Every Vintage of La Turque Ever with Steve Tanzer
It was the Monday night after an auction weekend of excessive imbibing, but the scheduling Gods were not looking favorably on me or my over-saturated liver, as the Wine Workshop was conducting its grand finale for the season, an evening of every vintage of La Turque ever produced, hosted by Steve Tanzer. It was the third installment of our La La vertical, having done La Mouline and La Landonne each of the past two Decembers. How could I miss that?
|1.||2000 La Turque||(92)|
|2.||1999 La Turque||(96)|
|3.||1998 La Turque||(96)|
|4.||1997 La Turque||(88)|
|5.||1996 La Turque||(93)|
|6.||1995 La Turque||(94+)|
|7.||1994 La Turque||(84)|
|8.||1993 La Turque||(89)|
|9.||1992 La Turque||(85)|
|10.||1991 La Turque||(95)|
|11.||1990 La Turque||(92+)|
|12.||1989 La Turque||(94+)|
|13.||1988 La Turque||(97)|
|14.||1987 La Turque||(89)|
|15.||1986 La Turque||(93)|
|16.||1985 La Turque||(95)|
Steve started out with a wealth of information as always, and this paragraph represents complete paraphrasing of his introduction. La Turque is actually a trademark, not a vineyard, even though it is from a specific parcel of vines within the Cote Brune with a soil made up of flint, shale and iron oxide. The vineyard is located close to Ampuis in the heart of the appellation. The vineyard’s size is just under one hectare, about the size of two acres. Only 4,000-5,000 bottles a year of La Turque are produced. At the beginning of the 20th century, the wine made from this propery was one of, if not the most sought-after in all of France. Its owner, Andre Cachet I believe, sent all of the production to the Elysee Palace, home to the President of France. The serious taxation brought upon producers in the 1930s literally drove its owner mad, ie insane asylum worthy. The government seized the property accordingly and went and sold the property to Vidal-Fleury, the largest and most influential domaine in the Rhone at that time. After the acquisition in the late 1930’s, Vidal-Fleury allowed the property to fall into disrepair. Tsk tsk. Etienne Guigal started to work for Vidal-Fleury in the early 1940’s before starting his own domaine in 1946. In 1980, Vidal-Fleury asked Guigal to manage the replanting of the vineyard, which he did in 1981, and in 1984 he turned around and bought Vidal-Fleury! The rest is history. The key difference in the winemaking for the La La wines is the extraction during fermentation and the fact that the La Turque undergoes punchdowns. and not pumpovers… Sorry, but don’t ask me what that means. I am no technical expert, I just know what it tastes like. This coming January in 2005, Guigal will be bottling his 2001’s. That is a lot of time in the barrel. Steve also touched upon the modern trend of winemakers in the Rhone using fewer rackings and treating their Syrah more like Pinot Noir. He also found the Guigal La La. wines to be one of the few wines that is always better out of bottle than barrel. Philippe Guigal told Steve his three favorite La Turques were 1985, 1988 and 1991; remember that the 1985 was made from four year-old vines! He also said that the Guigals like to call La Mouline the blondest of the blondes,. La Landonne the brunest of the brunes,. and La Turque the blondest of the brunes.. Although when it comes to my women, I tend to prefer brunettes, or brunes as the French would say, after doing these three separate verticals together with Steve, I can safely say that this gentleman prefers blondes, the natural ones to be more specific. Read on.
