Upon 2018’s arrival, I had a few resolutions I set for myself, but only one that relates to what you are reading right now: to keep current with my wine tasting notes. I thought about it, and came up with a simple solution: to write up three notes a day. Seems easy enough, right? Ten to fifteen minutes a day, and I could have myself 1000 published wine notes a year. The consumed bottles are there, trust me. Well, January has almost come and gone, and I still need to resolve my resolution. Work and family have not left much time on the table. So here is my attempt to get current with January, and start my resolution in February. I know I will be in a big hole very quickly, as our Grande Fete de Bourgogne from February 3-9 will see an enormous amount of great Red Burgundies get consumed.
My first great wine weekend of 2018 was in Los Angeles, where the most magical weekend occurred thanks to The Rev. This was no ordinary weekend, as The Rev finally got married after 57 years of that single life. Congrats again brother! And The Rev doesn’t have ordinary friends either, including a band of merry wine collectors that flocked together all weekend amongst his starry friends.
We started with an informal gathering at The Rev’s house on Friday night, where a trio of noteworthy wines were sampled, beginning with a 1986 Drouhin Montrachet Marquis de Laguiche. This was one of the most delicious and mature white Burgundies I have ever tasted. The popcorn and caramel combination was one to make children giddy, and a little bit of alcohol translated to us adults. It was so creamy and tasty, with buttery and sunsetting yellow fruits in the most magical and breathtaking way. It won’t get any better, but it is oh so good right now. Thirty years for that perfect Montrachet experience? This was Exhibit A. There was a nuttiness on top that also fulfilled the icing on this golden cake. Wow (97+).
About as Good as It Gets
The 1959 Beaucastel Chateauneuf du Pape that followed was also delicious, albeit in a much different way. I love Beaucastels from the ’50s and ’60s, they never disappoint me. This had a wicked combination of red and brown fruits, with lots of lip smacking autumnal edges. The animal, earth and game were here, along with that hot stone and Provencal spice. The intensity in the mouth was noteworthy, almost in a peanut butter, lick your mouth all over kind of way. There was still loads of life in this ancient wonder (96).
RhÃ´ ne Ranger
The last noteworthy wine on this casual evening was a 1997 Leroy Chambertin. Honestly, this was a bit disappointing for this wine in general. I know 1997 isn’t the greatest of vintages, and this didn’t certainly help its cause with the naysayers. It was still a very good wine, but after the two sizzlers we just had, it just didn’t stack up. It had the usual black fruits and rubber boots Domaine Leroy can have, and while less mature than most 1997 Burgs, it lacked definition. Citrus twists played on its finish (92).
Only 70 Cases Made
The next night was the first official great wine dinner of the year, and it was a Bad Boy production. He brought the Attorney General with him, as he tends to do in order to protect himself lol. Other than that, it was all young ladies, my wife included : )
We started with the 1996 Dom Perignon, which was what I would call good not great. It opened up in the glass, but it was a bit whitewall finish without much fruit development, and it had that typical young DP flavor profile of ice ice baby. Honestly, I can live without DPs younger than 1990 (92).
The 1990 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne was an outstanding bottle, much better than the DP, although the AG found it a touch corked. I could work my way past that to enjoy classic butterscotch aromas and flavors, along with fat fruit and a long, extended finish. There are very few Champagnes as unique and as fine as CdC (95A).
Knight in Yellow Satin
The 2010 Coche-Dury Corton Charlemagne was recently released, later than other younger vintages, and the Bad Boy was eager to try it. That smoky, sexy, signature Coche nose oozed out the glass. It was very young, but very vibrant. It was rich and tasty with nice spice but a wintry chill, as it was a bit shut down in the middle. While a touch shy, it was still a wicked game. Its yellow sunshine started to thaw its icy edges and reassured me that Spring was coming soon. The AG found it ‘sublime but forget about ’em for a while.’ I think one of the ladies found it ‘yum’ (97+).
The 1988 Rousseau Chambertin Clos de Beze that followed was just starting to sing, as many top 1988s are. After decades of tight fruit and hard finishes, the 1988s have finally arrived. There was great perfume to this Beze. It was rich and sumptuous with autumnal tea leaves and game qualities. Sous bois was definitely there, as was rich and flavorful bouillon flavors. This felt fully mature, and the AG found it ‘a little oaky’ (95).
