Announcing the January Hong Kong Auction XXXVII
Some people know how to do it right. The right ambience, the right company, the right food and of course, the right wine. I have been drinking with Bad Boy as long as I have been writing tasting notes, and I can safely say that he knows how to do it right. This past month he hosted over sixty wine lovers at his home in New Jersey for a spectacular celebration of wine and friends. The guest list was basically the Academy Awards for fine and rare wine in New York City, and Bad Boy unanimously took home Best Director and Best Picture.
148 Bottles of Wine on the Wall
 
The only problem with a Bad Boy production is the party factor, as in it turns into a great party, rather quickly. Some, like Mr. Vinous and Dapper Dave, stayed studious to the very end and compiled many more notes than I. I started strong, but in the end I am a drinker, so of the 130 bottles, 16 magnums and 2 jeroboams that were opened, I managed notes for approximately 30 wines. While I feel quite inadequate at the moment, I felt more than adequate throughout the night.
 
Crack That Wax
There aren’t too many wine events where you walk into a couple of DRC jeroboams, and this was the first for me when they were both Montrachet. The 1999 DRC Montrachet jeroboam was unfortunately slightly corked, which sucks for every bottle, but especially when they are 20k. However, the wine still had great body and length, and the quality of the raw materials was clear, present and dangerous (96+J-A).
 
The jero of 1997 DRC Montrachet was more like it. 1997 is an underrated and overlooked vintage for white Burgs, and it is really hitting the sweetest spot of maturity right now. Loads of butter, corn and caramel permeated throughout its nose, and its body was fleshy and chewy. This was a delicious wine; mature yet not going anywhere, and a true testament to the sweet tooth to which DRC’s Montrachet caters (96J).
Rare Air
 
Infanticide
A 2013 DRC Montrachet that followed was really infanticide. It was all primary and no secondary. It was too soon to drink, a comment seconded recently by a European connoisseur friend of mine who felt five years was the minimum to age a quality White Burgundy (93+).
 
There are only a few places to go after a trio of DRC Montrachets when it comes to white wine, and a trio of Coche-Dury Corton Charlemagne is one of them. The 2008 Coche-Dury Corton Charlemagne had a rock star personality with loads of sweet, rich acacia and honeysuckle aromas and flavors. Its wildflowers got wilder, and this sexy bitch didn’t have to bring sexy back because it never left (95). The 1997 Coche-Dury Corton Charlemagne kept the sexy train moving, like there were no stops on the line. This was another delicious ’97, with loads of musk and white fruits. While mature, it also had a joie de vivre that only the greatest wines possess (96).
Coche Will Do
 
The 1994 Coche-Dury Corton Charlemagne had corn, butter and cotton action, but it was tough to drink this after the previous two. 1994 is just not a great vintage, and after 20 years it was more obvious. It might have gotten a point plus higher if tasted first (90).
 
Horizontal
There was a special horizontal of 1996 Champagnes as one of the main attractions, so I dipped in and out for a few reference points.  I started at the ultimate reference point for Champagne, the 1996 Krug Clos du Mesnil, the reference point being the Clos du Mesnil part, but the more that I think about it, there is nothing wrong making it 1996 as wellThis was legendary as always, and out of magnum, a rocket man of a Champagne fueled by lasers and diamonds.  This was beyond rich; it was wealthy, and it glowed in the glass like yellow sunshine (98M).
 
The first red wine I sampled was a nice warmup, a tasty 1986 Rousseau Gevrey Chambertin Clos St. Jacques. I have long been a not-so-secret admirer of the 1986 vintage in Burgundy, and this was a prime example why. A 1986 Drouhin Chambertin that I had at my recent Birthday auction was a great exhibit B. Both wines were autumnal and showing lean yet mean tannins and acid. This vintage has a bit of chains, and a lot of whip to it. The Rousseau showed sappy red fruit, giving it an even kinkier edge to the vintage than usual (93).
 