The 2000 had a big, rich, expressive and explosive nose with thick, chunky fruit that had good cassis, meat, menthol, earth, bacon, violet, vanilla, blue fruit and white pepper aromas. It was big, inky and although a touch modern, still complex. The wine was a bit shy on the palate, showing more of its wood and acid components than anything else, although the inky fruit was there underneath. The flavors were masked and need time to widen out, and it did seem like a lesser year by Guigal standards, for lack of a better word. There was still great fruit and excellent structure, but this will not be a legend. Steve called it the most tannic with the least mid-palate stuffing & the oakiest.. (92) The 1999‘s nose was very peppery in a distinctively cracked peppercorn way with nice bready edges and violety fruit, laced lightly with bacon aromas, bordering on pastrami. Caramel and earth were there as well, supporting its liqueur-like fruit of plum and black cherry. The wine was clearly longer, finer and hotter than the 2000, with better balance and definition. It still did seem very youthful and closed down on the palate, which was bigger and brawnier, although time in the glass did it some good despite the increase in its alcohol’s presence. Steve summed it up as flat out fabulous… (96)The 1998 was very peppery as well (George thought the most so in this first flight of four), but more classically so, with a wild herbal edge including a little kind (and if you don’t know what that means then ask Jamie Kutch). Purple and blue fruits were in a supporting role at this stage, but present. A sweet, spice cake quality rounded out the nose. The palate was very peppery as well with more flashy and expressive alcohol and acidity. There was excellent definition displayed on its gritty palate. It was a neck and neck race between the 1998 and 1999, but today I preferred the 1998 slightly due to that spine of acidity and grit on the palate. Steve remarked that there was fabulous aromatic complexity but it’s dominated by its acidity. The 1999 is denser, but the 1998 more classic, (96). The 1997 was like bringing skim milk to a party where all the kids already have chocolate milk, by comparison. There was a little must at first in the nose which blew off with some airtime. There was strawberry fruit laced with cinnamon, but it had the mildest nose of the flight. The palate was still fairly sturdy, but the weight and texture were light. Some vegetable edge flirted with the surface. Steve called it the sweetest and lightest. and questioned its depth as well, but interestingly thought it might have more concentration than the 2000, which shocked me a little (88).
The second flight started with the 1996, which had a perfumed, stylish nose with nice earth, wild herbs (including kind again), violets and moderate alcohol. Steve likened the nose to brown spice and gunflint, and I could not agree more. There were long, lingering acids and alcohol on the palate, but the fruit was shut down again, almost absent although slow to emerge. Steve loved it, and called it delicious, precise and young not complex yet (on palate) but perfumed. It was pretty (93). The 1995 had a peppery, minty nose that is very slinky and feminine, and Usha got loads of dust it was killing her. at first, she joked, but the wine was still her favorite in this flight. There were beautiful sugarplum, brick and fireplace aromas. The palate has better definition, balance and length although far from mature. The La Turques in general struck me as being far more closed on the palate in their youth then their counterparts, or perhaps I was a bit washed out from the weekend. Cinnamon came out in the glass, but the wine was still reserved in the end, although it held its power. Steve called it soil driven in a smooth, La Mouline style… (94+) The 1994 had a warmer, more inviting nose with a touch of rotten fruit. The wine was a bit different from all of the previous ones, with less Cote Rotie character outside of some light pinches of menthol and pepper. The nose had aromas of root vegetables, and the palate was soft and round without weight or a center; in fact, some acids were the only thing going for it. The wine got worse and worse in the glass (84). The 1993 was again a little wild, with stemmy fruit (and the rotten thing), but with more aromatics of vanilla and game (a little too gamy). The palate was rounder with decent grit and grip; the wine was almost very good but fell a bit short, although it did hold well in the glass, Steve noted rot animal, rustic, autumn leaves. and Bob found it bretty (89). Steve, Bob and I preferred the 1993 to the 1994, but Brian called the 1993 .unclean.. Bob said the 1993 was still sexy, and the 1994 was skimpy, to which I playfully replied, But Bob, I thought skimpy was sexy?. Not in my wines, he smiled.
