In a short period of time, Mount Sinai has created the premier wine-related charity event in New York City. This month in Manhattan, $1.5 million was raised to support the renovation of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit with only 100 people in the Grill Room of the hallowed Four Seasons.
The ghosts of business past cowered in the presence of the present-day company assembled, as some of New York’s finest converged in a great showing of generosity and support for the hospital. A great line-up of wines had been selected to serve throughout the evening, but we had to bring a few of our own to keep up with the Angry Man quota, as a quartet of original and a couple of new members were in the house. The wine selection definitely attracted attention, and no matter what I did, I could not get Petra Nemacova to stop looking at me.
A glass of 1995 Krug welcomed us to the Four Seasons courtesy of Krug, and it was clean and crisp, fresh and pleasant but lighter than expected. There was good balance in the mouth and a touch of meat to go with its tangy Krug flavors (93).
Eric the Red Wine Bandit brought a magnum of 1934 Haut Brion. Somehow, I had a glass of that next. There were great and classic aromas of gravel, smokehouse and old mesquite complemented by wild cut grass, cream and dry caramel. Its flavors were tobacco, dry cassis, smoke and gravel, in that order. There was light grit to its dusty finish, and the 1934 was still showing gracefully although definitely on golden pond. (92M).
We restored order in the court with a Big Boy production, a flight of 1959 Champagnes. The 1959 Phillipponat Clos des Goisses. unfortunately had sherry in its nose, on its last legs. as Ray put it. It was probably just the particular bottle as opposed to every 59 Goisses, and there was also dry caramel there. Its flavors were orange and Cointreau-like, its wine-like texture delivering an earthy finish. I hope I get to try a perfect bottle of this rare Champagne again (91A).
The 1959 Krug Extra Sec. was Extra. special as well. Honey drops, white chocolate and a pinch of male musk from the locker room were all in the nose. There was so much white chocolate in the nose, it prompted me to announce to the table that it was like me on the basketball court white chocolate.. That got a healthy dose of laughs, but the palate was strictly business with its long, spritely personality and great white ash, apple and yellow fruit flavors. It was still so fresh and frankly spectacular, most people’s favorite of the flight (96).
I, however, preferred the 1959 Salon ever so slightly. I thoroughly studied the two bubblies with multiple sips until there was none of each left. The Salon was also white chocolate and had musk, honey and a touch of orange which transformed into peach skin aromas. Its flavors were nutty and toasty, long and spiny with great long and balanced flavors. Although the Krug’s first impression was better, I found the Salon surpassed it with time (97).
We were finally back to our sponsored program with a 1996 Leoville Las Cases, which had a gorgeous nose and a sexy feminine perfume that still managed to be forceful. Cassis and a touch of tobacco rounded out the nose. Its palate was very chalky at first, and earth and weed joined the party, and I say weed with only positive attributes in mind. It blossomed into a long, feminine, balanced and pure wine full of mineral and dry cassis flavors (95).
The 1996 La Mission Haut Brion was even more perfumed and had a sweet cotton candy edge. It was sweet and almost tropical. Eric found the same buttered popcorn. quality that reminded him of 1989. There were charcoal and mineral flavors that were expressive and possessing pop.. I did not write down an exact score, but I remember that it was in what I would call the very good. zone, 90-92 points, maybe a touch more.
The 1996 Haut Brion had cinnamon, leather, spine, lavender and a touch of vanilla. It got fatter and sweeter in the nose, but the palate was shy and simpler than expected. There were a touch of garden and beef flavors, but this Haut Brion was definitely hibernating a bit (92).
Ray snuck in a palate cleansing 1971 Mumm’s Rene Lalou. Champagne. It had very exotic tea aromas with honeycomb and rainwater aromas to its fresh nose. It was very classy, balanced, long and sensual. It also had a nice, expressive, rocky finish (93).
I got two out of the next three official. wines for the evening, beginning with a 1986 Mouton Rothschild. Its long, spicy and spiny nose was showing a bit more wood than usual, yet it was still very brooding with dark and deep black fruit along with charcoal. It was very dry and long in the mouth but not intrusive in either of those regards, possessing great balance despite the fact it still seemed like a baby. Despite excellent provenance, it was not the best bottle of this wine that I have had yet indubitably great. I have just had a couple of near-perfect experiences with it, and this was not that. That is one of the reasons one has to taste the world’s greatest wines over and over again, of course, and something that we would never speak upon when in France.. Did someone say bottle variation (96+) ?
