Howdy. It’s been a while, I know. It has been a busy busy Fall season, with a major amount of travel time, even more so than usual. It got so bad, I finally had to make a deal with my significant other. Two weeks a month max on the road, and the two weeks I am home, only three nights a week out. Fair deal!
Despite a lack of tasting notes being disseminated, I can assure you that there are many notes that have been taken, and that I am drinking well thanks to the great spirit and energy amongst the Acker wine-loving community. I will always feel like I need to see each and every one of you and share a bottle together, that is my goal. I will get there! There is one thing that I can say for certain, that no matter how busy we all are, one should always make time for a good meal and a good bottle of wine for dinner.
Or twenty bottles of wine, even better. Because that’s what I recently did in , where I didn’t have a problem. It started out a journey of four nights in four cities on my way to Hong Kong. A day without wine is a day without sunshine, so let’s just say that these four nights have left me severely sunburned.
Houston, We Have No Problems
I was invited to dine at Da Marco’s, where ten locals had congregated with an assortment of fine wines and company. We started with a couple bottles of 1985 Krug, which got the party started, but I didn’t take any notes. The notes began with a trio of 2005 Niellons, starting with the Clos St. Jean, which was smoky, toasty with lots of rocks, minerals and ‘gaspipe.’ It was round but balanced, lacking a touch of definition (90). The Les Chaumees was simpler and easier, just OK, not as interesting as the Clos St. Jean (87).The Les Vergers had the biggest finish and the most acidity. It was brighter and the most intense of the three (91).
A 2004 Louis Latour Chevalier Montrachet Les Demoiselles was classically 2004. It was buttery and smooth, showing more citrus, rainwater and balance. ‘Solid’ summed it up (92).
The wines of Domaine Leflaive are amongst the best and most ageworthy in all of white Burgundy, and the next pair showed why. The 1999 Domaine Leflaive Chevalier Montrachet was big and smoky, with toasted kernels and a drop of honey. This was a powerful wine that was big and smoky. It was clearly in a better bracket (95).
The 1976 Domaine Leflaive Batard Montrachet was an absolute rock star bottle, and many thanks go to The Rainmaker for this special treat. It was super smoky, possessing marmalade, chutney and quince all in one. This was butter galore. It was a fat, meaty butter, open and corny, with spices seeping out in a lightly sappy way. The Rainmaker noted ‘a lot going on in there.’ It was also ‘mouthcoating.’ This was a rich, saucy and complex wine. Its palate was long and strong, despite being almost 40 and white. And why not, I’m over 40 and white J. The glories of mature wine were on full display (96).
There’s a 76 in There Somewhere
The truffles were next, and out came the Italians, led by the 1971 Cantina Mascarello Barolo.This complicated wine oozed aromas of tar, rose petals, earth, minerals, chocolate, honey and bread crumbs. It possessed excellent acidity and a great, leathery finish. The Rainmaker noted traces of ‘menthol’ as the 1971 kept blossoming (95).
The Texas Lawman brought a stunning 1990 Giacosa Barolo Falleto Riserva. It had a deep, chunky nose with chocolate, caramel and carob aromas. Secondary candy cane and gardenia aromas led into a rich, soupy palate with great acid and more decadent chocolate flavors (96).
We two-stepped to Tuscany with a 1997 Solaia. There were herbs and spices almost a la Chartreuse, and this was clearly a different category from that of Piedmont. It got more herbal and a bit confused in the glass (93).
The Burgundy flight was next, beginning with a sexy and tasty 2003 Vogue Chambolle Musigny Les Amoureuses. This was a ripe and saucy wine, as 2003s are expected to be, but this also had character and balance. Many 2003s are overripe and flimsy in the middle, but this wasn’t. It had bouillon and animal aromas, along with nice gas, rubber and that new car thing happening. Its palate was ripe, round and pleasing with a nutty finish (93).
