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Dale Williams


Compassionate Connoisseur




Tue Mar 21, 2006 5:32 pm


Dobbs Ferry, NY (NYC metro)

WTN: Super night (HautBrion, Evangile, Rousseau, Mugneret, Gaja, etc)

by Dale Williams » Wed May 17, 2006 1:59 pm

Last night a new local tasting group got our start. 8 winelovers got together and went through 10 wines (doubleblind). Quite a lineup, thanks to our host John.

(note, due to great lineup, tougher grading than usual)

We started with a Champagne. Bready, rich, yeasty, with mature ripe apple fruit. A little floral on nose. Fine mousse. I like but I'm clueless (Champagne isn't an area I feel very confident about). Mark and Sasha quickly decide it's a Blanc de Blancs, John confirms. Sasha correctly guesses the 1990 Pol Roger. B/B+

First red flight:
Wine #1: Firm ripe black fruit, with earth and tobacco. Some tannic structure remaining, I'm thinking through mid-eighties vintages, eliminating '86 as too tannic. Mark announces Graves,and narrows it to Haut-Brion. It's the 1978 Haut-Brion, still very youthful. A-
(left in the glass, it continues to evolve through the night, with damp earth and shiitake mushroom aromas emerging and blending with the blackcurrant fruit, which remains vibrant through entire evening. Change that to an A).

Wine #2 : On first pour the horsey/barnyardy aromas are pretty intense ( but I like, not being very brett-averse), but no one else seems to notice. Ripe blackcurrant fruit, with herby/minty notes. Resolved tannins. B+/B. It's the 1974 Mondavi Reserve Cabernet

Second red flight:
Wine #3 :This initially seems rather ripe and friendly, develops more structure as it airs. Spice, good acidity, with some meaty notes and damp earth. A- 1988 Armand Rousseau Chambertin

Wine #4: Perfumed earthy nose, leather and sandalwood over a nice black cherry fruit base. More attractive at first, but I eventually give the edge to wine #3. B+ 1985 Mugneret-Gibourg Echezeaux

A white before dinner:
Ripe baked-apple fruit, distinct petrol. Not a lot of acidity, but not in any way flabby. Minerally finish. Sasha seems confident it's Grunhauser. I'm thinking 1997 Spatlese,but seems a little more developed. 1989? Once again I'm off (both vintage and pradikat)1985 Maximin Grunhauser (von Schubert) Abstberg Auslese. B+

Nice roast beef and couscous for dinner, I enjoy it with some of the Haut-Brion and the
Third Red Flight:

Wine #5: Structured, with cassis and black plum fruit. Cigarbox and minerally earth, firm and young. I'm thinking '86 Medoc, wrong again, it's the 1975 L'Evangile. A

Wine #6: Very ripe black cherry fruit. coffee and cocoa. Low acid and lush. I prefer wine #5. This develops some more complexity in glass. It's the 1979 Lafleur. B+

Fourth Red Flight
Wine #7 : First bottle is corked, but John has a backup. Floral/berry nose, red cherry and raspberry fruit, very good. B/B+. 1982 Gaja Sori Tilden Barbaresco (I think the corked bottle was the '82 San Lorenzo)

Wine #8: Lifted/VA nose at first, bright cherries, distinct earthy/truffley notes. Violets and roses, excellent. A-/A. 1982 Bartolo Mascarello Barolo

Fantastic lineup, where virtually any wine could have been WOTN candidate at most offlines. The L'Evangile edged the Haut-Brion as my favorite, but I probably would have voted for either - or either of the Burgs or the Barolo if you asked me while I was sniffing or tasting that wine!

Incredible generosity from John, and a good start to our group. Amazing (and humbling) watching Mark and Sasha narrowing down possibilities.

Disregard my usual disclaimer, or at least the part about being easy grader. Tonight's wines were so uniformly good I had to be a tough grader to differentiate. But I still no promises of objectivity, accuracy, and certainly not of consistency.

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