Kansas City, there I came, for an evening of 1947 Bordeaux assembled by one of the Midwest’s top connoisseurs, Mark. When it comes to Kansas City and wine, there is only one Mark. It was actually a wine weekend, but I could only get away for a Saturday night due to a June catalog production that was running late, so I missed the Burgundies. Our June auction is another phenomenal sale, I might add, and should be a fun one since it will be held on Wednesday evening, June 27th.
But I digress. It was the 60th birthday of a close friend of Mark’s, and that was enough reason for ten or twelve of us to gather in Kansas City, including Tennessee Tom and the original Good Doctor of Ohio. The Midwest’s own Axis of Wine had convened, and I was merely an innocent bystander for an evening of exceedingly rare 1947 Bordeaux.
We started out with a magnum of 1979 Deutz Cuvee William Deutz, courtesy of THE Cellar, as a matter of fact. It was a fantastic magnum, absolutely delicious, toasty and creamy. Its nose was light yet meaty and had superb musk. The finish was long and dry, elegant and stylish. There was still nice richness and great bubbles to this excellent bubbly. Mark admired its ‘toasty and yeasty’ qualities as well, and Michael found it ‘very fine.’ It flirted with being outstanding but ultimately fell a hair short, but this was still a delicious bubbly (94M).
We sat down to a pair of whites, beginning with a 1947 Thevenin Montrachet. It had a very good nose of wheat, vanilla, rainwater, grain, corn and a pat of butter. The palate was dusty and wheaty with a mini citrus bomb of flavors, which were quickly replaced by ones of morning mouth on the finish. It was still pleasant with its old flavors up front, and Michael called it ‘a slow burn,’ ie, that it would get better in the glass. It did and the morning mouth blew off butnever quite left (91).
The 1947 Laville Haut Brion had a dark amber color but was perfectly fine. Old white Bordeaux, whether sweet or dry, still seem to be good when they have this darker color, perhaps the only wine that could be said for. Someone remarked, ‘waxy nose, the Semillon pushes through.’ It had a nice honeycombed nose, with more mahogany wood aromas, and a sweet, almost pencil-y edge. Its musk was insane, and a touch of yeast almost rounded out the nose. There was also this dried, old peach/apricot thing trying to fight through that couldn’t quite make it all the way. Its palate was rich and textured, yeasty, and there were nice earthy flavors, and its acidity really came out on the finish (93).
There was a backup bottle, and even though we technically did not need a backup, Mark pulled the cork without hesitation. That was a good thing, as it was a 1976 Montrachet. Its nose was sweet and minty, exotically sweet like a guava. Tom added, ‘green honeydew melon,’ and corn was there as well. Tom also noted an ‘iron element.’ The palate was big-time; buttery and rich with a minerally dry finish. It was an impressive ’76 and had me wondering if the whites might have an edge over the reds in this decent, yet not incredibly desirable vintage. Dave, our birthday boy, noted, ‘rich, silky, spicy, cloves.’ Sweet caramel also came out in this excellent white (94+).
It was time for the reds, beginning with a St. Julien and two St. Estephes. The 1947 Leoville Las Cases had a nutty, cassisy nose with nice minerality, but this metallic edge was lurking underneath, and it came out more with air. In the mouth, rusty tang and citrus dominated this intense wine that was still full of vim. Secondary aromas and flavors of horseradish came out; the metal blew off into a hypothetical combination of Dr. Brown’s Cream soda and caraway without quite having either (93).
The 1947 Montrose was a Nicolas bottle and had ‘lead pencil and blue plums,’ according to Tom, who also added, ‘dirt.’ Its fruit was meaty, gamy, fatty and full of iodine and reminded me of foie gras and duck skin. Its old book flavors still had meat and richness. Its finish was very dusty with lemon twists. There was a touch of metal, too. Tom called its fruit ‘green,’ and this was a very good but not fantastic bottle of ’47 Montrose, qualitatively close to the Las Cases despite its different style (92).