The 2003 DRC La Tache that followed had nice green to its nose in a cedar way along with more classic qualities. This was almost underripe, especially given the context of the vintage. It had nice slate flavors and a long finish, and it kept improving in the glass, but I still felt it was holding back on me (94+).
Jolly Good 2003s
The 2002 Mugnier Musigny was an excellent counterpoint to the 2003s, although The Rainmaker prefaced this wine by saying he thought 2001 was a better Red Burgundy vintage. Hmmmm. The nose of the Mugnier had lots of bread and sour cherry, along with honeyed fruit, cream and pheromones. This was a tender and creamy wine, showing lots of soft porn love. It also got better in the glass, stopping right on the border of outstanding (94+).
There were a flight of 1990s, but first we sampled a pretty 1966 Haut Brion. It had a gorgeous nose that was deliciously mature and aromatic, showing lots of cassis, nut, dates and special fruit. The palate was a step down from the nose, but it was still lovely. Soft and plush, it went down almost like water, although that isn’t necessarily a good thing (92).
The 1990 Ducru Beaucaillou had lots of slate and minerals, almost too much so as it gave off what I call ‘interior’ aromas, which border on chemical. There were lots of cardboard flavors here, and as much as I love Ducru, I think this vintage has issues (90?).
The 1990 Leoville Las Cases has long been one of my favorite wines; in fact, it is probably the best overall quality-to-value ratio in the vintage. I will never forget how Las Cases convincingly won a blind tasting of 15 wines and 60 people in Hong Kong with most top wines. Deep chocolate was the first quality that came to mind in the LLC. It was rich and creamy, possessing loads of cassis and great allspice. There was this Christmas goodness to the Las Cases, call it trees, pudding and/or warmth. This was a rich, classic and outstanding wine (96).
The 1990 Montrose was a step behind, although it had its own unique gait. Its redder fruits had a touch of wild herbs to them as its nose figured itself out in a post-teenager, pre-adult fashion. Vanilla bean and cream pie came out on the palate of this honey bunny of a wine. Delicious, ripe and creamy, this bottle of Montrose was a definite Thumper (95).
The last of our ’90s was a 1990 Beausejour Duffau, and it was much more disappointing than the last two occasions I had it. This bottle was round, soft and easy, but uncomplicated (91).
The last wine was a 2000 L’Angelus, which was a big, big, red, red wine. I needed a fork to scrape this sucker off my tongue. There was a lot of wheat, black, grits and grit to the wine, but I didn’t have a lot left in me, so I reserve my right to amend my (93+).
By the time I got to Arizona, it was basically time for dinner. We went to the cellar and started packin’. Then we got the wines 😉 Actually, I have never fired or even held a gun. As I get older, though, I am feeling the urge more often lol. All the wines were served blind, which was both entertaining and playfully humiliating, as always. There were five of us, and thirteen wines would be sampled. That’s what we call a prime ratio. Something to do with LIBOR.
By the Time I Got to Arizona…
The first wine had a nice, fresh nose with white, crystallized fruits, minerals and smoky twists of citrus. Its palate was soft and tried a little tenderness to make up for that initial kiss of morning mouth on its finish. Nobody shot JR, because he noted ‘sweet tropical orchard and peach nectar,’ and he decided it had to be a hot vintage. It was, as in a 2006 Jadot Batard Montrachet. It got more honeyed and sweet in the glass, showing even more nectar. It rounded out and ultimately felt softer than I wanted it to be (90).
The second wine wasn’t undrinkable, but it wasn’t perfect. I am not sure if it was premox, as it was a 1992 Sauzet Batard Montrachet, which was supposedly pre premox, so to speak. With almost 55 wines tasted over these four days alone, I will let it rest in peace, at least for this bottle (DQ).
