3rd Birthday Bash

May 13, 2008


The Wine Century Club celebrated its 3nd birthday on April 14th 2008 in New York City. The room was packed once again with some of the brightest minds, sharpest wits and most delicate palates in the wine world today. As could be imagined, the accompanying wines were outstanding. . .

Two incredible old oddities came from Tom Reagan: a Royal Oporto 1896(!) Vintage Port and a Wisdom & Warter NV (bought in 1945) Golden Cream Sherry. They truly fit the theme Unusual, Delicious and Slow!

Another favorite of the crowd was the 2006 Dr. Konstantin Frank Rkatsiteli. Both Kathleen Lisson and Karen Page and Andrew Dornenberg brought bottles of this truly remarkable New York State wine.

Sadly, one of the most enthusiastic supporters of the club couldn’t make it; Thom Perry passed away 2 months ago. He was responsible for many people joining the club, especially Thom’s fiancée Kathy Wertalik and friend Tom Reagan who both attended the party. We all raised a glass for Thom in his memory and honor.

Once again, the amazing Jeff Grossman brought his inimitable brand of contagious enthusiasm and charm all the while taking copious notes:

Impressions from the Century Club (third anniversary gathering) party:

1. Ewald Gruber NV? “Punkt Genau” – sparkling brut gruner veltliner from Austria’s Weinviertel; pleasant and crisp …Good (Gruner Veltliner)

2. Bonny Doon 2007 Albarino “Ca del Solo” – lemony, texture is a bit watery but there is a persistent finish …Good (Albarino)

3. Amesguren 2007 Getariarko Txakolina “Rubentis” – good zing but over a too-sweet candied flavor …Good (Hondarribi Zuri (white), Hondarribi Beltza (red)

4. JSC Corp year? Georgia White Dry Wine “Tsinandali” – Rkatsiteli and Mtsvane, moldy and bitter …Poor (ed: probably corked) (rkatsiteli and mtsvane)

5. S. Dona 2006 Gelber Muskateller – floral nose, of course; clean and crisp with a long finish …Good+ (Muscat Blanc)

6. Vino Graben 2004 Rumeni Plavec, Bizeljsko-Sremic region – the grape name means ‘yellow blue’; a tired white wine …Fair (Rumeni Plavec)

7. Joan d’Anguera 2002 Montsant “El Bugader” – decanted 2 hrs ahead; pretty nose, creamy in the mouth with fine tannins and a good finish; a little too much wood for my tastes …Good (Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon)

8. Dr. Konstantin Frank 2006 Rkatsiteli – “Giggle Juice!”; crisp, bright, grapefruity, zingy …Excellent (Rkatsiteli)

9. Clos du Gravillas 2004 Minervois blanc “L’Inattendu” – complex honeyed nose, a little closed otherwise …Good+ (Grenache Gris)

10. Wisdom & Warter NV Golden Cream Sherry – According to Tom, this was purchased in 1945 and held safely from then till now; The paper strip for the store lists the phone number as “Templeton 8-7500” ! The wine is cloudy and brown; it is caramelly and sweet but not cloying; the acidity is quite soft; pleasurable …Excellent (Palamino)

11. Terredora Dipalo 2006 Falanghina Irpinia – a bit leafy, a little low in acid …Good (Falanghina)

12. Dr. Parce 1993 Collioure “Les Junquets” – probably a mourvedre blend; earthy, metallic (which I sometimes get from brett), something like an old Burgundy …Good+ (90% Syrah, 5% Roussanne, 5% Marsanne)

13. Dom. l’Aigueliere 1995 Montpeyroux – barnyardy, flavors of deepest mulberry and black raspberry; the finest furry tannins; nice secondary development …Excellent (Carignan, Syrah, Grenache)

14. Burlotto 2005 Pelaverga – zippy, lightweight, strawberry candy, wow …Excellent (Pelaverga)

15. Cascina Tavijn 2006 Ruche di Castagnole Monferrato – dark, vigorous, muted nose of fig and black raspberry, kinda closed tonight …Good (Ruche)

