Saturday night couldn’t come soon enough, this time at Restaurant Daniel. We started off swiftly with a fight of old Cristal. The 1982 Louis Roederer Cristal had a butterscotch and wheaty nose, a bit sandy with some nice zip to it. Its palate was honeyed, long and still fresh. Dave admired its ‘tertiary’ flavors (95+).
A Kiss of Cris
The 1979 Louis Roederer Cristal was drier and longer with even more zip. While long, it was less sweet and flamboyant than the 1982, although Miss Congeniality loved ‘the sugary sweetness of ’79.’ This was dustier on the palate, with flavors of orange rind and game (95).
The 1976 Louis Roederer Cristal was more nutty and a little yeasty. Many thought this was the freshest bottle of the three, but I found it the least interesting (92).
The next flight was a terroir driven horizontal, all White Burgundy from the same vintage. The first wine was a 1982 Sauzet Bienvenues Batard Montrachet. There were aromas of rainwater and anise, along with honeycomb and great pheromones. Its palate was creamy and honeyed and in a perfect spot. There were sweet corn flavors to this delightfully mature yet still youthful white (95).
The 1982 Ramonet Batard Montrachet was a little musty at first, but it improved significantly with the scallop dish that soon followed. It clearly had much more power than the Sauzet; it was also served out of magnum, which certainly helped. Classic nuttiness and foresty mint followed in this smooth and satiny white. It felt younger than the Sauzet; again, likely the magnum factor. Someone hailed it as a “big bastard” and another found it “healthy, lingering bottle” Flavors of honey, rainwater and a touch of exotic cinnamon rounded out this big bottle (96+M).
The 1982 Domaine Leflaive Chevalier Montrachet was also served out of magnum, yet it came across more polished and smooth. It was rich, buttery, sweet and creamy; perhaps, the most classic of all three. Others observed, ‘minerality’ and ‘burnt match.’ Astroman found it to be a meal by itself and that it had ‘everything including the food.’ Interestingly enough, ten in the group preferred the Sauzet, five the Ramonet and eight the Leflaive (there were shared pours). I was in the Leflaive camp (97).
A flight of younger Coche seemed like a good place to go from here. The 2002 Coche-Dury Corton Charlemagne was full of white, icy fruit and diamonds. It was clean and fresh with sprinkles of sugar everywhere. Its acidity was superb and gave the wine great sparkle. Buttery and long, this was a classic Coche in every sense of the word (96).
The Gold Standard
The 1996 Coche-Dury Corton Charlemagne had a bit of dirty birdie in its nose at first, not in a bad way, and in a way that blew off. There were many hues of yellow in this sunny white. It was rich and gamey with great honey and spice flavors. In the end, the majority preferred the 1996. So did I (97).
The 1993 Coche-Dury Corton Charlemagne was a bit mature and frankly advanced. It was gamier than it should have been, and even though it had a pleasant palate, it felt a touch off (93A).
What can I say about the 1989 Haut Brion that I haven’t already said over and over again. It, along with the 1989 Petrus, are the two greatest “young wines I have ever had, and the youngest wines I would include in my ‘Top Ten’ lifetime category (I would let them share a spot lol). This wine has been great every time I tasted it and has never shut down. ‘Humdinger’ summed it up nicely (98+).
Greatest Young Bordeaux
Its sibling, the 1989 La Mission Haut Brion, is also a rock star wine, and this bottle didn’t disappoint. It was deeper and more decadent than the HB, with its usual thick chocolaty style. Motor oil and black fruits rounded out this spectacular La Miss. I’m not sure if Tom Terrific was asking or telling, but there was some question or comment about the 1990 being even better (98).
Humdinger, Part 2,’ was next, that being the 1989 Petrus. While half the tasters preferred the HB, one-third preferred the Petrus, including me. The Mogul found it ‘opulent,’ and it most certainly was. This was another decadent wine, but in that Pomerol way, textbook in every sense with its purple fruit, heavy cream and chocolate kisses. As good as it gets, and btw, the 1990 is not in the same category, sorry (99).
We traveled back in time to the great 1961s, beginning with a 1961 Palmer that was reboucheed in 1998. Its nose was a city of smoke and sex, intriguing and dangerous. It was musky and husky with lots of good dust. Its palate had a touch of jam on it, along with some honeyed flavors. It was long and rich, but it got grapier in the glass and didn’t lift with time, perhaps a function of the reconditioning (95).