The third white was deliciously good, showing more honeysuckle fruit. There were exotic and sweet guava aromas to its pleasing fruit. This was a kinky wine, very unique in the flight and showing great, sweet balance. Delicacy came to mind in more ways than one. Mint and menthol emerged, along with lemon curd and ‘eucalyptus.’ That was the giveaway for Ramonet, and it was, indeed, a 2002 Ramonet Batard Montrachet (95). I called it. Well, at least the Ramonet part.
The next wine had more kernel in its nose, along with great butter and caramel aromas. There was good kick and nice pop to this (obviously) Grand Cru. It had the biggest finish of the flight, along with the fullest body. It kicked and screamed its way to the top of the flight, showing rugged character. This 1996 Jadot Chevalier Montrachet Les Demoiselles was better and stonger (95+).
White, White, Baby
The fifth white and final wine in this flight was out of magnum. It was very sweet, almost Sauvignon Blanc-ish. It had a lot of ‘stone fruits,’ a little pungency and a grassy, smooth finish. Clean, light and refreshing kept coming up in my notes for this 2005 Remoissenet Montrachet. Honeysuckle crept in (91M).
The first red served was bright with lots of vitamins. It had this marijuana, exotic herbal thing happening. I thought this was a village wine, but it was actually a Grand Cru. Oops. It was all downhill from here. One piece of advice: whenever you guess correctly one thing blind, take the rest of the night off. This 2002 Mongeard-Mugneret Grands Echezeaux was soft, but it had good acidity. JR noted ‘a little dill, herbaceousness.’ Spell check on aisle 3 please. Someone guessed 2008, and M found ‘nice spice.’ Spice and cinnamon joined the party. Too bad the party was already closed (90).
This next flight was two of a kind, and while the first reminded me of 1997, it was actually a 2007 Rouget Vosne Romanee Cros Parantoux. There were dirty, round red fruits along with hints of vitamin to this simple but nice wine. Velvet and velour tricked out the room, and acid and more spice emerged. There was this exotic banana thing happening, but it got a little oaky, and then it got better again. I am a big fan of drinking ’07s now, although this felt like it needed more time. JR found it ‘a tad over acidic’ (92).
The 2000 Rouget Vosne Romanee Cros Parantoux that followed shocked and awed. I actually was in 1990 territory guessing, it was that good. There was amazing spice and definition to this nutty professor of a wine. Ceramics, leather and spice paved the way for ‘sweet flowers,’ which shortly became ‘good snatch,’ which shortly became ‘latex sex.’ Geez, I can’t take myself anywhere. JR brought us back to reality with ‘desert island,’ as he would be happy drinking this on a desert island, right after he chopped you up into little pieces lol. Actually he meant that this was so good, he could easily drink only it for eternity and be happy. High praise, indeed. The 2000 had that good stink, like a ‘sweet sexual partner.’ This was definitely the best 2000 that I ever had. I made sure to ask, but it already had my number (95).
Desert Island 2000
We were on to the next pair, and the first had that ripe, round, green bamboo of 1997, and it sure was a 1997 Rousseau Charmes Chambertin. This was an open and ripe wine, complicated and brothy. Someone found its nose ‘sexy.’ It had great red fruit and honey bear flavors, along with some apple (93).
The 1990 Ponsot Clos de la Roche VV was so good that it made me come up with a new noun, a WILF. As in a Wine I’d Like to F lol…which is all the more appropriate by the fact that one of the world’s greatest collectors shares the same name. How come I never thought up that one before? The Posnot was definitely a WILF, ‘serious’ as one guest put it. What a nose…it was ripe with big smokehouse and deep ocean intermingled with loads of black and purple. Mint, rich iron and fruit complemented the ‘chocolate/cherry deal,’ as M put it. There was greater stink and black fruit to this ‘denser’ wine. This was a Ferrari tire fresh off the pavement, thick as a brick and then some (97).
