Every year, we here at Acker have a fun, holiday tradition – a BYO party at The Tribeca Grill where over 100 people get together and share bottles from their cellars. It is an evening that underscores the essence of wine itself – sharing and love. It is also an evening that can get a bit out of control, as there can be a dizzying amount of wines in the room, not only moving around at any given table, but also moving around the room with their owners. It is always an amazing, random mix of so many great wines, a kinetic winergy rarely equaled.
Last year, somehow the schedule got messed up, and I could not attend. I was determined not to miss it two years in a row, and I flew back from Hong Kong just to make it in time to step off a plane, sleep for four hours, and wake up for dinner. It was worth the effort. Perhaps the jet lag got the best of me, as my record # of tasting notes for this event was 52 this year I had only 26, but what a 26 they were.
It began innocently enough with a 2008 Sauzet Chevalier Montrachet. 2008 White Burgs can be ripe and rich, and this had some yeasty, sweet fruit and a round finish. I wanted a little more out of this wine, which felt a little simple by the usual Sauzet and Chevalier standards (92).
I couldn’t ask for anything more from the 2000 Coche-Dury Meursault Perrieres. What a wine. This was fabulous from first sniff, full and quite rich for 2000. It had signature white fruits and that Coche kink, and it still felt young and ascending. This was a monumental expression of Chardonnay (96).
That was it for the whites yes, it is still a red, red world, although I am a big consumer of white wines personally. We began with Bordeaux a debate would ensue the next night about Bordeaux before Burgundy or Burgundy before Bordeaux, but on this night we went South to North. A 1949 Lafite Rothschild was a little weedy and musty but classic underneath. It was a gentle giant with classic pencil aromas and tender tea flavors. This was a wine enjoying its retirement, although affected by the cork (93A).
A shot of 1990 Vogue Musigny Vieilles Vignes quickly interrupted the Bordeaux courtesy of the Rapmaster, and this was better than usual. This has been a controversial wine for a while now, often coming across stewed, gamey and/or milky, but sometimes not. This was a solid wine, displaying some richness and robust qualities along with roasted red fruits. It was still a bit square and rugged, but I didn’t mind the flavor profile of this particular bottle. Perhaps this wine will always be a tale of two bottles (92).
We were back to our regular programming with a not-so-regular 1985 Lafleur. This was all about its blackness in a fruit and olive way. It was a dark and brooding wine, showing the other side of Lafleur. Lafleurs can be super sweet and kinky, or dark and brooding, almost in Jekyll and Hyde fashion depending on the vintage. This still had some classic kink without being overly sweet, although it did get a touch sweeter in the nose. The Copperhead found it ‘a touch dry,’ without trying to be negative (94).
The 1989 DRC Romanee St. Vivant kept sticking their noses in my palate. Its nose was awful, not cooked, not corked, just flawed. It was like sour milk city. The palate was better at first, showing some typical 1989 qualities, so I recommended that it sit for a bit and work itself out. Unfortunately, when we came back to it about an hour later, it was completely sour. It was a perplexing wine, and I was unsure if it was the bottle or the wine (NR?).
We were back to Bordeaux with a 1943 Latour, the second time I have had this ancient, rare wine this year. Thankfully, Jason had/has a (now partial) case J. Its nose was deep, chunky and chocolaty, showing unexpected strength from an unheralded vintage. Its flavors were wheaty and a touch porty, but it still had some up front freshness to its hint of game. Deep and dark, this was a classic Latour, although my previous notes revealed the last bottle was a bit better. At this age, it all comes down to the bottle, even when from the same case (91).
A 1982 Margaux was classic all the way. It had really nice fruit with fifty shades of black and purple. While there was deep fruit, there was delicate spice and that typical Margaux seductiveness. Its palate was round and lush with nice tannins. This is still grace in a glass (95+).
The 1970 Petrus remains one of my favorite wines from this important Chateau. Why? Well, it’s a great vintage and it’s about the same price as the ‘lesser’ young vintages. The smart money that drinks will stick with the ’70, or other oldies of the sorts. The Petrus had rich fruit and a coconutty kink. This was meaty and chewy accordingly, a rich brew courtesy of some Pomerol witchcraft. Lush and complete, the ’70 sang like a baritone and stung like a bee (96).
