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Summer in New York City is host to some of its greatest wine collectors’ birthdays. Three of them, well one technically from LA, celebrated together late June at Per Se. Wild Bill, the Curious Gourmet and Hollywood Jef were all turning 61, so they decided to celebrate with a great lineup of wines from 1961. But first, we had to have some Coche, of course.

A 2001 Coche-Dury Meursault Perrieres had a smoky nose with a buttery, rich spice and a diamond-like shine. It was definitely rich stuff, but it thinned a bit in the middle, and the Hedonist thought it was ‘aging more rapidly’ than it should. The wine had solid acidity, but it wasn’t an elite Coche. There was hearty fruit, but it lacked the expected and usual extra dimension (93?).

We quickly righted our course with the 2002 Coche-Dury Meursault Perrieres, which was a great example of Perrieres. It was in line with the ’02 Coche Corton Charlemagne I’d had the Saturday night prior. Is that snobby or factual lol. There was so much spice and minerality on the nose with the palate still super tight and fresh. It was laser-like and oh so good. There was fresh, endless acidity, making this an elegant and stylish wine that closed out with tremendous length and stoniness (96).

The 2005 Coche-Dury Meursault Perrieres was super fat and much chunkier like some 2005s can be. At first, this lacked the definition of the 2002, but it had loads of brawn and weight. It was rich, sweet, and ‘unctuous’ per the Curious Gourmet. It got better and better, becoming slightly zippier in the glass, continuing to blossom. Jetski agreed, and in the end it was slightly better than the ’02 with all that emerging definition (96+).

We pivoted quickly into the red zone with a 1961 DRC Grands Echezeaux. This was a bit maderized with that tangy, tomato zing. The palate was gamy and I initially DQ’ed the wine, but it got better, in a dirty bouillon way (93).

Staying on theme, next up was a Wolfgang bottle of 1961 DRC Richebourg. This had a great nose that was young and fresh with tomato, citrus and rose—so much sweet rose. There was a pinch of Worcestershire, which gave it a gamy edge, and made it a bit brothy in a good way. This wine was all about richness but was slightly less pure than what was to follow (95).

The 1961 DRC La Tache had even more power on the nose, with more garden vibes and incredible freshness. There was citrus and a touch of good dirtiness. This was very fresh, pure, and the cleanest of the three with gorgeous elegance. To Hollywood Jef, this was the pinnacle of the ‘61s, ‘good, better, and best’ (96).

We moved on to Bordeaux with a 1961 Chateau Gruaud Larose, which had a classy nose. There was great cedar, nut and cassis with nice flesh and a bit of clay to the palate. This was a solid wine with great balance, length and grit to the finish. It was an outstanding start for this outstanding vintage in Bordeaux (95).

The 1961 Chateau Margaux had a nose full of caramel and carob. There was a nice, wheaty sweetness and the palate was smooth, soft, tender and easy. Jetski can be a tough grader in his eternal quest to drive down prices for his buying pleasure and gave it an 88. So JK Jr. of him lol. I was into the nice flavors and the nice nose of this nice, excellent wine (93).

The 1961 Chateau Figeac had sweet, red currant fruits and was smooth and balanced. It was a touch creamy, with a little curds ‘n whey thing going on. It lacked the depth of the previous two wines (92).

The 1961 Chateau Mouton Rothschild had a very nice nose and was full of elegance. This was stuffed with carob and was smooth and classy. I have never been a huge lover of this vintage for Mouton, preferring the 1959 by far. Though it was very good, it was 93 points at best, and really only a 92 (92).

The Holy Man thought ‘you could put the 1961 Chateau Palmer in a DRC flight.’ This had a smooth nose, with nice richness and great concentration with some good stink. It was rich and saucy with lots of goodness and was deemed ‘delicious’ by Wild Bill (96).

The 1961 Chateau Trotanoy was so rich and concentrated with a coffee thickness to it. It was creamy, long and zippy with chocolate sex and caramel goodness, too. This was a spectacular bottle, and another tribute to the fabulousness also known as ’61 Pomerols. Wow wine (98).

The 1961 Chateau Ausone was a nice wine, full of rich gingerbread and red fruits, but it was no match for the Trotanoy. It was creamy but the palate was light, smooth and easy with a touch of wintergreen. It was just a little simpler than the rest and ended up in the Mouton category (92).

The 1961 Cheval Blanc was ripe and sweet with some of that motor oil richness. It had that rich, creamy coconutty quality that older Chevals often have and a touch of leather. It had some initial concentration, but it fell off. I have had better bottles (92).

The 1961 Petrus was the best wine of the flight, but not the best ’61 Petrus I’d ever tried. It was recorked by Wine Guard in 1991. It had garden freshness and a watered-down chocolatey nose. This was classic Petrus with its rich denseness but not the super wine it should be, on the level of the Trot, etc. I guess that’s what happens when some random person recorks, who the heck is Wine Guard anyway (95).

We interrupted our ’61 programming with a bottle from ‘59. The 1959 Petrus was toffee city and dripping in richness. This was an original cork and damn delicious accordingly. There were great wheat and caramel flavors. This was a rich, decadent wine, and it mellowed into sweet honey (96).

There was a grand finale waiting in the wings, beginning with a 1961 Chateau Latour that also had wheaty fruit and nice creaminess. There was a bit of nutty, honeyed goodness, but it was softer than usual. It still had nice weight, but it felt a bit oaky. More butter emerged, and it was soupy, zippy, and brothy, more like some chunky soup. While still outstanding, again it was a wine where I have had numerous better bottles (95).

Next up was a truly spectacular 1961 La Mission Haut Brion, my WOTN. It was rich, decadent and creamy with loads of gravel and a thick, chocolatey, honeyed finish. There was loads of zip and zoom to its out of this world palate. Now this was a perfect bottle (99).

The 1961 Chateau Haut Brion was similar to the La Miss in its aroma profile, but it was not as complicated. The wine was a little dry with some wheat and light caramel and buttery tones (95).

We closed with a sweetie, and 1967 Chateau d’Yquem which had a long finish to send us off. It was full of dry caramel and candlewax flavors (96).

Thanks to the Hedonist, all of us got a free gynecology lesson with dessert. I think guys are supposed to get those when they turn 61 lol. There were lots of questions and laughs, and I’m not sure if our group of merry men left with more questions than answers. We might need a second lesson for 62s for 62s next summer!

In Vino Veritas,

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