The less than exciting 1992 sparked Steve to tell us about when he asked Guigal about why they chose to make the La La wines every year, even in terrible vintages, to which he was told, These are not reserve wines; they are wines of origin.. With that being said, the 1992 marked the last of a tough three in a row. The 1992 was also unclean with lots of green olives. It was one-dimensional, lacking depth with a pinch of worchestshire sauce. Green olives also dominated the palate. The wine still had big acids, but it was clumsy on the flavors and definition, and the wine got mustier in the glass (85). The 1991 brought us back to Jesus, with an intense and outstanding nose consisting of great balance, definition and style. The wine was more on the earthy side with a whiff of bacon but very reserved and distinguished. Splashes of menthol and wild game emerged with a pinch of wild herbs, worchestshire and sweet cherry fruit. The palate was pure, balanced but lighter than I expected. Someone called it truffly. and its cherry component got more and more liqueur-like. The only question mark for me was its stuffing, but I still found it to be outstanding, although only for those that like refined elegance and complexities. Steve noted that Griotte cherry. and added that Cote Rotie was the most successful appellation in all of France in 1991. and found the wine amazing… (95) The 1990 had more intensity to the fruit and a classic nose of earth, menthol, pepper and ham. There was some forest, olive and a little wintergreen as well. The palate was fleshier and seemingly more mature with its forward fruit and fine finish. It was another pretty lady, so to speak, but where’s the beef? It was Usha’s favorite of this flight, but Steve commented that 1990 was actually a drought year in Cote Rotie only. and that the wine was very good but something missing.. (92+) The 1989 had a forward nose as well but in more of the earth, light barn and vanilla direction with gamy fruit. There was a touch of stylish femininity to the wine, but it was a more aggressive La Turque for sure. Traces of mint and almost syrup, but a corn syrup if anything, rounded out the nose. There was excellent structure with fleshy and minerally fruit with a lot more earth than any previous wine, and a touch of horse, although that of a thoroughbred, of course. The tannins had tremendous definition and length. Steve noted the Graves-like roasted character… (94+) At the end of this flight, Steve gave a plug to the wines of St. Joseph, which he thinks are the Northern Rhone’s best buys now.
The final flight saw us looking down the barrels of 1988, 1987, 1986 and 1985. The 1988 was no ordinary wine and quickly laid claim to the throne of wine of the night with one sniff. Whoa and here we go. were how I started my tasting note. The nose was super thick, meaty and so seductively sweet and fat with chocolaty and lusty fruit. The nose was bubbling over with personality. There was game, perfume and oatmeal, and the sweetness was pure nose sex. Now this is a wine,. I continued. The palate was fine, long and exotic with good earth, mineral and tobacco characteristics (97). The 1987 was a little stinky in the olive and stewed fruit direction with decent character. It was still holding on after all these years. There was decent structure, and the 87 proved to be a good wine although a touch dirty (89). The 1986 again proved to be a very successful vintage for Guigal, as other La Las in the past have also proved. It is the best buy out there for mature Guigal. The nose was mild but nice, with good perfume. The wine was delicious with great expression on the finish of wintergreen, earth, tobacco and grit. The wine was the meatiest on the palate and had lovely, mature fruit (93). The 1985 had a classy, deep nose and great, fine tannins. It was rich, long and stylish, and a wine that came to daddy. a la Pedro Martinez (95). Unfortunately, I missed Steve’s comments on this flight, as an untimely phone call and trip to the men’s room took me out of the room. We had been on the same page for most of the evening, so hopefully I did not miss too much.
In summary, I found the La Turques to be my least favorite of the La La’s in general, which is akin to finishing third in the MVP balloting. There were certainly some outstanding vintages (1999, 1998, 1991, 1988 and 1985, with honorable mention to 1995 and 1989, and some award to the 1986 for being best buy, I suppose), but the wines were much more elgant and refined than I expected as a whole. Finesse lovers will be in heaven here. I got less terroir in La Turque than in La Mouline or Landonne. Make no mistake about it, it is still one of the world’s great wines, but it did give me a different impression overall than what I expected going in.
