As end of summer nears, it is easy to drift away into rest and relaxation mode, to savor those last days of summer before the Fall begins. Translation: time for a wake up call. A cackle of Conti would do just the trick, and thanks to the motivation of The Mogul and the steady hand of Sir Robert, we put 13 bottles of Conti in the chamber, all Monty, LT and RC. Bang bang, let the Fall begin.

The chill of Fall is already apparent in those New York nights, but it wasn’t cold enough to stop us from a couple of bubblies on the patio, beginning with a 1996 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne. It was plump and pleasant, less racy than I expected given the vintage. It was buttery, tasty and seemingly maturing faster than most 1996s, or maybe it was a style thing (94+).

The Way to Romanee Conti

A 1981 Krug Clos du Mesnil was a rare treat. The third vintage of the ‘RC’of Champagne delivered a strong performance. This was a big, bready and brawny bubbly, full-bodied and stony. It was briny in a good way, with some sledgehammer on top. Its only flaw was a touch of squareness to the circle it wanted to be, but it was still young and outstanding, just a bit muscly (95).

The warmup was over, and we sat down to a pair of white knights, the first being a 2007 DRC Montrachet. Game on. The Rocketman noted how the ’07 was ‘too young, hasn’t calmed down.’ It was a bit on the corny side, honeyed and buttery but unyielding for sure. While smooth on the palate, there was a touch of ‘dumber’ to it at first, but it made a comeback over time. DuJeremy noted ‘a saltiness’ in the ’07. It was outstanding, but I wanted and expected more (95).

Eeny Meeny Miny

The 2005 DRC Montrachet was a knockout. I expected this to be a bit clumsy, as ’05 whites are not usually in the same category as reds, but this one sure was. We were discussing how everyone always assumes a great red vintage is a great white vintage, but how it isn’t always the case, and how whites beat to their own drum. This 2005 white, however, shut down the ’07, which is theoretically the better white vintage. This was big, buttery, smoky and toasty. Rich, thick and lush, this was about as strong as a white wine gets. DuJeremy found it ‘easy to like,’ and that it ‘feels readier than it should,’ also finding this ‘Hawaiian vanilla’ in it. This was a powerful powerhouse, it had the power (97+).

The last Montrachet of the evening was quite reductive and smoked. There was great volume to its palate, and it felt like we should have saved it for dessert. The 1986 DRC Montrachet kept getting better and better and better, but it ultimately was a bit of an outlier (93A).

The 1995 DRC Montrachet that Diamondz brought was so tropical and exotic that it stood out from the crowd. There was this tea leaf, sandy, hibiscus, almost marzipan thing happening, along with some Thai brothy goodness. DuJeremy noted ‘goji’ while I did guava. The Snow Queen saw it ‘dancing on the table,’ or perhaps that was The Mogul (96).

The last Montrachet of the evening was quite reductive and smoked. There was great volume to its palate, and it felt like we should have saved it for dessert. The 1986 DRC Montrachet kept getting better and better and better, but it ultimately was a bit of an outlier (93A).

Mo’

Enough of that white shtuff, it was time for some red, red wine. 1985 DRC La Tache, ok, that works. This ’85 was solid, but a bit obtuse at first and not amongst my better experiences with this wine. It wasn’t ‘off,’ per se, but it wasn’t ‘on’ either. Milk and yeast were the first things that came to mind, along with sous bois and black fruits. Cherry traces blessed this round and smooth wine (93).

Triumphant Trio

The 1978 DRC La Tache was tall, dark and handsome, all that and then some. This was a minty, beefy, bloody wine. There was lots of menthol, rose and garden in this nearly perfect ’78. Its palate was rich and saucy with great, handpicked, heirloom tomato flavors. The Mogul was gushing how he just ‘melted into it;’ this was quintessential LT. Lots of complicated spice added forte to its finish. A masterpiece (97+).

The last of this triumphant trio was the 1971 DRC La Tache. It had a mushroomy, truffly nose. It was also saucy, but overshadowed by the 1978. Four out of five times, the 1971 wins this battle, but on this night, the 1978 stood tall. This particular bottle of ’71 also lacked the usual acidity and was a bit softer on its finish. Its flavors were more brothy, and while still outstanding, it scored lower than usual (95).

We sadly had only one more flight, but it happily contained two RC’s. But first, the 1990 DRC La Tache. This has always been a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde wine for me, but this bottle delivered a top-notch performance. It had a fantastic nose, superlative in every which way. It was utterly complicated with its spice, forest and mint. Full-bodied and tight like might, this was a rusty, zippy, long, thick and gritty wine. Its only flaw was that it got a touch dirtier in the glass, bringing back reminders of lesser bottles of this legendary wine (96+).

Don’t Call It A Comeback

1991 DRC Romanee Conti. Well, hello, old friend. It’s getting rarer to see RC’s opened like the good ol’ days, so it was much appreciated to have this dynamic duo thanks to The Mogul and The Rocketman. The 1991 had deep ocean fruit that was rich, saucy, big and beefy. The stuffing was greater than the turkey lol. DuJeremy cooed, ‘this is what I envision.’ Sir Robert found it ‘above its class.’ It was so sweet, so perfumed, so great…what a wine. Its finished smacked asses and faces, letting everyone know who the superstar in the room was (98).

The 1985 DRC Romanee Conti that followed was open and fragrant, showing off the best qualities of the vintage. Its nose was sweet and musky, creamy and honeyed. It had the beef and soy similar to the La Tache, but in a bigger way. Rich, juicy and spicy, it also showed a touch of good dirty, but it didn’t stand up to the 1991 as one might have thought prior to this head-to-head showdown (95).

So Happy Together

Fall is upon us, and on September 6th we are kicking it off at Marea with our best NY auction in years, with close to $4 million available and some fantastic cellars. Bang bang.

In Vino Veritas,
JK

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