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Lost Friday Lunch

September 15, 2016 Leave a comment

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For several years David Ehrlich has been organizing a series of weekday wine lunches.  Known as the Lost Lunch his idea is for a small group to enjoy a fine meal and an array of fine wines over the course of an entire afternoon.  Six of us recently gathered in the backroom of Black Salt where we kicked off the lunch with a bottle of 1996 Dom Perignon, Oenotheque Champagne.  This is an excellent Champagne which, with air and warmth, revealed an attractive amount of maturity.  It is simply a flat out treat to drink which was not only an outstanding way to start the afternoon but it was one of my top three favorites wines of the meal.  Rather than go through all of the wines I will jump straight to the 1971 Cav. L. Brero & C., Barolo Monvigliero Riserva.  The color of the wine is still deep with mouth filling flavors of vigorous fruit which take you by surprise.  The concentration builds with air, adding berries and baking spices, but never buries its great acidity.  The Monvigliero vineyard is located in Verduno which is on the northern edge of the Barolo region.  The vineyard itself is located on a high hill and is the only vineyard completely facing south.  It may be a romantic notion but you can taste that combination of ripe fruit from the sun and crispness from the altitude.  Regardless, it is an undeniably good wine.  For dessert we drank a lovely half-bottle of 1988 Chateau Climens, 1er Cru Sauternes-Barsac.  This Climens not only feels luxurious in the mouth but the complex flavors make you want to take another sip.  I see no reason to hold back on drinking small formats.

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1996 Dom Perignon, Oenotheque Champagne
Imported by Moet Hennessy USA. Disgorged 2008. The light, toasted gold color leads you to a sweet, floral and fruity nose. The fine and robust bubbles first bring toast and yeast notes before a core of sweet fruit slowly expands in the mouth. Complexity is gained from old wood notes and a steely, chalk finish. With air and warmth this lovely Champagne shows more citrus, spices, and maturity. ****(*) Now – 2026.

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1971 Domaine Gustave Gros, Richebourg Grand Cru
Shipped by Remoissenet Pere et Fils. Imported by Excelsior Wine & Spirits Corp. Acquired from The Don Stott Cellar, Sotheby’s Wine. The color is relatively deep but the nose offers old leather and generally older aromas. In the mouth the wine is a little tired, though it is round and gentle, there is still some apparent structure in the finish. With moderate air it takes on a little fat and old spices but the finish becomes shorter. Overall it lacks some definition. *** Drink up.

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1991 Jean Gros, Richebourg Grand Cru
Imported by Chambers & Chambers. Alcohol 13%. The nose improved significantly with air eventually revealing some maturity. In the mouth are focused flavors of black cherry which never shook off firmness. The wine has a tangy grip that matched flavors of red fruit complemented by smoke. The flavors persist through the aftertaste. This wine will continue to develop. **** Now – 2026.

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2007 Domaine Francois Raveneau, Chablis Premier Cru Butteaux
Alcohol 13%. Acquired from Acker Merrall & Condit. Of the pair of Raveneau this has more acidity and tang which matches the white and chalky fruit. This is very precise, more citric, focused, and acidic. **** Now – 2021.

2008 Domaine Francois Raveneau, Chablis Premier Cru Butteaux
Imported by The Rare Wine Co. Alcohol 13%. The rounded start brings mango flavors. Despite the generous feeling this wine has grip and control. There is an attractive, weighty lemon flavor which is not tart. The finish brings chalk and a touch of tightness indicating a bit more aging potential. This was my favorite of the pair.  **** Now – 2021.

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2010 Domaine des Comtes Lafon, Meursault Clos de la Barre
A Becky Wasserman Selection imported by Wines Unlimited. Alcohol 13%. This is an electric wine from the berry fruit to the chalky, grippy tang which coats the bottom of the gums. The structure is still there too but this is drinking great right now. **** Now – 2018.

2011 Lucien Le Moine, Meursault 1er Cru Genevrieres
The flavors are forward with good fruit but the oak is immediately noticeable. There is chalk and acidity in the finish but the fruit is reduced and the oak returns as butterscotch. Perhaps it will integrate with time. ***(*) Now – 2019.

2011 Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey, Meursault 1er Cru Les Genevrieres
Imported by MacArthur Liquors. The lightest of the three Meursault. Compared to the others it had a berry fruit core but showed less concentration, less fruit, and watering acidity. That said it was cool in aspect with clean fruit and moderate minerality. I would drink this up. ***(*) Now.

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2001 Domaine A.-F. Gros, Richebourg
Imported by Pelton Imports. Alcohol 13%. This is a young, grapey wine with concentrated flavors of berries. It remained firm with primary, clean fruit yet shows strong promise. I would age this several more years before trying again. ***(*) 2020-2030.

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1952 Giacomo Borgogne, Barolo Riserva (red capsule original release)
Imported by T Elenteny. The pale amber color will be shocking to some. In the mouth the flavors are rounder than the color indicates. There is certainly vigor to this wine as the flavor fill the mouth, albeit they are simple in nature with watering acidity. The palate is more engaging than the nose. Very much alive and drinkable but this was never a strong wine. *** Now.

1971 Cav. L. Brero & C., Barolo Monvigliero Riserva
Imported by The Rare Wine Co. This is quite deep in color. In the mouth are concentrated fruit flavors, berries, and cinnamon spices which persist on the tongue. This wine is full of vigor, still has weight to the fruit yet is crisp from the acidity. It builds concentration with air leaving baking spices in the aftertaste. An impressive wine. ****(*) Now – 2026.

