Ok, so my theoretical 12 Days of Christmas was only six. I hear everyone likes half-price lol. Well, let’s now officially call it seven, as I just had to get one more article out in 2018, and there will never be an article as appropriate as this for New Year’s Eve. It’s funny, I was telling someone the other day that if someone doesn’t like wine, I do not know how to even talk to them. It’s like they are some backwards, inbred alien race that needs centuries of evolution before I can relate to them. Or they can just fall in love with wine, much easier. Suffice it to say, Bad Boy and I have been getting along for almost two decades, and while he has a head start on me, I told him I would handle the finish lol.
There are lots of great wine events throughout any given year in many given places, but there is one event that is always the fine wine party of the year. The Bad Boy has seen a few things over the years from his lifetime in the music industry, and he has found the translation when it comes to fine and rare wine. Every year he invites a few friends (he tries to cap it at fifty), and everyone must bring a couple of bottles or a magnum…at least. He set the table this year with five magnums of DRC Montrachet…and a Jero. Go big or stay home lol. And on this incredible day, Bad Boy was the only one who could do both.
The Great 1996
Let The Games Begin
Those that know Bad Boy well know to get there a little early. I thought I was early around 130pm, but the Punisher was already holding court. He brought the Lobster Club sushi guy with him who was fantastic, and that held us over for the afternoon. Well, that and the kilo of Caviar, the few pounds of white truffles and the thirty pizzas, and that was before dinner. There were a lot of Hungry Men in the room:. The afternoon also saw a who’s who of Vintage Tastings lore, such as the aforementioned Punisher, Big Boy, the Rev, Alexander the Great, the Attorney General, Pitts, the Hillbilly and even the one and only King Angry. I think he has decided to finally reclaim the throne lol. I took 51 tasting notes over the course of the afternoon and evening, although the last ten or so got a bit snippy, as in shorter than I would theoretically like. I did spit a bit, mainly for the young Champagnes, but as usual, it was not enough.
The 2008 Cristal Rose started our day. Bad Boy had been talking about this wine for a while; he is one of the most knowledgeable Champagne guys out there, so when he says something is one of the greatest, I listen. The 2008 Rose was like a rocket ship with a zippy, endless finish. Strawberry and citrus were King and Queen of this prom, and while young, there was no questioning its greatness (98).
The 1996 Cristal Rose magnum had a great nose and was more open with the same leathery edges as the 2008 but smokier fruit. This was another rocket ship of wine with the acidity poppin’ like synchronized twerking. It was tough to get the red out of the Rose, but the intensity felt like it took 2008 up one notch (98+M).
The 1996 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Rose was showing off its full-bodied greatness with all the acid of the vintage and more fruit than one could imagine present in a 1996. This was full of rich and zippy strawberry flavors and a touch of garden goodness (95+M).
The 2008 DRC Montrachet was the first of our multiple Montrachet magnums, and it was ‘so stylized with botrytis,’ the Punisher noted. This was pure pleasure and one of the Punisher’s favorite DRC Montys for drinking now. It was rich and creamy but not too over the top. There was nice yellow fruit, straw, and golden flavors to this delicious and creamy wine (96M).
Bad Boy always brings the Soldera, as he knows this is one of the world’s great, unique wines. We began, as one should, with the very rare 1978 Soldera. This was clearly an older wine with great leather, spice, and dried red fruits. There was that Sauvage goodness in a dried leafy way. Underneath, there remained a core of sugar, sweet and delicate on a plateau, but it still had a slap of rocky goodness on its finish. There was nice dryness, and both the Attorney General and Bad Boy blessed it as ‘great,’ and I found it incredibly Burgundian. What was so amazing about the 1978 was the fact that when I came back to it an hour or two later, it was even better (97).
The Corked Jero!
The 1982 Soldera was so voluptuous and full-bodied with great chocolate and smoke aromas. There were ripe, rich blacker fruits and twangy blackberries along with round sweet cherry and citrus flavors. This was perfectly plump and Sims’ favorite for now (96).
