Before the good ‘ol USA had its political version of Super Tuesday, a few of us in New York City conducted our own version a week prior. The Mogul, Gentleman Jim, Lady Agah and Alexander The Great all gathered on Tuesday the 23rd (of February) at Vaucluse, Michael White’s homage to French cuisine. If you haven’t been, check it out. Anyone who knows me knows I am a big Michael White fan. See Marea.
Duck L’Orange at Vaucluse
First thing was first, so we started with a 1985 Salon. This bottle was a bit mature, not unusual for Salon in the 1980s unfortunately due to some importing issues with certain shipments. The wine market has come a long way since then. It was still outstanding, but clearly more mature than it should have been, advanced without being off. It tasted at least a decade older, if not more, but it hadn’t turned or gone sour. Its palate was rich, honeyed, oily and long. Gamey white fruits escaped the autumnal personality disorder it had developed (95A).
The Polls Are Open
There was only one white wine served on this night, but what a white wine it was, a 1999 Coche-Dury Corton Charlemagne. How good is that? I rhetorically asked myself, already knowing the answer. The Mogul cooed how ‘silky’ it was. Make no mistake about it, this was a rich and decadent wine with that signature Coche popcorn kernel. I couldn’t stop drinking it; it was that tasty. Its wintry spice had me writing, ‘soooooo good!’ It was round, rich and continuously getting better with each sip, with just the perfect amount of sweetness. Having just done a vertical of twenty vintages of Coche a couple weeks prior, I have to say it felt like it stood out even more on its own. I hope my score was consistent lol (97+).
The Mogul pulled out a pleasant surprise, a 1961 Trotanoy. This was an incredibly well-stored bottle, so fresh with its fruit, yet mature with its mocha and cocoa. Lady Agah noticed, ‘licorice,’ and slate joined the party with time. This was purple city with a black night overhead, and Alexander The Great chipped in, ‘cured leather.’ This was another spectacular bottle that I felt could easily go another two plus decades (97).
Unfortunately, a 1959 Ausone was not in the greatest condition. It was clearly advanced and porty, and Gentleman Jim found ‘celery’ in it, along with ‘molasses.’ It was still drinkable, morphing into lots of caramel, but considering the company at the table, no one was drinking it much (92A).
We were on to the Burgundies beginning with a 1985 Rousseau Gevrey-Chambertin Clos St. Jacques. It was gorgeous, but more elegant than I expected. This was a pretty, beautiful Burgundy, but it didn’t seem to have anywhere to go from here. There were lots of red and citrus in its flavor profile, and its palate was smooth and elegant. I must confess I wanted a bit more, but I got that and then some in the wine to follow (94).
Beauty & the Beast
The 1985 Ponsot Clos de la Roche Vieilles Vignes was a gargantuan wine. ‘Super’ was quickly followed by ‘duper’ in my notes. There was mega concentration in this freakishly great wine. If sausage were a beverage, and you were a sausage lover, this wine would be the shit, or the tits, which one is better? I guess tits are better lol. Sausage, tits, this wine had everything in the right places. Ok, I’ll stop there, or am I too late already. Cola and black fruits almost created this black hole of wine domination. This was a ‘wow’ wine, heavy duty and super rich. No one could deny this was one of the greatest wines ever made. I wish there were more vintages like this (98).
The 1964 Giacomo Conterno Barolo Monfortino Riserva that followed was overmatched. While this was an elegant, smooth and beautiful example of mature Barolo, it had the disservice of following the Ponsot. It was a bit dry and citrusy, and I have had many better vintages of old Monfortino. Drink this vintage up (93).
The Other Sides of ’64
The 1964 Jaboulet Hermitage La Chapelle was another spectacular wine. The shadow of the 1961 La Chapelle is so large that everything prior and thereafter until the 1978 is practically ignored in the market, but let me tell you there are so many phenomenal old La Chapelles just waiting to be discovered. The ’64 was monumental, and got an immediate ‘incredible’ from Gentleman Jim. This was rich and decadent, as good as anything we had on this starry night. This ’64 might even have outshined certain bottles of ’61. The Mogul likened it to ‘the gates of hell meeting sweet nectar.’ Hell yeah (98).
We called it a night, it was Tuesday after all. Our own version of Super Tuesday may not bethe ot as newsworthy as the one that followed, but it definitely was a lot more enjoyable.
In Vino Veritas,