From mature Aubert to old Mongeard-Mugneret, an annual holiday dinner with Lou
Lou and I gathered with our wives last week for our annual pre-Christmas dinner. We started in the living room drinking Champagne and eating a crab dip based on a recipe Lou grew up with as a child. The NV The Rare Wine Co, Les Mesnil, Blanc de Blancs, Grand Cru Champagne was our young bottle. With more biscuit aromas than yeast the textured flavors were of lemon fruit and chalk by the finish. This is an easy going Champagne which will continue to provide interest for several years to come. I opened the 1970s release of the NV Besserat de Bellefon, Grande Tradition, Champagne with great curiosity. I served it extra cold to help preserve any bubbles. Despite the sound of some gas escaping when I removed the sound cork, the wine was indeed flat. This then was a balanced, lively old wine with the right amount of density, tart apple flavors, and old wood. I even found the fine golden amber color matched the nutty aromas on the mouth. Lou mentioned Abe Schoener’s carbonated sparkling wine so I had every intention of subjecting a small sample to our Soda Stream. While I forgot to do so I did mix a glass of the two Champagnes to positive effect.
With dinner we started with Lou’s oldest bottle of Aubert in the form of the 2008 Aubert Wines, Chardonnay, Reuling Vineyard, Sonoma Coast. This is a fairly alcoholic wine so it took an iteration or two to get it at the right temperature. Once the temperature was correct, this was a glorious Californian Chardonnay. It was aromatic, rich in the mouth, and quite mouthfilling but with fine acidity and minerality. It was a treat. We then moved to older Burgundy. The popped and poured 1978 Mongeard-Mugneret, Grands-Echezeaux immediately smelled great. Lou and I exchanged a quick glance to confirm the bottle was in sound shape. It took almost half an hour for the flavors to catch up. Then for one hour this was a compelling wine to smell and taste, reasserting that old Burgundy can make a fine drink! The evening ended with a glass of 1966 Offley Boa Vista, Vintage Port. It is not the most complex of wines but the sweetness is delivered with a seductive mouthfeel and a noticeable dose of old wood. It is an old Vintage Port that can be drunk without concern.
NV The Rare Wine Co, Les Mesnil, Blanc de Blancs, Grand Cru Champagne
Imported by the Rare Wine Co. Alcohol 12.5%. The nose reveals more biscuit aromas than yeast. In the mouth, the very fine and firm bubbles quickly dissipate leading to a lively start of lemon flavors. With bright acidity on the tongue things wrap up with a textured, chalky finish. *** Now – 2020.
NV Besserat de Bellefon, Grande Tradition, Champagne (1970s release)
Imported by The Rare Wine Co. In the glass was a golden amber color with a finely aromatic nutty nose. The acidity gives an initial impression of a prickle on the tongue but there is no doubt this wine is flat. There is a fine balance of nut flavors, old wood, and tart apple flavors. The wine is slightly textured with salivating acidity, and a slight density. All in all, it is a charming still wine. *** Now.
2008 Aubert Wines, Chardonnay, Reuling Vineyard, Sonoma Coast
Alcohol 15.6%. With air and proper temperature the nose smelled of waxy sweet aromas, butterscotch and supportive oak. This is a mouthfilling, sexy with but the consistent acidity and good minerality make it a joy to drink. The flavors start with sweet yellow fruit but turn to white by the finish. ****(*) Now.
1978 Mongeard-Mugneret, Grands-Echezeaux
Shipped by Robert Haas Selections. Imported by Vineyard Brands. The fine and deep nose was scented with aromas of cranberries and cherries. It took 15 to 30 minutes for the tart red fruit flavors to take on sweetness. This mixed well with the floral start, watering acidity, and ripe old wood hints in the finish. This lively wine was compelling to drink for another hour and even picked up a touch of grip in the end. **** Now.
1966 Offley Boa Vista, Vintage Port
Imported by The Rare Wine Co. Alcohol 20%. The marshmallow sweetness is matched by the round body making for a luxurious feeling wine from the very first glass. While not too complex, the fruit is pure and the supportive hints of old wood are just right. This bottle was in great shape without any hints of heat. In the end, a great old Port to drink. ***(*) Now but will last.