This past Saturday night saw me back from the frying pan we had cookin’ in Hotlanta yet right into the fire of New York City, where I had a small gathering with a significant client and how to manage his cellar better in 2008.

The most important details to work out were what to drink, and the wine list at Veritas is always a good place to begin. Both being the Champagne lovers that we are, 1990 Cristal was the aperitif of choice. I have been drinking a lot of Cristal recently, which is always a sign of a good holiday season. The 1990 was gorgeous, although a touch sweet. It had lots of yellow fruits, golden raisins and a spoonful of sugar that was right on the border of acceptable but didn’t cross it. An overall toasty and nutty personality encased this tasty and hedonistic bubbly, which still retained the hallmark Cristal elegance. Rich, warm, approachable yet still fresh and ascending, I found this to be another excellent Cristal but felt more impressed by recent ‘89s and ‘96s (95).

1983 Roumier Musigny? Sure, why not? The wine was so forward from the word go, revealing waves of sweet and open fruit. There was the full spectrum of black, red and purple; all the elements of a wine rainbow. What impressed me most here was the sweetness and perfume, and the chewy quality of the aromatics. It was another top ’83 that was drinking beautifully. It was definitely fully mature, as all qualities of its finish had melted away and integrated completely into its wealth of fruit. Also sweet on the palate, and fleshy to match without being heavy, this was a ‘love me tender’ wine that still had a lot to say although certainly at its best. Mark concurred that while it was on the border of 5-star territory (95-6 points), it did not have the staying power to merit that status. I guess the Moose could have used some Wine-agra lol (94).

We plucked a half-bottle of 1985 Ponsot Clos de la Roche V.V. to go with the last course, and it was a staggering experience and one of the better Ponsot memories to go on file. The wine was so thick and oily in the nose; it was like concentrate of Burgundy. There were amazing dank and fresh aromas at the same time. The Ponsot was saucy and meaty yet fresh and full of plum, cassis and black cherry fruit, all thick and dripping in that concentrated fashion. Still fresh and racy, ‘full of vim and vigor’ as Mark added, it was an eye-opening bottle ”“ make that half-bottle, which made it all the more impressive. I do not remember having a bottle of Burgundy that was both this concentrated yet still retained a classic style beyond that fact. It is certainly one of the wines of the vintage along with the Meo Richebourg and Henri Jayer wines (take your personal pick or two) (97).

We somehow got pulled over at the bar on our way out, where Mark insisted on buying a 1985 Grivot Richebourg. I was starting to stumble at this point, and I had already missed the first half of the Giants-Patriots game, so I didn’t exactly give this wine an ocean of time. Mark later told me that it opened up after I left, but its impression right away was not an impressive one. It seemed a bit lost in the glass, not displaying much except the remnants of a healthy use of oak, and an overall beefy personality without the sauce or sides. While I found it to be confused and one-dimensional, ‘Mark noted its underlying power and floral qualities,’ putting it in 4-star territory (93-4 points). Either the wine had too much toast for me, or I was toast, and my rating is giving it the side of the coin where benefit of the doubt lies (90).

New York, New York, it’s a heckuva place”¦

In Vino Veritas,

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