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Dale Williams

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WTN: Champagne, 60s & 70s California, plus 4 blind wines

by Dale Williams » Mon Oct 25, 2021 1:40 pm

I hosted a great group of wine friends Saturday afternoon into evening. The Champagne part of the festivities were accompanied by cheeses, charcuterie, trout mousse on pumpernickel toast, Torres potato chips (thanks Craig!) and Popeyes chicken (thanks Sasha).

NV Corbon “Blanc de Blancs” This is apparently all 2011, but she decided not to release as a vintage. Crisp, green apple and citrus, a hint of brioche, racy and minerally. A-/B+

NV Mouzon-Leroux “L’Ascendant” Solera Brut Nature
Rich hazelnutty notes, peach, a little severe and needs time to unwind. B+

2015 Georges Laval “Les Chenes” Champagne Brut Nature
Despite lack of dosage, the ripe fruit makes this quite approachable, quite crisp, snappy, long. A-

It was about here that a shout went up as Ruby absconded with entire chunk of Prairie Ridge Cheddar. I got it out of her mouth, but surprisingly no one felt like more cheddar at that moment,

2012 Benoit Lahaye La Violaine
Pit fruits, apples, almond, biscuit all wrapped into a harmonious packageLong , vivid finish A-

NV Alexandre Filaine Cuvee Speciale
Smoke/gunflint and Granny smith, with some brioche. B+/A-

NV Alexandre Filaine DMY
Starts off tight, but really blossoms. White fruits, chalk, citrus blossom, this is like (Very good) Chablis with bubbles! A-

1996 Pol Roger Brut
Mature, golden fruit, ripe, ready. B+/B

Red theme was 60s and 70s California, but we segued with a couple of blind wines that people brought For the reds we did some sausages (andouille, merguez, and bratwurst) as well as pot roast

A couple of off theme blind wines
1970 Rausan Segla
Lovely, group quickly called Bordeaux but it took a while to get to Margaux. Velvety, warm red fruits overlaid with mushroom and forest floor. A-

1970 Louis Latour Vosne Romanee
bereft of life, it rests in peace, this is an ex-wine (a couple of people thought it had redeeming qualities) D+

Then to 60s and 70s California

NV Gemello Lot 72A Reminiscence Zinfandel
Apparently a particular lot (72A) of 1972 mixed with some 1975. Most split opinions of day, with some thinking well past, others (like me) finding plenty to like. Warm, brambly,with some black tea notes, drink up

1977 Joseph Swan Zinfandel
I think best old Zin I’ve ever tried. Ripe dark fruits, spice, smoke, and more spice. A little lifted but not a flaw, quite long. A-/B+

1980 Chappellet Cabernet Sauvignon
Not sure where I acquired but glad I did. Red plum, mint, a hint of green pepper, long. B+/A-

NV 68/69 Spring Mountain Lot H Cabernet Sauvignon
So all Heitz fruit, ;’68 Martha’s and ‘69 Napa.Spicy rich and long, great showing. Some liked more than ‘68 Napa. B+

1968 Heitz Napa Cabernet Sauvignon
Blackcurrant, cedar, herbs. Delicious and no hurry. A-

1973 Spring Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon

Bright acids, resolved tannn, cassis and black plum framed with smoke. A-

1974 Spring Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon
A little rounder, clumsier, but still a nice mature CS. B
1975 Ridge Montebello Cabernet Sauvignon
Corked. Damn, I opened because Craig said he’s like to try since his last one was corked.
Looking at CT notes a significant percentage seem to indicate TCA.

1975 Chappellet Cabernet Sauvignon
Wow, this is muscular for 45+ years old. Still some tannin, big black fruits, good length B+/A-

1978 Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon
Quickly opened to replace corked 75 MonteBello. Ripe and rich, good acids, black cherry and plum, cigarbox, nice balance. A-/B+

Appetite for more, so I went to cellar for a blind wine. Decided I needed a cradle from upstairs, might as well take a 2nd blind wine with me.

2010 Clos de la Roilette (Coudert) “Cuvee Tardive” Fleurie
No one was really close (guesses were mostly Rhone, but some south and some north). Of course knowing what it was I thought quite typical- lovely acids, some mostly resolved tannin way in back, red fruit with spice and earth. B+

1966 Rausan Segla
Group got Bordeaux quickly, John got estate and vintage. This is showing tired compared to the ‘70, acids are sticking out, fruit is there but overshadowed by ashtray notes. B-/C+

1974 Mayacamas Late Harvest Zinfandel
16+% and it shows. Hot, volatile, and disjointed. C-

What a fun afternoon/evening, with great group (who put up with me AND Ruby) and great wines.


Grade disclaimer: I'm a very easy grader, basically A is an excellent wine, B a good wine, C
drinkable. Anything below C means I wouldn't drink at a party where it was only choice.Furthermore, I offer no promises of objectivity, accuracy, and certainly not of consistency.
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Rahsaan

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Re: WTN: Champagne, 60s & 70s California, plus 4 blind wines

by Rahsaan » Mon Oct 25, 2021 2:49 pm

That was some event! What a way to spend the day.