A fellow enthusiasts DDB tasting
Since the weather had just dropped into the low 20’s in New York, the timing could not have been better for the Deaf Dumb tasting on Thursday the 16th in warm and sunny Los Angeles. The DDB group is a monthly tasting group of a dozen collectors in Los Angeles and the brainchild of a kvetch named Matt (I say that in only the most affectionate way). Each month one of the group’s members hosts an event where all the wines are provided and served blind by the host, and each member speaks about each flight before the wines are revealed, honing their senses like athletes in a gym. Each member pays for his own dinner. Since I am good friends with at least half the members in the group, I have always been welcome when in town, almost like an honorary East coast member, and whenever one of my fellow enthusiasts is going to open at least a dozen bottles, it is usually worth making an extra effort to be there; this evening is all the proof I need.
|3.||1992 Screaming Easle||(94+)|
|4.||1962 Vogue Musigny V||(96)|
|5.||1962 Roumier Musigny||(90+?)|
|9.||1937 Romanee Conti||(92+?)|
|10.||1929 Romanee Conti||(95)|
|12.||1947 Cheval Blanc||(95)|
We started with a magnum of Champagne that was not served blind, a 1949 Pommery Champagne. The Pommery was in excellent condition and had a deep gold color with traces of amber. The nose had a lightly yeasty edge with a leaven quality and a drop of honey, but not too much sweetness. There was also decent minerals and light seltzer in the nose. The palate was fresh and delicate with nice, light grit on the finish. A drop of Madeira on the palate added complexity, and its bubbles were still fine. It had nice honeycomb and limestone flavors, and the tuna tartare brought out more bread, honey and seltzer flavors. It was a beautifully mature, excellent Champagne (93).
There were two blind wines in the first flight. The first had a young Cabernet nose with cedar, cassis and charcoal aromas. I started to think, well maybe it is young by some standards,. as there was a softness in both wines; it definitely was not a 2001. It was later revealed that both these wines were opened and decanted four hours prior . that explained a lot and why I was thinking 1970.s. There were secondary aromas of earth, alcohol and chocolate. I saw a hint of a roasted-like Graves character in the wine, although I was pretty sure it was from California. The tannins were great fresh, explosive, long and smooth. The high alcohol rubbed a couple of people the wrong way, but not me. Christian guessed 1994 Harlan, and he was right, calling it more traditional and probably the greatest wine ever made in California… (96+) I could not disagree, recently rating the 1994 Harlan as high as 98 points, but I think the extended aeration gave a little bit of a skewed perspective, like the wine was put in a time capsule and fast forwarded. It made the wine softer and lusher and took away some of its massive and powerful qualities that make the wine so superlative, which is why my score is less here. Stylish vim and vigor are never bad things in my book. The second wine in this flight was Cabernet-based for sure, with more hints of Bordeaux-like complexity, but also grapier as well, making me think Cali. The fruit was plummy and juicy with good earth complements. The nose was rich and thick, almost oily, and the palate was much grapier than the first wine and less tannic, too. The palate had a touch of fig and soft leather flavors. The tannins and alcohol came out a little on the palate with food, but again the wine did not give the same impression it would have without the extended airtime, hence the + on both scores. It was the 1992 Screaming Eagle (94+), which showed significantly better out of magnum at the Top 100 event six weeks prior.
The second flight of two wines was served in Burgundy glasses, so that kind of gave that away. Those glasses were less than adequate and from the restaurant, so after this flight we decided to go back to the Bordeaux glasses for the rest of the night, no matter what the wine. The first wine had beautiful signs of mature red Burgundy, showing aromas of brown sugar, oatmeal, cornstalk, light earth and cherry, but there were numerous complaints that the glasses were rendering this flight almost mute in the nose. Nice acids jumped out on the palate, which had a nice citric tension to the finish. The finish and acids reminded me of 1971, although the wine was actually a 1962 Vogue Musigny V.V. There were nice rose flavors and long, fine, refined tannins. Paul loved this wine, praising its beautiful attack, mid-palate and finish the total package (96). The second wine of this flight I got absolutely nothing out of the nose at first, and then with an extra effort discovered horsy and minerally fruit and a bit of an off. quality. There was a funky earthiness that flirted with oxidation. The wine was musty on the palate in a mildewy and bretty way. It did improve in the glass, however, to reveal a more stemmy. flavor profile, as a close friend of mine put it. Despite decent tannins and acids, the wine was impure and a little stewed. It was an off bottle of 1962 Roumier Musigny (90+?)
