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David M. Bueker

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WTN: Dinner at Salil's (Raveneau, Fonsalette, Catoir)

by David M. Bueker » Thu Aug 01, 2013 8:52 am

2010 François Raveneau Chablis 1er Cru Montée de Tonnerre - France, Burgundy, Chablis, Chablis 1er Cru (7/31/2013)
This is outstanding Chablis, as of course it should be given the stature of the producer. Initially it was more than a little bit too cold, but that just accentuated the precise, mineral driven character of the wine. Some air and some little bit of warming up brought out all the citrus and even tree fruit (think white peach not apple), while also deepening the overall palate impression. It kept gaining palate weight over the course of a couple of hours while also turning more to the lemony side of the spectrum. As per usual, the last sips were the best, as the wine reached essentially cellar temperature, and it showed its full depth and breadth. Delicious, and not at all a waste to drink now, but there's so much here to look forward to as it develops.

1996 Château Rayas Côtes du Rhône Château de Fonsalette Cuvée Syrah - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Côtes du Rhône (7/31/2013)
This is shockingly primary for a 17 year old wine. There's still quite a bit of dark berry fruit, but it is also joined by red meat, bacon fat, and the beginings of an earthy, leathery element. It's a fascinating wine to smell, though on the palate it does thin out a bit in the mid palate and finish, making it seem just a little bit hollow. I've seen that same result with other '96s, so I'll chalk it up to the vintage. It's really an outstanding olfactory experience, just not quite as interesting on the palate.

1998 Müller-Catoir Haardter Mandelring Scheurebe Spätlese - Germany, Pfalz (7/31/2013)
Opened to finish off a dinner where there were already two centerpiece bottles, which is never good news for the third wine. That being said, this wine is still churning along, though it shows more green, leafy elements that it used to, and needs a good bit of air to bring out all the ripe/overripe tropical fruits that used to push the cork out of the top of the bottle! It's more like auslese-sweet these days, rather than the full on dessert wine it used to be, but that just makes it more drinkable. Very enjoyable, but I do miss the ridiculous beast this used to be back in the late '90s/early '00s. And even more I miss the fact that the current team at Catoir has never made a wine quite like this 1998 or the 2001 version, both produced under the hand of Hans-Gunter Schwarz.
There behind the glass lies a real blade of grass. Be careful as you pass. Move along. Move along.

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