Dale Williams wrote:...Popeyes chicken (thanks Sasha)...


I don't eat chicken but I've heard that fried chicken is a good match with champagne, which makes sense. But, any particular reason for Popeyes? Most convenient? Something special about their recipe that makes it work here? As opposed to something more 'artisanal'?
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Dale Williams

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Re: WTN: Champagne, 60s & 70s California, plus 4 blind wines

by Dale Williams » Mon Oct 25, 2021 3:27 pm

As we werediscussing who would do pickup Craig posted this on our email planning thread
https://twitter.com/kenjilopezalt/statu ... 19584?s=21

lots of chefs love Popeyes
https://firstwefeast.com/eat/2016/01/chefs-love-popeyes

and yes it's reasonably convenient (Jay M was going to bring from Jersey City, but Sasha of the north stopped at one about 10 minutes from me.

Actually, with all due respect to Kenji et al, I prefer Betsy's fried chicken, but she was in Maine playing Beethoven triple.

Fried chicken, potato chips, smoked fish mousse, If we had truffled popcorn and caviar with blinis we'd have hit all the Champagne buttons.
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Re: WTN: Champagne, 60s & 70s California, plus 4 blind wines

by Rahsaan » Mon Oct 25, 2021 4:05 pm

Dale Williams wrote:As we werediscussing who would do pickup Craig posted this on our email planning thread
https://twitter.com/kenjilopezalt/statu ... 19584?s=21

lots of chefs love Popeyes
https://firstwefeast.com/eat/2016/01/ch ... e-popeyes..


Interesting! Because I don't actually eat fried chicken, I hadn't followed all of this. From the outside, it looks like all the other dismal fast food chains. But I guess we all know not to judge books by their covers!
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John S

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Re: WTN: Champagne, 60s & 70s California, plus 4 blind wines

by John S » Mon Oct 25, 2021 4:47 pm

Good thing Ruby didn't get the pot roast too! Sounds like a great tasting, I'm particularly jealous of all the old CA reds.
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Re: WTN: Champagne, 60s & 70s California, plus 4 blind wines

by David M. Bueker » Mon Oct 25, 2021 4:57 pm

Rahsaan wrote:
Dale Williams wrote:As we werediscussing who would do pickup Craig posted this on our email planning thread
https://twitter.com/kenjilopezalt/statu ... 19584?s=21

lots of chefs love Popeyes
https://firstwefeast.com/eat/2016/01/ch ... e-popeyes..


Interesting! Because I don't actually eat fried chicken, I hadn't followed all of this. From the outside, it looks like all the other dismal fast food chains. But I guess we all know not to judge books by their covers!


Popeye’s is different. Though it has to be said that their once amazing (and deadly to healthy living) red beans & rice is no longer what it once was.
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Re: WTN: Champagne, 60s & 70s California, plus 4 blind wines

by Jenise » Tue Oct 26, 2021 12:55 pm

Anthony Bourdain was a major Popeyes fan, too. There's a Popeyes one town over, maybe I should try it some time.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: WTN: Champagne, 60s & 70s California, plus 4 blind wines

by Mark Golodetz » Tue Oct 26, 2021 4:57 pm

It was an incredible evening.
When the e mails talked about Popeyes, I thought it was the main course, but no, a perfect foil to the Champagne, before the amazing pot roast.

Staying on the food theme, I love Popeyes. I lived in New Orleans in the early eighties, and was easily converted. This particular one was more spicy than usual, but still good. If you are a Popeyes virgin, and like spicy, I highly recommend waiting for a batch to come out of the fryer. Magnificent.


My top was the Rauzan Segla 1970. Everything was in such perfect balance, complex and lovely.
I loved a lot of the wines, and most of the Champagnes. The Filaine DMY was my favorite, but I am biased as I brought the two Filaines. It was interesting how the vote split pretty well 50/50. The Lahaye and the Corbone were both really close, the Lahaye was quite juicy and amiable. For me, the big disappointment was the Pol Roger 1996. Showing far too much age, and any inner spark had long been extinguished.

Loved the 1977 Swan Zinfandel; so many ancient Zins have expired, but both Ridge and Swan have been consistently great. Both the Heitz 1968 and Spring Mountain MV were extremely good, my vote for the Spring Mountain, but both wines would have graced any table. The Chappellet 1980 was beautiful, my second wine.

I am no longer surprised by the number of 1973s that outclass their 1974 counterparts. BV and most recently, a Louis Martini. Such was the case with Spring Mountain, the 1973 was stunning, the 1974 perfectly adequate, but not great.

An perfect evening and thanks again to our host.
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Re: WTN: Champagne, 60s & 70s California, plus 4 blind wines

by Jenise » Tue Oct 26, 2021 5:04 pm

Dale you never post about a tasting/gathering that I wouldn't loved to have been part of, but like John S this one tugged in particular as, being originally a Californian, at one time or other I owned or tasted nearly all those wines. I still have one or two 90's Swan Zins. They are amazing wines indeed.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov

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