I had a fun dinner last night at the restaurant Campanile with Alex Lifeson and Geddy Lee of Rush. They are in Los Angeles finishing a new album that should be out very soon. Alex says it will be a new sound for Rush, “heavier and more powerful than before.” They were both super excited about how the album was coming along. Me too!
We also got excited about some of the wines we drank, particularly a 2004 Williams Selyem Pinot Noir San Benito County Vista Verde Vineyard and a 2003 Bernard Dugat-Py Gevrey-Chambertin Coeur de Roy Vieilles Vignes. Geddy had purchased some of the later a couple of years ago when we were in Beaune together for the Hospices de Beaune. So it was fun to drink it together.
Interestingly, the California Pinot and the Burgundy were very close in style. Both had lots of ripe and showy fruit, loaded with strawberry jam character. They were big, round and soft. And they were already delicious to drink. I scored the Selyem 90 points and the Dugat-Py 92 points, unofficially.
Geddy is one of the most knowledgeable guys I know on Burgundy. And he was really pleased with the 2003 Dugat-Py, even though “it was really ripe from being from a very ripe year like 2003.” He thought the California wine was a little one-dimensional. I thought he was being a little hard on it. Alex was with Geddy and preferred the French wine, too.
I thought it was amusing that Jay Perrin, the sommelier and manager of Campanile, thought the Selyem was ‘feminine’ in style. I told him in so many words that the wine’s feminine style was pretty voluptuous then! Perrin has a super well-selected wine list, with good prices.
I really enjoyed both wines, more for their differences than what they had in common. Pinot Noir when it's outstanding, rocks.
We also had a 1996 Domenico Clerico Barolo Ciabot Mentin Ginestra. I know this wine well. I did a big retrospective tasting of 1996 Barolos a couple of months ago and a column is forthcoming with tasting notes. Nearly all of the 1996 Barolos are as superb as ever—bright, aromatic, fruity and silky textured. Great wines. Unfortunately, I didn’t think the bottle we had last night was perfect. It was a little hard and slightly subdued. But it was still outstanding, 90 points, unofficially.
Believe it or not, a group of Italian winemakers were also at Campanile—which, by the way, serves delicious Mediterranean-style food. Don’t miss it if you are in Los Angeles. The group included none other than Domenico Clerico, not to mention Enrica Scavino, and others. I just about fell out of my chair when I saw them, with their importer Yanno de Grazia, walk into the restaurant. I saw a couple of them rubbing their eyes when they saw me, like they had seen a ghost or something.
By the end of the evening, a “Campanile reunion” with the Piedmont producers and Rush was planned for their concert this fall in Milan ... rock ‘n roll and Barolo.
You should have seen the smiles on the faces of Geddy and Alex when I told them about the idea.
Benjamin C Haber — January 26, 2007 2:51am ET
Ken Koonce — Dallas, Texas — January 26, 2007 9:14am ET
Adam Lee — Santa Rosa, CA — January 26, 2007 10:11am ET
Troy Peterson — Burbank, CA — January 26, 2007 10:25am ET
Al Larson — San Carlos,CA — January 26, 2007 5:41pm ET
Nicolas Van Dyk — Los Angeles — January 31, 2007 1:53pm ET
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