We interrupted the Soldera vertical, as Bad Boy wanted to try the Jero of 1985 DRC Montrachet. it was corked FUCK! Corked bottles always hurt, but they definitely hurt a lot more when they are 30k bottles OUCHHHHHHH. I tried to look past its corkiness, which is always difficult, and it had gamy, creamy, waxy and honeyed flavors on the palate, which was far superior to the nose. There was some mesquite on the finish. It was definitely mature, on the older side versus the younger side and more than unfortunate (95A-J).
The 1985 Soldera was a bit glue-y on the nose with more leather and citrus tanginess. The wine was rich with a bit of herbal goodness but a monstrous finish, but I couldn’t quite get past the glue-y element. Chocolatey and caramelly flavors began to emerge with lots of tobacco (95+M?).
The 1987 Soldera was milder and easy drinking with a brighter and lighter style. There was more citrus and autumn action here, along with nice garden, chocolate and jerky flavors (93).
The 1990 Soldera was phenomenal and still my favorite Soldera of all time after all these years. It was so exotic and creamy with great richness. There were smoky, nutty and rich chocolatey and caramelly flavors with some tobacco at the end, like a great dinner unto itself. This was so thick and so delicious (98).
The 1995 Soldera Intistieti was solid; it was dry and crispy but I couldn’t pay it much attention. Things were starting to heat up (93).
The twelfth wine I tasted on this glorious day was a 1988 DRC Romanee Conti. Only the Punisher could punish in RC fashion! It had an autumnal nose with forest floor, lots of leather and a tangy, smoky sweetness with a drop of honey. This was smooth and satiny stuff with nice citrus and a bit of good dirty to its flavors like a mouth full of…insert your own word here lol. The tannins of the vintage still shined through (95).
It was time to check out the bevy/assortment of 1996 Champagnes. There was one table set up with all the magnums of the best of the best of the best, sir! I powered through them quickly for the sake of Academia, as despite my affinity for 1996 and Champagne (it may be the greatest vintage ever), there was just too much going on even older and rarer. The following is my summary:
|1996 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne .||(97M)|
|1996 Cristal .||(97+M)|
|1996 Philipponnat Clos des Goisses .||(95M)|
|1996 Dom Ruinart .||(93M)|
|1996 Salon .||(97+M)|
|1996 Krug Clos de Mesnil .||(96M?)|
The Taittinger was butterscotch city, with sweet yellow fruits and a creamy, honeyed deliciousness. The Krug was leaner and a little tight. It was great, but not showing as well as the others. The Cristal was rich with more fatness and a yellow goodness. It was zippy with rich butter flavors and dense minerality, nipping on the heels of the Rose sampled earlier. Roederer definitely killed it in 1996, an opinion I have held for twenty years. The Clos des Goisses was ‘so Pinot’ per the Attorney General, and I found it very bready and full-bodied. It had that gamy, Pinot Noir thing going on, for sure. The Dom (Ruinart) was creamy and classic with a sprinkling of herbs, while the Salon was like diamonds cutting through a rock (star finish). Very appropriate for a Bad Boy production! Lastly, the one and only Clos du Mesnil was very rich and creamy with tasty, vanilla cream and honey flavors. However, it was a bit clumsy and oaky with maybe too much of that there for me. It had a great mouthfeel but awkward flavors, and I usually rate this higher, usually the highest as a matter of fact. Perhaps the magnum wasn’t ready yet.
We returned to the red wines with a magnum of 1988 Dujac Clos St. Denis, which had all that autumnal sous bois action along with sweet, caressing fruit. This was also candied and perfectly mature with great mesquite flavors and tremendous complexity. It was definitely aging and maybe past its prime, a bit dry on the finish but still an excellent wine (94M).
I made my way back to Soldera with a 1988 Soldera, which had a touch of egg to it, but it was full-bodied and rich with loads of tobacco (95).
There was another 1996 bubbly that snuck into the mix, that being a 1996 Jacques Selosse. It was so sweet with extreme caramel, earth and gingerbread notes. Selosse should make more vintage Champagnes (96).
The 1949 Drouhin Marquis de Laguiche Montrachet was not cooked but just too old, not a perfect bottle somehow (DQ).
