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WTN: Cristal, Unico, Dominus, Opus One, etc.

by Otto » Mon Jun 05, 2006 8:46 pm

Roederer Cristal 1999 12% c.150 euros
Light colour. Nice deep nose of ripe green apple, savoury yet fruity. The mousse is perfect - really! Very sweet fruit, but quite nice acidity as well. Give it a bit more age and it might come close to being of such quality as befits the price. (= Joke.) Truly, this is a very nice, elegant Champ.

Jadot Chassagne-Montrachet 2002 13,5% c.31 e
Yellowish. Oaky nose, honeyed, appley, very ripe and perfumed. The palate is oak also, but it does have a nice mineral aftertaste. Decent.

Drouhin Batard-Montrachet Grand Cru 2001 13,5% 149,30 e
Yellowish. Elegantly oaky nose (never thought I'd say that!!!), very mineral with a nice bitter, almondy edge to the fruit. The palate is highly acidic and mienral with lovely bitter notes. I liked it very much. Not popular among the other tasters.

Vega Sicilia Unico 1989 13,5% 199,00 e
Very dark, brown edge. An overtly oaky nose, but with some nice elements like earth and tobacco which made it seem like in 20 years or so this will be a truly great wine. The palate was massive, but it did have nice red berry like acidity on the finish. Long. Great I suppose, but not much fun now despite its Musar-like, harshly acidic, berryish aftertaste.

Bouchard Le Corton Grand Cru 2002 13,5% 54,00 e
Lightish red. Sweet strawberry on the nose, a touch of beetroot, earth - rather simple for a GC. The palate had lovely intensity and minerality, but lacked the complexity I expect in a GC. Very good anyway. And with Finnish pricing, not priced as a GC, so perhaps this is forgivable. Decent 1er Cru standard.

Ch. Brane-Cantenac 2001 13% 51,10
Dark. Leafy, cassis, cedar and oak - classic young Bx! But there is no Margaux notes at all, seemed more a St-Estephe!!!! The palate was fine also, if a little monolithic on the middle, as if they were trying too hard to make a good wine. Less extract and this would be totally to my tastes. Nice acidity on the finish. Stern and a touch austere (both positive descriptors in this context!). Good.

Les Forts de Latour 2003 13% 53,40
Very dark. A nice nose, little leafy, cassis, very ripe and furity with hints of strawberry. Overtly fruity palate with a touch of acidity keeping it fresher than I expected for the year, soft yet plentiful tannins. Nice, a fairly successful 2003. Not something I'd want to buy, though.

Dominus 2001 Napa Valley, 14% 108,00
Dark. A nose of alcohol. A palate of alcohol. I've had Whiskies which burn less. Lots of ripe fruit, some leafyness and even earthyness developed over time, but the massive alcohol detracted from my enjoyment. Almost undrinkable.

Opus One 2002 14% 159,90
Dark. Very open and voluptious nose, blueberry milkshake, peach. Sweet palate, red berries, confected. This is juice, not wine.

Almaviva 2003 14,5% 51,90
Dark. A nose of confected, blackcurrant liquer. A big, extracted, smooth palate - once again, this is juice, not wine.

Heyl zu Herrnsheim Niersteiner Rehbach Riesling Beerenauslese 1976 12% 98,20
Orange. Much botrytis, elegant, old Riesling nose. Sweetish palate, low in acid, but still balanced. Ok.

Robert Weil Kiedrich (sic!) Gräfenberg Riesling Spätlese 2004
Why not Kiedricher Gräfenberg??? Light as water. Sea breeze and minerals on the nose. Slightly sweet, very mineral, very intense and very long. Excellent!

Nederburg Edelkeur 2002 10,5% c. 28
Orange. A nose of Botrytis, but that's about it. I couldn't find any hint of Chenin Blanc. The palate is massively sweet, massively intense, massively botrytised and massively acidic. Nice enough, but I do prefer more elegance to my wines.
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Re: WTN: Cristal, Unico, Dominus, Opus One, etc.

by Paulo in Philly » Mon Jun 05, 2006 10:15 pm

160 Euros for juice?????? That's a lot of money!!!!! :shock:
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Re: WTN: Cristal, Unico, Dominus, Opus One, etc.

by Jenise » Tue Jun 06, 2006 11:25 am

Slumming again, eh?

Interesting notes. I have a friend who I recently learned is a big fan of Almaviva, a wine I've never had but suspected of being what you describe. However, that friend is a fan of old-style Bordeaux like Montrose, so it made me think I hadn't pegged the Almaviva correctly. I guess I had after all.
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Re: WTN: Cristal, Unico, Dominus, Opus One, etc.

by Otto » Tue Jun 06, 2006 4:37 pm

I'm very happy that wine costs so much less than juice, Paulo! ;)

Is Montrose really an old style Bx anymore, Jenise?
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Re: WTN: Cristal, Unico, Dominus, Opus One, etc.

by Jenise » Tue Jun 06, 2006 8:57 pm

Montrose? I still think so, but one has to qualify such remarks these days. So I'd say I thought so as of the 90 vintage, the last one I drank but for the '97 which was a bit too tired to judge by.