16. Plouzeau 2005 Gamay “Sans Tra La La” – clove, face-powder (ed: ?), fruity …Good (Gamay)

17. Royal Oporto 1896 Light Tawny Rich – After a protracted fight with the cork, Tom and I finally just push it in and use a screen when we pour. Another brown and cloudy wine, but it’s alive!: still fruity, brown sugar (but not caramel), chocolate and cocoa, just OMG wine …Excellent, Excellent, Excellent (most likely Touriga Nacional, Touriga Francesa, Tinta Roriz (syn: Tempranillo), Tinta Barroca, Tintã Cão, plus some others)

18. Black Rock 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon – varietally correct, nicely made …Good+ (Cabernet Sauvignon)

19. Black Rock 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon – less rich than its sibling, the wood is sticking out …Good (Cabernet Sauvignon)

20. De Silva 2006 Alto Adige Lago di Caldaro Scelto “Peterleiten” – lightweight and suave, a bit green? …Good (Schiava)

21. Yoakim Bridge NV Courrier Red – a blend of 04 cab, 04 merlot, 05 zin, and 05 petit sirah; interesting effort; would love to try this again in 5 years …Good (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Sirah, Zinfandel)

22. Marco Carpineto 2004 Lazio Rosso “Dithyrambus” – montepulciano and nero buono, bland …Fair (Montepulciano and Nero Buono)

23. Tenuta delle Terre Nere 2004 Etna Rosso “Calderara Sottana” – good acidity, shapely, bright cranberry flavors …Good+ (Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio)

24. Sabon 2001 Chateauneuf-du-Pape “Prestige” – this seems very soft, is something wrong? …? (Syrah, Cinsault, Mourvedre, Terret,
Counoise, Vaccarese and Muscardin)

25. Dom. Monte de Luz 2006 Tannat “Carquera” – buttery and smooth but fruitless …Fair (Tannat)

26. Dom. Martinho (Q. do Carmo) 2002 Alentejo – bland …Fair (Aragonez (syn:Tempranillo), Alicante, Castelão, Trincadeira, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah)

27. Grgich Hills 2000 Cabernet Sauvignon – varietally correct, not as woody as I feared it would be …Good (Cabernet Sauvignon)

28. Santomas 2005 Big Red Reserve – from Slovenia, really really dark refosco, big black fruit, I like it …Good (Refosco)

29. Chignin 2006 Vin de Savoie “Anne de la Biguerne” – varietal jacquerre; it’s whispering in a room full of shouting wines …Fair (Jacquerre)

30. Stadlmann 2006 Zierfandler – another indifferent white …Fair (Zierfandler)

If you tasted all 30 wines, you would have had 44 different grape varieties!

As Jeff said, it was a room full of shouting wines so it was difficult for the more subtle ones to shine. Bear this in mind just in case you think your wine got a poor rating. Personally, my Dithyrambus got robbed!!! 😉

In the fiercely contested blind tasting competition, Angela Romano edged out Rodolphe Boulanger for top honors. She took home an official Wine Century Club shiny spittoon.

The blind tasting wines and delicious Gruner Veltliner bubbly were all supplied by LeNell’s – thank you for the excellent wines and for gracing us with your company, Lenell!

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What do you think?


  1. Steve, I brought the “El Bugader” and, despite aerating it ahead of time, I didn’t like it enough to want it again. So, don’t take that shot in the dithyrambus too hard!

    Face-powder is the very light frangipani/tutti-frutti sort of smell you’d get from the stuff in a lady’s compact (like this http://tinyurl.com/4vx2bo ).

    A memorable evening… so much good wine, good conversation, and, of course, the official induction of new members. Thank you, Steve, for a lovely night.

  2. It’s always great to see you, Jeff. I realize I forgot to include your rating scale:

    The Jeff Grossman Wine Rating Scale:
    Poor / Fair / Good – none of which to buy again
    Good+ / Excellent – speaks for itself

    Thanks for the face powder explanation as well – I haven’t worn the stuff in years!

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