It had been a while since we had a magnum of DRC Monty, and a magnum of 2004 DRC Montrachet was willing, able and obliging to end that losing streak. This was a sweet and classic DRC Monty, creamy and outstanding. It was rich and buttery with a nice, light grit. I can’t remember the time, but I felt like writing that it was getting to the point where notes were not going to work lol. It was only wine number 24, and I would rally quickly (96M).
DOA But Cool To See
I spilled all over my note for the 1989 Petrus. Some of the words I can still recognize are intense, chocolate, exotic, molasses and ‘as always.’ The 1989 Petrus is, along with the 1989 Haut Brion, the greatest Bordeaux(s) made in the last thirty years (99).
The 1989 Lafleur had superb intensity. It was rich, full-bodied and a rock star wine. Its finish kept building in the glass. It boa constricted on its finish, and I kept writing ‘intense’ and ‘super intense’ again and again. I wondered at the end if this might ultimately be better than the Petrus, although I am not sure that is possible (98+)!
The 1989 Le Pin was exotic as ever, as well as gamy and almost grimy. There were purple berries there in a brambly way and lots of creamy notes. Someone noted ‘vegetal hay,’ and I felt like it kept sliding down the scale. Truth be told, I have never been a huge fan of this vintage when from this Chateau (93).
The 1971 Ruinart Blanc de Blancs was similar to the earlier 1996. There was a good sweet core of vanilla and sugar flavors, but it was gamey and grassy, too (93).
A magnum of rarely seen 1958 Haut Brion showed up, and it was ok and interesting to try. Gravel and band-aid were the signature characteristics (89M).
There was an intermezzo of sorts, a 2002 D’Auvenay Chevalier Montrachet. It had a super sweet finish with lots of yellow fruits, but it’s over sweetness dominated. While this was gritty and classy with a long finish, it was always a bit too sweet (94).
The 1959 Latour in magnum was rich and decadent with great spice, cedar and cassis flavors. This was a classic in every which way of the word; it is tough to find a better Bordeaux to drink right now, especially out of magnum (99M).
The 1993 Rousseau Chambertin was an ALL TIME ALL STAR, written exactly that way. This was a rich and decadent Burgundy, just starting to show its stuff. Its taut, citric, cherry fruit was tangy, round yet ripe in a sweaty, animalistic way. This was so good with a good greenness, a veritable Green Lantern in a black night. Ok, I think I was getting a little tipsy with that one lol. It was wine number 32, after all (98).
Clos de Beze Power
It was finally Rousseau time, and the 1995 Rousseau Chambertin Clos de Beze had great vigor with nice citric tension and lots of shades of red fruits. It had nice citrus and red fruit flavors with firm tannins. This was a rock solid wine that lived in vim city with a gritty and dry finish (95).
The 1989 Haut Brion was perfect AS EVER. I have gotten lazy with taking notes for this wine, as I have it fairly regularly, and it is always 98 or 99 points. Wine life can be so mundane (99).
A 1990 Roumier Bonnes Mares was a strong match for the ’89 HB. It was a rich and heavy Burgundy, but still possessing pure red fruits, foresty goodness, and citrus twists despite the deep ocean here. This wine has decades to go. No 1990 ‘problems’ here (97+)!
The Rev Always Delivers
The 1985 Dujac Clos de la Roche is always a special wine, and this bottle was like nectar. It had great mature fruits and was right there in that perfect, sweet spot. Autumn’s first breeze blew out of my glass along with fresh hay aromas and juicy grape flavors. As the Brits would say, lovely (97).
A 1985 Ponsot Griottes Chambertin was creamy, milky and gamey but at this point uninteresting (91).
A 1985 Ponsot Latricieres Chambertin was more interesting and on that mature ’85 plateau with a leafy, fleshy personality and a few other things I couldn’t read (95).
The 1971 DRC Richebourg was ‘unreal great,’ per Bad Boy, and I couldn’t disagree. My affection for 1971 and DRC, and 1971 Burgundies in general, is well documented, and this was another fine exhibit. Wagyu flavors dripped from its bones, along with signature rose, menthol, and iron. Great stuff (98+).