A 1952 DRC Richebourg was unfortunately a bit too autumnal and flat (DQ), so I segued back to the Champagnes with a stellar 1996 Jacques Selosse. Selosse always has this unique, baked bread soaked in oil style, where kink meets flesh, with a little sniffing glue thrown in. That’s the best way I can describe this Champagne that is adored by many, but not all, Champagne connoisseurs. Its ‘solera’ style of blending is even present in its rare vintage bottlings, of which I think there are only 200 cases ish when declared. I declared my affection for this laser show of a Champagne that sizzled on my palate (97).
 
The 1996 Salon that followed was a bit shy out of magnum, especially after the effusive Selosse. 1996 Salon is still a star and one of the Champagnes of the vintage (96+M).
1996 Big Boys
 
It is always fun to taste Cristal versus Cristal Rose, especially when 1996. The last time I did this side by side, it was a real horse race, but now the Rose has pulled ahead. The 1996 Louis Roederer Cristal Rose was another sizzler, rock solid from first smell to its finish. There was so much strawberry goodness, and it didn’t suffer from being overly dry as many young Roses can. Its acidity sparkled (97).
 
The 1996 Louis Roederer Cristal was its usual butterscotchy self but not in the same class as the Rose, at least not this bottle. It was an outstanding Champagne, sweet and flirty, but but but…(95).
 
I tried two more 1996 Champagnes, unique expressions of Champagne, both Blanc de Noirs cuvees, if I am not mistaken, meaning all Pinot Noir. The first was a 1996 Bollinger Vieilles Vignes Francaises. It had an oxidative, vitamin style with unique Pinot flavors, and a bready personality. This was a limey, gamey Champagne which I liked, but didn’t love as much as some of the other top Cuvees (95).
 
The same could be said for the 1996 Billecart Salmon Clos St. Hillaire. Dapper Dave was all over its ‘oxidative’ style, and despite nice spritz and zip to its long finish, its different style stood out from the crowd, not in a better way, just different (95).
 
Ok, it was really time for some red wine, and The Queen was on cue with a spectacular bottle of 1978 Rousseau Chambertin Clos de Beze. This was better than any bottle of this wine that I remember, and Mr. Vinous found it ‘ethereal,’ as well. Hollywood Jef summed it up in his own unique way, finding it ‘fucking good.’ This was a perfect bottle of this wine, with great citrus, red fruit, mint and forest aromas and flavors. It was creamy with perfect posture – aka great spine, and nothing else mattered while this bottle was open. I had seconds (98).
 
1982 Bliss
We shifted gears to a couple of superb 1982 First Growths. The 1982 Latour was great as always, still the most forward and giving of the ’82 Firsts. This was apparently an ex-Chateau bottle, and a bit younger than other bottles in circulation accordingly. Its usual blend of cassis, walnut, leather and earth were a harmonious quartet, and a reminder that the whole wine world doesn’t revolve around Burgundy (97+). A magnum of 1982 Haut Brion was also delicious. This wine remains underrated and taken for granted in the context of this great vintage; it often sells at a quite reasonable price and no more than 2000, 2005, 2009, 2010 etc. This was another classic (96M).
 
1957 happened to be the birth year of our host, and there aren’t too many options when it comes to this obscure vintage. However, there are some great Burgundies in 1957, and none greater than large format DRCs. There are myths about the best barrels going into the large formats way back when, and this magnum of 1957 DRC La Tache certainly seemed like that was the case! What a spectacular wine, as equally good as a Jero I brought to this very same celebration a few years back. This was a killer wine, in the same category as anything else at the top for the night, showing fleshy and mature flavors yet a youthful personality in regards to its vigor.  Everyone was going goo goo gaga over the wine. Its aromas and flavors of fresh forest, honeycomb, red fruits and menthol were a winning combination. Thanks to the Punisher for bringing another knockout (97M).
Bad Boy’s Vintage
 
A Battalion of Soldera
I think every vintage of Soldera ever was open upstairs, and having done a couple of significant tastings of this recently, I decided to do a flyby and taste a few. For those of you not familiar, Soldera is unquestionably the greatest producer of Brunello di Montalcino and one of the uniquely great wines of the world, standing out amongst the Tuscan crowd kind of like Vega Sicilia does for Ribera del Duero. The 1990 Soldera was (DQ) for me, which was a shame as it is one of the greatest Italian wines ever made. I sampled a few oldies, finding the 1985 Soldera “excellent” (93), the 1982 Soldera “outstanding” (95), and the surprising 1981 Soldera was “excellent plus,” aka (94). Dapper Dave agreed with me on the 1981 and 1982 being “the biggest surprises,” and also put the 1994 in that category, while adding, “most all showed well.”
 