Are you saying you know of changes in style/management/direction?
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Re: WTN: Cristal, Unico, Dominus, Opus One, etc.

by Otto » Wed Jun 07, 2006 3:00 pm

Jenise wrote:Montrose? I still think so, but one has to qualify such remarks these days. So I'd say I thought so as of the 90 vintage, the last one I drank but for the '97 which was a bit too tired to judge by.

Are you saying you know of changes in style/management/direction?


I don't know of any changes in style or anything else, and I haven't tasted any older vintages, but some recent tastes (1997, 1999, 2000, 2001) have all tasted spoofulated to me. BTW, my 1997 was fresh as a daisy (just not my style of wine), not tired at all.
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Re: WTN: Cristal, Unico, Dominus, Opus One, etc.

by Jenise » Wed Jun 07, 2006 6:40 pm

Otto, when did you have your '97?
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Re: WTN: Cristal, Unico, Dominus, Opus One, etc.

by Paul Winalski » Wed Jun 07, 2006 11:33 pm

Otto Nieminen wrote:Roederer Cristal 1999 12% c.150 euros
Light colour. Nice deep nose of ripe green apple, savoury yet fruity. The mousse is perfect - really! Very sweet fruit, but quite nice acidity as well. Give it a bit more age and it might come close to being of such quality as befits the price. (= Joke.) Truly, this is a very nice, elegant Champ.


I read a quote once from a marketter who worked for Roederer. Allegedly he said that it was not enough for Cristal to be the best Champagne. It also had to be the most expensive.

Since reading that, I've avoided the stuff on principle. I'll stick with Krug, thank you very much.

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Re: WTN: Cristal, Unico, Dominus, Opus One, etc.

by Sam Platt » Wed Jun 07, 2006 11:47 pm

Paul, I have been looking for a reason, other than the fact that I can't afford it, to avoid Cristal and now you've given me one. Why I wouldn't drink that stuff even if I could afford to... probably. Many thanks! :wink:
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Re: WTN: Cristal, Unico, Dominus, Opus One, etc.

by Paul Winalski » Thu Jun 08, 2006 12:10 am

Sam Platt wrote:Paul, I have been looking for a reason, other than the fact that I can't afford it, to avoid Cristal and now you've given me one. Why I wouldn't drink that stuff even if I could afford to... probably. Many thanks! :wink:


To its credit, it is good Champagne. I won't turn it down if someone else is paying for it. But in New England it has the reputation of being the Champagne that the rich euro-trash in Boston buy to show how much money they have to throw around.

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Re: WTN: Cristal, Unico, Dominus, Opus One, etc.

by Otto » Thu Jun 08, 2006 1:41 pm

Jenise wrote:Otto, when did you have your '97?


17.5.2006 which wasn't quite as fresh as a daisy, but next day was showing very well: http://www.wineloverspage.com/forum/vil ... t=montrose

About a month earlier I had tried it from another bottle (no TN) which was nice straight upon opening.
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Re: WTN: Cristal, Unico, Dominus, Opus One, etc.

by Dale Williams » Thu Jun 08, 2006 4:24 pm

Otto Nieminen wrote:I don't know of any changes in style or anything else, and I haven't tasted any older vintages, but some recent tastes (1997, 1999, 2000, 2001) have all tasted spoofulated to me.


Hmmmm, can't speak for the gazillion-point freakvintage 2003, but I think I tasted the 1999-2002 Montroses near release, and all seemed fairly standard young Bordeaux (in typical backwards St Estephe style) profile to me. Even the 1999 needs time. What young Bordeaux do you NOT find spoofulated, just to see what we're comparing to?
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Re: WTN: Cristal, Unico, Dominus, Opus One, etc.

by Otto » Fri Jun 09, 2006 10:58 am

Dale Williams wrote:Hmmmm, can't speak for the gazillion-point freakvintage 2003, but I think I tasted the 1999-2002 Montroses near release, and all seemed fairly standard young Bordeaux (in typical backwards St Estephe style) profile to me. Even the 1999 needs time. What young Bordeaux do you NOT find spoofulated, just to see what we're comparing to?


I guess the glossy oak reminded me of spoof. Also the fact that I have always tasted them alongside my favourite old style producers like LMHB, Gruaud Larose, VCC, Léoville Barton, etc. probably further accentuated the modernity of Montrose. It would be an interesting experiment to see if I still came to the same conclusion without another bottle on the side. Unfortunately I don't have the means to drink this sort of stuff (only to taste), so I'll probably never find out. (I'll give details where to posit a large sum of money, if any munificient person wants to help me with this scientific experiment...)