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1988 Chateau Climens, 1er Cru Sauternes-Barsac
Imported by Pearson’s Wine Imp. Co. The golden amber color makes was to luscious and seductive flavors. This is an unctuous wine with noticeable residual sugar. It is not just the mouthfeel that is attractive but the flavors of apricot and ripe, Christmas spices. Drinking great right now. **** Now but will last.

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2001 Selbach-Oster, Zeltinger Himmelreich Riesling Auslese *, Mosel Saar Ruwer
A Terry Theise Selection imported by Michael Skurnik Wines. A little asparagus stink on the nose. There is a zippy start with tart, white berry fruit, and rather dry body.  It remained acidic.  *** Now

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A blind tasting of super Tuscans from the 2000 vintage

December 17, 2015 Leave a comment

Last week I also found maturity and pleasure in a recent vintage.  I was the guest of David for his turn of hosting his tasting group.  We gathered in his living room to first eat cheese and drink 2013 G de Guiraud, Bordeaux Blanc Sec while we waited for the others to arrive.  My familiarity with Guiraud was limited to the sweet side of things so it was a surprise to try this dry blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon.  It was slightly grassy on the nose with citric flavors, some fat, good acidity, and a mineral finish.  Upon revisiting it I found attraction in the sappy flavors and grippy mild structure.

When we sat down at the dinning table we were greeted by five brown bagged wines.  David had opened the wines and drunk off the top bits over six hours prior.  Initial guesses at David’s theme were made difficult by the differences in maturity.  There appeared to be a general agreement that there were some Bordeaux grapes in the mix.  Whether they were from France or Italy was intended to be difficult to ascertain due to the ordering of the bottles.  The clues slowly came out, Italy which I could believe.  They were all from 2000, no way!  And they were all from Tuscany except for the Bordeaux ringer.  Until this tasting, I had not tried any mature super Tuscans.

Unfortunately the bottle of 2000 Antinori, Tignanello, Toscana was off.  Fortunately for us, the replacement bottle of 2000 Antinori, Solaia, Toscana was in top form.  It drank great from the very first pour, so much so that I spent more time drinking it than jotting down notes.  This bottle seemed at the peak of maturity.  The 2000 Argiano, Solengo, Toscana also drank well.  It was forward with more jammy and sexy flavors.  In slight contrast, the 2000 Tua Rita, Giusto di Notri, Toscana sported more concentration and potential for future development.  Though youthful, the savory and racy flavors were hard to resist.  The 2000 Antinori, Tenuta Guado al Tasso, Bolgheri Superiore showed depth with quite a bit of a structure; I would cellar this further.  The 2000 Clos de l’Oratoire, Saint Emilion proved the most elegant and youthful.  Granted, the super Tuscans were more opulent but I did not think this wine had as much complexity to give.  We wrapped the meal up with a very young and fine bottle of 2001 Chateau Coutet, Barsac.  I would cellar this further.  Many thanks to David for including me and hosting a fine evening.

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1 – 2000 Tua Rita, Giusto di Notri, Toscana
Imported by Winebow.  This wine is a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, and 5% Cabernet Franc.  Alcohol 14%.  This wine exhibited a medium core of color with some garnet.  The nice nose was a touch fresh but in the mouth this maturing wine had a savory, racy vein of flavor leading to the mineral finish.  The concentrated flavors of black and red fruit was accented by a greenhouse note and a leather hint.  The structure existed as slightly spicy tannins.   ***(*) Now – 2025.

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2 – 2000 Clos de l’Oratoire, Saint Emilion
Imported by Calvert Woodley.  This wine is a blend of 90% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon.  Alcohol 13.5%.  This wine was aromatic with plummy notes.  The wine tasted younger than the first with more structure and dry, very fine tannins.  The cherry core remained youthful with a little salivating acidity, and leather.  *** Now – 2025.

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3 – 2000 Antinori, Tignanello, Toscana
Imported by Remy Amerique.  Alcohol 13.5%.  Clearly older than the second wine the nose revealed candy cane aromas but the mouth revealed this wine was off.  It was tart and citric with red fruit, puckering acidity, and very fine strong tannins.  Not Rated.

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4 – 2000 Argiano, Solengo, Toscana
Imported by Vias Imports.  This wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, and a bit of Petit Verdot.  This was young and jammy on the nose with both sweet fruit and oak aromas.  In the mouth this deep and young wine had attractive, chewy flavors.   Drinking forward and sexy.  **** Now – 2020.

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5 – 2000 Antinori, Tenuta Guado al Tasso, Bolgheri Superiore
Imported by Remy Amerique.  This wine is a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, and 10% Syrah that was aged for 14 months in oak casks.  Alcohol 14%.  The good aromas bore a touch of greenhouse.  In the mouth there were some deep flavors, ink, power, and a racy finish.  There were some significant very fine tannins with a bitter finish.  ***(*) 2020 – 2030.

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Backup – 2000 Antinori, Solaia, Toscana
Imported by Remy Amerique.  This wine is a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Sangiovese, and 5% Cabernet Franc.  Alcohol 13.5%.  This drank great from the moment it was poured.  The sweet nose of dark fruit made  way to maturing, rounded flavors that mixed with spices and supportive, old wood.  Drinking at its peak.  **** Now – 2018.

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2001 Chateau Coutet, Barsac
Imported by Calvert Woodley.  Alcohol 14%.  A young tasting bottle with hints of goodness to come.  With warmth and air the residual sugar became noticeable in this textured wine.  It showed some roast character.  *** 2025-2045.

