Long live the Euro? There is nothing quite like summer in Europe, and my annual pilgrimage all over the continent has already seen me in two cities, with five more in the next four days. And away we go. The wine bar has been set high thanks to a visit to one of the greatest collections in the world that I know. You’ll see more from him this September, but for now, let’s start with a small sampling that he shared this past Friday night.
The Usual Suspects
Everything was served blind, or supposed to be. The Champagnes accidently came out first, so we saw first up was a half-bottle of 1943 Pommery. It had a nice apple juice nose with a kiss of tangy rust. While completely lacking bubbles, it was not oxidized and still delicious. Its acidity was quite extraordinary, and its rich, caramel flavors lingered in this smooth and tasty wine. Champagne can get very wine-like when they get old (93H).
Dry Cleaning Service
We also saw the 1966 Billecart Salmon Cuvee Nicholas Francois. Our host noted ‘green apples,’ and there was also this seashell/seabreeze edge to it. Its nose was very vibrant, citrusy and zippy. Our host noted, ‘it was like a cream for the inside of your skin,’ admiring its texture and flavor. Its palate was grassy in an intense way, and it reminded me of a yellow corset. Elegant and long, the Billecart retained its zip, zig and zag in the glass, although there was a touch of cardboard to it that was what it was(94).
Ok, finally a blind wine. White, of course, and at first I was reminded of a late release Leroy. Someone found it ‘Sauvignon Blanc,’ and he was correct. Its pungent nose was full of yellow hay and grass aromas. Its palate was long and rich, and we concluded it had to be Dageneau, the master of the grape. It was, it being a 1997 Dageneau Pur Sang out of magnum. This was a twenty year old Sauvignon Blanc that was still young and ascending! Impressive. Its acidity was still great, and it was still so young. Butter and grapefruit flavors rounded out this masterful wine, which is a great alternative white that is world class without the wolrd class price tag(95M).
Old for the Grape, Young for the Wine
The next white wine was serious Burgundy, ‘as good as it gets,’ I wrote. The nose was kinky, sweet and sexy. There was a lot going on in this complicated wine. There were super fireplace aromas amongst its drippingly wet fruit. This was a crazy wine, ‘so kinky’ I wrote again. There were aromas and flavors of yellow, white and orange fruits, butter, honey, toast and leather, with the whips and chains. I was thinking Coche, and it was. Yeah, baby : ) This 1997 Coche-Dury Meursault Perrieres was spectacular. It was fat and ‘roasted,’ and even better than the 1996 that I had five days prior. That was still pretty damn good, too (97).
We were clearly in red Bordeaux territory with the next wine. It had a deep, rich nose of cassis, chocolate, coffee, bandaid, earth and a touch of garden goodness. There were lots of wild herbs and wild child action in this very old wine. The palate was tangy, rich and spicy with more chocolate and game flavors. It was revealed to be a 1928 Margaux, wow! There was so much power in this ancient warrior, a testament to the vintage. This was rich, sumptuous and saucy. Plush and long, the Margaux also had caramel flavors develop. While spectacular for the first glass and refill, it did start to fade with time, but by that time, there wasn’t much left. When wines are old, enjoy them right away and don’t hesitate (96).
We knew the next was a 1959 Margaux, as it got set aside during inspection due to an unusually short cork relative to the rest of the ones we packed up. So our host was like, ‘let’s drink it.’ Good call! There was no issue with this bottle, which was classy and smooth. ‘Mature cherries’ came from the crowd, and while not a thrilling example of Margaux, it was a classic one. It was fresh like clean glass, very round and nice(94).
The next wine I nailed. “1978 DRC” and I was right. That doesn’t happen too often lol. This was a perfect bottle, even sweeter than usual. There was so much character, with menthol, rust, autumn, ‘licorice’ and ‘fermented plums.’ Its acidity was remarkable, and its perfect nose incredibly perfumed. This 1978 DRC Grands Echezeaux was superb (96).
There was one more wine on this magical evening, and we were in Bordeaux again, and this time we suspected Pomerol. And Petrus, but guesses were about 10-20 years off for this incredible 1953 Petrus. It had a deep nose of black fruits, wheat, grains and berries with chocolate flavors galore. This was a butterfly of a wine with perfect balance and a stronger finish than most wines from this seductive vintage. Rich, sumptuous and sexxxy, this was ‘so juicy and easy to drink’ (97).
Europe 2016 is off to a good start.
In Vino Veritas,