The 1962 Comte de Vogue Musigny Vieilles Vignes that followed was a touch bretty and a bit earthy. There was good fruit and some freshness to it, but it was full of bouillon and this outdoor nature action, kind of like shit happening lol (93).
The clock reset with another magnum of Monty, this time the 2006 DRC Montrachet. The 2006 was open for business, wide open in fact, and full of green garden goodness. The ’06 was quite extroverted with its sweet, flamboyant personality (94M).
The 1971 Rousseau Clos de la Roche had pleasing hay, wheat, game, animal, brown sugar, and menthol aromas and flavors. Irv found it ‘really good’ (95).
The 1971 Clair-Dau Chambertin Clos de Beze was full of soft autumn leaves with a great balance of tannin and acid, but its flavors felt like they were downward sloping (94).
The 1962 Comte de Vogue Bonnes Mares was fresher than the Musigny and like walking through a citrus garden. It was quite good (95).
As you can probably tell, my notes were starting to wane. I had sampled forty-four wines up to this point, and we were in full evening mode. One of the founders of Instagram was there, and he arguably brought the best wines, certainly the wine of the night. I love it when the guy who should bring the best wines actually does lol.
Speaking of Instagram, you can follow me @john.kapon. There is a nice wine community there; originally I joined to show my kids I was still cool lol, but I do admit that I enjoy it, lots of great images and pictures and comments, it is pretty fun so go out and join, don’t be such a stuffy old codger. Also, for the record, Twitter is so annoying with all of its opinions, I find Insta much more positive and pleasurable.
Ok, that’s enough social media commentary from me, back to the grand finale, and it was quite grand. Instaman brought the three, maybe four, Bordeaux, and they went fast and furiously. We were like a plague of drunken locusts descending on these Bordelais lights, and there was Bad Boy, deciding if you got a hall pass first or if he would squash you like a bug instead lol. Thankfully, I got the hall pass, and these four BDX were all spectacular wines. The chocolate, cassis and mint of the ’59 Mouton, the richness and black walnuts of the Latour, the incredible deliciousness, flesh and vigor of the always amazing 1945 Mouton, a wine in my Top Ten of all time…and let’s not forget the La Miss, which someone called ‘ethereal.’ All four of these bottles were in superlative condition.
|1959 Mouton Rothschild.||(97)|
|1945 Mouton Rothschild.||(99)|
|1945 La Mission Haut Brion .||(97)|
|1996 DRC Montrachet.||(98M)|
|2000 Cristal Methusaleh.||(97M)|
|1971 Dom Perignon Oenotheque .||(94)|
|1959 Lafite Rothschild.||(98)|
|1961 La Mission Haut Brion .||(97)|
|1978 Chave Hermitage .||(97)|
I missed one magnum of DRC Montrachet for sure, but I didn’t miss the 1996. It is one of the best DRC Montrachets ever made. King Angry finally made his presence felt with a Methusaleh of 1990 Cristal, which was damn delicious. I tried to ask him for his opinion on the wine, but he just kept muttering to himself, ‘bigger is better!’ The ’71 DP was disgorged in 2006, and while good, it wasn’t great. I got two swallows of two more incredible Bordeaux, but you will have to see other writeups for more detail. Let’s just leave it at they were great lol. The ’78 Chave was an official cellar raid, plucked from the frigid racks in Bad Boy’s personal wine cellar, and he was more than obliging. It was a phenomenal bottle and a great way to end the evening. I always love finishing a great wine dinner with a bottle of Chave; it doesn’t get much better, especially when it is a ’78 that is full of animal, violet and bacon with the sizzle. It got a ‘WOW.’
One Last Monty
Methuselahs Show You Care
So that was the wine party of the year, and many thanks to Bad Boy for the great effort organizing the event, and for the extreme generosity he provided as well as motivated from each of the guests. So on this New Year’s Eve in 2018, make sure you stay safe, enjoy yourself, drink irresponsibly well AND PARTY LIKE IT’S BAD BOY’S BIRTHDAY!!!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!
In Vino Veritas,