Part III was this past Friday night, which was basically the first session of our most recent auction. We had scheduled our auction for the weekend of La Paulee and hailed the sale ‘The Road to Burgundy,’ which worked especially well thanks to the great cellars of Roger Stein and Wilf Jaeger, and a few anonymous others.

Anyone that has been to an Acker sale, especially an Acker evening sale, knows that we, and those that come to our sales in person, like to enjoy one or twenty glasses of wine during the course of an auction. BYO is always welcome now, and many great collectors and generous souls made their way to CRU for what would be another extraordinary evening. On this special night, I would sample thirty-eight wines, and I was working. So this article will be more academic than literary, as I only had enough time to write down the names of the wines and my scores of them, although I will share some thoughts on most of the wines in a few paragraphs at the end.

1. 1996 Fourrier Gevrey Chambertin Clos St. Jacques (92)
2. 1990 Dom Perignon (93)
3. 1996 Ramonet Montrachet (95)
4. 1995 Krug Clos du Mesnil (95+)
5. 1955 Charles Heidseick (DQ)
6. 1996 Dom Perignon Rose (93)
7. 1985 Dom Perignon Rose (95)
8. 1993 Pousse D’Or Volnay Bousse d’Or (94)
9. 2000 Lafon Meursault Perrieres (93)
10. 1990 Drouhin Montrachet ‘Laguiche’ (93A)
11. 2000 Domaine Leflaive Chevalier Montrachet (95)
12. 2000 Ramonet Chassagne Montrachet Les Ruchottes (93)
13. 1995 Krug Clos d’Ambonnay (93)
14. 1990 Ponsot Chapelle Chambertin (94+)
15. 1990 Vogue Musigny V.V. (93)
16. 2000 Thierry Manin Champagne (92)
17. 1990 Haut Brion (95)
18. 1991 Dujac Clos de la Roche (93)
19. 1989 La Fleur de Gay (94)
20. 2004 Niellon Chevalier Montrachet (95)
21. 1997 Meo Camuzet Vosne Romanee Les Brulees (91J)
22. 1962 Richebourg (97+)
23. 2003 Roulot Meursault Perrieres (92)
24. 1993 Pousse d’Or Pommard Les Jarollieres (91)
25. 1988 Gaja Sori Tilden (93)
26. 1985 Ponsot Clos de la Roche V.V. (96)
27. 1980 Ponsot Clos de la Roche V.V. (94)
28. 1986 Giacosa Barbaresco Santo Stefano Riserva (93)
29. 1990 Cos d’Estournel (93)
30. 1999 Mugneret Ruchottes Chambertin (95)
31. 1962 Vogue Musigny V.V. (98)
32. 1971 Grands Echezeaux (97)
33. 1990 Bollinger V.V.F. (94)
34. 1970 Bollinger V.V.F. (DQ)
35. 1982 Salon (93A)
36. 1988 Vogue Chambolle Musigny Amoureuses (93M)
37. 1991 Leroy Clos de la Roche (94)
38. 1969 Salon (97)

Where to begin? How about the two 1995 Krugs. I was in the minority when it came to preferring the ’95 Mesnil over the d’Ambonnay, then again, I don’t own any anymore lol. I didn’t get to cuddle up with the d’Ambonnay that closely, but this was the second time that I have had it, and it comes across much more elegantly than the Mesnil. Elegance is not a bad thing, but the Mesnil just had more power, more acidity, more length, just more. The d’Ambonnay might have had more drinkability, more approachability, more finesse, but I would be surprised if it outlasted the Mesnil.

How about another pair of distinguished bubblies? The ’85 Dom Rose was so much more open than the 1996. It seemed more than ten years between the two. I have always loved the 1985 although this one hinted at a faster evolution than I last recall; the 1996 is very wound, a bit tart and not as racy as other 1996s. We shall see how it develops.

Pairs seem to be the theme here. The 1993 Pousse d’Or Volnay was absolutely delicious. What a great wine. Man, do I love Volnay. Talk about the best value appellation in all of Burgundy. The Volany still has plenty of life left in it. The Pommard was still very good, just, well, more like Pommard ”“ a bit bruising, less complex, more monolithic ”“ not all thumbs, but more thumbs.