The 14th Annual Heart’s Delight Press and Sommelier Luncheon

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This past week I attended the 14th Annual Heart’s Delight Press and Sommelier Luncheon held at the Hotel Sofitel Washington, DC.  The luncheon is just one part of the Heart’s Delight Wine Tastings and Auction which was spread over five days.  This event began in memory of Bruce Bassin of MacArthur Beverages in 1999 with the intent to raise money for the American Heart Association.

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The tasting and luncheon was held in Le Bar.  The space was arranged with the 13 wineries located across two sides of the room, the luncheon buffet on a third side with the bar itself holding water and plenty of wine glasses.  Within the center of the room were cocktail tables for tasting and eating.  A small number of us gathered for the event including Ben Giliberti (Calvert-Woodley), Dave McIntyre (The Washington Post and DMWineLine), David White (Terroirist),  Don Winkler and Mike Potashnik (International Wine Review), Christian Schiller (Schillerwine), Dick Rosano (Weekly Wine Pick), Karen Taylor (France Magazine), and Rebecca Canan (Terroirist). For Christian Schiller’s thoughts on the event you may read Heart’s Delight 2013 – A Bordeaux and American Wine Feast in Washington DC for a Good Cause, USA.

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I decided to visit the tables in clockwise order.  Many others had the same idea so despite the small number of attendees there was a bit of a jam where Chateau Palmer met Chateau Clerc-Milon.  In the end I ran out of time and was unable to taste the wines of Chateau Clerc-Milon and Martinelli.  What I did taste was a highly pleasurable array of distinct wines with even the most structured and tannic wine was still enjoyable.  Besides the outstanding quality of the wines I thought the feel of the room was calm.  The number of wines being poured, the number of attendees, the size of the room, and food worked together.  The event became a social affair.  Attendees and winemakers freely chatted and towards the end of the luncheon, everyone started to mingle and small groups formed.

Château Malartic-Lagravière

Bruno and Veronique Bonnie Laplane

Bruno and Véronique Bonnie Laplane

The Blanc is produced from a smaller 6 hectare plot.  Due to its size there is no rush for harvest so they pick the fruit over three tries.  Véronique commented that the Blanc ages well, developing minerals as it does.  The oldest vintage of Blanc in the cellar is the 1945!  The red varietals encompass 43 hectares so it is harvested all at once, plot by plot.

2010 Château Malartic-Lagravière, Blanc, Pessac-Leognan
This wine is a blend of 85% Sauvignon Blanc and 15% Semillon which was fermented in barrel then aged on the lees for 11 months in 50% new oak barrels.  The nose was floral with light raspberry and a little grassy aromas.  In the mouth there was acidity driven flavors which built weight to reveal ripe, spiced texture, tang, and increased intensity.  There was a very good, persistent aftertaste.  Nice wine.

2010 Château Malartic-Lagravière, Pessac-Leognan
This wine is a blend of 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Petit Verdot which was fermented in stainless steel and oak vats then aged for 18 months in 75% new oak barrels.  The nose revealed a little ripe fruit, red aromas, vanilla, and bramble fruit.  In the mouth the red and blue fruit was youthful with vigor.  There were ripe tannins which coated the lips and teeth as part of the ripe structure.  The flavors became blacker and racy in the finish turning to tart black fruit in the aftertaste.  It sported fine acidity.  This was quite approachable.

Château Haut-Bailly

Diana Paulin

Diana Paulin

This wine is composed of 20% fruit sourced from a very old vineyard located by hind the left read of the Chateau.  These old vines are approximately 120 years old, being just post-phylloxera.  This vineyard includes plots where six varietals are coplanted.  In order to differentiate between the early and late ripening vines they are tagged with ribbons.

2010 Château Haut-Bailly, Pessac-Leognan
This wind is a blend of 62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Merlot, and 2% Cabernet Franc which was aged in 55% new barrels.  The nose revealed concentrated fruit, berry bramble, and an attractive funk.  In the mouth the black and grapey fruit flavors showed firm focus.  This wine has obvious structure with fine ripe citric/wood tannins mixing with black berries in the finish.  This needs age and will be quite comfortable in the cellar.

Château Léoville-Poyferré

Anne Cuvelier

Anne Cuvelier

The estate was acquired by the Cuvelier family in 1920.  Since then they have constructed a new winery, planted new vines, and just in time for the 2010 vintages was the installation of new stainless steel cuviers.

2010 Château Léoville-Poyferré, Saint-Julien
This wine is a blend of 61% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot, and 3% Cabernet Franc which was fermented in stainless steel then underwent 50% malolactic fermentation in barrels followed aging in 75% new French oak barrels for 18-20 months.  There was a youthful nose of vintage perfume, grapey aromas, and a good greenhouse aroma.  In the mouth there was an underlying darkness with firm, spicy structure supporting the red and black fruit.  There were drying tannins and some integrated, salivating acidity.  This was a lip coating wine which will clearly benefit from age.

Château Palmer

Château Palmer is the classical wine with Alter Ego the contemporary.  Alter Ego features a larger percentage of Merlot along with shorter barrel aging which makes it more forward. Any fruit not deemed for the Grand Vin or Alter Ego is sold off.

2010 Château Palmer, Alter Ego, Margaux
This wine is a blend of 51% Cabernet Sauvignon and 49% Merlot.  The nose bore good perfume.  The mouth followed the nose with dark perfumed flavors, good acidity, and a racy aspect towards the finish.  This was attractive and probably the most forward of the Bordeaux.

