After a hard week packing up Wolfgang’s cellar, or should I say half of it, Wolf rewarded us with a tremendous dinner at Zum Gupf, a spectacular mountain retreat near Appenzell where you can actually see Germany and Austria. We sampled a quintet of wines from his cellar, featuring a pair of Romanee Contis and Leroys, two of his favorite things.
First, we set the table with a 1996 Krug clos du Mesnil. The razor-like acidity was incredible at first whiff, slicing through my nose with ninja-like dexterity. The nose was pure Krug with its vanilla cream and bright citrus rainbow. The palate was so fresh and zippy but somehow reserved. Its flavors still manged to last on my palate for over a minute. It reminded me of Romanee Conti (RC) with its extraordinary subtlety yet length. There were excellent traces of nut and wood in this Champagne that is as good as it gets (98+).
The 1982 Montrachet had a deep color and fantastic nose with an amazing balance of smoke and sweetness. Aromas of forest and Szechuan oil without the spicy edge graced its regal nose, along with butter, caramel and honey. Its palate was rich and sweet with lots of root vegetable flavors. Wolf found that it ‘shows botrytis,’ but its sweetness was not over the top, and it was in a perfect spot at age 26. The acisity was still solid even though the wine just melted in the mouth. There was great dust expression as well as well as toffee crunch flavors, and a ‘scotch-like complexity’ per Justin. Hints of mesquite rounded out this rich, supple and perfect expression of mature Montrachet (95).
A 1990 Leroy Latricieres Chambertin needed a minute to blow off its oak, but after that aromas of cherry oil, forest, earth, mint and basil. This was certainly a bull in the burgundy shop lol. Black cherry and strawberry joined the party, and this exotic Thai curry (wow!) along with cinnamon. The wine was a bit brutish after the Montrachet but still excellent and signature in style of Leroy. It got more Asian in its spice with a refill, its big beefy flavors balancing well with its leather, spice and spine. It got more purple in its nose, and a debate ensued whether this was poetry or rap. Either way, it had something to say (93).
The 1990 Leroy Richebourg was much beefier and brawnier, very brooding in style. Again, there was this initial whiff of wood, along with sesame oil and crunch. More animalistic, the Richebourg also had much more power, again big and bruising with more slate and mineral this time. It got saucier in the glass, concentrated and exotic, thick, burly and rich with its meaty flavors of beef and cola. Bouillon emerged, along with smoked almonds (95+).
The 1983 Romanee Conti was a fitting farewell. Exotic aromas of mint and vanilla first emerged, along with some tutti frutti and a hint of rot. It was still concentrated yet also light on its feet. The palate was thick and lush, so RC. The mint morphed into more spice cabinet, and rust crept in. It had that gout de terroir and rich, delicious menthol flavors. Its acidity was still remarkable for 1983, a year that always seems to setll please me when it comes to the best producers. There is no doubt that this is one of them (95).
It was a small selection, but one that proved the point yet again what a special cellar this is. I will always drink to it.
In Vino Veritas,