Last night I had the pleasure of being welcomed back to New York from France with something incredibly rare- from France. A few friends came to Rothmann’s for dinner with a bottle or three to wash down a porterhouse. The first two wines were classic left bank Bordeaux, ’82 Talbot and ’88 Leoville Las Cases.
Both wines from St.-Julien showed well, the Talbot at or very close to it’s peak with cedar and tobacco and still a bit of cherry on the finish. Drink it now. Followed by the Leoville Las Cases, seeming like a wine half it’s age rich and opulent, black fruit, cedar, mint, minerality and well integrated oak. I would wait on this for awhile. One of the best examples of ’88 on the left bank from the best producer in St.-Julien.
After they had finished the steak, they moved outside to investigate the half bottle that had been chilling on ice behind the bar. We sat out on 54th street as the cement heat and humidity had become bearable after ten o’clock. I poured four glasses of the Jean-Louis Grippat Hermitage Vin de Paille Blanc 1995, Apricot, cinnamon toast, candied orange peel, cardamon and almond butter on the nose, acidity highlighting the fruit and balance on the palate. Long finish and gorgeous power and balance from a well kept bottle of a stellar vintage in the Northern Rhone Valley. I would assume this is 100% Marsanne since this is what was contained in their vineyards… I was told that 200 half bottles were produced of this wine in the 1995 vintage, although I have seen a quote that “900 half bottles are produced for us, en famille” in reference to the wine in question, not the 1995 vintage- it is conceivable that the production would differ from vintage to vintage.
Venue: La Perla, a very nice hotel in a mountain valley over an hour’s drive from Bolzano. (Or as the brochure says: “Only three hours from Venice.”)
Pierre Lurton, the Managing Director of Chateau d’Yquem and of Chateau Cheval Blanc, hosts the series of tastings.
We taste the 1934 d’Yquem in the attic of a typical mountain house. By that I mean there are holes in the walls and the steep narrow stairway (with treads worn to the width of a CD in spots) leading up to the room was authentic to the point of dangerous.
1934 Chateau d’Yquem Tawny with vibrant orange highlights. Bright. Clear rim. Fresh. Elegant and restrained. Shadows of tangerine liqueur on the nose. A broad silky sensation. Tightly woven. All the sensations on the nose carry through onto the palate, along with concentrated dried apricot notes. At this age and level, easy fruit signifiers really no longer apply. Long, satisfying finish.
After 30 minutes: The scents have evolved into an elegant, visceral memory of dried apricots. Continue reading →
It is not easy to find affordable Medoc of classed growth quality, but recently I had a chance to try two very fine wines from that category with fair price of 15 and 20 Euros. First bottle was Chateau Potensac 2004. Unusual wine in many senses. First, it’s classified as a Cru Bourgeois Exceptionnel, but its quality is way beyond average Cru Bourgeois and can reach at least fifth growth classed category. Then comes the “non only Cabernet” style which is pretty unusual for Medoc and finally ripe aromas and full body which is not expected at such average vintage as 2004 was. Continue reading →
I drink champagne when I’m happy and when I’m sad. Sometimes I drink it when I’m alone. When I have company I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I’m not hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise I never touch it – unless I’m thirsty.” – Madam Lilly Bollinger
Winemaking: All base wines are elaborated in stainless steel and are therefore very dry. The residual sugar is somewhere between 3 and 6 g/l depending on quality and vintage. Owner Rodolphe Peters decided not to label the Champagne „Extra Brut“. Only after extraordinary vintages this Champagne is made. The 2002 aged on it´s yeasts for 6 years and is the 2003´s successor, which was clearly lighter and came on the market before.
Average Price: € 39,00
Tasting Notes: On the palate hints of white fruits like peach and pear, also dominating citrus aromas. The intense scent of almonds and marzipan, the minerality and the crisp acidity are fabulous! It´s perfect when you let it breathe 3 or 4 minutes after pouring.
Wearing my favorite Operation Iraqi Freedom Veteran T-shirt, I find my self staring down at two glasses of deep ruby red wine. A battle in itself was about to ensue. The 2000 Chateau Margaux vs. 2000 Chateau Latour in a battle to the death, or should I say digestion! I learned a lot about these wines while tasting them over a one hour period. My initial thoughts were that the Latour was much more impressive and dense, and I felt that the Margaux was a bit lack luster on the palate but showed impressive aromatics. Over the next hour both wines saw improvement with the Margaux gaining ground on the Latour. The Margaux began to really show it true colors, this is a wine about aroma and flavor, there were layers of complex aromatics and tons of fantastic tastes to discover on the palate. There is a certain grace to Margaux that I don’t believe is matched by anyone else. The Latour stayed true to its pauillac Cabernet roots. This wine was dense and full of classic Cabernet backbone. The structure and quality of fruit were impressive to say the least. The Chateau Latour made a clear statement of pedigree and position among the greatest in Bordeaux and quite possibly the world. These wines do require a lot of thought to get the most out of them but I find that an equal amount of humor is required too. I was happy to be enjoying such wonderful wines and made it a point to laugh, enjoy, and relax to better savor the moment. Grand wines deserve adoration but it’s important to remember that having fun with it is just as much apart of the enjoyment of wine as tasting. Notes to follow: Continue reading →
Tasting Notes: Considered by many to be the wine of the vintage (knowing how great the 2005 vintage was that’s saying a lot) the 2005 Mugnier Musigny is the greatest wine I have tasted this year by far, and is a candidate for greatest of all time. I have a feeling that if I taste this wine in 20 years it may take the “best ever” slot. My notes are as follows: The nose releases pure and beautiful aromas of black raspberry and black cherry with a lovely rose pedal and crushed mineral aspect. Hints of fine vanilla and cinnamon complete a unified and seducing bouquet. The palate is stunning to say the least. There is so much power in this wine yet a wonderful elegance as well. Succulent and ripe yet firmly structured with a ridiculously long and complex finish I’m in heaven…pure heaven…
Rating: 5 of 5 (Special occasion wine, sit down wine)
Cellaring: I would drink this at the earliest 2024, this wine will taste fantastic for 30+ years if cellared properly.