Summer was full of birthday celebrations, and one of its finest and funnest was Lulu’s. (Yes, I know I made up a word). Now usually, these wine-fueled birthday celebrations can be a bit of a boys’ club, but Lulu happens to be the wife of the Mogul, and the Mogul is a gentleman, and he celebrates his wife’s birthday to the utmost. And if you’re the Mogul, and there is a celebration, there has to be a boatload – literally – of fine and rare wine. Lulu loves a good celebration herself, as she is from Brazil, and I like to roll deep with Brazilians as much as possible. They know how to celebrate life to the fullest!
The first day started on “The Boat.” I am pretty sure I write about “The Boat” every summer, or every Fall when I finally catch up. If you like to drink wine, and you like to visit the Hamptons, you need to be on “The Boat.” Of course, you would have to be invited by the Mogul, and thankfully I was. The first day we motored out East into the Atlantic ocean, had some lunch and took a dip in the refreshing water. I didn’t take many notes, but I did jot down some scores. Here’s a brief recap:
|1983 Raveneau Chablis Les Clos||(94M)|
|1996 Leflaive Puligny Montrachet Les Pucelles||(93)|
|2011 Coche-Dury Meursault Perrieres||(95)|
|2008 Dauvissat Chablis Les Clos||(93)|
|2000 Raveneau Chablis Les Clos||(92M)|
|1996 Dujac Clos St. Denis||(95+M)|
|1980 Rousseau Chambertin Clos de Beze||(94)|
I am going to use some executive privilege here and move on, because it was a busy two days. After the boat, we all went our separate ways and ended up at Tom Terrific’s place for a spectacular dinner. It was one of the best dinners I can remember. The food, the company and, of course, the wine. Every bottle was just spectacular. It was one of those nights where the wine heavens opened up, and there was Tom at the head of the big table in the sky lol.
A Rare Second Place
We began with a rare bird, I mean bottle, it being the 1991 Chave Blanc. This was an outstanding bottle of white, on the mineral-driven side of what this wine can be. It was full-bodied and focused, just starting to come around. I like the kinky side of this wine, too, where there is enough fruit to fill a Whole Foods, but this wasn’t that. It was bordering on mean, in a good, spank me kind of way (96).
Next up was a rock star bottle of 1996 Leflaive Chevalier Montrachet. When they are on, they are definitely on. It was full of rich, buttered popcorn and a light, tertiary caramel note. It was so tasty and in that perfect spot, the one where the plateau is just beginning (97).
The 1978 Dujac Clos St. Denis was spectacular and immediately in the 98-point territory. It was rich, creamy and more than outstanding. JB noted ‘mint and eucalyptus,’ and I noted everything I would want in a mature Burgundy. The kaleidoscope of fruit flavors – that’s black, red and purple – cascaded so easily down my hatch. Light, teasing complexities of exotic nuts, mushrooms and forest foreplay got me even more excited. What a wine (98).
I can never get enough 1978 DRC La Tache and this bottle was no exception. It got oohs, aahs and wows from the crowd. This was full of garden, menthol and rose with some benevolent tea-like qualities about it. It had laser-like focus and great length. As good as it was, there was something ethereal about the Dujac that put it just a nose, or a palate, ahead (97+).
In contrast, the 1978 DRC Romanée St. Vivant was a touch simpler and a bit earthy by comparison. In any other context, it might have been more appreciated. It was a Jetski ‘94 points,’ and for once I agreed with his stingy, incredibly low scores (94).
Somehow, a 2001 Hubert Lignier Clos de la Roche showed up. I love the wine, and it was still flirting with me with its youthful and vimful personality. I just don’t love it served in between my 70s and 60s DRC lol. It was big and beefy, almost chunky and still a touch too young, especially after the two incredible ‘78s that preceded it. Deep purple resonated in its chorus (95).
I misspoke earlier, as the 1966 DRC La Tache didn’t deliver a perfect experience. This vintage is very up and down for me for LT. This one was full of deep, dark, chocolaty tootsie pop flavors, a bit funky and old. Tom cracked his staff three times on the floor, and the wine was gone (92A).