From here on out every wine was served out of magnum, much to the glee of the thirsty, short-pour haters in attendance. Flight number three signified Pomerol territory for me. The first wine (of two again) had a serious nose, full of brooding t n a, fabulous minerals, chocolate and fig fruit pure, plummy, Pomerol sex in a glass. Christian likened it to .Halle Berry mocha madness.. The palate had a leathery, rusty edge, with a lot of grip,. Christian concurred. The palate was a little shy and needed some coaxing to reveal a stony, ice creamy sweetness. The nose maintained outstanding poise, the tannins were tremendous, and the wine was super smooth, incredibly delicate and fine. Lots of guesses flew around, including 1961, 1959, Petrus, etc., but the wine was 1949 Lafleur (96). The second wine of this already incredible flight took it a notch higher, if you can imagine. The nose was much meatier and super rich with lots of cola, plum, mineral, straw, mocha, coffee (I guess make it a mochachino) aromas, and I immediately guessed 1947 as it reminded me of the great Petrus I had had at the Top 100 event. The wine was also incredibly smooth, smoother than a baby’s bottom. There was more depth to the nose and more minerals to the palate than wine #1 in this flight, and someone joked that this doesn.t suck.. Andy picked up a little mint which I saw, which Dave felt was more basil.. Some black olive crept into the party. Both wines were so polished and smooth, although the second had more lushness and meat to its fruit and kept expanding on the finish. It was the 1945 Lafleur, to which a close friend of mine commented that it was his favorite Bordeaux vintage in general since 1899 (98).
Next up was an intermezzo, a magnum of 1952 Krug (original bottling, not Collection) , which was a perfect pair with the fettucine in cream sauce with white truffles. I highly recommend that combo. a close friend of mine jumped all over its white chocolate,. and Dave was in awe of this great bubbly. The nose was deep and rich with some honey and bread to go along with its white chocolate. There was great freshness and a great finish with vim, vigor and good spritz. The palate was honey and white chocolate city, and this was impressive for an original bottling. For someone (s) to have cared for it this long and the wine to be in this condition is pretty rare for Champagne, Christian observed (96).
Two wines were put before us again, and the first had a hearty nose with a gamy, earthy, worchestshire edge. James, the guy who only likes young wine (as the group identified him) , called it sour, tart and acidic.. There was a touch of pruny oxidation, but Christian was still able to see it was obviously. , using his powers of one of my fellow enthusiasts deduction. With two flights left, and no yet, he knew we had a 50/50 chance! There was carob, leather and musk, but the fruit was sour and oxidized, although the fine was great and fine; Paul called its finish insane. and really stood up for the wine. The wine was close to a DQ, and many noted its off. quality, but I could see enough to know that this is at least a very good wine, if not more out of a perfect bottle. It was a 1937 Romanee Conti (92+?). The second wine kicked off a big marijuana debate after I noted it in the nose, which is subject for a whole nother post. Anyway, back to the wine. Behind the marijuana were rose, band-aid, leather, garden, iodine and a pinch of oxidation, or as a close friend of mine called it maturity.. Its flavors were fleshy and tangy on the marinated side. Some mint and menthol emerged past its vitamin backbone, and George noted an herbal, Chinese tea. thing. It got better in the glass, although one naysayer found it short.. It was the 1929 Romanee Conti (95). A friend of mine found my score excessively low..
