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Dale Williams

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Compassionate Connoisseur

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WTN: 1983 Claret (plus Champagnes)

by Dale Williams » Fri Oct 18, 2013 5:23 pm

John hosted a 1983 claret tasting last night. Nice lineup, nice group (some old friends, some new), nice cheeses, and the best stew I ever tasted. One nice thing was the non-conformity of opinions, so much funner than total agreement. The notes below are mine, and definitely don’t reflect a group consensus.

Welcoming wines
NV Lanson “Extra Age” Brut Champagne
I think I liked more than most- crisp green apple, but deeper than most NV, with good length. B+/B

2000 Lanson “Noble Cuvee” Brut Champagne
Elegant, deep, and full, I think I need to drink more Lanson. A-/B+

on to the reds
Flight #1
1983 Ch. Giscours
Mark says that this is better than most bottles of this, though it’s not especially memorable. Some barnyard, dark fruit, anise. Medium length, midbodied. B-

1983 Ch. du Tertre
Unsure of provenance on this (my bottle but no memory of from where), cork was a crumbly mess when I double-decanted just before heading north. Red berries, smoke, cedar, this would be nice with a bit more length. This bottle at least is at end of lifespan. B

Flight #2

1983 Ch. la Lagune
Fruit-filled, lusty, kirschy in a good way. Pleasant and holding fine. B/B+

1983 Ch. Cantemerle
I wrote floral, elegant, cigarbox, nice length. And it improved in the glass a lot after that.
Contender for WOTN. A-

a solo St Estephe

1983 Ch. Meyney
Divisive wine. Dominated by barnyard, seemingly coarse, but I thought it improved in glass a lot. Not my favorite Meyney, but nice enough. A total dud for the brett-haters. B

Flight #3
1983 Ch. Gruaud-Larose

Another round of the Cordier funk, but the Gruaud is brawnier and stands up better. Lots of green herbal notes that don’t bother me. B+/A-

1983 Ch. Leoville-Poyferre

Redder fruit, spice, earth, but a bit stolid. I liked a bottle in spring more. B

Flight #4

1983 Ch. Belair
OK, first bottle stunningly corked.2nd bottle provokes arguments- to me (not especially sensitive) clearly corked- not as bad as first, but wet cardboard there. Others thought “Belair funk.” John generously actually opens a 3rd bottle. OK, not corked. Not very good, but not corked. A little funky, a little volatile, a lot thin. C/C+

1983 Ch. Certan-Giraud
This more than makes up for the trio of Belairs. I’m not sure I’ve ever had a Certan-Giraud, and expectations were low. Whoa, baby. Lovely midbodied Pomerol, sweet fruit, earth, mushrooms, very good length. A-/B+

Flight #5
1983 Ch. La Fleur de Gay
Weird lactic meets ferric nose, develops volatility as it sits, strange charred notes, not good. C

1983 Ch. Latour a Pomerol
Rustic, tea and plums, not really exciting but solid. B

Flight #6
1983 Ch. l’Evangile
Lovely, long, if not as lush as I remembered. Dark fruit and mocha, good balance. Some felt it started to fall apart with some time in glass, but I enjoyed till end (it had been double-decanted about 5 PM). A contender for WOTN for me. A-

1983 Ch. Lafleur
Spirity/pruney nose, brutish, tannic as all hell. Better than the La Fleur de Gay but clearly overextracted. B-/C+

Not to be satisfied with a mere 17 bottles opened, John served a blind red. Clearly a Bordeaux, fairly tightly wound, needs air. Lots of herbal notes, midbodied. I think of guessing Sociando, but pretty sure John doesn’t cellar that. He says he wishes he had given more air, but I enjoy the 1966 Ch. Beychevelle
B+

Well, certainly at this point what is needed is another bottle of Champagne. The NV Bereche Brut Champagne is very very good, and I wished I didn’t have to spit, Very crisp, dry, flavorful. I’ll look to buy this B+/A-

Great night, with loads of interesting wines, and loads of interesting opinions. Can’t wait to see View from the Cellar for John’s opinions.

Grade disclaimer: I'm a very easy grader, basically A is an excellent wine, B a good wine, C mediocre. 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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