2010 Château Palmer, Margaux
This wine is a blend of 54% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 6% Petit Verdot.  There was a dark, perfumed nose with pungent berries which stepped out of the glass.  In the mouth the seductive fruit mixed with dark perfume and some tart red flavors.  The structure was integrated with the flavors taking on a berry quality leaning towards blue and black fruit.  Already very nice in its youth.  Effortlessly flavorful.

Clos Dubreuil

Lisa Simon

Lisa Simon

This wine is produced from fruit sourced from a tiny 10 acre vineyard under the consultancy of Michel Rolland.

2010 Clos Dubreuil, St. Emilion
This wine is a blend of 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc.  The nose was tight  In the mouth there was focused blue and black fruit, structure, hint of vanilla, and some extract.  There were ripe, grapey tannins which stuck to the lips.

Château Troplong Mondot

Myriam Ruer

Myriam Ruer

With 33 hectares of vines Troplong-Mondot is one of the largest estates in St. Emilion.  The vines themselves average 65 years of age.

2010 Château Troplong Mondot, St. Emilion
This wine is a blend of 90% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Cabernet Franc.  The nose stepped out with lipsticky aromas of bramble fruit.  In the mouth there was ripe fruit, black, inky fruit which was mouthfilling and attractive.  The vein of flavor stood up to a fair amount of structure.  The tannins coated the lips and gums.  This was drinking well.

Château Pontet-Canet

Alfred Tesson, Image courtesy of Christian Schiller

Alfred Tesson, Image courtesy of Christian Schiller

The Tesseron family has slowly replanted the vineyards and improved the winery since they acquired it in 1975.  The fruit is fermented in both wooden vats, without temperature control, and modern concrete vats installed in 2005.

2010 Château Pontet-Canet, Pauillac
This wine is a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Petit Verdot which was fermented in oak and cement vats then aged for 16 months in 60% new oak barrels.  The nose was of ripe, mixed fruits.  In the mouth the soft forward fruit had blue flavors with both integrated acidity and tannins.  It was approachable and soft in a sense with some low-lying flavors and a grapey finish.  A fair amount was going on with absolutely no hard edges.

Meteor Vineyards

Jason Alexander

Jason Alexander

Meteor Vineyards dates to 1998 when Barry and Tracy Schuler purchased a proper in Coombville.  The vineyard was planted in 1999 on a rocky knoll at 500 feet.  The soils are volcanic and might be part of a caldera.  The vineyard is planted with only Cabernet Sauvignon and this particular wine is produced from three different clones.

2009 Meteor Vineyards, Perseid, Napa Valley
This wine is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon which was aged for 22 months in 65% new French oak.  The nose preceded the mouth with dark, racy Cabernet Sauvignon fruit.  It has a sweet vanilla beam with a cool aspect and pervasive, dark perfume.  It was almost lush but the structure was inside to provide a framework.

Château Guiraud

Laure Planty

Laure Planty

This is an 18th century estate which since 2006 has been run by Robert Peugeot, Olivier Bernard, Stephan Von Neipperg, and Xavier Planty.  The fruit is sourced from some 85 hectares of vineyards.

2010 Château Guiraud, Sauternes
This wine is a blend of 65% Semillon and 35% Sauvignon Blanc. RS 132 g/L.  Alcohol 13.7%.  The nose was fruit with fresh, mandarin oranges.  In the mouth the residual sugar was noticeable before the very attractive body coated the tongue.  There was a glycerin feel along with flavors of baking spices and some creme brulee.  The acidity was integrated.  An inviting young wine.

Château Coutet

Dominique Baly

Dominique Baly

The estate has been producing wine since the 17th century.  Today it is the largest Barsac property with 35 hectares of vines and is owned by the Baly family.

2010 Château Coutet, Barsac-Sauternes
This wine is a blend of 75% Semillon, 23% Sauvignon Blanc, and 2% Muscadelle.  RS 154 g/L.  Alcohol 14%.  With warmth this showed more apricot flavors and that balance was such that the residual sugar was lessened by the acidity.  The finish wrapped up with peaches and stone fruits.  A lively young wine.

Strong Value in the 2009 Le Chartreuse de Coutet

February 13, 2013 Leave a comment

This was my first experience with the second wine of Chateau Coutet despite having been produced since 1977.  It will not be my last.  The 2009 La Chartreuse de Coutet is drinking great right now.  There is some of the sweetness you expect from a Sauternes but I was attracted to the acidity which kept it lively throughout.  I finished this half bottle over two nights, perhaps there was more to develop but I could not wait.  This wine is available at MacArthur Beverages.

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2009 Chateau Coutet, La Chartreuse de Coutet, Barsac – $13 (375 mL)
Imported by MacArthur Liquors.  This wine is a blend of 75% Semillon, 23% Sauvignon Blanc, and 2% Muscadelle sourced from 15-year-old vines.  The fruit was pressed three times then fermented and aged for 18 months in new French oak barrels.  Alcohol 14%.  The light to medium strength nose was of tropical white and yellow fruit along with floral, sweet potpourri.  In the mouth there were apricot flavors.  The residual sugar was integrated with acidity, a little spice, and banana.  It was ripe with fresh spice, good acidity then tangy orange flavors and more spices in the finish.  *** Now-2023.

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The 2010 Bouchard Pere et Fils Tasting

January 18, 2013 4 comments

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This week I was fortunate to be invited to a 2010 vintage tasting of the wines of Bouchard Pere et Fils. Domaine Bouchard Pere et Fils states 2010 is “a very promising vintage.” The harvest started September 20th and finished October 1st. The grapes were small with very concentrated juice with yields ending up 15-20% lower than average for both red and white. The bottling dates were a little earlier than normal.

