The last of our Bacchanalian extravaganza found us at Per Se, for lunch. Noon is about the minimum recovery time after an evening full of many (many) wines, and thankfully we had a lot of experience at the table. Everybody was ready to go, although I must confess that first glass of welcome Champagne was not easy going down.
But after that, the training wheels were off, and liftoff was inevitable. The official Champagnes starting off this evening were all from 1955, beginning with a magnum of 1955 Veuve Clicquot. It had an outstanding nose full of nuts, white sugar and tobacco. It was smooth with light spritz, tasty and classic, zippy in a 95mph kind of way. There were delicious herbal edges to this juicy fastball of an aged bubbly (96M).
The 1955 Dom Perignon was completely flat and (DQ).The 1955 Krug was better but on the edge. There was more vanilla and plenty of nuts to go around, but there was very little mousse. This was creamy and heavy, but more wine-like, and while tasty, it just had no bubbles. I still liked it (95A).
A magnum of DRC Montrachet is always a special occasion, even more so when it is 25 years old. The 1982 DRC Montrachet had a fantastic nose with lots of brick, fireplace, orange, tangerine and ‘old yeast’ per the Carolina Panther. Its palate was luscious and round, a veritable honey city, along with an exotic suburb. It had great sweetness without being over the top; this was a delicious, lush wine (96M).
The 1973 DRC Montrachet saw ‘caramel’ and ‘coconut’ from the crowd. There was a lot more oak here than I expected, and it was longer than the forward and giving 1982, despite being out of bottle. There was also this touch of poultry to this woodsy, thick white; it definitely needed time. While I was impressed with the wine, I wanted more out of its flavor profile. It was the favorite of the group (95M).
The 1978 Ramonet Motnrachet was the best wine of the flight, but it was slightly corked. There was a tropical nose behind its cork, along with orange, butter and chimney action. It kept getting better and better, and there was no questioning its raw materials. This was a rich, full and long stallion of a white (97+A).
A rare flight of three D’Auvenay Chevaliers was next, beginning with a 2005 D’Auvenay Chevalier Montrachet. There were big aromatics here with toasted kernel and popcorn dominating. Someone commented how ‘every single one of her wines’ had the same quality. Astroman found it ‘smoking’ while the Punisher noticed ‘the most reduction’ here of the flight. Everyone was in the reduction camp for this flight after the Punisher gave the signals, and he also said he felt the D’Auvenays were better when younger when it came to the whites (96).
The 2000 D’Auvenay Chevalier Montrachet had less toast and more seashore elements, along with nice yellow fruit. There was a long finish, as its acidity lingered, but this wine became a bit wild and woolly, which ‘didn’t bother’ the Punisher (95).
The 1996 D’Auvenay Chevalier Montrachet was once amongst the best white wines of my life about ten years ago. I am not sure if I even had it since then, but this bottle didn’t deliver the same experience.
However, it was a bit oxidized and not a perfect bottle. It was more tropical and gamy, and I didn’t have much to add after that (94A).
It was back to Bordeaux with a flight of 1959s. 1959 vs. 1961 will always be a topic of conversation, and while 1961 seems to get more attention, I must admit I love 1959s better – for the Left Bank. As far as the Right Bank, it isn’t even a conversation as 1961 is one of the greatest vintages all-time, particularly for Pomerol. Where were we? That’s right, with a 1959 Latour. ‘What a nose!’ I wrote. Its nose was spectacular, a sweet ocean of cassis in a really, really rich way. Like nine figures rich but not ten lol, as The Ambassador likes to say. There were all kind of walnuts here: burnt, bread and shell. Its fruit continued the oceanic theme in the mouth. This was a ‘wow’ wine (98+).
The 1959 Mouton Rothschild had a similar personality with an inky, deep color. There were more caramel and carob twists in the nose, and its palate was meaty and decadent. It was thicker than the Latour and showed more pencil, but I found them qualitatively equal (98+).
The 1959 Lafite Rothschild is one of my favorite all-time Bordeaux, and this bottle didn’t disappoint. It had all the usual suspects and hung tough with its two tough competitors. ‘Gorgeous’ summed it up nicely (98+).
There is only one vintage to go to after a trio of 98+ 1959s….1945, of course. The 1945 Latour has often been an overlooked wine, and certain bottles can flirt with the 1945 Mouton, but unfortunately not this one. There were aromas of coconut and old book to go with more library, but this was an ‘oxidized’ bottle. While round and rich, this just wasn’t the celestial bottle it can be (94A).
Greatest Vintage of All-Time and Wine of the Weekend
The 1945 Haut Brion is another one of my favorite things from the greatest vintage of all-time, and this bottle was some sexy goodness. It had a stonier nose, but all that rich, caramel and toffee action that makes this wine so great. It had a very thick finish, enough to make me smack that (97).
