A trip back in time in 2009

Looking back on 2009, had the fortunate pleasure of attending quite a few enjoyable fine wine dinners! The aged bordeaux dinner we had in San Francisco was amazing, and a smaller dinner at Bungelow 44 in Mill Valley equally outstanding, how could we not mention our incredible Cajun Harvest Party, but the one we had in early December may arguably be the best wine get together of the past year! Nine of us over a nine course meal and over 25 fine and rare wines at Estate in Sonoma!

The lunch opened with a lovely magnum of 1975 Deutz Brut. It was as young and fresh as any Champagne I have had in recent years. First time having had this wine, it was a crisp and nutty. A champagne starter is always a nice way to open up a lunch or dinner. It is a good way to cleanse the palate before more seriously getting into the wines to come!


1975 Deutz Brut Vinotheque 1.5L

After the Champagne and some conversation, we moved onto the White Burgundies. The 2004 Laflaive Chevalier Montrachet was the top wine of the flight. It was full bodied, petrol, yeasty, some citrus, just an amazing complex wine. Lighter in style but still enjoyable was the Batard Montrachet. Take away the petrol characteristics of the Chevalier Montrachet and some of the richness and you have the Batard Montrachet. The final wine was the lightest of the three, the Les Pucelles, which was fine, but in tough company.

White Burgundy Flight

2004 Domaine Leflaive Chevalier Montrachet
2001 Domaine Leflaive Batard Montrachet
2001 Domaine Leflaive Pulighy Montrachet Les Pucelles

A lot of folks like to finish the evening with a Sauternes, but find them more enjoyable as the last flight just before opening red wines. The d’Yquem was simply too young and sugar driven to fully enjoy. Do not think in the long run this is going to be a world class d’Yquem. It will likely be an average wine. The 1923 La Tour Blanche on the other hand was a lovely aged Sauternes, quite young looking in color and balanced to the palate. The more Sauternes I taste, the more I really like them well aged.

Sauternes Flight

1923 Chateau La Tour Blanche
2003 Chateau d’Yquem

Instead of opening the oldest Burgundies first, we moved on to the DRC’s realizing they will likely be young drinking, and would need to sit in the glass and revisit several times throughout the afternoon. Sure enough, the first taste of each showed they were incredibly young! The 1996 was the most complex of the group. The 2000 started out with a funky nose, but fortunately blew off in time, and ultimately opened up quicker than the others. Ideally, all will be much better with age and would not rush to open them.

DRC Flight

1996 DRC Grands Echezeaux
2000 DRC Grands Echezeaux
2001 DRC Grands Echezeaux

An excellent year for Burgundy, 2 of the 3 wines in the 1969 Burgundy flight were outstanding. Like all wines this old, provenance and condition are key. Primary fruits are long gone, but what sometimes remains is great structure, earth, mineral and game meats along with resolved tannin and light acidity. That was the case for all the 1969’s. Having had a lot of new Burgundy, find the older ones in great years to be highly compelling.

1969 Red Burgundy Flight

1969 Belin NSG Clos Des Forets Saint Georges, Cuvee Hors Ligne
1969 Forey Malconsorts
1969 La Tour Corton Grancey

The mid aged Burgundy flight was also outstanding. The wine of the flight had to be the Jadot Bonnes Mares, which was in a real sweetspot, perfectly balanced, rich fruits, and great structure. Close behind it was the 1988 Leroy. Both 1985 and 1988 are excellent Burgundy years. Approaching 25 years old, these wines were ripe, fresh, and great drinking.

Mid-Aged Red Burgundy Flight

1985 Jadot Bonnes Mares
1985 Leclerc
1988 Leroy Beaumonts

After some pretty rich mid aged Burgundy, opened the aged Bordeaux. The 1952 Calon Segur was the best wine of the flight. Similar to the 1969 Burgundy, primary fruits are long gone and you have what remains, a lot of saddle leather, meats, mineral earthy components. Was refreshing to taste no significant signs of oxidation with it or the 1949 Cos d’Estournel. The 1982 Calon Segur showed well as did the 1986 Haut Brion.

Bordeaux Flight

1986 Haut Brion
1982 Calon Segur
1986 Latour
1949 Cos d’Estrounel
1952 Calon Segur

The wine of the Rhone flight was the 1994 Guigal La Landonne. Think the Guigal LaLa’s are among the best Syrah based wines in the world. Having had many years of La Landonne, La Mouline, and La Turque, always thrilled to see one on the table! It was a seductive, rich, dark fruit based wine with an incredibly long finish and awesome mid-palate. The 1989 Jaboulet was better than previous times opened.

Northern Rhone Flight

1994 Guigal Cote Rotie La Landonne
1991 Rene Rostaing Cote Rotie Blond
1989 Jaboulet La Chappelle

After so many great wines, you would think everything starts to taste the same! In this case, not at all. The Massandra was nothing short of world class. The 1929 Tokay Ai Danil was as rich, gorgeous, complex, and distinct as any end of meal wine you could open. This was the best Massandra I have ever had, and certainly left a big impression on all of us!

Sweet Ending Flight

1929 Massandra, Tokay Ai Danil
1937 Port
1977 Calem Port

What a great wine year it has been. We at Santa Rosa Fine Wine wish everything a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year filled with great wines, great friends, and great experiences!

Cheers to 2010!

Nick Wittman
Santa Rosa Fine Wine

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