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Bill Spohn

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WTN: Beychevelle, Dominus, Batailley, Rieussec, Yquem and some others.

by Bill Spohn » Fri Jul 28, 2006 10:13 pm

Monthly blind tasting lunch notes.

Last month we had a 1929 Ch. Margaux sprung on us, and I didn’t anticipate anything wonderful happening this time around, but as it turned out, the wines weren’t too shabby at all!

2003 Ch. Lascombes – had a taste of this while waiting for others to show up. It had been open 2 days yet had an excellent nose, very good fruit and was smooth on palate.

2004 Nigl Gelber Muskateller (Austria) – well we didn’t get the country except by elimination and more surprisingly we also failed to get the grape! I’d have said that little could be easier to identify than Muscat, but this one was wearing a disguise of citron and melon perfume. Interesting wine.

2002 Max Roger Sancerre – always a reliable producer, this wine, though perhaps a bit closed in the nose, did reveal very good fruit and a clean lengthy finish. Great with the scallops.

2002 Cedar Creek Platinum Chardonnay – brought by a Burg-hound which admittedly prejudiced us, but I swear this was a ringer for a French chard – steely flinty nose, clean and fresh at the age of 4 years and with very good balance. Outstanding showing for a local wine.

1993 Dolce – from Nickel and Nickel (as in ‘Dolce Far Niente’). this dessert wine showed as much less sweet than the 10 brix RS would lead you to believe, due to the nicely balanced acidity. Showing some colour, I was still surprised to hear that it was that old. It had a Riesling nose, of all things – I don’t believe there is any Riesling in it, but who knows – they aren’t exactly forthcoming about blend.

2001 Arcadian Sleepy Hollow Pinot Noir – from grapes grown in Monterey county but you’d never know it – no veggies here! Nose mostly fruit driven although some thought they smelled a bit of funkiness. Light colour, bit simple in the mouth with a bit of heat at the end. Pleasant Pinot.

1994 Guigal Cote Rotie Brun et Blonde – also a fairly light colour, nose started out with a green tinge and then segued into a nice white pepper nose. Medium weight and pleasant – absolutely ready to drink.

2002 Max Roger Sancerre – yes, you are reading correctly, I am not stuttering. This was a Loire red made from Pinot Noir. Light in colour with some tannin and pretty tight right now – lean and may never loosen up.

1989 Ch. Batailley – lovely mature colour and nose, this wine just delicious right now, and as it was a bit fierce when younger, that is a nice development.

1988 Ch. Beychevelle – perhaps the best showing of this normally lean and somewhat thin wine. More fruit in the nose than the previous wine, and although tannins were still firm the fruit nicely offset it.

2000 Fiefs de Lagrange – our friend Mr second Label was at it again (we have failed to convince him that the same money spent on a lesser first label gets you better grapes from older vines). The 2000 Lagrange was tannic and closed but had fruit. The second wine had a smoky nose, and was hollow in the middle. Oh well.

1998 Los Vascos Reserve – I have always loved this bargain cabernet from this Lafite owned property in Chile. Now perfectly mature, the sweet fruit in the nose melded with mint and a bit of leather was very nice and it had good length and finished smoothly.

1996 Dominus – I always enjoy the Frenchness of Dominus and this one had that although it will no doubt become much more Bordeaux –like with age. Fairly hefty in body, with smooth dark fruit and a hint of coffee and vanilla in the nose, this was showing very well now but clearly has a long life ahead. No rush.

2003 Bookwalter Merlot – I have found this Washington State winery to be a bit hit and miss. This one was really nothing like a merlot – much too hard and over-oaked – the oak was overwhelming in the nose but also was evident on palate. Simple, but might pick up some complexity later.

1986 Ch. Rieussec – this wine seemed just a little corked although TCA wasn’t in evidence. It lacked a je ne sais quoi in the nose, but showed OK on palate, being rather sweet.

1975 Ch. d'Yquem – it wasn’t really fair to put the poor Rieussec up against one of the best Yquems last century! The nose was almost perfect with a bit of oak, lots oif botrytised fruit and honey, and much more nuttiness and apricot or peach than the last time I tasted this several years ago. Absolutely friggin killer wine. I guessed that it was 1975 Rieussec at first and then as it opened up more and just kept expanding, we sat there scratching our heads until one brave soul asked if it could possibly be the Big Y. Zowie!

