It’s tough to find a good bottle of Bordeaux in New York City…an open one, at least. Well, there just happens to be a few good Americans left that still love their Bordeaux…old and mature, of course. Thanks to The Mogul, who is probably atop the Bordeaux drinking charts in the USA, many of New York’s wine cognoscenti were reminded of just how good a great old Bordeaux can be, or visa versa.
I think there were about ten of us, so Lady Agah brought a double magnum of 1961 Lafite Rothschild. Niiiiice. And so was this bottle, which was about as good as this wine ever gets. There was honeyed fruit and nice supporting carob and cedar aromas. There was a delicate spice to its sweet, enticing nose. A big debate ensued about the overall quality of the wine; there was no question this was in ‘excellent’ territory, 93-94 points for those of you keeping score. Dapper Dave admired its ‘velvety animal texture.’ It was soft, easy and creamy, just beautiful. Every refresher invigorated the wine again. I was kind of torn between 93 and 94 points, vacillating back and forth. Bottles will likely score lower, but I could still go back to it at the end of the night after all the great wine that ensued…and still enjoy. Drink up, as not all bottles are created like double magnums, and this isn’t one of the legendary wines from this legendary vintage (93D).
A Good Beginning
Who says China gets all the Lafite? Not The Mogul, who pulled out a 1959 Lafite Rothschild next. What a great bottle, this was clearly deeper and darker than the 1961. There was much more forest and cedar to this black Knight and night of a wine. Gentleman Jim noted ‘cinnamon, allspice and clove.’ Its flavors showed carob again, but this time with layers of caramel on top. This was a rich and saucy wine with nice concentrate to it in a grape seed and oil kind of way. There were solid desert flavors on its dry finish. This ‘screamed’ Lafite to Big Boy (97).
The next flight began with a 1959 La Mission Haut Brion. This was chocolate city in the nose, along with coffee, mocha and rye toast. Smokehouse, cedar and gravel rounded out its nose in classic fashion, but the palate was a bit askew. ‘Stewy’ came from The Inspector, and ‘VA’ from Big Boy, who continued to coo about the ‘so clean’ ’59 Lafite. This was a dirty birdie for sure, but there is a place for clean, and a place for dirty. The palate was definitely a touch stewy, but also chewy. Cereal came out with time, and it got better, but I have had better (94A).
Twin ’59 Billers
Gentleman Jim noted ‘huge mint’ in a spectacular bottle of 1961 Haut Brion. A lot of ‘here here’s followed. The group couldn’t decide whether it was Peppermint Patty or Junior Mints, though. Forest and creamy fruit oozed out of its meaty nose. The palate was chocolaty and tasty, making me sneeze twice with its impressive expression. This was pure deliciousness. It was so exotically minty, it almost made me feel kinky. Long appropriately summed up its finish, and this was ultimately a WOTN (98).
A new bar was set, and the 1961 Latour kept pace. There was similar 1961 goodness here. Again, ripeness was on full display, but in a more purple and walnutty Latour way. There was also a touch of mint here, or maybe that was the Haut Brion still lingering! The Latour was not nearly as open as the HB, yet obviously heavy duty. There were thick thighs in its nose, and its palate was rich and long, ‘still the one,’ I wrote. Its palate was a quartet of so’s – so young, so fresh, so perfect and so long, but this was a wine that I didn’t want to see later, I wanted it right there, right then. Thick came to mind again. At first, I preferred the Latour, but the HB kept challenging and challenging, and many preferred the Graves in the end. It was a dead heat, but Latour is still on the way up (98+).
Twin ’61 Killers
We changed gears with a 1959 Ausone, which The Inspector didn’t like. It was a bit of a cherry bomb with some good medicine to it. There was some yeast to its chocolate, and nice wintergreen flavors on its lean and clean palate. Someone wasn’t in the clean camp, noting ‘chicken shit.’ I saw what he was saying, but nonetheless, it was rich, hearty and solid (93).
Tom Terrific brought a superb bottle of 1959 Petrus. I don’t think I have had or ever will have better. Its nose was super exotic like a coconut cake mixed with dried plums and a hint of fig. This was a perfect bottle, creaming in the glass and finding a balance between its bigness and great acidity. It kept getting better and better, but it was tough to defer the pleasure. This was a wine that would make one think about the consequences later (97).
Right Bank Booty
A 1961 Trotanoy was up for the challenge. This was another saucy and sexy Pomerol. It had a big nose and showed more classic components like wafer, chocolate and plum. This was sweet on the outside and the inside. It possessed more of an oily texture and was another long, great wine. 1961 Pomerols are about as good as it gets (97).
The 1959 Latour a Pomerol was another great ’59 Pomerol. Chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate emerged. One could ‘see the heat of the vintage,’ someone remarked. This may have not been as complex as some of the previous wines, but it was still fantastic. Similar descriptors such as long and creamy reappeared in my notes. Enjoyable was a good way to sum it up (95).
Oh Yes We Did
There was one more wine on this starry night, a 1961 Lafleur from an original wood case with great provenance. Ok now. Gentleman Jim found it ‘Burgundian,’ and Big Boy hailed it as ‘superior wine.’ ‘Perfect Pomerol’ and ‘wine of the night from the nose’ came from the crowd. This bottle was incredibly youthful, much less developed than the couple of others that I have been fortunate to try. Its fresh purple cascaded into a creamy pool of honeyed deliciousness. ‘Nuff said (96+).
True to form, The Mogul got up and excused himself from his own dinner, leaving us all in blissful shock and awe. He had another date after dinner. Actually, he had two.
In Vino Veritas,