There were too many crazy wines being opened downstairs in the cellar to linger upstairs, so I headed back down to one of the wines of the night, and it was only fitting that Big Boy had something to do with it. Some wines are so good that words feel inadequate, and this magnum of 1971 Krug was one of them. Its nose sparkled and crackled, like a flawless diamond meeting the Macy’s 4th of July fireworks show. It had an addictive quality to its nose; once you started you did not want to stop. White, crystallized fruits along with an icily great character, the Krug exploded in my mouth, resulting in a bevy of inappropriate and immature jokes from the distinguished guests around me lol. This bubbly had enough liftoff for Nasa; in fact, that’s what it finish felt like, those jets burning under a rocketship heading to outerspace, ready for the endless. This was an unbelievable magnum of a legendary Champagne (99M).
 
A 1990 DRC Grands Echezeaux whizzed by like a fastball with no spin. While I feel GE is the best pound for pound wine in the DRC portfolio, this particular bottle got lost a bit after the Krug (94+).
 
A 1969 Dom Perignon Rose was very red and typically dirty, as old DP Roses are prone to be. Honestly, I am just not fans of them (90).
 
A palate-cleansing 2007 DRC Montrachet snuck into my glass, and it was awesome, the best vintage of the night for this wine, although the 1999 was handicapped. This was classic and forward yet tight, big and honeyed, long and stylish, kinky yet in control. 2007 was a great vintage for white Burgundy (96+).
 
There was one more truly spectacular bottle on this night for me, before it all went sideways. The 1978 Roumier Bonnes Mares was decadent and rich, a mouthfilling wine that intellectually stimulated me, well, what little intellect that I had left at the time ;). But seriously, this was a ‘wow’ wine, as intense and virile an older Red Burgundy can be. There were deep red, black and purple fruits happening, lots of dirt and minerals, and a spiciness to it like hot sauce without the too hot. Its acidity was truly noteworthy, and it lingered like a great orgasm. As Bad Boy would say, “awesome juice” (98+).
 
I managed three more notes, well, maybe comments are more appropriate. A 1964 Jaboulet Hermitage La Chapelle was ‘solid.’ Keep in mind, I have had two 98-point bottles of this wine in the past year, and palate fatigue could have been setting in (95). The 1976 Krug Collection was ‘delicious,’ or if you had to read my writing at this time, it might seem like ‘dlsssshh’ lol. It obviously had enough bubbles to get one last charge from me (97). And lastly, I had a taste of 1978 Drouhin Montrachet Marquis de Laguiche. This was a bit lighter than I expect from this wine in general, on the more side of mature, showing brown and yellow fruits (93).
Aftermath
 
Reverse Face Plant
Alexander The Great and I tried to rally for a late night NYC sushi snack, but instead we rallied straight home for an immediate face plant. It was an incredible wine night, although I wish it was 3-4 days straight instead, as there was just too much great wine!  Some of Dapper Dave’s “WOTNs” – that I didn’t taste – include 1971 DP Rose, 1961 Palmer, 1955 La Mission and 1957 and 1971 RC. Damnit! How did that happen lol. Oh well…shoutout to all the other ‘Vintage Tasting’ vets that were on the scene, but I was unable to catch a wine quote from: The Bulldog, The Ambassador, Neil Diamondz, The Negotiator, The Big Ticket and The Chairman. I told you it was like the Academy Awards lol.
 
I can definitely tell you that I am looking forward the next Bad Boy Birthday Bash, and many more!
 
In Vino Veritas,

JK