The next wine was also a 1990, and it also had that good stink and wow factor. It was a touch gamey, but so aromatic and honeyed. There was more animal here, along with some wet hay and a drop of good urine. Lemony flavors played well into its high pitch and nerve, and its leathery flavors also complemented. ‘Dill pickle’ and salt licorice rounded out this 1990 Rousseau Ruchottes Chambertin Clos des Ruchottes, which made me come up with a new verb. What are you doing tonight? Oh, I’m Chamberting, you know you know baby (93).
1990 Rousseaus definitely hit the bullseye, which is why I was pleased to see another so quickly. Well, actually I didn’t know until after, so here goes the note first. This second Rousseau was slightly more acidic, and it still felt buried in its deep, dark nose. Chocolate and ‘tootsie pop’ led us into a fresh garden planted with citrus trees. This was leaner yet longer, zipping its way ahead. I was surprised to find out this was the 1990 Rousseau Clos de la Roche (94+). It was at this point that M had one of the lines of the night. He said, ‘you have the right to be wrong.’ He was talking to JR, of course J.
There was one more wine, and it was phenomenal. I was pretty reduced at this moment in time, so I decided to write a football diagram instead of a tasting note. I also decided to write down all my audibles in rhyme. Like super duper, gritty city and flies high. Yup, that about sums up the 1991 Arnoux Romanee St. Vivant. Along with 1991s RULE (95).
It’s an audible
I left two bottles in San Francisco next. Actually it was Carmel. I wish my travel agent told me about the two hour drive. However, it was well worth it in order to enjoy the spectacular cuisine of Aubergine, which just got rated the 16th best restaurant in the USA by Opinionated About Dining, one of the world’s best eating guides.
Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner
The night was all about 1959, except the magnum of 1988 Dom Perignon Rose. Its nose spoke of good herbs, showing more fraise than strawberry. Lots of citrus and orange peel rounded out this aromatic bubbly, which had lots of grass and hay. Good flesh, nice richness and good minerality summed up our aperitif (94M).
The 1959 Drouhin Meursault Goutte d’Or was spectacular. If anyone doubts the ageability of white wine, find yourself a well-stored bottle of this. This was an amazing nose at first whiff. Nutty and super smoky, this had hickory, charcoal and everything good you could possibly smoke meats with. Buttery and yellow, it warmed my soul like an old sun. Butter rum was distinctively the flavor of choice for this ‘exciting’ wine. This was exotic in the candied and caramel direction. This was a lush, creamy and wow wine. It got an extra point just because we should all age this well (96).
The 1959 Albert Morot Beaune Bressandes was ok, a touch chalky and minerally with some wet cardboard in its nose. There was some pleasing red perfume behind it, but it didn’t leave a memorable impression. Tight and stoney, it aired out and evened out, but it didn’t fly high like that previous audible (88).
This One’s For the Cork Dorks
The 1959 E. Brocard Corton that followed was great except for that same edge of cardboard. In fact, it was corked. However, despite that handicap, it still showed deeper black and purple fruit and a much riper (and better) palate. There was some good thickness to its thighs, and its acid was strong. Someone noted, ‘great weight’ (93A).
The next wine was a pleasant surprise, a 1959 Rene Couly Chinon Clos de l’Olive, Its nose was very dark with lots of violet and black fruits, as well as this dash of pot pourri. Its great aromatics were met by a very dry finish that had thick, expressive tannins. Black olives emerged in full force. I deduced the vineyards were surrounded by olive trees. I am assuming I am right. Great spice and pretty fruit described this marriage perfectly (92).
It was finally time for some Bordeaux. Sorry to all the Burgundy diehards in advance. I could live without the young stuff, but when it comes to old wine, the most serious collectors should have Bordeaux in their rotation.
The 1959 Pichon Baron took a little time to warmup, but oh did it ever. This was classic Pauillac on the irony side, stony with lots of rocks in its nose. It came across very young and fresh, with a touch of ashtray in there. The Fisher King found it ‘more lively’ and with ‘so much acid.’ Its palate was all about the purple with some light tannin expression. It continued to get stronger in the glass, emitting pencil, nut, cedar and ‘cherry.’ Better and better appeared again and again in my notes (94).
