Sunday, October 8, 2006

Weekend Notes

In Memory of Jeffrey Kneebone

J. Kneebone
1959 - 2006

I uncorked a rare gem from Rasteau in remembrance and in honor of Mr. Jeffrey Kneebone (aka: Verdiball), a Baritone extraordinaire and a friend. Jeff was very passionate in what he did in life. His intense love for the opera can only be matched by his love for the nectar that is wine. Though I have never met him in meatspace, I’m glad to have been acquainted with him through the cyberspace for the past 2+ years. We have formed a friendship, as all other Winexilers had with him. I have only fond memories of him, his wisdom and intelligence in our exchanges. I really miss his presence on Winexiles. Jeffrey passed away [pdf] on August 1, 2006 from melanoma.

A bunch of Winexilers gathered together on Saturday 10/7/06 at NYC’s Café Loup to celebrate and remember Jeffrey by fondly. I almost went to NYC, but a family circumstance prevented me from going. In his memory, I decided to open this special gem. As one winexiler said: “Verdi, I hope wine is legal in heaven.”

2003 Sassira2003 Domaine des Escaravailles “Sassira”, Rasteau, Rhone
(~300 cases produced, $27, if you can find one)

Inky purple. Subtle and shy on the nose (going through dumb period?). But once it’s inside the mouth, it knocked my socks off! A powerful wine. It is concentrated, intense, full body of soy milk texture, and simply exhilarating. Boysenberries and blackberries of the highest intensity and concentration on the palate. A leathery aroma is also present. A coffee, dark chocolate and spicy rosemary finish that is long and persistent. This is a big-big wine with dusty tannin. At 15% alcohol level, it is balanced by lively acidity and fruit. I simply couldn’t put my glass down! A very balanced wine and impeccably detailed. An Hermitage in a Rasteau bottling! This wine should evolve finely and easily over 5+ years, probably even 10+ years.

4.5 stars (vg - ex, due to a rather shy nose. Otherwise, it's a 5-star wine)

Background information on the wine: Sassira is the flagship bottling and most limited item from Domaine Escaravailles. Only 300+ cases of this wine were made. From 30-60 year old vines, the Sassira is 90% Syrah with the remainder Grenache. This wine was not fined or filtered. This wine is extremely difficult to procure – it is one of the hardest Rhone wines to acquire outside of the Rhone Valley.
The Sound of Music That is Zhuni

What is the sound of Zhuni? Guang of Houde on his blog demonstrated some of his priced possessions to the world. It is simply a beautiful music to the ears of those who value the beauty of premium Yixing teapots. As a side note, the last pot in this video clip is none other than the late 18th century (mid-Qing Dynasty) "Fu Yuan Ting" Long Dan Zhuni that I mentioned about in my previous post. It is up for grab for just US $3,250 (also notice the pot's shine!). Now that I can listen to it online, I don't need to spend money for it. I can brew my tea in my humble $4 gaiwan and drink it while listening to the *pinging* of his zhuni collection. :o)

2002 Coutet St. Emillion
2002 Chateau Coutet, St. Emillion

Plump, juicy, watery (light bodied), with reserved oaky-ness. Blueberry predominant. This is an easy going quaff. It went well with the Domino’s Pizza I ordered. Although 2002 was just an RP 89pts vintage year in St. Emillion, I’ve had a $7 Washington state merlot of similar, if not better, quality year in and year out.

2+ stars (mg-g)

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