Only question is how we can ever improve on the last 2 month’s lunches……
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Jenise

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Re: WTN: Beychevelle, Dominus, Batailley, Rieussec, Yquem and some others.

by Jenise » Sat Jul 29, 2006 1:18 pm

2004 Nigl Gelber Muskateller (Austria) – Steely and precise, deliciously refreshing.

2002 Max Roger Sancerre – Obvious sauv blanc of good quality. Good acid and minerality and drinking just right for the vintage.

2002 Cedar Creek Platinum Chardonnay – Obvious chardonnay. Must be a burg because it's Rob's and that's what Rob brings, but I can't place it except to be certain it's not Chablis. Also, the nose has a cheesey ripeness. Good but odd for a Burgundy.

1993 Dolce – Fantastic balance, great acidity and not too sweet. Can't place the grape, but I'm certain it's not Sauternes.

2001 Arcadian Sleepy Hollow Pinot Noir – Bill, you need to drink more coastal California pinots, because this one was very true to its area. And based on the 01 Pisoni from Arcadia I had two-three weeks ago, I guessed this--tomato leaf character and Burgundian reticence on minimalist fruit--might be an Arcadian from the same vintage.

1994 Guigal Cote Rotie Brun et Blonde – Bill, light colour? My notes say, "dark red with orange rim". Also, "bit of brett and maybe sulphur on the nose, but it's blowing off quickly. Pepper, herbs and burnt rubber." Spot on for a Cote Rotie. Very good.

2002 Max Roger Sancerre – Bill, I can compare this experience with an 02 Reverdy red Sancerre we opened a few months ago, and I would lay odds that you're right that it will never open up. It just doesn't have the fruit.

1989 Ch. Batailley – Lovely wine--one whiff and it was obvious we were in Bordeaux. Very obviously either Paulliac or St. Julien from 89 or 90. Great showing.

1988 Ch. Beychevelle – Very good. The bit of funk on the nose and rich color made me think we might be drinking a St. Estephe.

2000 Fiefs de Lagrange – Ugh--hard and herbacious. We guessed it was either an 00 or 01. Can't taste any promise in this one.

1998 Los Vascos Reserve – loved the minty nose. Good bricky maroon color and sweet fruit. Best showing of a Los Vascos ever for me of the "I didn't know it could get this good" variety.

1996 Dominus – My bottle. Earthy and very French. I hate that M. served it after the Los Vascos because that signalled it to the crowd as not-Bordeaux and possibly even not of particularly high quality. Thank goodness the wine showed so well it overcame it's positioning. Fabulous wine--the best California 96 I've had and one of the best Dominuses I've ever had as well.

2003 Bookwalter Merlot – What did M. say when he poured this? There was something about it having been named (by god knows who, but M. doesn't throw those kind of accolades around, so...) the Merlot of the Vintage or something. Hard to believe--ridiculous oaking. Dense and monolithic.

1986 Ch. Rieussec – Bill, I really did smell the TCA on this one It's just that there was so much else also going on that it was dwarfed and the palate wasn't as affected as the nose. And it seemed to increase marginally in severity for about the first two minutes and then stop, didn't take over as TCA can. Added an uncharacteristic herbal quality to the wine without ruining it.

1975 Ch. d'Yquem – this was without a doubt the best Sauternes I can ever remember drinking. So nutty, and with a lemony lightness to the botrytised fruit and honey. I can't sum it up any better than you did: "absolutely friggin killer wine." My god, where did you get this guy?
Last edited by Jenise on Sat Jul 29, 2006 3:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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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Bob Ross

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Re: WTN: Beychevelle, Dominus, Batailley, Rieussec, Yquem and some others.

by Bob Ross » Sat Jul 29, 2006 1:38 pm

Bill and Jenise, thanks so much for the notes. I really enjoy reading and studying notes written by different tasters at the same event.

I copied out your notes, and merged them into a single document. Much easier for me to read and compare and enjoy the tasting.

Thank you very much, Regards, Bob
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Jenise

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Re: WTN: Beychevelle, Dominus, Batailley, Rieussec, Yquem and some others.

by Jenise » Sat Jul 29, 2006 2:55 pm

I like reading other people's notes on the same event for the same reason, Bob. Always something to learn from in reading how differently people react to the same wines even when they're sitting close enough together (I was to Bill's immediate left) to influence each other.
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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Bob Ross

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Re: WTN: Beychevelle, Dominus, Batailley, Rieussec, Yquem and some others.

by Bob Ross » Sat Jul 29, 2006 2:58 pm

When you read the two sets of notes merged together the text reads like a conversation. It was a really nice experience for this reader.

Well done -- by both Bill and you. I thought I was kibitzing over your shoulders. :-)

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