A while back, I saw magnums of 1989 Joel Taluau "Cuvee de Domaine" St-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil at K&L for 60$. I'm a big cab franc guy, but unfortunately, I haven't had the chance to try a whole lot of older cab francs. In fact, I can count on one hand the number that I've had that have been over 5 years old. This bottle of wine was enticing me, for sure. I ended up buying a bottle, but letting it sit in K&L's will-call for a couple of months because I don't have anywhere that's large enough to stack a magnum (wine fridges are great, but my Vino Temp doesn't have a big enough space for a magnum). I also figured that it would be more wine than Sarah and I could drink in one evening, so I asked our neighbor/landlord if he wanted to split it with us. (Ironically, we both ended up drinking way more than the magnum...)
Our neighbor is a generous guy, and as I've said before, a bit of a bon vivant. For what's it's worth, our bedroom is directly above his cellar. Since I brought over the Taluau, he decided that he was going to open something, because one magnum is not enough for 7 people (also present were our neighbors from across the street). Of course, he's got a cellar full of well-aged wine, and decided to completely trump my humble little cab franc by opening up a magnum of 1990 Produttori Barbaresco. (One interesting thing to note is that the label is not the normal label that you're accustomed to seeing for Produttori, as this was a special blend to commemorate the 100th year of the winery.) He bought it for 25$ or 30$ in 1996 he said--and therein is why people age wine, because I have no doubt that the wine would be quite a lot more expensive now.
We started dinner off with some bruschetta, some rose from Provence, and glasses of Mirabelle rose sparkling wine from Schramsberg (an absolute steal for 19$, by the way--totally French and delicate, with gentle yeasty, creamy, strawberry notes and a refreshing absence of the hugely ripe fruit that one often finds in California sparklers), before moving on to a salad that Sarah made with dried figs, blue cheese, mache, arugula, apples, and a simple balsamic vinaigrette. Then, it was off to have the more serious wines with croquettes and delicious veal/beef tournedos.
I was a little worried about the Taluau--21 years old is pretty old a wine like this. However, no problems...Much fresher than I thought it would be and oozing with peppery cab franc aromas, with a little bit of tomato thrown in for good measure. Surprisingly light and delicate on the palate, but as the night wore on, the fruit started to emerge a bit more and you could tell that there was, in fact, some structure to the wine. This was a very interesting wine to drink--and shit, I was 7 years old when the grapes got picked, which befuddles me to a certain extent--but I don't know that it really floored me. No doubt, it's a very cool wine to drink, but I don't know that I'd spring for another bottle over something else. B+/A-
The Produttori was off the chain. The essence of Nebbiolo--roses, some berry fruit, tar, and earth. The tannin had dissipated and resolved into the wine, leaving behind a sumptuous texture, but still showing signs of the structure that allowed it to age well. A killer finish too, and superbly elegant. This was, really and truly, a pretty fucking great bottle of wine. Although the Taluau was good too, the Produttori made it look like Charles Shaw. A+
Our neighbor also carted out a 1987 Dunn Cab, which ended up being corked. Damn.(By the way, I must not be that sensitive to cork taint because it was pretty subtle. I probably would have drank the bottle...) Then we had some tequila, but neither were as good as the Tesoro that I had with my neighbor a few months back. They were both pretty awesome--one reposado, one silver--but the Tesoro has a presence that was missing in these two. Maybe I was drunker then or something. Taste is fleeting sensation, but I know that I'm not forgetting the Taluau or the Produttori anytime soon.