My recent trip to Europe saw me in London twice on consecutive days, but I didn’t stay the first night. I did stay the second. Despite the epicenter of the wine universe shifting from London to New York and Hong Kong in fairly equal shares over the past two decades, there still is a lot of fine wine in London, or in England, if you want to get technical. Somehow, I managed to find the Americans. Well, it wasn’t just all Americans, I think there were four of us. We definitely had at least three Brits, and we even threw in a Swede and a Frenchman. These nations were most certainly united by one noble and common cause: a love for fine wine.

I was a few minutes late to dinner due to a spontaneous meeting, so I had to catch up quickly on the bubblies and whites. A 1988 Ruinart Blanc de Blancs was oaky and full-bodied, rich but one-dimensional with its flavor profile (90).

A 1995 Coche-Dury Meursault was gamy and much more mature, definitely past its peak. I am not sure if it was the bottle or the vintage, but this bottle was definitely turning the corner. It was smooth and easy with lots of waterfall and gamy flavors (91). The 1999 Coche-Dury Meursault was much more fantastic and explosive, flashing that rock star brilliance of Coche, but not from a terroir that would sell out arenas (94).

Meursault magic

There were two more whites, the first being a 2010 Ente Meursault. Their wines are getting quite expensive, and a taste of this village Meursault made me believe the hype. It had nice fruit in a sweet, friendly way and was simply delicious, a straight shot of the classic 2010 vintage (93). The last white of this night, well at least Burgundy, was a 2010 Marc Colin Montrachet. All I can say is that terroir matters. The clarity of the 2010 vintage once again came through, and the terroir was clearly better than the three prior Meursaults (95).

The reds started with our most mature wine of the evening, a 1964 Noellat Romanee St. Vivant. It was clearly older but still fresh with lovely, earthy qualities (91).

The younger reds began with a 1999 Roumier Chambolle Musigny Les Cras. It was deep aromatically, with a fleshy and peanutty character, but light in its mid-palate. It felt heavy handed by the usual Roumier standards, and while possessing nice earth flavors, I was disappointed (90).

The 1999 Mugnier Musigny that followed didn’t disappoint, at least at first. It was much more purple in a floral way, full of vitamins. It was elegant and pretty, dripping with violet dew. It had a lacey and sexy palate with lots of winter spice, ‘more satiny’ per one and ‘layered’ per another (95).

1999 Musignys

There was a Roumier Musigny sighting, always a special occasion. This 1999 Roumier Musigny had a similar thread with the Cras with its peanutty edge, but its body had ‘all-time energy’ from the crowd. It was clearly thicker and deeper than the Mugnier, with much more POWER I wrote in capital letters. There was zip and impetus to this majestic wine, and while still too young, it was oh so strong. Wait if you have some (97+)!

That was the end of our Burgundy programming, but the beginning of our Northern Rhone. The first wine that came out was a 1988 Guigal Cote Rotie La Landonne, and it was a good start. This was a clear left turn from our Burgundy flight, but we weren’t lost. This deep, dark wine had a bit more noticeable wood, with rich bacon and violet aromas underneath. This was much more of a bodybuilder compared to the Musignys, more square yet still outstanding. One guest noted a ‘vegetal stem’ (95).

Usually La Mouline is the best of the three ‘La Las’, and the 1988 Guigal Cote Rotie La Mouline showed why. Its nose was much more violet, with lots of white pepper. There was still the bacon but more in an oil direction, very rich and decadent overall. Somehow, it still maintained an elegant style, with black tapenade on its finish. Sexy stuff (97).

1988 Up North, Rhªne Style

The 1985 Guigal Cote Rotie La Turque was ultimately and surprisingly the wine of the night. It was so concentrated, super rich like old money. It was so inky that it had with it Blinky, Pinky, Bonnie and Clyde. It had everything the previous two wines had and then some. Long, oily and undeniably great, this chocolate sundae of a wine was so delicious I needed a napkin to wipe my lips (98).

On its Own

The 1990 Guigal Cote Rotie La Turque was zippy and full-bodied, long and vimful displaying a backside that would make a peacock proud. Its acidity dominated its first sip, but it smoothed out in the glass. It came back with a fury, snapping and crackling again on its finish (96).

The 1991 Guigal Cote Rotie La Landonne followed suit with its deep, decadent and dense core. There was lots of creamy black fruit in this distinguished red. La Landonne is definitely the square that fits the circle in Cote-Rotie. Guigal plus Cote Rotie equals great (95).

There was one more Rhone on this amazing night, and it was only fitting that it was a 1990 Chave Hermitage. I did spend the day with Jean-Louis, after all. I was feeling Les Bessards right away with the ’90. The acidity and length were superb, but it was more intellectual than hedonistic. Its animal instinct roared, although I think it was better suited served before the Guigals due to size factors, because bigger isn’t always better (97).

1990s

One last wine was served, a delicious 1962 Yquem. It was rich and decadent with candle wax aromas and brown sugar flavors. It was all brulee without the cream (95).

The Happy Recap

In the interest of publishing more notes (I reckon I am about 100+ behind for 2018), I will quickly mention another night in Europe, with my favorite drinking partner there, aka The Keymaster.
1. NV Jacques Selosse Substance (disgorged 2002) (92)
2. Domaine de Chevalier Blanc (93)
3. 1981 Sauzet Batard Montrachet (95)
4. 1959 Montrose (91A)
5. 1955 Montrose (94)
6. 1971 Comte Armand Pommard Clos des Epeneaux (95)
7. 1971 DRC Grands Echezeaux (96)
8. 1971 Latour Haut Brion (94)

Here’s a brief recap paragraph: The Selosse was very apple juicy and tasty but a NV Champagne better served in its youth. The Chevalier Blanc remains one of the best kept secrets in fine white wine that can age. Honey, nut, oak, glue, baked fruit and coconuts. Austere yet super stimulating. The 1981 Sauzet was a revelation. A forgotten vintage for Burgundy, this Chardonnay delivered an outstanding experience. ‘Better than 1983,’ the Keymaster resonated. The 1959 Montrose was affected, but the 1955 was solid. Nice, buttery and with tension are some of my observations. I am not a big fan of young Comte Armands, but perhaps the older ones are just what I needed. Deep, dark and delicious, it even had one of our distinguished guests guessing Griottes. All wines were served blind btw. What else is new, the DRC proved to be the best wine on the table. It was classic mint with red Christmas fruits and beef satay action. The LHB was all about the cassis and chocolate, and it delivered a great drinking experience. 1971 Bordeaux are definitely under investigated.

I am off to Hong Kong tomorrow, cheers to more excellent wines in store this week, for each and every one of us.

In Vino Veritas,
JK

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