This is an annual event organized by Panos Kakaviatos with the help of Henriot who provided ten different wines. The tasting dinner was held at Lavandou who provided us with two long tables at the front of the restaurant where we could spread out. Present were Karl and Adelaide Keller, Howard and Nancy Cooper, Amy Ray, Darryl Priest, Ben Giliberti, Paul Marquardt, Tim O’Rourke, David Choi, Ken Brown, Kevin Shin, Maria Denton, Annette and Christian Schiller, and Panos Kakaviatos. There were ten different wines served all of which were finished bottles save for the barrel sample of Montrachet. There were two bottles of each wine so there was plenty of wine for each person to taste. Many of us brought our own glasses to taste from. In addition to the 2010 Bouchard wines provided by Henriot everyone contributed an extra bottle or two.

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Champagne Starter.

We started off with a bit of Champagne as people gathered, said hello, and took their seats. I particularly liked the 2006 J. L Vergnon, Resonance.

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NV Veuve Fourney & Fils, Brut Nature, Blanc de Blancs, Premier Cru, Champagne
Imported by Simon N Cellars. This wine is 100% Chardonnay. Alcohol 12%. The light nose was dry with yeasty aromas and a touch of sweet biscuit. In the mouth there were green apple flavors to start with firm bubbles which coarsely dissipated. Then there was slightly sweeter fruit and a tart finish. ** Now.

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2006 J. L. Vergnon, Resonance Grand Cru Brut, Champagne
Imported by Wegandt-Metzler. This wine is 100% Chardonnay vinified in stainless steel. Disgorged October 2011. Alcohol 12%. The light to medium strength nose was more interesting. There were finer bubbles in the mouth which had good strength before turning into a mousse. The very fine mousse mixed with acidity on the tip of the tongue. Nice aftertaste. A second bottle also showed well. *** Now.

The 2010 White Wines

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The white wines were enjoyable with quality increasing from Village to Premier Cru to Grand Cru. With the Meursault Les Clous showing darker fruit the Beaune Clos Saint-Landry had a distinctive tropical note which set it apart. The Corton-Charlemagne was a strong step up with its lemon notes and balance for aging. This acted as a springboard for the Montrachet whose nose was immediately distinctive and attractive. At first the nose was more impressionable than in the mouth. But I was fortunate to find some remaining later in the tasting, there was only one bottle after all, and it had developed tremendously with air. It is amazing to think this is a barrel sample and not finished.

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2010 Bouchard Pere & Fils, Meursault Les Clous, Village
Imported by Henriot. This wine is 100% Chardonnay sourced from soils of calcareous marls on a hard platform. It was aged for 8-10 months in up to 15% new oak. Alcohol 13.5%. There was a light nose of tighter, darker fruit. In the mouth there was similarly tight fruit with a creamy touch that was focused. There were some spices and a barrel note in the aftertaste. ** 2015-2019.

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2010 Bouchard Pere & Fils, Beaune Clos Saint-Landry, Premier Cru
Imported by Henriot This wine is 100% Chardonnay sourced from soils of limestone and clay with marls. It was aged for 8-12 months in up to 15% new oak. Alcohol 13.5%. The light nose was a touch fruitier with more tropical aromas and some floral notes. In the mouth it was a bit structured with a hint of tropical fruit and young grip. There were apples and stones in the aftertaste. **(*) Now-2019.

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2010 Bouchard Pere & Fils, Corton-Charlemagne, Grand Cru
Imported by Henriot. This wine is 100% Chardonnay sourced from predominantly limestone soils and clay. It was aged for 12-14 months in up to 20% new oak. Alcohol 14%. The light to medium strength nose tilted towards lemons. In the mouth the white fruit slowly expanded in the mouth with good acidity. This balanced wine has structure for aging. There were lemon notes and minerality as the wine warmed and breathed. ***(*) Now-2028.

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2010 Bouchard Pere & Fils, Montrachet, Grand Cru
Imported by Henriot. Barrel Sample. This wine is 100% Chardonnay sourced from soils of gravelly limestone. It was aged for 12-14 months in up to 20% new oak. Alcohol 14%. The light to medium nose was aromatic and complex with flinty aromas and deep fruit. It opened up over the course of the glass. There was good depth in the mouth with spices and a broader, weighty nature. There finish was nice as well as the spiced aftertaste. Upon revisiting there was ripe lemons and spice in the beginning. An oily mouthfeel developed along with a fine, almost grainy texture. Clearly the best thus far, precise, focused, and determined. ****(*) Now-2033.

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The 2010 Red Wines

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The red wines were fun with the Beaune Teurons a good start. It was more forward and young, compared to the red-fruited Savigny-Les-Beaune which though tight, was more complete. The Volnay Cailleret was a great step forward and a wine I kept revisiting throughout the night. It was my favorite red along with the Beaune Greves Vigne de l’Enfant Jesus. The Volnay Cailleret shows more purple and black notes as if born of stone and able to weather age. The Beaune Graves Vigne de l’Enfant Jesus is more old-school in flavor with depth, lightness and perfume. Both were completely different and very attractive.

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2010 Bouchard Pere & Fils, Beaune Teurons, Premier Cru
Imported by Henriot. This wine is 100% Pinot Noir made from estate and purchased fruit. It was aged 8-14 months in 20-40% new oak. Alcohol 13.5%. There was a light, good nose of finely delineated red and black fruit. In the mouth there was good, racy black cherry fruit. The flavors were simpler but worked with the juicy acidity and the blacker red racy vein. There were fine tannins which coated the tongue and lips. It has a young, attractive personality which was somewhat forward. **(*) 2016-2023.