Apart from those names I mentioned, Haut-Brion tends to be unspoofulated also, but mostly I have to go the the lesser and unclassified growths to find unspoofulated Bordeaux. A pity, though I am glad the level which I can afford to drink (i.e. most Cru Bourgeois) is still fairly unspoofed. I wrote up quite a few TNs on the old site on budget Bx, where you'll find quite a few uspoofulated producers. (Except that I couldn't find it on the damned "search" engine of the Netscrap version, so I can't link to it, and don't know if it still exists).
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Re: WTN: Cristal, Unico, Dominus, Opus One, etc.

by Dale Williams » Fri Jun 09, 2006 3:29 pm

Ok, get on a plane. We're going to have to share some Bordeaux together to see what the hell we're talking about. I don't find Montrose more oaky than recent Gruauds (there I'm not a fan- I love old Gruaud, but after '89 not much that really excited me, though I thought '00 & '01 were returns to form) or L-Bartons (big fan) - I'd agree there's probably little new oak showing on even young VCCs, less than young Montrose. And I'd say Montrose is probably LESS oaky than Haut-Brion or LMHB, which I'm pretty certain use 100% new. To me oak is just part of young classified Bdx- the big guys have always used a lot. It's not the amount of oak per se that bothers me a bit about some of the newer wines - it's more the superlowacid/high Ph and superripeness that gets me. Wines I like a lot like the '88 LMHB, '89 Haut-Brion, '90 Poyferre, '92 LLC , '94 Trotanoy, etc all pretty much showed a lot of oak when young.
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Re: WTN: Cristal, Unico, Dominus, Opus One, etc.

by Otto » Fri Jun 09, 2006 4:07 pm

Dale Williams wrote:Ok, get on a plane. We're going to have to share some Bordeaux together to see what the hell we're talking about. I don't find Montrose more oaky than recent Gruauds (there I'm not a fan- I love old Gruaud, but after '89 not much that really excited me, though I thought '00 & '01 were returns to form) or L-Bartons (big fan) - I'd agree there's probably little new oak showing on even young VCCs, less than young Montrose. And I'd say Montrose is probably LESS oaky than Haut-Brion or LMHB, which I'm pretty certain use 100% new. To me oak is just part of young classified Bdx- the big guys have always used a lot. It's not the amount of oak per se that bothers me a bit about some of the newer wines - it's more the superlowacid/high Ph and superripeness that gets me. Wines I like a lot like the '88 LMHB, '89 Haut-Brion, '90 Poyferre, '92 LLC , '94 Trotanoy, etc all pretty much showed a lot of oak when young.


Yes I should get on a plane. I never do deny that young Bx will be oaky. What I'm trying to get at is the subtle differences in oakiness: I don't like vanillary oak or glossy oak; I do not mind wood-like/cedary notes. With the glossy oak, I try to mean that it smells all polished and squeaky clean, without any edges. So its not only the quantity of oak which matters, but the style of oak. Also what I haven't liked about the Montroses (and others which I consider a bit spoofed) is the lack of refreshing qualities on the palate.

But as I stated, I haven't tasted many vintages of Montrose, so it is perfectly possible that I've just been in one of my bad days where any hint of oak is offending during all the tastings.
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Re: WTN: Cristal, Unico, Dominus, Opus One, etc.

by Dale Williams » Sat Jun 10, 2006 10:24 am

But Otto don't you think that cedary oak in particular is a sign of some bottle time? I've found plenty of cedar in the '94 Leo-Poyferre in the last year, but it was definitely a "toastiness" on release.

I agree there are different forms of oakiness - the Montrose doesn't bother me, but the heavy-char/malo in barrel of say Monbousquet can be distracting/offputting. But of course discussing different vintages tasted at different times can make agreement or disagreement a little pointless. So you just have to come to NY for an offline. :)

It seems less likely I'll get to Finland (though Betsy played there years ago and loved it). But who knows.

Enjoy your notes, as always.
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Re: WTN: Cristal, Unico, Dominus, Opus One, etc.

by Otto » Sat Jun 10, 2006 2:23 pm

Dale Williams wrote:But Otto don't you think that cedary oak in particular is a sign of some bottle time? I've found plenty of cedar in the '94 Leo-Poyferre in the last year, but it was definitely a "toastiness" on release.

I agree there are different forms of oakiness - the Montrose doesn't bother me, but the heavy-char/malo in barrel of say Monbousquet can be distracting/offputting. But of course discussing different vintages tasted at different times can make agreement or disagreement a little pointless. So you just have to come to NY for an offline. :)

It seems less likely I'll get to Finland (though Betsy played there years ago and loved it). But who knows.

Enjoy your notes, as always.


But I also get cedary notes in young Claret. But you are right, there are too many variables to really make sense of what is going on unless we sit around a table and drink and compare. FWIW, I just read from Hugh Johnson that Montrose is considered by him as well an old style wine. I guess I am the only dissenter and must bow gracefully to the left... Or not. I'll trust my own palate and say that I'm starting to feel that almost all classed growth Bx is getting spoofed to a greater or lesser degree.

Monbousquet is a travesty of Bx.

I don't have the financial means to fly accross the pond. Otherwise I'd do so immediately ;)

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