Category Archives: Sauternes

Burgundy Lunch

At the end of the year, we like to get together with close friends in San Francisco to share high end Burgundy! We often treat this meal as an opportunity to big deep into our cellars and share special bottles. As a relatively small group, pours were generous offering the opportunity to revisit frequently during the afternoon. Did not take detailed notes at the time, but some observations follow. Wines are sorted in order of vintage and none were decanted.

Champagne Flight

1989 Krug Collection – Mature, ripe fruit with toasted butterscotch. As the wine sat in the glass, the butterscotch component got more pronounced. Typically, would associate butterscotch with an overly oxidized wine, but it worked for this wine. Could not help but think it would have made a perfect end of meal wine!

1990 Krug – Very youthful, crisp, well balanced, a gorgeous drinking wine that remained relatively consistent from start to finish. Thought the wine showed very well, better than the last time tasted. Fresh, some citrus, this bottle suggested no rush to open. Only after hours in the glass did it begin to show its age.

White Burg Flight

1998 Domaine Leflaive Bienvenues Batard Montrachet – Sadly, a corked bottle. At first, seemed like it was tight and shutdown, corkiness on the nose, but not the palate, but quickly got worse. Fruit was sapped, cardboard nose, and hint of sulfur remained.

2000 Domaine d’ Auvenay Auxey-Duresses – One of the best white burgundies we have tasted in years! Had it been served blind, would have guessed a Coche Dury. Flinty nose, rich yeasty, highly complex palate, and a lengthy citrus finish. It kept giving back more and more the longer it sat in the glass. The wine was youthful, highly balanced, good level of acidity, and will continue to improve with additional cellaring. Days after the tasting, still thinking about the wine it was that good!

2004 Bouchard Montrachet – A more open round Montrachet, thought it pretty, floral and feminine. Acid lurked in the background but fruit was forward. Had this wine young. Back then, it was completely shut down, nearly impossible to access. A lovely wine. No rush to open, but suggest it will not improve considerably with additional cellar aging.

Wine Intermission

1969 Louis Latour Santenay – A little blind surprise intermission wine before transitioning to the red flight. The Latour was toned down, with plenty of earth and mineral. No signs of oxidation. Have tasted very few Santenay, the last being an exceptional 1983 Pierre Bouree Santenay Les Gravieres. The Latour showed very well.

Red Burg Flight

1985 Vogue Musigny – Similar to the Latour, tight and compact dark fruits, good firm acidity in balance with the fruit. Loved the wine, styllistically very different than the two Leroy. A lightbulb went off tasting this wine how really good mature Musigny tastes. Delicate, clean and more beautiful the longer it sat in the glass.

1990 Domaine Leroy Boudot – A good, rich, full bodied wine with copious amounts of blue and black fruit. Found the wine to be mature, structure buried under the fruit. Kept expecting it to give more in the way of complexity, remained consistent from start to finish. No rush to open, will age gracefully for years.

2001 Domaine Leroy Fremieres – Found the wine strikingly similar to the Boudot, rich blue and black fruit, however far more acidity and tannic structure. The better of the two Leroy, this wine will benefit with additional cellar aging. Thought it showed very well, a delightful wine.

Sauternes

1990 d’Yquem – Was not particularly blown away by the 90 d’Yquem. The wine has not come together, not a seamless wine like the 95. Perhaps it is too young and unresolved, did not find the wine particularly appealing on this or other ocassions.

1995 d’Yquem – Enjoyed the 95 d’Yquem a great deal this time, and when other bottles were tasted. Since the 88, one of the best modern vintages of d’Yquem.

Cheers to a spectacular afternoon and fine wine, food and world class company!

Nick Wittman
Santa Rosa Fine Wine
www.santarosafinewine.com

Buckeye Roadhouse Wine Dinner

This past week, we attended a dinner with a very saavy group of wine drinkers at Buckeye Roadhouse in Mill Valley. The theme was flights of Chardonny, Pinot, Rhone, Cabernet and Dessert Wines all served double blind. Despite the very good planning to make it a challenge to identify specific wines, the group proved effective at accurately guessing nearly every region on all flights, and in a few cases, guessed the producer or vintage. It was a fun dinner and the vast majority of wines enjoyable. Brief observations follow. All wines were served pop and pour with a fresh glass provided after each flight. Wines are sorted in order of personal preference pre reveal.