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2010 Bouchard Pere & Fils, Savigny-Les-Beaune, Village
Imported by Henriot. This wine is 100% Pinot Noir made from estate and purchased fruit. It was aged 8-14 months in 20-40% new oak. Alcohol 13%. There was a light, tight nose with slightly deeper, dark red cherry fruit. In the mouth there was brighter red fruit, leaning towards cran-raspberry. The acidity and fruit were integrated with a little Pinot note in the aftertaste. *** Now-2023?

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2010 Bouchard Pere & Fils, Volnay Cailleret, Ancienne Cuvee Carnot, Premier Cru
Imported by Henriot. This wine is 100% Pinot Noir sourced from soils of thin limestone and clay on cracked rock. It was aged 10-18 months in 60-85% new oak. Alcohol 13.5%. The light nose bore the fine scent of red and purple fruit. In the mouth there was a bit of a creamy start as the wine rounded out with a black and red mineral vein. There was controlled ripeness to the flavors which became blacker with air. There was a powdery sweetness in the finish. Nice. Youthful. **** Now-2033.

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2010 Bouchard Pere & Fils, Gevrey-Chambertin, Village
Imported by Henriot. This wine is 100% Pinot Noir made from estate and purchased fruit. It was aged 8-14 months in 20-40% new oak. Alcohol 13%. There was a very light and tight nose which was not that appealing, sort of blend of fruits and vegetables. In the mouth there was firm red fruit, athletic, and a core of ripe red fruit. There were fine, strong tannins which powered through the aftertaste. Upon revisiting a second bottle it showed a bit better but was still my least favorite of the reds. *(*) 2015-2019.

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2010 Bouchard Pere & Fils, Vosne-Romanee, Village
Imported by Henriot. This wine is 100% Pinot Noir made from estate and purchased fruit. It was aged 8-14 months in 20-40% new oak. Alcohol 13%. The nose was very light with exotic berries. In the mouth there was tart red fruit, more cranberry flavors, then very fine tannins. This is very young and the tannins are quite strong. ** 2018-2028.

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2010 Bouchard Pere & Fils, Beaune Greves Vigne de l’Enfant Jesus, Premier Cru
Imported by Henriot. This wine is 100% Pinot Noir sourced from soils of limestone and clay. It was aged 10-18 months in 60-85% new oak. Alcohol 13.5%. The very light nose bore fine, black and mulberry aromas. In the mouth there was old-school flavors of light, red fruit. It was finely articulated. The acidity, tannins, and fruit were all in balance as the flavors slowly expanded. There was a perfumed, lipstick finish with black, focused fruit. You can drink it now with extended air but best to cellar. **** Now-2033.

Other Wines

The appetizers started to arrive so we cleansed our palates somewhat before moving on to the other wines. Of these I thought the NV Jean Piere Bouchard, In Florescence well-done with a mixture of flavors and bubbles which persisted through the finish. The 2002 Domaine de Courcel, Pommard Grand Clos Des Epenots sported a refined, attractive nose but in the mouth it revealed it still needs to be cellared. I took a break during my entree to drink a little wine. I then resumed tasting the other wines and revisited some of the 2010 Bouchard wines. A pair of wines from Weingut Himmel appeared with the 1999 Weingut Himmel, Hochheimer Hoelle Riesling Spatlese drinking well. It was an appropriate finish before the two bottles of Chateau Climens.

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NV Andre Clouet, Un Jour de 1911, Champagne
Imported by Village Wine Imports. Alcohol 12%. There was a light autumnal color. There was a light to medium strength nose of oxidative, baked apples. In the mouth there were aggressive bubbles, plenty of acidity then bubbles and flavor just disappear. The flavors were older in the mouth, in an oxidative style with a long aftertaste. A bit disjointed in nature but still had some appealing aspects. Flawed.

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2002 Bouchard Pere & Fils, Meursault Genevrieres, Premier Cru
Imported by Cliquot. Alcohol 12%? There was a nutty very mature nose with a touch of ripeness. In the mouth the flavors were short. The acidity was still present. There was a gently ripe aftertaste. Drank best with food. ** Past.

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NV Jean Pierre Bouchard, In Florescence Blanc de Noirs Brut, Champagne
Imported by Potomac Selections. This wine is 100% Pinot Noir sourced from lieu-dit Cote de Val Vilaine. Alcohol 12.5%. There was a fine nose with a mixture of yeast, apples, and sweet biscuit. In the mouth there were very fine bubbles, sweet biscuit flavors, and bubbles which lasted through the finish. Well done. *** Now-2018.

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2002 Domaine de Courcel, Pommard Grand Clos Des Epenots, Premier Cru
Imported by Chateau & Estate. There was a fine perfumed nose which was attractive with finely wooded aromas. In the mouth there were fine flavors, structured wood box notes, and a sense of its age but more is required. Young. ***(*) 2018-2028.

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1981 Bouchard Pere & Fils, Chevalier-Montracher, Grand Cru
Imported by Vintage Wine Company. Alcohol 13%. The color was a light amber. There was a creamy-like texture but the flavors were over the hill. Nutty with plenty of acidity. There was a structure of fine, ripe tannins. * Past.

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1996 Weingut Himmel, Hochheimer Kirchenstuck Riesling Spatlese, Rheingau
Alcohol 8.5%. The color was a tawny amber which looked old. The very light nose was a bit nondescript. In the mouth the flavors were better and not as old. There was a little weight to the tooty fruity flavors in the middle, a little petrol, and some tartness. A bit of grip developed in the finish. ** Now-2018.

