Monday, December 19, 2011
Wine Musings Vol#108
Something Old. Something New...
Following are the somewhat sparse tasting notes from the annual wine event we host at Stately Grossman Manor last week. Most wines are directly from my cellar. A few were brought by folks who can equally attest to provenance. Where there is an exception, it is noted. This year our theme was to taste mini verticals of 3 of the same wines over fairly long periods of time (i.e. 60s to the first decade of this millennium), along with a mystery wine of the same varietal. The idea was to track aging curves and changes in style where applicable. To whit:
The first flight consisted of wines from Les Clos, a Gran Cru vineyard in Chablis for those not familiar.
Wine 1 was wonderful. Bright, crisp, citrus zest, marzipan, brine...classic Chablis. Great mouthfeel long finish. The power of the wine made me think 2007, instead it was the 1970 Les Clos (Bolter bottling) ***++.
Wine 2 was a bit oxidized showing some butterscotch. Under that however more flint, citrus and white flowers. I guessed the 1996 Brocard Le Clos *** and that was what it was. I have had 96 recently and it was not as much evolved. Might be a storage issue as I had to buy this retail to fit the tasting. YMMV.
Wine 3 was the table favorite. Lovely, filled-out, essence of orange blossom honey really stood out. Mineral and stone fruit palate. An amazing rendition of chardonnay. It was the 2007 Kongsgaard The Judge ****+ and I knew it.
Wine 4 was very much like wine 1, very tight with more tropical fruit. A prominent pineapple and coconut element! I thought wine one a bit more crisp, thus my preference. Delicious and with lots of time ahead of it. It was the 2007 Brocard Les Clos***++.
The 2nd flight was Delas Les Bessards. kinda. My bottle of 1969 St. Christophe was over the hill. So we had 2 Delas Hermitage and 2 other. Turned out to be a great flight:
Wine 1 was elegance in a glass. It was the most evolved and had nuances of herbs, grilled meats, white pepper and black and red fruit. Silky mouth feel, resolving finish but with no holes. Lovely. It was the 90 Chave Hermitage**** and I would say that it is in it's prime right now.
Wine 2 was clearly very young and made in a much more modern style. Black fruits, lavender, caramel/coffee. Big wine. I was surprised that it was the Delas 2009 Les Bessards***+. I would have pegged it for new world. Parker 100 points? Not tonight.
Wine 3 was gorgeous. Perfumed and nuanced. A super alluring note of sandalwood, red fruit, pink peppercorn, herbs. I loved this wine and thought it was the Chave. Instead it was the 1996 Les Bessards****
Wine 4 was a show stopper. Powerful, vibrant, this wine has verve. Spearmint, iodine, bell pepper. Huge, palate staining with pronounced structure. Dave called it a La Tour like wine and I agree. Amazingly, it was the 1995 Thackery Orion ****+. Wow.
The next flight was Chateau Gruaud Larose.
Wine 1 showed tell tale GL Nicoise olive, black fruit, licorice, leather and a bit of funk. I love these wines. I thought it was the 1990 Gruaud Larose ***++ and it was.
Wine 2 was similar I thought. More bell pepper and a racy red fruit driven palate. I thought it was the 78. Instead it was a 1994 Mount Mary Quintet, from Lillydale **++. Very controversial. I liked this wine very much, Dave did not at all, as did others. In any case, it was a perfect fit for this flight as it was very Bordeaux like.
Wine 3 was dusty and somewhat muted. Still showing some black fruit and green olive, it was for the most part pleasant but not of particular note. Surprisingly dark color. I have had better luck with the 1978 Gruaud Larose **+ in the past, but this bottle was tired.
Wine 4 was fantastic. Still a baby, it was initially closed, but with some coaxing showed excellent black fruit, shoe polish, licorice and minerals. Wonderful depth and super long. It was the 2000 Gruaud Larose****. A wine with a long future in front of it.
The next flight was Chateau Mouton Rothschild.
Wine 1 was everything I love about Mouton. Sexy, red fruit, cedar, menthol, cassis...really alluring. Full on the palate. Velvety. It was the 1998 Mouton****+ and one of my favorites of that decade for drinking right now.
Wine 2 was in one word DEEP. Black fruit, cassis, mineral laden classic big boned Bordeaux. Not a wine for tonight but I appreciate the depth, structure and promise for the future. it was the 1986 Mouton****+.
Wine 3 was maybe my wine of the flight. beautiful, nuanced, great depth. Red and black fruit, lead pencil, little bit of cigar box...heavenly. Solid on the palate and a fury finish. Could have knocked me over when I saw that it was the 1967 Mouton****+. Fabulous wine. Go figure.
Wine 4 was tired and a bit flabby. Some red fruit, soy, mint chocolate covered raisins. Very surprised that it was the 1991 Phelps Insignia**+. perfect provenance and in my cellar since issue. perfect fill, perfect cork. Underwhelmed.
last flight. Baumard Quarts de Chaume.
Wine 1 was lithe and sublime. Pretty stone fruit, a touch of petrol and wild flowers. it was the 1971 QdC***++. Loved it.
Wine 2 was clearly not QdC. A bit less generous, not to say thin, more obvious notes of honey and citrus, it was the 2001 Lafaurie Peyraguey, sauternes***. Not bad, but outclassed in this field.
Wine 3 had more weight than the first wine, but a very similar profile. Perhaps a more pronounced nectarine and quince element. Again, I liked it very much. Still built for the longer haul. It was the 1990 QdC***++.
Wine 4 was my WOTN. Wow. Amazing. The 2007 QdC****+ has a vibrancy and verve that almost knocked me over. Powerful orange blossom, nectarine, mango, peach, lavender honey notes. great acids, full mouth feel with a precise line front to back, spicy finish that lasts minutes. Lots of baby fat but clearly a wine that will be among the best QdCs I have ever had. Superlative.