Flight 1 – Chardonnay

2005 Henri Boillot Clos de la Mouchere – Wine of the flight and white wine of the night, the Boillot was easily identified as White Burgundy. Firm acidity, lemon/lime, some subtle oyster shell, perfect balance, a very well made and youthful wine.

2009 Rochioli Rachel’s Vineyard Chardonnay – Distinctly California Chardonnay, thought it had a young Peter Michael profile with clean candied fruit and some residual sugar apparent. Was surprised it was a Rochioli Rachels, which in our opinion is one of the best Chardonnay made in California. On reflection, think the wine was opened too young, and expect it to show significantly better in 3 to 5 plus years.

2006 Marcassin Three Sisters Chardonnay – Initally guessed the wine as anything but California Chardonnay or White Burgundy. Thought it had a toned down, if not muted style. As it sat in the glass, was somewhat dirty and funky, not a clean stony mineral quality I tend to get with Marcassin Chardonnay. The wine did not show well.

Flight 2 – Pinot Noir

2002 Chevillon Nuits St. Georges Saint Georges – Quickly identifed as Burgundy by all. It was earthy, mineral, gritty, with notable barnyard and animal notes. In time, more rugged and rustic. A very well made wine and standout among the three Pinot Noirs.

2004 Rhys Family Farms Pinot – With stemy blue fruits, initially thought it was a Burgundy, but after a little time in the glass, the wine lacked complexity, showing more simple dried cherry plum notes. Correctly guessed the wine as a Rhys! The wine had good weight, but overall was not a great showing.

2005 Marcassin Blue Slide Pinot – Ripe, raspberry, plums, prunes, sweet palate, dense but unresolved and spritzy, thought it might be a young Aubert Pinot. On reveal, was surprised it was a Marcassin Blue Slide. This wine needs to be aged for many more years before enjoying. The wine also did not show well.

Flight 3 – Rhone

2008 Sine Qua Non The Line Grenache – The red wine of the flight, and night, thought this was an outstanding wine. Nothing out of place, big red clean candied fruit, correctly guessed it as a Sine Qua Non Grenache! A touch lighter on its feet than the Atlantis Grenache, a great drinking wine! Would expect it to age gracefully for years.

2004 Greenock Creek Alices – Guessed this wine as a California Syrah, compact dark fruits, it showed very well, but quite different than the Grenache. Normally not a big fan of Austrailian Shiraz, but this wine was very enjoyable. Did not spend as much time with this wine over time as others who thought it less impressive.

2007 Usseglio Mon Aieul – Correct guested the wine as French, thought it was just ok. Not a lot going on in the wine. The group as a whole did not particularly find the wine appealing. It may have suffered being in a flight with two other big powerful wines!

Flight 4 – Cabernet

1998 Pavie Macquin – The wine of the flight, enjoyed the Pavie a great deal, it was easily identified as Bordeaux. Started out green and tannic, very similar to what I get with the 1998 Pavie, in time, this wine lost some of the greeness and became more red and black exotic fruits. Thought it was a gorgeous wine, more so than the overall group!

2001 Araujo Eisele Cabernet – Initially did not like this wine, had a good bit of vanilla which I generally dislike in California Cabernet, and a simple style. However, this was an example of a wine that improved considerably with time in the glass, full bodied, and held up well to the meat course.

2003 Noon Reserve Cabernet – A very ripe wine, minty, thought this might be either from California or Australia. It was a pretty good wine, but not particularly a standout. Was really enjoying the Pavie in this flight, and spend less time on the other wines as we approached the end of the evening.

Flight 5 – Dessert

1990 Raymond Lafon – The only wine I correctly guessed the exact vintage, the color immediately lent itself as a 15 to 25 year old bottle, and oddly reminded me of a 1990 Sauternes in my cellar. This was an excellent age worthy dessert wine.

