Last night the Oxford Liquor Shoppe crew got together for a special occasion. We decided to break out some of our better wines and get pizza from Pepe’s in New Haven. Before I get into the notes, just a word on the pizza. I have been getting Pepe’s Pizza since I was a little kid with my parents and the last few times I had Pepe’s I was disappointed. I was beginning to think that due to their recent expansions, the quality of the pizza had fallen by the wayside. Last nights pies totally redeemed them. The white clam was excellent and I don’t think anyone makes one better. The cheese, mainly the let down the last few times, was also excellent. So they are now back in my good graces. Onto the wines!
The first wine is probably considered one of the top three chardonnay producers out of California right now. The wine was the 2007 Aubert Ritchie Vineyard. The nose was dominated by a stoney minerality but had a touch of lemon as well. The thing that wowed us all was that it started like a traditional California chardonnay on the palate, with a creamy mouth feel. It had some nice notes of melon and hazelnut but after the attack, it showed a really nice steely minerality. It also had a nice creme brulee note at the end. Reminded me a grand cru white burgundy. We all found this quite interesting and more than lived up to its lofty reputation.
The next wine was a 1996 Rolly Gassmann Kappelweg de Rorschwihr Riesling from Alsace. They say with older Riesling that some of them develop the smell of petrol. I have had a few older Riesling but I have never experienced this smell. There’s a first time for everything though and this Rolly Gassmann had that aroma! I was kind of shocked by it. I kind of thought that smell would be off putting but it really wasn’t harsh at all. The Riesling had flavors of apple and pear with a nice minerality to it. Overall, I very delicious Riesling.
At this point we started in on the pizza.
We originally planned to have a red wine with the red pie but the whites were so good we decided to stick to them and ignore conventional wisdom.
The third wine we opened was a white Bordeaux from 2000 by Domaine de Chevalier. White Bordeaux might actually be my favorite white wine. We have had the 2000 together a few times before and it is quite nice although we have seen some bottle variation. The wine gives aromas of wet stones and citrus, although you can tell that has faded into the background with age. On the palate, the wine has a nice creaminess to go along with an apple and a mineral note. Classic white Bordeaux.
The fourth wine, which we do carry at the store, was the 2008 Cakebread chardonnay. Cakebread has a good reputation for producing high quality classic California chardonnay’s and they did not disappoint. The wine, opposed to the Aubert, was all the way California. A big chard with a good amount of oak, this was creamy and buttery with nice notes of apple and marshmallow. I think a little more time in the bottle would do this some good but delicious now none the less.
The final wine of the night was a 2007 Standing Stone Riesling from the Finger Lakes. The wine had some really nice apple, melon and fig flavors. On the sweeter side of things, it was a nice way to end off the night.