They don’t make ’em like they used to, except someone just did. On two perfect evenings in Los Angeles, a few good men and a great woman gathered together for two feasts fit for a king. The feasts were fete-ing the feelgood age of fifty-five for none other than The Rev, our official host and insane giver and sharer of great wines. There was other wine royalty on the short VIP list, most notably Bad Boy and The Punisher, aka “The Big Guns” when together. Hollywood Jef and Antonio Galloni, aka Mr. Vinous, were also there, along with Magic Marc and The Stoner aka The Canadian Baked One lol. I can safely say that I will still need The Rev “when he’s 64”, and 64 wines were indeed the magic number we had on these two nights. Buckle up.

In my youth, I would have been able to write up every single wine with individual notes and knock it out in a weekend, but I have learned to be more efficient lol. I will never get this article done if I try to do that, so I will do many notes, but also a few quicker summaries. I am much better at cranking out those 8-12 wine a night evenings 😉

We had five Champagnes to start:
1. 1961 Veuve Clicquot magnum (94M)
2. 1955 Cristal (95)
3. 1961 Salon (DQ)
4. 1979 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne (96)
5. 1969 Salon (97)

Serious Champagne

The 1961 Clicquot was delicious and a good drink, but the Salon from the same vintage was unfortunately ‘mushroomy’ per Mr. Vinous and a bit skunky. There would be a few DQ’s throughout the weekend, but it was definitely a small Minority Report. Let’s talk about the other three.

The 1955 Cristal was a gorgeous bottle, direct from the Domaine. Merci beaucoup! The nose has lots of wafer with a side of limestone, unfurling into caramel and a rusty sweetness. It had great sweetness but was a bit stony and rocky. Someone admired, ‘so much weight,’ but I got a touch of burnt rubber on the finish that kept this score from being even higher (95).

The 1979 Taittinger CdC was a laser by comparison. There was still a lot of sweet fruit, yellow sugar and rocky solid flavors to this zippedy doo dah bubbly. Its finish was starting to show more mature flavors, but this felt like it just got out of college in that regard. Its fruit was oh so fresh, like a good tank top with some Daisy Dukes on the right piece of…fruit, of course (96).

The 1969 Salon won the flight, hands down. It came from an OCB I believe. The Bad Boy had to pancake a few people to get it, but it was definitely worth it. It was also very fresh, but there were more mature nuances to its flavor, and a more linear personality versus a laser. That extra decade of aging had done this bottle right. White sugar and waterfall flavors cascaded down my palate in perfect harmony in this beautiful, long and smooth Champagne. A leathery finish rounded out this winegasmic bottle (97).

We had five whites as well:
1. 1966 Leroy Montrachet (94)
2. 1982 Ramonet Montrachet (DQ)
3. 1982 Coche-Dury Meursault Perrieres (95)
4. 1983 Coche-Dury Meursault Perrieres (94)
5. 1986 Coche-Dury Meursault Perrieres (95A)

Cochy Cochy Koo

None of the whites were thrilling or that ‘best wines of my life category,’ but they were all excellent to outstanding, except the corked Ramonet, of course. The Leroy was very Leroy, and the Coches seemed like they were all aged a touch too long and would have been better 5-10 years earlier. Galloni liked the ’83 best due to its purity and cleanliness. It had exotic lime, guava and peachy fruit. The ’82 and ’86 had a bit of funk in their trunks, but behind that were two richer wines with more acidity, especially for the ’82. The ’86 showed more mint and botrytis, but also had some corkiness. The Bad Boy, aka Bruce The Returner, summed it up well when he said, ‘none of them really move me.’ I, too, did want more from this flight.

A pair of 1982 Pomerols were next. I may be in a different Minority Report, in that I think 1982 Pomerols are overrated. Ok, maybe that’s not good for business, but it is the truth. The Left Bank is truly special, though. Don’t get me wrong, the Pomerols are still excellent wines, they just aren’t best wines of my life category, which is 97 points and up for those of you still wondering.

1. 1982 Petrus (94)
2. 1982 Lafleur (95)

Close But No Cigar

These bottles were both typical, the Petrus being classic and beautiful just not spectacular, and the Lafleur being jammy and kinky with lots of exotic fruit melanges. There was a bit more zip and zow in thie Lafleur than the last couple of bottles I have had. The Lafleur is as good as ’82 Pomerol can get, but it ain’t more than 95 points. Sorry.

The next eight wines that followed definitely qualified as a ‘Big 8.’ We were now free to move about the cabin.
1. 1929 La Mission Haut Brion (98)
2. 1945 Haut Brion (98)
3. 1945 Latour (93)
4. 1947 Cheval Blanc (97)
5. 1959 Lafite Rothschild (98+)
6. 1959 Mouton Rothschild (95)
7. 1959 Haut Brion (97)
8. 1959 Petrus (DQ)

Big Boy Style

The 1929 La Mission Haut Brion was a perfect bottle of this wine; I think it was from the Doris Duke collection but honestly can’t remember. It was so fresh with loads of fruit. Fleshy, velvety and chocolaty, this was a long and balanced wine still with light grit and great purple fruit. Someone called it ‘the purest wine’ (98).

The 1945 Haut Brion that followed was another superb bottle. The wine was wheaty and yeasty in a good way, with a nose full of caramel oil, cassis, minerals and razors. It had divine toffee butter crunch flavors. Rich, heavy and concentrated, this was a very sexual wine. ‘The dawgs are howling,’ said The Rev, as these two spectacular back-to-back Bordeaux set the bar high for the rest of the show (98).

Speaking of spectacular, the 1947 Cheval Blanc wasn’t too shabby, either. It had a deep nose full of signature motor oil, and these wheaty and smoky qualities like burnt crops. Its palate was thick, sweet, long and round. This was lush and rich, although I have never had it reach the heights it did on New Year’s Eve in 1999. The wine may be in a long, slow decline, but it was still knock my socks off good. Hollywood Jef agreed, even though the Bad Boy was hating on it (97).

The Punisher was loving the 1959 Haut Brion, and what wasn’t to love? This has always been a pet favorite wine of mine, even more than the ’61. It had a heavy, smoky and nutty nose, exuding mature and classic aromas of coffee, cassis and a pinch of gravel. The palate was thick and strong with great flavors and a loud finish. This wine still has upside (97).

59 power

Of course, what would a great flight of 40s and 50s Bordeaux be without a 1959 Lafite Rothschild? This has always been my favorite all-time Lafite and one of the greatest bottles of the 20th Century, and this bottle didn’t change either of those opinions. The ’59 had a superb nose of sweet cassis and pencil with a great perfumed quality. This was a rich, sumptuous and sensual claret. Andy admired its ‘smooth’ character, and I did its thick finish (98+).

As for the other wines in the flight, the 1945 Latour was not as good as usual. I consistently rate this wine around 98 points as well, but this bottle was a bit stripped and possibly reconditioned. It wasn’t off; it just wasn’t a great bottle (93).The 1959 Mouton Rothschild had the disservice of following the Lafite and was no match for it despite being an outstanding wine. There were more black fruits and signature mint here, but it was a softer, kinder claret that had a gamy finish (95). The 1959 Petrus was an Eschenauer negociant bottling and off (DQ).

There were three votes for the La Miss, two for the Lafite and one each for the Mouton and ’55 Cristal as wine of the night so far. We had some more Cristal on the way as an intermezzo, and then it would be time for the Burgundies. To be continued…

Wine for Daysss.

In Vino Veritas,

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