The final flight begun, and we continued the Noah’s Ark. style of tasting two wines at a time. The first wine had a rich, saucy, sexy nose full of heavy, reddish fruit with a wintry spice, vitamins, caramel and vanilla toffee. The palate was round and smooth with red and black cherry fruit, mocha, more mocha, and splashes of molasses. It was creamy with fine, sturdy tannins and a long, gorgeous finish that got finer and longer in the glass. a close friend of mine called it kinky.. It was 1961 Lafleur (97). The supposed last wine of the night had lots of coffee, sugar, milk and cream, and I definitely could have used the cup of joe at this stage in the game. Someone called out milk chocolate and Recioto sugar,. and it had some oatmeal in it. The palate was sturdy with good alcohol and stalky flavors. There were great minerals on the finish and rich coffee fruit, and I started thinking St. Emilion. Matt felt the bitter chocolate. and Christian saw the sweaty chaps of a woman riding on the back of a Harley from L.A. to Vegas,. and Matt added in the summer.. I’m just the messenger J. Many were surprised to find it was a 1947 Cheval Blanc, which Andy found to be mediocre. for a 47 Cheval, but most still enjoyed. a close friend of mine called it true but not the best bottle. and noted its residual sugar.. I still found it to be outstanding, but I have had 99-point bottles of this wine, so anything less is always disappointing, even if only slightly (95).
After some clamors for more wine, as if what we already had was already not enough, a magnum of 1982 Petrus was opened, and it was the best example of this wine that I have ever had, and I have probably had it six or seven times. It had a rich, iron-filled nose that was stalky, minerally and stony. There was plum and chocolate hiding behind the other stuff and subtly strong t n a. Long, stylish and sexy with good stalky and chalky flavors, it was a real thoroughbred and had a long, long finish (97).
Many thanks to one of my fellow enthusiasts for a most memorable and incredible evening.
Speaking of which, we did this last year, too. In fact, this was the very same event in 2003 right where I was supposed to pick-up with a Volume 5 of my newsletter, the Volume 5 that started to become this weekly email just three short weeks ago. So since I have basically one year of unpublished events to catch up on, I figured this would be a good week for this particular event, which was held in Los Angeles at Melisse on 12/18/2003.
|1.||1929 Haut Brion Blanc||(94)|
|2.||1961 Laville Haut Brion||(90)|
|3.||1929 Haut Brion Blanc||(94)|
|4.||1964 Romanee Conti||(90+?)|
|5.||1978 Romanee Conti||(97)|
|6.||1985 Romanee Conti||(95)|
|7.||1937 Leroy Richebourg||(97)|
|8.||1949 Leroy Musigny||(95)|
|9.||1955 Leroy Chambertin||(99)|
|12.||1982 Le Pin||(DQ)|
|15.||1990 Romanee Conti||(97)|
|16.||1996 Romanee Conti||(98)|
|17.||1999 Romanee Conti||(95+)|
|18.||1961 La Chapelle||(DQ)|
|19.||1961 Monfortino Riserva||(96)|
Each flight had one clue, a title in the menu, and the first flight was called Non Single Varietal.. This old, white wine had a sweet nose, Sauterne-ish in style, but drier in a mature, old oak way that made me think white Bordeaux. There was more petrol, peach and apricot here though, so I was thinking possibly German as well. The nose said sweet wine, but the palate was very dry, so Andy reasoned it had to be a white Bordeaux. If that was the case, I took a stab on 1959 Haut Brion Blanc, but someone else said probably Laville. It was a 1929 Haut Brion Blanc. There were nice slate, geyser and glue flavors, if you can go for that, and a touch of grit to the finish. The palate was not for everyone . only the bold and masochistic wine lover with its austere flavor palate (94).
