My wonderful, precious husband just passed a milestone birthday, so we've been enjoying some pretty good wines over the past week in celebration (we don't have BirthDAYS, we have Birthfortnights). Haven't taken any written notes, so it's time to get the mental sketches I've collected posted before I forget everything. Here are the best of the reds so far:
Saturated cork, perfect ruby-garnet color. Cedar, berries, tanned leather and dried nectarines with a flash of butterscotch tailing the finish of silky tannins. Unmistakeably Lafite, and the wine didn't change much in the glass, so this wine would eem to have years ahead of it. A privilege to drink. WOW.
1979 Haut Brion
Another wow. Lots of minerals and rust among the berries. Gorgeous wine, best '79 I've had. The first sip made me double over, eyes closed, in pleasure. Served it with lamb shanks in an onion sauce over lightly braised rappini, which was a stellar wine-food match.
1979 Gruaud Larose
Better than the last bottle (which was totally OTH) we had, but the wine inched toward death in our glasses, the initial roses/berries/spice turning murky and astringent.
1986 Gruaud Larose
Delicious! This wine was still rustic in overall presentation but the chunky tannins of the several bottles we've had in the last five years were not evident here. All cedar and cassis.
1991 Spotteswoode Cabernet, Napa Valley
A stunner. Powerfully elegant and very Bordeaux-like for a Californian. Black fruit, some licorice and toasted barrel, but classy.
1985 Groth Reserve, Napa Valley
This was the first California wine to get a 100 pt score from Parker which made it particularly interesting, especially as it followed all the wines above which set some pretty high standards. I've not had the wine before, any vintage. Served it with a California riff on a French classic of steak & frites, where the steaks were pan-sauteed with butter, garlic and green onions. Anyway, the nose and the taste of the wine were a non-match. The wine smelled cedary, black fruited and structured, but in taste it was a jammy bomb of juicy red and black fruits where the red fruit predominated in the cherry-boysenberry-raspberry arena. A Tonya Harding of a wine--a big performance, but flashy in a cheap way compared to the Spotteswoode's Nancy Kerrigan.
1998 Les Forts de Latour (magnum)
Served (along with the next two wines) to accompany dinner-for-14 of smoked prime rib with horseradish mashed potatoes. Decanted for six hours, and lovely to drink at that point: beautiful structure with dark berry fruit and that herbaceousness I so love in Latour. This wine has a solid future, and 750's should be drinking well now.
1997 Leoville Barton (magnum)
I know, that dreaded vintage. Doesn't have the lavish fruit of a 99 or 00 or the muscularity of a vintage like 2001, but this wine has lost the disagreeably savage green qualities it had in youth and is showing beautifully right now.
1997 Jaboulet Hermitage "La Chapelle" (magnum) Surprisingly mature, though not at all lost to time. Bright red with some orange fading at the rim, strawberry/raspberry fruit with dried lavender, red rose petals, orange peel, and an appealing date bar flavor in the finish.
Would have been better suited to a roasted chicken than the prime rib, but it was an interesting counterpoint to the other wines, and most of my guests had never had an aged syrah. Interesting, it divided the room down gender lines, too--but for me, the women all preferred this to the cab-based wines.
Last edited by Jenise
on Thu Mar 30, 2006 4:30 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