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I am reminded of Lou Reed’s Perfect Dayas I recount Tuesday’s activities, chock-full of stimulating events, it became my favorite of the New Year thus far. A day that witnessed a lot of fun happenings: Hanging out with my family, browsing the antique malls, grabbing lunch at my favorite BBQ place in Southern California and an All-Star roster of Bordeaux in my wine course, all the while shaving off another nine bottles from my Mission-to-500.

My day broke in Long Beach, waking to an overcast morning and an excited petite chienne, Maggie, ready for her morning walk. Visiting my parents on my day off from work and getting an early start. Not too long after rising to my feet, I received a text message from my brother about plans to grab lunch (hours later) at Bludso’s BBQ around noon.

During the interim, I accompanied my mother to her favorite time-off-jaunt—a trip to 4th Street in Long Beach. The area is replete with vintage/thrift/antique shops that reward the patient and savvy shoppers with a bounty of loot. My mom fits in that category; we loaded her findings into the car and headed out to meet my Brother and his associate from work in Compton.

Now I don’t go gaga for barbeque but I do relish each opportunity to go to Bludso’s because they are consistently producing excellent foods and serving them with gracious hospitality. Bludso’s ranks high among foodies; a culinary stalwart in Compton (a city worth examining if you are a gastronome) that dismantles all the stereotypes or the expectations you may foster before heading there. Pitch perfect meals.

I have hosted many a voyage to the BBQ pit and have yet to be disappointed; this time was no different, aside from the rain that acted as a palate enhancer. This was my mom’s introduction to one of my favorite eateries in Southern California. We ordered the “Texas Sampler” with two heaping sides—everything was ample, affordable and extraordinary.

After the lunch, I brought my mom back and departed for Los Angeles still under the spell of off-and-on rain, to beat traffic and get ready for my wine course where another welcomed surprise awaited.

Once inside the class I spied a good size lot of Bordeaux, of various vintages, lined up before my professor. We were going to taste through these exceptional wines and I was going to re-examine Bordeaux—an area about which I was beginning to feel more comfortable and knowledgeable.

The only caveat I had with eating barbeque before the tasting is that my hands retained the scent of smoked meats and sauce—the whole night I reeked of hotlinks. Nobody was close enough to notice.

We tasted the following wines:

93 Ch. Clerc Milon

98 Ch. Larrivet-Haut Brion

06 Ch. Calon-Segur

05 Ch. Brane-Cantenac

05 Ch. LaGrange

98 Ch. Larmande

05 Ch. Gombarde Guillot

06 Larrivet-Haut Brion (White)

95 Hubert Baron de Montesquieu Moelleux

A sumptuous tasting, sopping with cherry, leather, spices and other tremendous flavors for the olfactory and on the tongue; none of the wines were duds, though some of them did less for the crowd.

The 93 Chateau Clerc Milon showcased a beautiful bouquet of leather, cherry, cedar and strawberry and possessed gracefully smoothed out tannins. The 05 Chateau Brane-Cantenac portrayed some big ripe cherry and cassis with an added spiciness on the palate accompanying its drying tannins. We sipped through the collection and marked the differences of cocoa on the Calon-Segur and the softer plum and candied notes of the Gombarde Guillot.

As our palates began to show signs of fatigue and my teeth took on the deeper shade of prune purple, we traded the overpowering red wines with the white wines of Bordeaux. A necessary reprieve.

Both of the whites showed well too. The 95 Baron de Montesquieu rocked my taste buds with notes of orange marmalade, white tea and vanilla, it was an interesting wine and capped the evening in a light manner. It was still sprinkling after class, which made it easier to give a sigh of contentment as the day drew to a close with the refreshed urban air.

I now stand 418 wines away from my tasting projection on the year; I can only hope that many of the future tastings will be this enjoyable though I might think twice about an offer to eat barbeque the next time I am in a tasting group because I could not shake the smoked meats.

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