There are many women wine lovers in the world, but very few actual collectors. I’m not sure why, nor will I dare venture to guess. I’ll leave that to the sociology professors. However, I recently had the good fortune of reacquainting myself with a woman who not only loves wine, but also collects. And when I was invited down into her cellar, it was clear that this was no ordinary collection; this was a collection fit for a Queen.

Bottle after bottle of the best of the best littered the shelves of her temperature-controlled cellar, one that was about to go through an expansion actually. Cases littered the aisles like roadblocks; there wasn’t much room left, for sure. We did our damnedest to make more room in the cellar, but our efforts went unnoticed in the basement. They were, however, quite appreciated in the dining room.

A nice first course

Dueling Charmes began our evening, beginning with a dark and fleshy 1993 Dujac Charmes Chambertin. Aromas of earthy tree bark encased its dark, purple fruit. It was purple at night, darker with each sniff, but in an intriguing, erotic way. The purple themes continued on the palate, along with lots of forest floor flavors. The Queen noticed ‘a little tartness at the end,’ not that that was a bad thing. In fact, this was a very good thing, an open, fleshy and delicious 1993 (94).

I brought a 1993 Roumier Charmes Chambertin, just by chance. The Queen and I were already in sync. The Roumier had what I would call very good ‘stank,’ with lots of vitamins, game and meat. It was a touch ranky but in a good way. The palate was quite dry and long, possessing a bit too much rubber tire in its flavor profile. The Hedonist found it ‘a little rustic,’ it its overly dry personality couldn’t compete with the open, flirtatious Dujac (92).

Dujac more Charmesing

The dueling theme continued with our next flight, beginning with a 1978 DRC La Tache. This was an extraordinary bottle, with a nose full of mint, menthol, rose, earth, iron, blood and tomato. This was fabulous wine, long and delicate yet intense. There was a touch of good green in this so fine and so long red. A kiss of bouillon rounded out its complex finish. It’s tough to imagine it getting any better, but it isn’t going to get any worse any time soon, either (96).

We should have served the 1972 DRC La Tache beforehand, but the ’78 somehow made its way around first, and no one turned it down, of course. It felt like the ’72 was out plowing in the vineyard all summer while the ’78 was the one entertaining at the Domaine. The Hedonist observed that ‘it would have been hot were it not for its younger sister.’ After that ’78, this was square and dirty, with a touch of garbage and alley compromising its blacker fruit (89).

Sibling rivalry

I pulled a rabbit out of my hat to end the evening, a 1964 Monte Real Rioja Gran Reserva. Old Riojas are without a doubt the best value in vintage wine, and this Monte Real was exhibit A. Its vanilla, egg cream aromas combined with sexy red fruit for a delightful nose. Its fruit carried over to the palate along with great spice, leather and caramel flavors. Its finish felt thick but still could dance the flamenco (94).

The Queen left us with some words of wisdom. ‘I try not to buy any wine I can’t drink now.’ Long Live the Queen.

Beautiful on the inside

And live again she did, only three days later at Marea, where we gathered again for a dinner back in the city. We just couldn’t keep ourselves apart lol, and when she pulled out a bottle of 1985 Rousseau Chambertin Clos de Beze, it was easy to understand why. The Rousseau reeked of autumn, along with mesquite, mint sweet tea, pheromones, citrus, mahogany and spice. This was an incredibly complex nose, perhaps a touch too open and mature if one were to be critical. The palate felt smoother and easier than the nose, but it still had an acidic kick. Its fruit was fully mature, but I believe that was an any given bottle thing (95+).

The Queen wasn’t impressed with the 1990 Vogue Musigny that she brought, and neither have many Burgundy connoisseurs for a while now. I don’t consider myself a hater, but this has always been a weird wine. It was initially milky and stemmy, but it did improve to reveal some dark, meaty fruit. Bran, wheat and oat joined the party. Its palate was square with blacker fruit. There was tang on its finish, but it was thin in the middle. I wish I was like that (92).

The 1993 Drouhin Musigny was quite tight and acidic, very iron fisty in its nose. There were forest and blacker fruit aromas, and its palate was mainly about olive, citrus and bread. To be honest, I expected more from this wine, which showed that rubbery, tight side of 1993. It needs more time (93+).

Mucho musigny

The Queen told me that she drinks at least one great bottle of wine every night. I immediately told her I would be by the following day at about six. Long Live the Queen.

In Vino Veritas,

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