The following superstars were shared with dear friends at a May 2023 dinner at Estes Park, Colorado’s Bird & Jim Restaurant, which I consider the finest eatery in the Rocky Mountain National Park region. If you’re in this area be sure to swing by, the food is spectacular, the wine list is world class and the staff is super friendly! Reservations highly recommended. Bird & Jim | Restaurant and Bar | Estes Park (

2006 Descendientes de J. Palacios, Bierzo, Corullón, Monçerbol (RT97) An impressive performance by this stunning example of the heights Mencía can achieve, this bottle impressed in every way this evening, from its magically lifted bouquet to its silky, weightless mouthfeel. Deep, dark, and nearly impenetrable with its blackish ruby hue, the aromatic profile has your glass returning again and again to your nose as fruity notes of blackberry and ripe plum are buttressed with terroir-driven forest floor and superb minerality. The bouquet has evolved into an amazingly attractive array of elegance. The palate is seamless, revealing just how much potential Mencía offers, showing mouth-coating richness, perfect acidity and amazingly sweet, ripe tannins melding into a mind blowing elixir. At age 16+ this is an overly convincing example of the world class wines being crafted today in Bierzo. Do not miss current vintages of this beauty and give them a few years to 15 or more of cellaring if you have the patience! Drink now-2031+    

2001 Marcarini, Barolo, Brunate (RT94) At 21 years of age this has reached its full, satisfying drinking window where it will hold for many years. Bought on release and stored in my cellar since, it presents a garnet-golden tinged mature hue, as notes of classic Brunate elements waft from glass with notes of ripe, red cherry liqueur, balsam, rose petal potpourri, and chalk dust lead to a gorgeously elegant mouthfeel. Virtually embracing the iron fist-velvet glove paradigm, power meets elegance as the fruit and weightlessness, marked by delicious acidity and sweet tannins create a beautiful, complete glass of Barolo. Marcarini’s Brunate is always an overperformer, but one that requires proper cellaring to bring out its potential. Those looks for drink-now pleasure should just keep moving. Drink now-2036