I liked the 1959 Margaux more at first, as this wine was all about the iron fist/velvet glove thing. Darker and blacker, the Margaux had nice grape and flesh to its nutty palate. There was good grit to its finish, although it felt like it was missing a piece or two in the middle. Joe Tech found it ‘classic Margaux,’ and it sure was (93).
Now That’s a Flight
If this were a game of chess, there would be four logical moves. Thankfully, two of them were played. The 1959 Mouton Rothschild was very minty, possessing that classic, old Mouton menthol. There was also ripe cassis to this sexy nose, along with thick cement and cedar qualities. Chocolate, cream and forest flavors abounded in this delicious wine. There was great balance to this toffee and coffee orgy, and ‘eucalyptus, classic mint (and) lead pencil’ came from the crowd (95).
The 1959 Latour came, saw and conquered. Its brooding, black fruit was bursting out of its shirt and pants with great t ‘n a. Its round and tasty palate was full and long. The tannic display was impressive. While thick, long and strong, it somehow remained elegant. ‘Gorgeous (and) finish of a lifetime’ came from the crowd (97).
There was a dry, wheaty, cardboard nose to the 1959 Damoy Chambertin Clos de Beze. It felt lighter and browner than the Ponelle, but it got better in the glass. Toasty and minerally, its acid really rocked out with its peacock out, but I still liked the Ponelle better, even if this could go farther down the road (93).
The last wine on this starry night was a 1959 Steinberger TBA. Maple, molasses and apple juice made their way to the forefront in this round, smooth, silky and sexy wine (94).
There was one more stop in my Great American Western Tour, except it wasn’t in America. It was in China. I mean Vancouver. We started at the home of The Winemaster. 1990 Billecart Salmon Nicolas Francoishad a buttery core with great strength and vigor. There was excellent acid and sauce in this boss (95).
Tearin’ It Up
The 2005 Roulot Meursault Perrieres was a stunner. If you said no one is making better white wine in Burgundy today, I could not argue. The Perrieres was clean and fresh with great oil and nut butter, blending between this almond and peanut kink. It flirted with Reese’s pieces, in the best sense, and its long, tight center screamed core workout twice a day, six days a week, Tuppatsch style (95).
Unfortunately, a 2002 Drouhin Montrachet Marquis de Laguiche was (DQ).
The three reds were served blind, but the flight had a theme. They tasted a lot younger than they were. The first was deep, dark, young and impressive. It was thinner at first, but there was more purity here. There was lots of animal fat and fur to this solid wine. This 1999 Roumier Bonnes Mares kept improving in the glass (94+).
At first, I preferred the 1999 Drouhin Bonnes Mares more. It had a lot more fruit and was redder in its personality. There was great balance and secret length to this wine. It got a bit dirtier in the glass, losing strength, though (92).
The 1999 Jadot Bonnes Mares was corked (DQ).
The 1999 Hubert Lignier Clos de la Roche was not. Its nose was deep, inky and purple. It had that black as midnight intensity, with a heavy duty style and finish. Brick, rubber and rust added complexity to this strong wine that didn’t cross the line (95).
The last wine of these 96 hours was a 2000 Domaine Leflaive Batard Montrachet. It was another yum yum from Anne Claude. This wine was all about the lightly toasted, buttered corn husks. Its ‘zinging finish’ spoke volumes about this ‘immensely delicious’ 2000. This was the best of the vintage on full display. Flesh, date, coconut and more butter oozed out of its glass. Back that thing up (95).
Just another four days in the life. Make that four nights. And four cities. And 50+ wines. And 3,856 words. That’s what we call a hop skippety. I’m complicated, you won’t get me out of trouble. Like Albert Collins said, ‘I ain’t drunk. I’m just drinking.’
Good Every Which Way
In Vino Veritas,