Our Mondiale group has had the good fortune to sample some of the best Burgundies over the years. While these wines can be magical and ethereal, the prices can be equally astronomical. We decided to look to the New World for Pinot Noir that may be gaining in reputation and shine a light on some deserved candidates to discover tasty delights and future collectibles. Our progressive setting for these modern wines was the newly opened Ascent at Roebling’s Bridge, designed by internationally-renowned architect Daniel Libeskind and situated at the foot of the prototype for the Brooklyn Bridge built more than a century ago.
After a warm-up of truffle anointed tenderloin canapés and Gruet Blanc de Noirs from Albuquerque, we sampled wines from California, Oregon, and New Zealand. Some were well known to “Pinot-philes” while others were rarer limited production bottlings. David Bruce was the best known with a classic profile of deep cherry, bramble, lush body with spicy oak, and a hint of mushroom. The California selections were generally more fruit driven with the LIOCO going off the rails showing overblown jammy notes while the Calera made by Josh Jensen in Mt. Harlan showed leaner balance with great aging potential. The group found the Chehalam from Ribbon Ridge in Oregon to be controversial where there were many fans as well as critics for a wine with more similarity to Burgundy than to California. The Craggy Range from the north island of New Zealand was appropriately off on its own to represent this burgeoning district that has been little seen in the USA. Bright acidity and light structure were dominant in a style that seemed comparatively thin and did not contrast well next to our other wines.
We then got to try the offerings again with an imaginative feast prepared by Chef Micheal Forgus making for a sumptuous satisfying meal. After a pleasing dessert course, Dame de la Chaîne Cathy Comisar took us on a tour of several condominiums culminating with a walk through of the uppermost multistory Pinnacle penthouse. We literally reached the peak of the Ascent and towered in the city skyline while we contemplated the heights our wine contenders had achieved.
J.T. Mayer, Vice Chargé de Presse