Anything but Chardonnay, was our clue for flight number two, and the first wine in the flight had an extremely pungent nose that had the cat’s pee on a gooseberry bush thing happening, with melony and lemony fruit and more sweetness than your Grandma’s Sauvignon Blanc. There were tiny traces of must there, and an impression of fresh fields. The finish had length, but the flavors flirted with non-Sauvignon Blanc qualities, but also grass and pungency. Wilf found a wonderful lanolin quality.. It was a 1961 Laville Haut Brion, and it showed extremely youthfully (90). The second wine here was more my cup of tea,. I wrote. It had a honeyed, buttery nose with gorgeous caramel fruit and a dollop of molasses. The wood component was creamy and integrated. The palate was waxy, creamy, rich and rounded with a sturdy finish, and the body was medium-bodied in a molasses way. I was thinking white Bordeaux again, and it was the very same wine as we had before: a 1929 Haut Brion Blanc again, this time out of magnum! This bottle was sweeter and had more austerity; the magnum factor, no doubt, but I found the quality in the same ballpark overall, anyway (94).
One Vineyard, was the third flight’s motto, and while the second bottle in this flight of three wines was obviously red Burgundy, the first wine was not a pristine bottle, but still had beautiful caramel and rose aromas with light traces of chocolate and nut. There was definite sherry here, and the palate was dazed and confused. Paul note iodine. on its light finish, but it was obviously an off bottle of the 1964 Romanee Conti (90+?). I most recently had a winegasmic bottle of this wine that I rated 97 points, for the record.
The second wine in this RC flight was very pungent and youthful with loads of vim, vigor and Asian spice. The wine was Burgundy gone wild, with thick tannins, musk and an aggressive, youthful edge. Andy noted the green bean. and Wilf found it lavish,. and it was the 1978 Romanee Conti. It was the best example of this bottle I had had to that point and was sturdy, fresh and long; as good as it can get, I suppose. Wilf called it wine of the flight early on (97). The last wine in this flight had a touch of awkward metal at first, but gorgeous, sweet, mature red cherry fruit behind it. There were also gorgeous, nutty, vanilla twists with rose petals, a touch of honey and a long, dry finish. Brown sugar crept in, and when it was revealed to be a 1985 Romanee Conti, I thought to myself this is too mature for an 85! The wine was still great, but it was definitely advanced for its age, like one of those thirteen year-olds with the stuffed bra and the makeup looking like she’s eighteen can I say that? The point is that it was advanced for its age (95).
The next flight’s hint was .one producer,. and there were three wines. I should note that all the wines in a given flight were announced one by one after the discussion of the entire flight. The seventh wine in the lineup had a delicious nose full of milk and white chocolate with gorgeous, cherry fruit and hints of plum. Roasted meat and toffee rounded out the nose, with some freshwater freshness. The finish was huge with loads of alcohol, and a mini-load of tannins. An amazing bread pudding quality emerged in the nose, and the wine was flat-out fabulous with cola and iodine,. although Wilf disagreed with me heartily, calling it a baked, soupy, negociant style.. That’s what makes the world go round! It was a 1937 Leroy Richebourg (97). The second wine had another fabulous nose, with more tannins and alcohol. There were creamy red fruits with shots of caramel and truffles. The palate was earthy and glazed, with sweet kirsch flavors. There were doses of Asian spice and one, just one, piece of rosemary. The wine felt younger than the first due to more tannin presence. It was the 1949 Leroy Musigny (95). The last wine in the flight had another incredible nose, with a nutty and leathery side but sweet purple and red fruits that were all perfectly balanced. There was some dust to it, and the palate was great . long, round and balanced with incredible earth, truffle and clove flavors. It has the longest finish of the flight, and it was one of the greatest wines I have ever had, an astonishing bottle of 1955 Leroy Chambertin, much better than the outstanding bottle I had in New York a couple months prior. It ended up being one of the wines of the night for eight of the thirteen guests in attendance (99). This was an impressive flight of Leroy.