Photo credit: Jetski
We moved on to Bordeaux with a classic bottle of 1955 Haut Brion. It was delicious with loads of chocolate and caramel flavors, make that more caramel. Despite its exotic sweetness, it was definitively dry with the length to carry it. Yum. I love ’55 Bordeaux (96).
As good as the ’55 HB was, the 1955 La Mission Haut Brion was on another level. What a great bottle! It has been a prolific summer for great, old bottles of La Mission, and it is tough to argue that it isn’t consistently the greatest overall Chateau of the 20th Century. Rich, deep, long and intense, it was all that and then some. One of the wines of the year (99)!
The 1955 Lafleur was no slouch either, even though it didn’t hit the high note that the La Miss did. It was still a #1 record. It was stony and zippy but distinctively Pomerol. The chunk was in the trunk, and the plummy/chocolaty mélange was so sexy, it is banned in at least 21 countries (97).
The last flight of the night was a most memorable one, even though my memory cells were at extremely low levels by this point lol. My handwriting was also atrocious. The 1976 J.L. Chave Hermitage was like a wild animal with which we had to reckon. No one made any sudden movements; just the nose deeper and deeper into the glass, and the glass ever so slowly to our lips. Any sudden movements might prove too much for us mortals, except Tom of course, as this bottle was a great wine that cooked with its bacon and cleared sinuses with its menthol. 1983 came to mind for a couple of guests (96).
The 1976 Guigal Cote Rotie La Mouline was rich and decadent. It was more hedonistic than the Chave, more concentrated, although I was conflicted over which wine I preferred. La Mouline is probably the only other Northern Rhone wine that can sometimes outduel a Chave. The youthfulness of the La Mouline, by comparison, won my mind over. This was still a bit inky and seemed on a slower evolutionary trail (97).
Finding old Rayas is a tough proposition, but well worth the struggle. The 1976 Chateau Rayas Chateauneuf du Pape was such a delicious bottle and just the perfect way to end the festivities. It had that sweet, mature, unique Rayas kink, showing the Grenache grape in all of its glory. There are a handful of wines in the world that are truly unique, and Rayas is one of them thanks to its amazing terroir. I would put Vega Sicilia Unico, Soldera Brunello, maybe even a Penfolds Grange in this category, and certainly Chateau Musar. I think that’s a solid top-five unique wines of the world. Any other votes out there (97).
We ended up back on the boat the next day for Lulu’s official birthday. While I am not a big proponent of daytime drinking, I do make exceptions to my rule lol. We began with a rare, first vintage of 1961 Giacosa Barbaresco Riserva Speciale. It needed time to open but open it did. There were all the classic components there: tar, leather, tobacco. Its citrus kept expanding it from excellent to outstanding. There was great acidity, and despite that old Italian browned quality, it held in the glass quite well (95).
Heitz, Heitz Baby
Blue Light Special
I don’t get to drink as much older California Cabs as I would like, because I do like, and they aren’t really worth selling for the price to quality ratio, to be honest. One of the few wines that do deliver a “fine and rare” price is the 1974 Heitz Martha’s Vineyard. It also delivered a fine and rare experience. It showed all the signature Heitz notes of mint and eucalyptus; this was a true classic bottle of this wine. It had lots of richness, but I felt like it was on a plateau. Not going anywhere soon, but there. It was mature, fresh and creamy (97).
The 1980 Ponsot Clos de la Roche VV was a beauty, still having all the elegance of the ’80 vintage even though it was Ponsot. Beef and blood came out with time, but not in a heavy way. This was long and round with excellent purple fruit flavors. This gave me nice, earthy kisses. I love you, too, man (96).
Even the redoubtable Jetski couldn’t deny that the 1991 Rousseau Chambertin Clos de Beze was ‘f’ing good.’ He was right about that! The 1991 Rousseau was deeply complex and still ascending. Rich, ripe and sexy, it was full of loads of red cherry and great spice. This wine put the pedal to the metal; it was so decadent and sumptuous. Jetski changed his mind, now the Rousseau was ‘f’ing phenomenal.’ He added, ‘still 20 years too young’ (98).
