sem come out fairly predictable from its tech-sheet: 72 hrs on skin and 8 mos French. Clearly INSTANTLY varietally-correct in both nose and taste, I’m glad THAT part hadn’t been finessed out. This is a Chard-drinkers SB though, with the Semillon shining through, cutting the vegetal significantly.
Lord knows I’ve been hard on El Nido & Clio over the years: unable to look past the flab and heat. But never had one with this kind of age, and I must say: I was impressed. Blinded, I first guessed “Ridge Zin, a Sonoma vyd, 98-ish”, then went around the planet with “Iberian Temp, prob with a bit of Cab”. I think this wine absolutely at peak though–NOT something you’d want to decant 2 hours–soooo rich and complicated in nose and texture, ridiculous tertiary and lavish buttery concentration. An hour-or-so in though, it took on toast, pruney notes somewhat sullying the initial delight.
The 2002 Thienot was a promised experiment: Remember 3 weeks ago I opened one which had been stored in refrigerator (NOT ‘wine-refer’–ACTUAL refer: like 35F) the past decade BUT had 3 siblings sitting outside on the shop-shelf the equal time. THAT example was so bright and fresh and ageless, I noted–and promised–it would be *interesting* to compare to those with opposing provenance. Predictably, a bit deeper yellow, no visible secondary bubbles but VERY sharp and spritely on the tongue with PLENTY of integrated gas. Toasty almond notes were slightly richer, and although the whole package very VERY good, some of the fresh fruit visible in the original bottle had been replaced with more of a cellar-floor/newsprint towards the finish.
2020 LIEU DIT Melon Santa Maria Valley Santa Barbara Co. 10.0
2020 BYRON BLATTY ‘Aurora’ SB/Sem Los Angeles Co.
2006 BODEGAS JUAN GIL/EL NIDO ‘Clio’ Monastrell/Cab Jumilla Spain 15.5
2002 CHAMPAGNE THIENOT ‘Cuvee Alain Thienot’ France 12.5