Dinner at Trung and Martha’s with me, Amy, PMAC, Rey and Juliette.
2002 Hoffmann-Simon Piesporter Goldtropfchen Spatelese: Great ripeness on the nose and palate. The body was full and round with sweet fruit and good acidity to tie it all together. No presence of petrol, sulfur or sourness here.
1998 Dagueneau Pouilly-Fume “Silex”: I was a bit torn with my feelings of this wine: on the one hand it was interesting and bold, but it was also a touch too ripe for the acidity. Good, maybe even very good, I’d have to mull over a glass for longer than I did. Notes of grapefruit and an impressive finish.
1999 Carillon Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru Les Perrieres: I’m not big on most white Burgs, but this one was a star. There was a firmness to this wine which demanded attention and a great minerality along with impeccable balance and even acidity.
Blind 1: Obvious Nebbiolo characteristics. I guessed a young Barbaresco or Langhe Nebbiolo because it didn’t have the depth or intensity of Barolo. A tad ripe, a tad oaky, and a tad scattered, but a good value for Barolo. 2001 Stefano Farina Barolo
Blind 2: Ripe, chewy blackberry and blueberry fruit. Pretty dense with some obtuse oak. I guessed Alban Syrah. Turns out to be 2001 Edmunds St John Bassetti.
1973 Riojanas Monte Real Gran Reserva: This wine was the epitome of grace and elegance. The nose was magnificent, billowing out from the bowl of my stem. Notes of potpourri, cedar, cinnamon and clay baking. The palate was still tenacious despite the lightness that comes from maturity.
Blind 3: Obviously older with VA and floral notes on the nose. The palate was starting to break up, but still had decent focus and length. Very nice. My guess was 1974 Barolo. Turns out to be 1978 Marchesi di Barolo
2001 Scirus: A scary concoction of cotton candy, beets and rotten strawberries.
1999 de Vogue Chambolle Musigny: I remember having this on release and feeling like it was a bit too austere to get a good sense of what was going on. It’s been five years and I am happy to announce that the wine is aging quite well. Unlike some Burgs which seem to “drop” notes or become uneven in the midterm, this wine is aging on a very steady trajectory. This lacks the finesse and expressiveness of the 99 Musigny VV, but it isn’t just an ugly little sister, it’s got a different, more restrained appeal.
1996 Chateau Soucherie (Pierre Yves Tijou) Coteaux du Layon: Pretty straightforward CdL - notes of lychee, quince, and wax. Good acidity and length, but I don’t feel this wine needs any more time.
2003 Von Buhl Forster Kirchenstück Goldkap Auslese: Very clean wine with excellent purity and regional expression (yes, this is a 2003). There were no notes of botrytis, just tasty bites of lemon meringue pie.
1997 Biegler Muller Dolgesheimer Schützenhütte Eiswein: Loads of botrytis here. Tons of residual sugar and thick viscosity. A good match with the desserts.
1885 Barbeito Malvasia Madeira: The delightful complexity of this wine is tough to convey unless you‘ve tried old Madeira. There were traces of figs, dates, toffee, chestnuts and carob all mixed up like pieces of debris spinning in a tornado (but in a good way). Acidic and long with great sweetness. This is my second old Madeira and I’ve really enjoyed them. My first old Madeira was the 1905 D’Oliveira Verdelho which was much drier than this wine.
The evening at Trung’s was wrapped up with an impromptu butter tasting. We had a D’Isigny, Vermont Butter and Cheese Butter, Pamplie, and a black truffle butter. My favorite was the D’Isigny, though the Pamplie was close.
High (and Low) points from a Wildman tasting:
1988 Pol Roger Brut Chardonnay: Ick. Musty and Funky. Not corked, just… ick.
1998 Pol Roger Cuvee Sir Winston Churchill: Very typical Winston Churchill notes of overpowering yeasty sourdough bread. Never been my bubbly of choice, though everyone else gets doe-eyed drinking it.
1998 Pol Roger Rose: Excellent complexity and length. Captivating floral notes with some fresh strawberry. Superb. With this wine it occurred to Charles Weiss and I that we made a critical error in moving down the table to make room for other tasters. Christian Pol-Roger gives excellent pours while Noelle gives what can only be described as “sneezes.”
Domaine Christian Moreau: First I’d like to say that both Fabien and Christian were earnest and gentlemanly. While most of the winemakers pouring wine that night seemed to be comfortable, or even bored, Fabien appeared nervous. This anxiety was due to his dedication to make sure all his wines were served properly and all the questions were answered accordingly. Christian (Fabien’s uncle) was more at home but just as invested in what he was pouring. Interestingly enough, when Charles asked Christian when he felt the best time to drink the Chablis were, Christian replied that he prefers to drink all Chablis young while they still have their vivacious crispness. An interesting comment indeed, strait from the horse’s mouth. We tasted through eight of the Moreau Chablis and they were all very enjoyable wines. In my opinion, the best of the bunch were the Grand Cru Valmur and Grand Cru Blanchot. There were also Grand Cru from Validesir, Les Cos, and Clos de Hospices; but the Blanchot and Valmur were both a bit more expressive and complex.
Chateau Fuisse: I skipped most of this producer and was not excited by what I tasted.