Big Time Burgundies
The 1996 Roumier Bonnes Mares was rich, dense and ‘extracted’ per the AG. This was a fantastic show for both Roumier and 1996, another vintage really coming into its own. There were loads of dark, black fruits along with a long, zippy finish. I was impressed how decadent this Roumier was, as they often take much more time to come around, and its heavy personality didn’t feel heavy handed. This was a great wine, flirting with another category (96+).
We changed gears to Italy and a 1998 Giacosa Barbaresco Santo Stefano Riserva. RIP, Bruno. A bit of celery soda came out initially, in a sweet and ripe way. There were classic tobacco and tar edges, but this particular vintage of Giacosa seemed to be maturing at a faster rate than other vintages. It was a bit gamy and jammy in that Italian way. It did improve in the glass (94).
RIP Bruno Giacosa
Next up was a 2001 Giacosa Barbaresco Rabaja Riserva, which was definitely in Beast Mode. This is the forgotten, great Barbaresco made by Giacosa. It is very rarely seen. This was an incredibly thick and long wine, tight for sure, but ready to play. It was dry like the Sahara in a good way, and intense like an Arabian prince. I was inspired by this wine, and so was the Bad Boy, who cleaned out the rest of my stock (97).
The last wine of the night was an excellent 1994 Soldera Brunello di Montalcino. It might have been a Riserva, I didn’t notice. In my mind, there is only one Soldera, and it is one of the truly great wines of the world. This was served a bit cold, but it was still a fastball of a Brunello that outpunched the weight class of its vintage. It was rich without being spectacular, but a delicious wine that also improved in the glass (93).
We all went on our merry way, only to reconvene for the big day. It was a magical wedding, love was everywhere, especially on our table with over a dozen incredible wines. It was a real party, so I didn’t take thorough notes, but I got to have a lot of interesting discussions with people with lots of Grammys. Here were the wines:
|1.||1990 Krug Collection||(96)|
|2.||1947 DRC Richebourg||(95M)|
|3.||1999 Domaine Leflaive Chevalier Montrachet||(96)|
|4.||2002 Domaine Leflaive Chevalier Montrachet||(94)|
|5.||2009 Domaine Leflaive Puligny Montrachet Pucelles||(92J)|
|6.||2004 Henri Boillot Corton Charlemagne||(93)|
|7.||2001 Coche-Dury Corton Charlemagne||(96)|
|8.||2001 Rousseau Gevrey Chambertin Clos St. Jacques||(91)|
|9.||1989 Beaucastel Chateauneuf du Pape||(95J)|
|11.||1974 Heitz Cabernet Sauvignon Martha’s Vineyard||(98)|
|12.||1994 Joseph Phelps Insignia||(95)|
|13.||2001 Rousseau Chambertin Clos de Beze||(96)|
|14.||1990 DRC Romanee St. Vivant||(96)|
|15.||1993 Dujac Bonnes Mares||(98)|
A quick paragraph about the wines. The 1990 Krug was impressive, much more so than a recent ’85 Collection sampled. The 1999 Leflaive totally outclassed the 2002, which seemed advancing faster than I would think, which could have been the bottle. I am a huge fan of 1999 White Burgundies, which remain full, strong and long wines. Coche is Coche, and they hit the nail on the head in 2001, not suffering from too much botrytis or over-ripeness. The Rousseau CSJ and Dominus both under impressed, both showing more green than I care for, and I like both wines in general. The Rousseau was especially surprising given what a smoke show the 2001 Beze was, which was outstanding. So was the 1990 DRC RSV, and the 1994 Insignia left a guy who doesn’t drink much Cali cabs impressed as well. The two wines of the night were a spectacular 1974 Heitz Martha’s and 1993 Dujac Bonnes Mares. Superior stuff.
Ok so I made it through my first wine weekend of 2018. Let’s see if I can keep it up. That means another article next week before our Grande Fete de Bourgogne, as I was a busy boy in Hong Kong this week. Here’s to a resolution I will finally keep!
In Vino Veritas,