The 1947 Calon Segur was clearly the wine of the flight, possessing more wheat, chocolate, musk and oat. It had chunky, deep, wheaty fruit, along with ‘lead pencil’ and ‘iron.’ Its palate literally crushed the other two wines. Thick, rich, heavy, big and brawny, the 1947 Calon Segur was rich, earthy, tasty, long and basically spectacular (96).
A trio of First Growths were next, beginning with a 1947 Margaux. The Margaux had a gorgeous nose with tender red fruits, citric pinches, meat, caramel and kisses of old book. Its core was still sweet cassis, and its palate was rich and spiny with loads of old book, citrus, dust and excellent length. It was pretty yet vigorous, yet also softened sooner in the glass than one might hope. Tom called it, ‘the best ’47 Margaux I have had,’ also observing ‘band-aid and coconut’ (93).
The 1947 Lafite Rothschild Frank found ‘disappointing,’ but I liked its nose of pencil, cedar, cassis, nut and swimming pool. It seemed classic Lafite to me. Its palate was very old book and citrus, possessing a bright finish. The wine was nice and clean but a touch simple, and metal emerged in a bothersome way, so Frank’s comments seemed to be about the palate and the nose (91).
The 1947 Mouton Rothschild was, as always, great. Many bottles of ’47 will outshine many bottles of ’45. Tom immediately gave it ‘20 point wine’ and ‘world champion.’ There was incredible richness to the nose; it was so meaty and rich, possessing an unbelievable caramel and cassis core, along with the signature ’47 kiss of menthol. In the mouth, it was so rich, so spicy and so long that it was obviously extraordinary. After the Mouton, it was tough to go back to the other wines in the flight. Its nuttiness was divine, its balance perfect, and it was creamy, rich and lush with a cherry on top (97).
A trio of Right Bank wines completed our reds for the night, led off by a 1947 Clinet. Tom took the lead with ‘cherry cola and sweet, candied fruit.’ That was it, I must admit, Tennessee Tom always gets a hit. He’s also a fan of limericks”¦ok, I better stop there before you hear about the girl from Cameroon”¦There were also touches of tobacco leaf and earth to go with its super plums. Cobwebs crept into the glass like it does into corners of big barns. Tangy, dusty, earthy, citrusy, cherry-y-y, the Clinet was smooth, held well and delivered (93).
A 1947 Petrus was a curious fellow. It had a meaty and gamy nose full of cassis, chocolate, blackberry and boysenberry. Nuts, dates and figs joined the party. It was smooth and satiny, soft and medium-rich. I definitely got some Petrus and some ’47 in the wine, but I was not 100% sure about this bottle, and it certainly did not deliver the incredible experience that I have had three or four times (92?).
The 1947 Cheval Blanc was rich and meaty with signature wintergreen, game and motor oil. It separated itself from the Pomerols and never looked back. Nut, mint, did I say wintergreen? Port-like, rich and superb, the Cheval was a great bottle of this wine (97).
I am not a big dessert wine guy. Although I do love the aromatics and flavors, I just find the sugar too much for my system, especially after a dozen plus other wines. Alcohol is sugar,after all, in the end. The 1947 Huet Vouvray Haut Lieu Moelluex 1er Trie reminded someone of the fact that his second wife drove him to drink, and he never even thanked her. Yes, that is my tasting note for this wine (91).
The 1947 Schloss Vollrads Riesling Trockenbeerenauslese was a little corked but one of the best corked wines I ever had, oh so rich and so full of molasses that ‘smother’ and ‘sex’ came to mind (96A).
The 1947 Yquem is a great Yquem, but it suffered by being served after the TBA. Now repeat after me, I will never serve yquem after a TBA. I will never serve Yquem after a TBA. I will never serve Yquem after a TBA. Dorothy was ready to go, so I called for a cab, before two lovely ladies recognized me from CSI NY. You didn’t know (94?)?
It was back to NY, and off to LA two days later, and the catalog still needed to get done, damnit.
In Vino Veritas,