1986 Climens – The Climens did not show as age worthy as the Raymond Lafon. A nice wine, but overshadowed by its peer. Neither of these wines came across as California. A nice wine to end the evening.

The Mill Valley tasting group is made up of some of the most delightly folks we have had the pleasure to drink with over the past few years. Sophisticated palates, no question, a friendly group where you always go away learning something new. A great time where we highly enjoyed the food, wine, and conversation!

Nick Wittman
Santa Rosa Fine Wine
www.santarosafinewine.com

 

San Francisco Trade Tasting

Attended a trade tasting in San Francisco recently where several nice wines were poured. Having tasted many of them in the past, was a good opportunity to revisit how the wines were aging. In a few cases, was surprised by a high quality wine we have never had before. In particular, referring to an awesome 1989 Vega Sicilia Unico and 1989 Penfolds Grange!

Pours at this particular tasting were relatively small, and only revisited a few of the wines later in the tasting. As a result, no attempt is made at detailed notes, nor ranking the wines in order of personal preference. Nearly all wines showed well, with special mention to the 1995 Krug, 1990 Latour, 1989 Penfolds Grange, and 1989 Vega Sicilia Unico! Brief observations follow.
Champagne

1995 Krug– Crisp, nutty, butterscotch and hazelnut, this was a gorgeous complex and youthful Krug that should be exceptional with a decade or more age.

White Wines

1991 Chapoutier Ermitage Cuvee de l’Oree – Some diesel notes, a flat mouthfeel, and relatively fat on the palate. A fully mature good drinking wine.
2002 Leroy Meursault – Light bodied, some pleasant sweetness, little bit of flint, thought the wine was just ok, expected a little more from this solid producer.
2004 Pahlmeyer Chardonnay – Silky, intense citrus, moving toward a more creamy texture in time. A powerful and well put together Chardonnay.
Red Wines
1990 Chateau Latour – Initially orange rind, sweet, well rounded fruits, revisited later, and shutdown, showed far more tannin. A wine that will continue to improve with age.
1996 Chateau Margaux – More open knit and approachable than the Latour, black cherry fruit, floral, put on weight later in the tasting.
2005 Clos de Papes Chateauneuf de Pape – A very nice wine, big concentrated raspberry fruit, was drinking very well. Far more enjoyable than the Pagau.
2003 Pegau Chateauneuf de Pape Reserve – Have had this wine at least three or four times, have never found it enjoyable. Ripe concentrated plum and prune.
1997 Lisini Brunello di Montelcino Ugolaia – A disappointing wine, grassy, not a lot going on. Did not leave a positive impression.
1989 Vega Sicilia Unico – A young perfectly balanced wine, did not revisit later but suspect it could have easily rivaled any other wine in the tasting in time.
1990 Dominus – Soft, resolved, slightly green, but focused with pleasant mineral and dark fruits. A highly enjoyable well made wine.
1990 Opus One – Have had this wine 5 or 6 times, and this was one of the best showings, thick, ripe, cherry and raspberry fruits, showed far more open than on previous ocassions.
1998 Shafer Hillside Select – Huge wine, mint, black cherry, excellent balance, nice structure and continuing to age beautifully.
2000 Joseph Phelps Insignia – Big wine, similar to the Shafer Hillside, though not as complex. A nice wine with a strong mid palate presence.
1989 Penfolds Grange – Interesting transition on this wine, initially grassy, wheat, cherry and mint, not a thrilling wine, in time, big blue fruits and became exceptional.
2004 Sine Qua Non Covert Fingers – Candied bright red fruits, concentrated, thick full bodied Pinot, showed better on this occasion than other times tasted.
Sauternes
1990 Chateau d’Yquem – Peach, orange, and honey, this sweet, but nuanced wine showed very well, better than the 1986 in the same tasting, but not quite up to the 1988.
1986 Chateau d’Yquem – Orange rind, concentrated and age worthy, the 1986 tasted far younger than the 1990. Continue to age this wine.
Cheers to a very nice wine lineup!
Nick Wittman
Santa Rosa Fine Wine