Football season is over, and wintry Sundays sans football need a purpose. This past Sunday, lunch with a client and friends was just what the doctor ordered, especially considering what was pulled out of the plentiful cellar.

We started with a mag of 1988 Louis Roederer Cristal, served out of a white wine glass, which this collector considers mandatory for any Champagne 1990 and older. The reasoning is to allow the complexities that come with age to aerate and open up as one would with a wine, and it makes complete sense to me. Champagne is, after all, sparkling wine! The nose was creamy and musky with nice buttery, yellow fruits, sweet and with touches of corn and rye yeast. The palate was round and fleshy, with nice sprite, very expressive and open at the moment. There were dry seltzer flavors, and while ’88 is a middleweight vintage for Champagne, the Cristal still showed like a champ despite a lighter impression on the mid-palate (94M).

A 1990 Faiveley Corton Charlemagne was next, and it had a deep gold color and mature nose to match. At first, aromas of sea dock and oyster shells were a bit on the negative side. Behind those was a sweet, buttery and noticeably woody core, but the nose left a fishy impression. The palate was creamy with nice yeast and wood flavors, a honeyed finish, and over time the nose left the dock and balanced out nicely. It got more buttery and rich, rounding out like a Citibank accounting error (93).

While this collector drinks mostly Burgundy, he felt like the Roast Beef for lunch called for a Bordeaux, and it wasn’t just any Bordeaux, it was a 1971 Chateau Petrus. The nose was classic, still unwinding into a delectable chorus of olive, nut, mint and deep, dark purple fruits. Hints of leather, game, smoke and spice were all present, as was a drop of tobasco. This was a perfect bottle, still fresh at age 38. The palate was round with nice earth and garden traces to go with its elegantly packed fruit. This was pure, yummy, mature Pomerol at its best, with plenty of maturity still to come. Secondary hints of coconut and some catnippy goodness rounded out this outstanding Petrus (95).

We were in for a treat for the finish, an extremely rare bottle of 1966 Faiveley Musigny. There is usually less than a barrel produced of this nectar every year; you rarely see bottles. Again, the bottle was in extraordinary condition. The nose was divine with lots of red fruits, layered like waves in an ocean, with sprinkles of earth, brown sugar, forest, bright cherry, citrus and spine. The Faiveley was full of garden flavors, along with what I would call ‘interior’ ones, and hints of horseradish. There was great smack to the finish, of the animal and citrus types, and tasty earthy flavors. Yum. It was a great head-to-head match-up with the Petrus, contested and well-played, but this game went to Burgundy (96).

We retreated to the living room to discuss this coming week’s auction, and he pulled out a 2004 Coche-Dury Meursault Caillerets. I like going back to whites or Champagnes after some reds as a palate refresher, and the Coche was up for the task. It was another terrific 2004, sweet and perfumed in that Coche way, light on its feet and very musky. Its nose was long, and its palate smooth and satiny, yet still complex. Flavors of white fruits and minerals were plentiful. It was a great way to slowly set sail on the evening, with our eyes on the many Burgundy prizes in this weekend’s sale.

In Vino Veritas,

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