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1999 Weingut Himmer, Hochheimer Hoelle Riesling Spatlese, Rheingau
This had a better color of light, golden straw. In the mouth there was racy fruit, good grip, a rather young personality, and good residual sugar which mixed with the acidity. ***(*) Now-2028.

The Dessert Wines

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The last two wines were a treat. Not only was it my first time drinking Chateau Climens but I got to drink two different vintages. I wanted to bring a bottle of Sauternes to the tasting because I figured there would be a lot of Champagne and I am on a bit of a Sauternes kick. Many thanks to Phil for helping me select this bottle from 2004. I found the nose delightfully complex and really engaging in the mouth. It is one of those wines which I would be hard pressed to not drink it right now despite decades of life and development ahead. Lastly the 1975 Chateau Climens with 29 additional years of age was only slightly darker than the 2004. It was not as complex but had really good acidity and liveliness.

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2004 Chateau Climens, Barsac, Premier Cru
Imported by MacArthur Liquors. This wine is 100% Semillon sourced from 20-year-old vines. It was vinified in 35-45% new oak then aged for 20-24 months. Alcohol 13.5%. The medium strength nose was very complex with Christmas spices and exotic aromas. In the mouth the Christmas spices continued with mouthfilling, rich flavors of vanilla, and apricot. This is a seductive wine with viscosity and good acidity. A real treat to drink right now. ****(*) Now-2043.

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1975 Chateau Climens, Sauternes-Barsac, Premier Cru
Imported by Charles Lefranc Cellars. This wine is 100% Semillon which was fermented in casks then aged for two years in 25% new oak. Alcohol 12%. There was a light nose of petrol and wood box. In the mouth there was still up-front white fruit, apple flavors, and acidity. With air the fruit because a bit creamed. This was not as complex nor as long in the mouth. Nevertheless still a lovely drink. Quite elegant at almost forty years of age, still has levity, and should last for some time. **** Now-2035.

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We Taste a Small Selection of 2005 Sauternes

September 1, 2012 Leave a comment

You may have thought we grew tired after our recent exploration of Sauternes but in truth we have been quietly tasting even more!  This time I concentrated on six different wines from the 2005 vintage.  I focused in on 2005 because the vintage is excellent, there is good availability, and the prices are still reasonable.  The selections featured in this post are priced on the more affordable side of the line ranging from $15 to $32 per half bottle.  According to Decanter Magazine this is a five-star vintage and summed up as, “Everything came together beautifully in 2005, and in terms of power and elegance, the vintage may well become one of Sauternes’ most classic.”

My favorite wines were the Chateau La Tour Blanche and Chateau Lafaurie-Peyraguey followed very closely by the Chateau Doisy Daene.  The Chateau La Tour Blanche is a beautiful wine to drink and perhaps a bit more arresting than the Chateau Lafaurie-Peyraguey.  Both of these offer fresh flavors enlivened by their acidity which lasted through the long finish.  The Chateau Doisy Daene is complete but could use a few more years to open up. These three are followed by the Chateau Clos Haut-Peyraguey and Chateau Raymond-Lafon.  The Chateau Clos Haut-Peyraguey is also a good wine but does not offer the same depth of flavors.  The Chateau Raymond-Lafon was the richest of the six but I found for my preferences there was not enough acidity.

My recommendation is to grab any or all of my top three selections.  Not only are they a great drink right now but should remain so for at least two decades.  These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.  Many thanks to Florence Dubourdieu (Chateau Doisy Daene), Jean-Pierre Meslier (Chateau Raymond-Lafon), and Eric Larramona (Chateau Lafaurie-Peyraguey) for providing technical details.

2005 Chateau Bastor-Lamontagne, Sauternes – (375mL) $15
Imported by MacArthur Liquors.  This wine is a blend of 80% Semillon, 17% Sauvignon, and 3% Muscadelle sourced from 37-year-old vines on soils of siliceous-gravel and clay-gravel.  The fruit is fermented and aged for 13-18 months in the same 15% new oak barrels.  TA 4.6 g/l, Alcohol 14%.  The nose reveals apple pie and apple crumble.  It is not super-sweet in the mouth rather it shows a tart balance which makes it more refreshing.  It is a little racy with moderate ripeness.  The flavors of apple cider mixed with apricot are enlivened by salivating and watery acidity.  There is moderate sweetness.  The overall impression is bright, fresh, and sharp without the depth.  This will not make old-bones.  ** Now-2022.

2005 Chateau Clos Haut-Peyraguey – (375mL) $26
Imported by MacArthur Liquors.  This wine is a blend of 92% Semillon and 8% Sauvignon sourced from vines on gravel-sandy soil over clay subsoil.  The fruit was fermented in 50-80% new oak barrels using indigenous yeasts.  Fermentation is arrested in large vats solely by temperature followed by aging of 22 months in 68% new oak.  RS 125 g/l, TA 3.55 g/l, Alcohol 13.5%.  The color is a light golden-straw.  The light to medium nose reveals fresh and ripe pineapple, dried fruit, and baking spices.  In the mouth the honeyed texture is alive with acidity.  The wine becomes a little spicy as ample dried spices come out along with a little cola note.  With air the flavors put on spicy, dark notes, and ripe apple fruit but remains fresh.  This is in a younger state than the Doisy-Daene.  *** Now-2032.