Oliver Leflaive: Oliver Laflaive’s wines were impressive across the board. Many of them shared a similar note of fresh button mushrooms, and all of them had terrific grip. My favorites were the 2002 Meursault 1er Cru Genevrieres followed by the 04 Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru. Actually, his 2003 (yep, 2003 again) Volnay Santenots was my favorite wine tasted the entire night. Despite the ripe vintage, this Volnay still had great balance and acidity without the expected overripe fruit. Great nose, too. The Leflaive table itself was rather entertaining. Oliver Leflaive is an older gentleman who seemed well suited in such a social environment. While Fabien Moreau seemed anxious and struggled to keep up with pours, Oliver Leflaive left most of the labor to an army of automatons, preferring to grab bottles and venture out into the crowd in search of women and friends. It was hard not to smile talking to him; there was an endearing quality to his speech and eccentricities. Still, watching him in the crowd with women was like watching an old Benny Hill skit.
Hugel: I’ve never been a big fan of Hugel’s. I’ve liked the VTs, but the dry wines have never transcended the mundane. I was pleasantly surprised to discover a few new wines which I enjoyed, namely the ‘98 Riesling “Hommage A Jean Hugel“ and ‘00 Pinot Gris “Jubilee.” Of course, I was subjected to the horrific 2003 Pinot Noir “Jubilee” - damn! Stick with white wines, Etienne! This Pinot must have been fermented with skins, stems, seeds, vines, rootstalks and baskets. Bitter, astringent green notes with spiky tannin moved this wine into the “undrinkable” category. I overheard a price quoted for this wine which I hope - hope - was a mistake.
Baron de Ley: While the El Coto wines are enjoyable in the modernish mold, the “Baron de Ley” designations were totally without heart.
Nicholas Potel: Nicholas Potel describes his wines in writing as “Authentic Pinot Noirs which embody a vital, modern expression of Burgundian Terroirs”. While he seemed like a well-meaning young guy, none of Potel’s wines spoke to me of Terroir. I tasted the 2004 Volnay VV, Beaune 1er Cru Clos Des Vignes Franches, Chambolle Musigny, Nuits Saint Georges 1er Cru Les Vaucrains, Clos de Roche and Charmes Chambertin. Honestly, any of these wines could have been switched with very little impact. Volnay and Chambolle should be very different from Nuits Saint George and Clos De Roche, but they were all so ripe and extracted that there was no difference. My one chance to see if these wines begin to come around was ruined when the 99 Volnay 1er Cru Les Caillerets was corked. Nocholas Potel said it was “just dusty.” None of his wines had anything close to “dustiness” and no 1er Cru I’ve tasted from ‘99 has been “dusty.” Anyway, wet dog and gym socks are not what I would consider dusty M.O.s
Paul Jaboulet: I spent the most time at the Jaboulet table - not because there were so many wines, or so many good wines - but because it took forever for me to get friggin pours. Frederic and his assistant required at least a C cup before receiving any attention. Next to me there were two lushes asking for “something red!” and Frederic was happy to oblige, suggesting they come visit sometime. I quickly went from wanting to try all the wines, to just cherry-picking the ‘03 Hermitage Chevalier de Sterimberg Blanc, ‘03 Cornas “Les Grandes Terraces,” ‘03 Hermitage “La Chapelle,” and ‘96 Cornas Domaine de Saint Pierre. The 96 Cornas was nice, a bit of VA, but not too much. The 03 Hermitage Chevalier was good as well. The 03 Cornas and 03 La Chapelle simply had too many Port notes to take seriously.
Speaking of Port, Charles intercepted me on the way to the Port table and steered me to (of all things) an Argentinian wine booth! I was told that I must try the Trapiche “Vina Jose Blanco” Malbec. As Charles so aptly said, it’s amazing what Argentinian wines could taste like. There were no green notes, good complexity and a general sense of place and belonging.
Charles and I finished the night with some Churchill Ports. Johnny Graham was a great guy and I enjoyed the 97 and 03 Vintage Port, as well as the 04 Quinta da Grincha. However, I was surprised to find the younger two Ports to be more accessible than the 97... maybe this is an attempt to shorten the waiting period of VP? Should we be concerned?
These last few came from a cellar thinning at Tim Tanigawa’s.
1992 Spotteswood Cab: This Spottes was smooth with integrated tannin and a long harmonious finish. I may not like Cab, but it doesn’t take much to realize the quality of this wine. The lack of dominating bell pepper notes was a nice surprise as well.
2003 Langoria Mount Carmel Syrah: Another wine that exceeded my expectations was this Langoria Syrah. Despite being what can only be described as New World styled Syrah, this wine was restrained and the oak was judiciously used. There were great notes of leather, smoke and cassis. Amy really dug it.
1990 Mugneret Clos Vougeot: This was the best 1990 Burgundy I’ve tasted. My complaint with most 1990 Burgs is that they seem either unbalanced or have begun to fragment apart. This Vougeot was peaking perfectly with a hugely aromatic nose of sweat, cherries and rose hips. The palate was equally immense and the fruit notes were remarkably fresh. This wine must have been a monster in youth. I wonder what Mongeard did that was different from his peers? Did he work with the vintage? Harvest at a different time? Or did Clos Vougeot just do better overall?
2003 Ojai Roll Ranch Viognier: My second time tasting this wine and my second time really having fun with it. See my earlier note for specifics.
Tim opened the 1995 Cateau d’Yquem and 1997 Chateau d’Yquem together. Both wines seemed like they were beginning to close down, but the 97 was more opulent with better concentration and general characteristics. Both wines have the components to become great wines with some time. A wonderful treat even in these stages, and I find myself indebted in Tim’s generosity once again.
(Edited to change TN to WTN in the title)
Last edited by JoePerry
on Thu May 11, 2006 11:45 am, edited 2 times in total.