A Holiday Flight
Hamburger snuck in some 1998 Chave Hermitage, and I was glad he did. This was a saucy and delicious red, a vintage that is completely undervalued in the market for Chave, and about and sexy and seductive as a ‘young’ Chave can be (95).
We switched gears with a pair of Italians thanks to David et Fils, beginning with a 1967 Giacomo Conterno Barolo Monfortino Riserva. While its nose wasn’t so great at first, it had delicious tea flavors. As David Senior noted, ‘it’s not perfect but it works.’ Carob and caramel rounded out its dusty palate. Many old Barolos get tea-like, especially depending on the vintage (93).
The 1990 Gaja Barbaresco Costa Russi delivered toffee and coffee with lots of leather and tar behind it and on its long finish. This was a rich and classic Gaja (94).
A swallow of 2008 Raveneau Chablis Vaillons was easy and pleasing, but the second ’08 white that under-delivered on this night (90).
A magnum of 1970 Latour proved to be tasty. This was pretty by the usual Latour standards, open and soft with some red cherry buttressed by walnut. This will always be an excellent, but never a great, Latour (93M).
We finally made it to the red Burgundies it was a lot of work to get here, but we were primed and ready. The Copperhead signed, sealed and delivered with a 1990 Rousseau Chambertin. This was a ‘wow’ wine, possessing green bean goodness in its nose along with some wet bamboo. There were delicious and rich red fruit flavors that had that green, stalky goodness. The bamboo stayed and had no zled. This was a long, elegant yet substantial wine. Someone mentioned ‘Catherine Deneuve’ (97).
I brought a 1990 Ponsot Clos de la Roche Vieilles Vignes. Why would I bring the 1990 Ponsot? Well, it happened to be the best bottle of Burgundy hanging out in the store, and I had just stepped off a 16-hour flight it was an easy decision. Unfortunately, it was slightly corked. If you could get past its corked qualities, there was a rich, beefy and saucy wine that was one of the most concentrated of the night. There were menthol and meat flavors, but this was definitely corked to the point where it was tough to continue. Someone mentioned ‘Brigitte Bardot.’ If I had to guestimate, I would put this wine in the (96A) category. It would definitely be outstanding were it not corked.
The 1993 Roumier Bonnes Mares that followed had a great, reserved nose that was long and smooth. This was really good but reticent, black and dark. It was shut down, and we didn’t have enough time to get to know it on this night, but it had me thinking about it long after I left (95+).
A 1991 Dominus interjected. I love Dominus there are few California Cabs that I enjoy as much, and a recent 2006 had me licking my lips and someone else’s. But I didn’t love this 1991. It was green, round and soft. I just didn’t feel it (91).
I felt the 1993 Vogue Musigny Vieilles Vignes, however. It had the tight, ’93 edge but again was a bit soft and reserved, a la the Roumier. Was it a phase? Was it this night? Was it that 1990 outshined 1993 for a change? Not sure, but I definitely have had better bottles, or rather bottles that have shown better (93+).
Mason Perry’s 1995 DRC La Tache entered on cue, or on clue. It had clean and lean fruit and a delicate nose. This was a fresh and smooth 1995 that was light, elegant and beautiful and far from the rusty nails that many wines from this vintage can be (94).
The 1993 Roumier Chambolle Musigny Amoureuses let me know that 1993s weren’t all shut down at the moment. This had a fantastic nose that was rich and much more complicated than either of the previous ’93s. This had juice that was loose, and it ‘KO’d the Bonne Mares,’ as one guest put it. Although it was clearly better on this night, I wasn’t 100% certain it was the better wine. This was rich, open and dare I say ready. For a 1993 red Burg, that’s almost an insult lol (97).
Right turn, Rhone, with an excellent 1995 Rostaing Cote Rotie Cote Blonde. This was all about the classic pepper and violet with almost white fruit. It was tasty, balanced and long I was impressed (94).
The Rostaing outpaced the 1998 Guigal Cote Rotie La Mouline that followed. The La Mouline was richer, more oaky and more concentrated but somehow delivered less (93).
A 1970 Palmer was completely (DQ),corked, I believe.
I probably took a swallow of another 6-8 wines, but I stopped writing after two of them, an excellent, hearty and solid 1990 Faiveley Chambertin Clos de Beze (94) and a sweet, buttery and corny 2001 Ramonet Batard Montrachet (93).
That’s all folks!
The Ugly Aftermath
In Vino Veritas,