There had to be one wine of the weekend, and it might as well have been the 1945 Mouton Rothschild. ‘OH YEAH’ is how my notes started. This wine was everything it could be and should be, an absolutely perfect bottle. It was nutty with aromas of caramel, cream, cedar and carob. This was sexy everywhere, tall dark and handsome, all that and then some. This was a superman amongst boys, and it still felt like it had a long way to go. It ended up being wine of the weekend (99+).
A flight of Monfortino started with a corked 1990 Giacomo Conterno Barolo Monfortino Riserva (DQ). Today’s session was a bit more unlucky than usual, I thought to myself. The next two made up for it, beginning with a delicious 1964 Giacomo Conterno Barolo Monfortino Riserva. This wine was ready and there, with a nice leather finish and excellent caramel with a dry, salty toffee edge. This was classic and on its plateau, and much better than the last bottle I had of this (95).
2 out of 3 Killer Conternos
The 1961 Comte de Vogue Musigny Vieilles Vignes was a grassy lassy, showing excellent acidity amongst its beefy, bloody and brothy components. There was horse and hay in this ‘smokier’ Musigny from an underrated vintage. This was also a bit sassy to go with its grassy, and wild herbs and coffee developed in the glass (96).
The 1961 Giacomo Conterno Barolo Monfortino Riserva took it up another notch, with a sweeter and smokier style, almost like some BBQ ribs. It was ‘too much’ for at least one, but I found this wine to be incredibly complex. It continued to develop aromas and flavors of licorice, tea, tar and smoke. Its acidity exerted itself in fine fashion, and its sandy and desert-y personality let you know that nature was still in charge (97).
A trio of Musignys from three different vintages and three different producers paid homage to this hallowed terroir. The 1988 Roumier Musigny had a spectacular nose. This was the 4th time I had this rare wine in the last year, just one of those things. I think that is close to 1% of the production! That would be like drinking 1000 bottles of Lafite I think, for reference purposes only, of course. The Roumier was rich and delicious with an iron clad finish. There was nice dryness to its long finish, showing the tannins of the vintage, and black and purple fruits balanced with vitamins and more iron (97+).
The 1971 Drouhin Musigny was a bit on the tutti-frutti side, more mature than it could have been. At this stage, I didn’t have a lot extra to say if a bottle wasn’t perfect (94A).
There was another flight of three, this time all the same producer but again three different decades and this time three different terroirs. The first of this tongue twisting flight was an incredible bottle of 1985 DRC Richebourg. 1985 and DRC have had a love/hate relationship amongst lovers and collectors of this wine. This bottle was a great one, showing everything one could want from this vintage and wine. There were lots of rose hip and vitamin C in this minty wine. Menthol abounded amongst its tomato and Worcestershire flavors. This was as good as this wine gets (97).
It’s as Easy as DRC
The 1971 DRC La Tache was another perfect bottle, smoky and sexy in every which way. This was a great, thick wine that exuded greatness. This wine was full of ceramic spices and had cement on its finish, sleeping with the fishes style. This was a bottle that ended all discussions, there was no need for life thereafter. It was ‘so good’ (99).
One of the highlight wines of the weekend theoretically also succumbed to being corked, so badly I couldn’t even taste it. Tant pis and RIP for this bottle of 1962 DRC Romanee Conti (DQ).
There were two flights to go, and the second to last was one of La Chapelle. The 1978 Jaboulet Hermitage La Chapelle was tight and full of white pepper, bacon and violet. I felt like I needed more time with this legendary wine, but I didn’t have it to give at this point (96+).
The 1964 Jaboulet Hermitage La Chapelle was also great, but in a smooth and satiny way. It wasn’t the monster the 1978 was, and it didn’t have to be. This was the more elegant side of La Chapelle, and while softer, it was all good (95).
King of the Hill
I thought the 1961 Jaboulet Hermitage La Chapelle was the wine of the flight, but the Punisher had other thoughts. I had to race through this flight actually to catch a flight, so I had to dip and dash, so to speak. I did enough dipping to notice earth, game, bacon and the most weight in the flight. This was thick and earthy wine, and while not the best bottle I ever remember, pretty damn good (97).
I excused myself from the dinner table, and Dave slid me out the secret service exit where there were three shots of Yquem waiting. Yes, I did shots of Yquem, and it wasn’t the first time. They’re better naked, but I digress. The 1937, 1928 and 1921 Yquem were all (97-99) point wines, and if you haven’t had an Yquem that old before, what are you waiting for?
It was one of the most spectacular wine weekends of all time, and great to share it with so many ready, willing and able grape nuts. You can be sure that next year is already in the works, hopefully I will see you there!
The Happy Recap
In Vino Veritas,