The 2000 whites were all really good, with the Leflaive distancing itself from the pack. What else is new? It did have the Grand Cru handicap in its favor, though. 2000 whites are great to drink now, and they will probably last longer than some people give them credit. I am not the only white Burgundy lover to think that. Wait a second, the way action has been for the category, I am the only white Burgundy lover left :).

The Ponsots were all stellar. The best vintages of Ponsot are always the best, and 1990, 1985 and 1980 fit that equation. The 1985 is one of the best Ponsots ever, and didn’t disappoint. It was chunky and thick, but incredibly agile as well. The 1980 was grace in a glass, much more feminine and elegant, but still all about the Burgundy. It was big brother versus little sister, and we all know who usually wins that matchup. The 1990 was no slouch, from the forgotten Ponsot grand cru. It is another vintage where Ponsot separates his wines from the pack.

The other handful of 1990s were all Bordeaux. The Haut Brion was outstanding as always, while the Vogue Musigny was a cross-dresser of a wine ”“ a Bordeaux posing as a Burgundy ha ha. The Cos can be excellent, and no one love Cos more than me. While La Mission should be considered a First Growth already, Cos would be the first second knocking at the door. However, this bottle, while still excellent, was less thrilling than other ’90 Cosses (how does one pluralize that?) that I have had. The only other Bordeaux was delicious, an ’89 Fleur de Gay. Pomerols not named Petrus or Lafleur still seem to be taken for granted ”“ why is that again? Not by me, and any Bordeaux lover who doesn’t buy the L’Evangiles, the Trotanoys, the L’Eglise Clinets, the etc etc’s needs to love a little more often if they love themselves.

Of the remaining red Burgundies, the Mugneret Ruchottes stood out the most. That’s why Sir Robert Bohr always buys them, I concluded lol. Mugneret seems to be making some of the best, unknown, top-flight reds in Burgundy. The ’91 Dujac was gorgeous, one of the better ‘91s that I have had of late, really beautiful stuff, although 1991 is not in the upper echelon as far as vintages go. The other ’91, the Leroy Clos de la Roche, showed why Leroy can be great, particularly in 1991, 1993 and 1996. Vintages that are full of fruit don’t play well into her hand all the time, though. The Meo Brulees was roasted and overblown, showing more of the weaker rather than the stronger qualities of the 1997 vintage ”“ it was still very good, but the points aren’t going up any time soon. The ’88 Vogue mag was rock solid, a pleasing ’88 that was big and brawny but still had a brain.

And then there were the ‘62s”¦and the ’71. What wines! Thank goodness the price on all these ancient superstars has fallen more than anything else, because now everyone is just drinking them. Both ‘62s were just flat-out incredible, best wines of my life category, both riding the ’62 wave as high as it can go. While some ‘62s are starting to gracefully plateau, these two both felt like they were still on the way up. They are wines around which to make travel arrangements. I might be sold bold as to call 1971 the greatest vintage of all-time for . Ok, ok, I know, 1934, 1945, 1962, maybe even 1999”¦I can’t get into anything much older or younger for this discussion at the moment. 1971 is unquestionably one of the top five vintages for ”¦ever.

One of the most pleasant surprises was the ’86 Giacosa, which was excellent. I am not sure I have ever even had an Italian wine from 1986, but this was a good place to start. The ’88 Gaja was also very solid. I have never had a bad bottle of Gaja; they always answer the call.

Lastly, the 1969 Salon was spectacular. Old bottles of Salon are the ones, along with Cristal, that can stand up face to face and toe to toe with Krug. Salon and Krug have more structure; Cristal is the sexiest, but Salon and Krug can just bully anything and everything else around them, and that is what this ’69 did. It had the rocket’s white glare, the bombs bursting in my mouth, and it stayed true and carried me through the rest of the night. There’s only one cat that’s pulling that wine out of his hat, and everyone knows who that is.

There was a Paulee party uptown, but I had nothing left. More to precede.

In Vino Veritas,
JK

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