The 1993 Rousseau Chambertin Clos de Beze was a nice place to go next; it was a Beast in the East! This one was so much more brooding and deep, very complicated. It was rich, beefy and bloody, rippling like minerals through its black cherry forest. Its length was extreme…insert your own activity here (98).
We sort of enjoyed a 1978 Georges Lignier Clos de la Roche next. It was nice, friendly, mature and good, but it couldn’t hang (91).
Just short of outstanding, the 2002 DRC Romanée Saint Vivant was solid but a bit cedary. It had that kiss of leanness that I often get with The Domaine’s RSV (94).
And so our night ended, but there was still one more day left on The Boat.
Back at It
We started off with a stony and strong bottle of 1999 Leflaive Puligny Montrachet Pucelles. This was a masculine, full-bodied wine with big, brawny fruit, nice yellow hues and mineral flavors. It had a rocky finish that required some digging out of (94).
Though I preferred the Pucelles, the 1990 Ramonet Batard Montrachet had lots of the exotic mint one looks for in Ramonet. It was full of ‘pineapple cream’ and some nice candy corn flavors, but it just didn’t have the stuffing of great vintage. I’m not sure 1990 ever will be for White Burgundy (92).
The 1992 Leflaive Batard Montrachet was corked, but behind the flaw, I was able to see the wine’s tropical maturity. Jetski was liking it still, with its tea-like flavors and tropical pineapple and mango. It improved, gaining some corn and dry caramel notes, and this bottle seemed fully mature, a comment about 1992 in general (95A).
We struck out again with a corked 1990 Raveneau Valmur, but the palate was better with some rich citrus, yeast, and shells. This was better than the ‘90s from the Cote de Beaune with great richness and sweetness in that yeasty way (95A).
Substitute Chablis Teacher
We kept on with more Chablis and a second bottle of 2008 Dauvissat Les Clos for the trip. This time I took note. It was nice and fresh with lots of yeast in that Chablis way, more bready in nature. It was earthy with length and elegance, but it was only solid, not superb (93).
Everyone wants a little Rousseau for their birthday, and we had responsibilities to uphold, so we continued with a 1983 Rousseau Clos de la Roche. It was a perfect bottle from the ’83 vintage with that signature wet leaf, autumnal quality. There was red fruit and citrus freshness with a touch of bouillon. Jetski found it ‘a little dry,’ but he thought it had a ‘nice texture.’ There was a nice smack to its slaty finish (94).
I have not been very lucky recently with older bottles of Mugnier, let’s call it pre-1998? A bottle of 1993 Mugnier Chambolle Musigny Les Amoureuses was a prime example. It was grapy and not particularly complex. It did have good earth and dust, and a round and tender personality, but it was light on its flavors and one-dimensional (90).
The 1990 Dujac Charmes Chambertin is the best Dujac Charmes I’ve ever had, which shouldn’t be a surprise because Dujac absolutely crushed the 1990 vintage. This had sweet perfume, purple fruit and wintry spice. The palate was full of more purple fruits, round with honey kisses and some terrific herbal tea flavors (94).
The hits from Dujac kept coming with a rockstar bottle of 1990 Dujac Clos de la Roche. There was even more amazing perfume here that was so sensual. It had gorgeous purple hues, colors and flavors that danced delicately and delivered in the form of fruits and flowers with kisses of leather and dust on it finish. It was so fine and elegant but still had so much substance with a long, creamy and happy ending (97+).
We had a Beze the other day, and now it was time for the ‘regular.’ The 1993 Rousseau Chambertin was so deep, super intense and incredibly youthful. Irv thought the wine was ‘unbelievable.’ It was rich, deep and round with lots of red cherry goodness. It was heavy in a light-footed way like a top defensive end, and a rich, mouth-filling wine. Great mushroom notes emerged in the end (98).
Out to Sea
One Last Sunset
Bye Bye Boat
1982 Chateau Mouton Rothschild is still a classic and great wine, and still young. 1982s are quickly becoming the 1961s of this generation, but the prices are still reasonable by comparison (97+)!
We finished the festivities with a delicious bottle of 1970 Vega Sicilia Unico. The ’70 Unico is as always and ‘again’ in a great spot for drinking now (97).
Happy Birthday, Lulu, looking forward to 2020 already!
In Vino Veritas,