The 1986 Lynch Bages was a great showing for Lynch next to its big brother of a Pauillac. It was drinking spectacularly, to be frank, and was in that just right, wine sweet spot that can last for many years, longer than the average American marriage, that’s for sure. There was great cedar, t n a and a long, beefy Szechuan style about its aromas. Long and smooth with cedar and mineral flavors, its palate was also great. I preferred it to the Mouton on this night yet rated the Mouton higher because of the long-term potential factor. I think Mouton will be the greater in the long run. Go write a post about it (95+).
I managed to get a swallow of 1989 Richebourg which was classic and smooth. Sorry, it was just a swallow (93).
Big Boy served up a flight of 37s beginning with a 1937 Roumier Clos Vougeot. Well, sometimes, it’s the thought that counts as the Roumier was unfortunately corked, and behind it was an unsavory combination of coffee and vegetal notes. There was some oatmeal brown sugar trying to fight through along with some confectioners and Worcestershire flavors, but in the end its impression was one that left a dirty Jersey. impression. No offense, Jersey, and you guys know what I am talking about anyway (DQ/NR?).
Drumroll, please. A 1937 La Tache was next, a bottle from the Drouhin cellars. It was beyond spectacular and clearly wine of the night. The nose was an orgasmic symphony of beef, blood, iron, spine, musk, oil, leather, citrus&. RIDICULOUS. summed up my notes and the never-ending tale of its aromatic prowess. The palate was also spectacular, showing similar, rich flavors of beef, minerals and blood with an orange twist. Rich, lush, balanced and still powerful, I wish every wine critic got to taste a wine like this to truly understand what a 99-point wine is all about (99).
A 1937 Leroy Richebourg should have been served second, but it was a bit hectic at the time with the glassware and the table, so I was happy that I didn.t miss it like a couple of other wines served prior. There was a smoky and earthy edge to this big and brawny Leroy, but there was still balance and grace here. There were great earth flavors in this wine, which was more Leroy’s style than 37’s or Richebourg.s, but we don.t have to go there. It was still very special (95).
Big Mike uncurled a magnum of 1989 Petrus, and the feeding frenzy was on. Its nose was expectedly wound with lots of cedar and breed, along with traces of cinnamon and edges of leather. It was so wound, infantile came to mind, or maybe that was the behavior of all my friends. I can.t remember now. Chances are, it was both. The 89’s structure, texture and length in the mouth were impeccable. This will be one of the all-time great Petruses (97+M).
Three Latours were on the table courtesy of Sinai, and one magnum of Champagne courtesy of Bruce, who was well on the loose by now. The 1990 Latour was classic with the hot weed and earth components of this particular vintage of Latour, that touch of a roasted edge the 1990 always seems to have. There were nice minerals to its nose, and its palate was very polished, long, balanced and smooth with nice vim (95).
The 1982 Latour also had a touch of weed to it at first, but less so than the 1990. There were big aromas of beef, band-aid, garden and game. Long and smooth, I was taken aback by a lack of expected power, although Ray commented that if Latour could ever be elegant, it would certainly be the 1982.. Its elegance and style were exquisite, don.t get me wrong, but I was a bit letdown and hoping for more, to be honest. You know it’s a great wine when 96 points is a letdown (96).
Bruce couldn.t wait any longer for his rare magnum of 1976 Philliponnat Clos des Goisses.. I never know if I am spelling Philliponnat right. Two P’s in the middle? One L? How about the N.s? This is a Champagne that needs a rap name like P-nuts.. Yes, the P-nuts was great, full of toast and nut, long and edgy. Candied honey, Bruce gleefully observed. It was spectacular Champagne and the perfect antidote for the end of meal blues (96+M).
Lastly, the 1970 Latour was one of the better bottles of this I have had, producing a deep, long nose and a long, spiny palate. I’m hammered, summed up this one and was the last thing that I officially recorded (94).
Well, it wasn.t quite lastly, as Patman had some underground speakeasy where to lure us. There was plenty of Champagne, dancing and even some interviews. All in all, it was a fun night and most importantly one that benefited one of the most important hospitals not only in New York City, but also in America.
In Vino Veritas,