Last night was one of those nights that just hit all the right notes gastronomically. We started the evening cooking a late dinner of sausage and veggies with brown rice. Since you can’t cook without wine, we opened a bottle of Varichon & Clerc Blanc de Blancs Brut. It’s a really beautiful bubbly made in the traditional style at a bargain price.

With our meal we shared a bottle of 2010 La Spinetta Nebbiolo that my oldest son had supplied. Nebbiolo is one of my favorite grapes. It’s the raw material for Barolo so I guess this wine could be considered a baby Barolo.

2010 La Spinetta Nebbiolo

Perfect mid ruby hue, red plum, wild strawberry, black licorice, red currant and steak tartare. Lovely layered nose. Silken attack with bright, straightforward fruit, velvet smooth tannins and good even acidity, The flavours play at the back of the palate and linger there sweetly ~ daring you to take another sip even as the details continue to evolve. Q gets notes of blueberry, amaretto and clementine. It’s beautiful and fresh  +721671 $$

But the evening wasn’t over yet! I rummaged through the cellar and came up with:

2008 Penfolds’ Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz

Anyone who knows Australian wine will know that Bin 389 is called Baby Grange. It earns this moniker by aging in the casks of the previous year’s vintage of Grange Hermitage, one of Australia’s most celebrated wines. The colour can only be called deep purple. The nose offers wide swaths of eucalyptus and creamy Misty Mints with extra details of sponge toffee and thyme. Sweet, dense attack that opens into dry, chewy tannins that seem to throb on the palate, covering every corner and square inch. Delicious and mouthwatering, it throws impressions of black licorice, black plum, currant and black olive. Intense feeling in the mouth and a finish that just goes on and on. It’s relentless… Baby Nothing! This wine stands all on its’ own. …later (in handwriting very difficult to read) …it just gets better, deeper, more tannic, more mysterious and wonderful. (during which we watched the “Grand Budapest Hotel” and revelled in the power of servers everywhere!) Divine

So there you have it. Two wines both considered to be the little brother or sister to great wines, both of which stand easily and beautifully on their own.

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