The 1961 La Mission Haut Brion was a perfect bottle. I wrote, ‘so great’ three times. Its charcoal, gravel and leather married perfectly with its mature fruit flavors of cassis, blackberry and chocolate. The character of this wine really stood out. It just felt like another class of wine whether weight or society. This was an anytime, anywhere bottle (99).
The 1961 Latour was an oakier bottle. It was a lot richer but its flavor profile was a bit reticent and hesitant to show. There is a lot of bottle variation to this legendary wine, and while this was still an outstanding bottle, it was a bit of an afterthought after that La Mission (96).
It was Rousseau’s turn at laying claim to part of the throne in our weekend’s games, and we began with an outstanding 1993 Rousseau Chambertin Clos de Beze. There were deep cherry oil aromas and great musk to its super sexy nose, along with vitamin and yeast complexities. Its palate was rich and decadent, full of citrus and forest flavors. This was still young (96+).
The 1980 Rousseau Chambertin Clos de Beze was badly corked and a complete (DQ).
The 1969 Rousseau Chambertin more than made up for it. This was a ‘WOW’ wine. It was fleshy and gamey with a dollop of honey to its sweet, musky nose. This twist of lemon accentuated its red fruit flavors, and there were nice earth supplements. Rich and lush, this was a flat out delicious wine, one that is the Burgundy wine of the vintage, for sure (97)
Someone hailed the next flight as “one of the best flights ever” and “a 300 point flight!” I had it at 291+ lol, but it was an amazing flight. The 1978 Dujac Clos St. Denis was ‘textbook’ per Dave. It was full of musk and had a long finish, in that stylish and elegant Burgundy way. It was a gritty wine with nice tension and great minerality. Purple fruits dominated its flavor profile. Ultimately, this was the group’s favorite by far, but not mine (97).
300 Point Flight
The 1978 Dujac Bonnes Mares had a deeper finish and while similar in personality to the CSD, it was richer and thicker overall. There was more toast, earth and game to the Bonnes Mares. Astroman hailed the trio as ‘the most consistent flight of the evening’ (96+).
The 1978 Dujac Clos de la Roche was the best of the flight for me. There was sweeter, purple fruit with many shades of that purple and a creamier personality. There was nice earth to its finish, and while all three had this similarity, I found the sweetness and balance of the CdR superb and a notch up. Its richness and length were stellar as well (98).
We went to La Mouline next, the best of the three ‘LaLas’ if you ask me. The 1978 Guigal Cote Rotie La Mouline was rich and decadent, full of smoke and white pepper aromas. Its palate was creamy and spiny with a long finish that had pinches of jalapeno. The Mogul found it ‘massive,’ and it was a different level of rich and thick (97).
The 1976 Guigal Cote Rotie La Mouline was oakier and even thicker, but a bit oaked out for my tastes. While a touch square, exotic fruit developed. Perhaps this vintage of La Mouline needed more time than I had to give it at this point (94+).
While spectacular in its own right, the 1969 Guigal Cote Rotie La Mouline was a lot more elegant than I remember this wine being, but it might have been ten years since I had it last. These older vintages of La Mouline are super rare. I remember this being a 99 point revelation for me before, but this bottle wasn’t that. Astroman found it ‘like a mature Burg,’ and I saw exactly what he was saying. The Mogul found the ’69 ‘like Stef, but the ’78 was LeBron.’ He then proceeded to put in a bid on the Rockets lol (96).
There were four Solderas on tap next, and my notes started to wane. Twenty-five wines is about all I can focus on these days. I keep forgetting to spit occasionally. The 1990 Soldera was its usual spectacular self; this is one of Italy’s greatest wines ever (98).The 1988 Soldera was a bit dirtier and twangier, beefy and bloody. It was earthy and dirty but got better in the glass (95M).The 1985 Soldera brought more citrus and tang, along with great balance (96M). The 1982 Soldera was an ‘eh,’ with light caramel qualities (90M).
As if I wasn’t already fading, three ports came out next. The 1945 Taylor got an A- , the 1935 Taylor got an A, and the 1927 Taylor had the most power and an A+. If you haven’t had a great old Port like one of these, you should try one on for size.
Check, please. Sunday was the Grand Finale, except this time it would be lunch. There was already enough the past two nights to give me plenty of sweet dreams so far, but the wine of the weekend was still to come.
In Vino Veritas,