2005 Chateau Doisy Daene, Barsac – (375mL) $25
Imported by MacArthur Liquors.  This wine is a blend of 95% Semillon and 5% Sauvignon sourced from 40+ year old vines on soils of Barsac red sands on top of chalky subsoil.  The fruit is fermented in 33% new oak barrels followed by 10 months of aging in oak barrel.  There is a subsequent nine months of aging in stainless steel tank.  RS 126 g/l, TA 3.56 g/l, Alcohol 14%.  This is a lovely concentrated and confident wine.  There are flavors of apple orchard and baking spices that last through the long aftertaste.  This wine is refined and balanced with lots of cinnamon, baking and sweet spices.  Again, a very long aftertaste.  ***(*) Now-2027?

2005 Chateau Lafaurie-Peyraguey, Sauternes – (375mL) $26
Imported by Vignobles LVDH.  This wine is a blend of 90% Semillon, 8% Sauvigon, and 2% Muscadelle sourced from 35-year-old vines on soils of sandy-gravel and clay-gravel.  The fruit is fermented in 30% new French oak barrels using indigenous yeasts. Fermentation stops naturally for some lots and is arrested through a combination of cold and minimum sulphur for others. It is then aged for 18-20 months in barrel.  RS 125 g/l, TA 3.49 g/l, Alcohol 13.5%.  The color is light yellow and the nose is light as well.  In the mouth there are fresh, creme-caramel flavors and spice.  The wine is rich but has fresh, lively acidity, and a racy aspect.  There are some dried apricot and peach flavors.  The very long aftertaste contains good spices.  ***(*) Now-2032.

2005 Chateau Raymond-Lafon, Satuernes – (375mL) $30
Imported by MacArthur Liquors.  This wine is a blend of mostly Semillon and Sauvignon sourced from 35-year-old vines on soils of clay and gravel.    The fruit was harvested over three tries and fermented in stainless steel using indigenous yeasts.  Fermentation is arrested through a combination of cold and sulphur.  It is aged for up to three years in oak.  TA 3.5 g/l, 3.9 pH, RS 132 g/l, Alcohol 13.9%.  The medium strength nose reveals lemons along with fresh yellow and white fruit.  In the mouth there are flavors of fresh apple cinnamon and peach, sweet with botrytis.  There is a lot of mouthfilling weight, sugar, rich creme caramel, and some acidity in the finish.  It manages to stay a bit light and fresh but certainly puts on weight as the flavors turn towards peach with a weighty and spicy aftertaste of pineapple and marshmallow.  This is a very rich wine with obvious residual sugar.  *** Now-2029.

2005 Chateau La Tour Blanche, Sauternes – (375mL)$32
Imported by MacArthur Liquors.  This wine is a blend of Semillon, Sauvignon, and Muscadelle sourced from 24-year-old vines on soils of gravel over clay and sand and loess.  The fruit is fermented in 100% new oak using cultured yeasts until it is arrested with sulphur dioxide and refrigeration.  It is then aged up to 18 months in barrel.  RS 150 g/l, TA 3.1 g/l, Alcohol 14%.  The color is a light+ golden amber, evocative of fall leaves on the forest floor.  The nose is not as lush as the mouth but the flavors do follow.  This is very fresh, acidity driven with good weight to the white and yellow fruit.  There are notes of baking spice and florals.  The long aftertaste contains ripe white peaches and a hint of apple cider.  Quite nice, right now I prefer it over the 2007.  **** Now-2029.

The Balanced 1999 Chateau Doisy-Daene

Barsac is one of five communes that make up Sauternes which include Bommes, Fargues, Preignac, and Sauternes.  The wines produced here have long been identified as Barsac so the Appellation permits them to be labeled as either Barsac or Sauternes.  The terrain of Sauternes, Bommes, and Fargues is hilly but Barsac itself is a flat plateau.  The soils are composed of a thin layer of red clayey sands on top of limestone bedrock.  Due to the bedrock the roots are relatively shallow.  Because the limestone is porous it absorbs excess water during heavy rains.  Through capillary action it provides a slowly regulated source of water during the dry months.

Chateau Doisy-Daene is located in an ideal spot between Chateau Coutet and Chateau Climens.  It was originally part of the single Doisy estate but became divided under Napoleonic laws.  This resulted in Doisy-Daene, Doisy-Vedrines, and Doisy-Dubroca.  Doisy-Daene switched hands in 1924 when Georges Dubourdieu purchased the estate.   Today Fabrice and Jean-Jacques run the estate (though the 1999 vintage was produced under father Denis).  The wine is produced from some 18 hectares of vineyards mostly planted in the 1950s and 1960s.  Jenn and I really enjoyed this bottle….half-bottle.  It does not have the complexity, sweetness nor power of previous half-bottles of Sauternes we have recently drunk.  But this is fine for the balance is ideal.  It is quite youthful and perhaps it would reveal more complexity with extended air but we rapidly finished it.  This would be ideal in a three-quarter bottle.  This wine was purchased at Wide World of Wines.

1999 Chateau Doisy-Daene, Barsac – (375 mL) $25
Imported by Ginday Imports.  This wine is a blend of 80% Semillon and 20% Sauvignon which was fermented in 33% new oak barrels.  After 10 months of aging in barrel it was aged for nine months in stainless steel tank.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The color is a medium amber-orange.  The light+ nose is fresh and harmonious.  In the mouth the flavors are fresh with dried apricot and very well-balanced between the sweetness and acidity.  This medium bodied wine is very youthful with lifted apricot and apple notes.  The finish is a touch spicy with a young, citric aftertaste.  Drinking very well right now.  *** Now-2022.