We took a turn into Bordeaux territory with the tenth wine in our odyssey, which also had an incredible nose. Are you sensing a trend? The title of this flight of three wines was one vintage… The nose was toasted and lightly burnt in a beautiful, charcoally way. There were intoxicating plum and port-like qualities. The wine had long and silky tannins and alcohol. The palate was enormous with monstrous tannins that somehow remain integrated, and someone even guessed 1961 Pomerol… This 1982 Lafleur also had gorgeous flavors of mint, cocoa and leather (98). The second wine had some awkward metal weirdness at first, but with time revealed great plum, earth and chalk flavors… I am starting to lose my prose,. I wrote, and it was only wine number eleven. Well, if you can.t tell by now, I wasn’t spitting. It was long and earthy with lots of cedar and anise, and I was surprised it was the 1982 Petrus, but it was still outstanding. It seemed more left bank than Pomerol, at least this bottle (96). The third wine in this flight was unfortunately corked, and it was a shame since it was a 1982 Le Pin (DQ).
One appelation. was next, and the thirteenth wine of the night had a very fragrant and forward nose, bordering on St. Emilion but not quite. There was a lot of sweet, cassis fruit with excellent, supporting cedar and pencil. There was a width to its fruit that is decadent, and the finish was long and fine with hearty alcohol and acid that is still buried in the plushness. It started to lose it quickly, however, but was still excellent. It was a 1926 Latour (93). The next wine had an exotic nose with a spice I couldn.t define, so cream, jasmine and vanilla took the foreground, and cedar and cassis took second stage. There were great flavors of cola with a nice, mineral core and a delicious chocolate covering. Mint crept in, which lead Andy to call out Mouton… The finish was silky and smooth, and it was incredibly complex the great 1945 Mouton (98).
The onslaught continued with three more wines, wines #15-17, and the theme here was one decade.. The first wine was young Burgundy, which I identified as nineties Burgundy.. The nose was spicy, with great vitamins, violets and t n a. It had sinus-clearing alcohol, with huge flavors and a huge finish. Someone found it raisiny,. and I found flavors of vitamin, beef blood, leather and jasmine. Another found .green beans.. I guessed 1990 La Tache in the end, but it was 1990 Romanee Conti (97). By now, I was hammered, but not bludgeoned enough to miss the greatness of the 1996 Romanee Conti, one of my favorite, young vintages of RC. The structure, flesh and length were exquisite and orgasmic. As Billy Idol said, more, more, more,. not only because I wanted more, but also for the fact that what was in the glass was more. than the others in this flight as well (98). The last wine in this flight I couldn.t get my palate around 100%, as I found it a little too sweet and grapy, closed and wild. Andy said that the wine was so perfectly balanced it masked the weight and greatness.. It was the 1999 Romanee Conti (95+).
The last flight, entitled two countries,. was a weird bottle of 1961 La Chapelle that I don.t think was right (DQ), and a great 1961 G. Conterno Barolo Monfortino Riserva. The wine was delicious with lots of oomph. and grip, dusty cherry and long cedar aromas and flavors, and excellent tar and leather. It was great, and some noted its huge length. and touch of volatile acidity,. and someone guessed Monfortino (96).
We actually had room for one more wine, the twentieth of the evening, and it was a fantastic 1937 Yquem. It was creamy and exotic with marzipan, cocoa butternut and liquid caramel qualities. Rich, round, smooth and sweet, the wine had great complexity and length. There was an easiness to it that warmed the soul; it was classic and great, and still a baby (98).
The group was loosely polled for wine of the night at the end, and when I say loosely I mean some people voted for more than one wine, and there were eight votes for the Leroy Chambertin, four votes for the 1978 RC, two votes for the 1945 Mouton, 1926 Latour and 1961 Monfortino, and one vote for the 1949 Leroy Musigny.
Thanks again to the great one of my fellow enthusiasts for his incredible generosity & and good taste!