Tag Archives: Bollinger

Champagne and Burgundy Wine Dinner

This past week, a small group of us got together for a wine dinner at Caffe Macaroni in San Francisco. Cannot say enough positively things about the quality of the food at Marcaroni, rich and well executed, a restaurant worth seeking out. We requested the chef basically serve a broad selection from their menu at his discretion, and he did a perfect job. The wine theme was Champagne, Burgundy and Rhone. With five of us in attendance, pour sizes were perfect allowed us to revisit the wines throughout the evening. Continue to strongly prefer wine dinners in the 6 person range for this reason.  All wines are sorted in order of personal preferene by flight.

Champagne Flight

1996 Billecart Salmon Nicolas Francois Billecart Brut – Crisp, high acidity, a highly age worthy Champagne. As it opened up through the evening, kept getting better and better, intense notes of fresh baked bread. While at first it was shutdown, in the end showed far superior to the delightful Bollinger RD.

1996 Bollinger RD – Have tasted this wine numerous times, and this was the best showing of the wine to date. Dusty, yeasty, fruit cake and baked bread. Showed its qualities upfront. It was beautiful for a little over an hour before tapering off and loosing some of the qualities that initially made it an exceptional wine. A really nice drinking wine overall, thought the Billecart the better of the two.

Corton Flight 

1990 Bertrand Ambroise Corton Rognet – Barnyard and dirty initally, cleaner with big blue and black fruits later. When the wine hit full stride, it was beautiful, but did not taste like a Corton, or anything remotely Burgundy. It did however go extremely well with the food, and showed very well overall.

1990 Marius Delarche Corton Renardes – A classic drinking Burgundy that actually tasted like a Corton. Raspberry, cranberry, leather, showed some initial plum ripeness that was not altogether appealing. As it sat in the glass, got leaner. Thought it was a good drinking wine, not great.

 Jadot Chambertin Flight

1993 Jadot Chapelle Chambertin – Initally very tight and closed down, got extremely interesting and elegant the more it sat in the glass. Game meats, clean pure fruit, and great structure in a highly balanced and complex wine. An awesome wine worth searching out. No rush to open, will age gracefully and improve for years.

1990 Jadot Mazis Chambertin – Another outstanding wine, very clean blue fruits, showed power, balance and complexity immediately, and for several hours. Another outstanding wine worth searching out. Together, thought the two Jadot combined to make for the flight of the night.

Rhone Flight

1998 Vieux Telegraphe Chateauneuf du Pape – Clean dark broading fruits, exceptional balance, this wine kept giving back layer after layer of complexity and kept evolving over time. One of the best CdP we have tasted in a long time. The wine was nothing short of exceptional, and kept showing different nuances through the evening.

1994 Guigal La Mouline – When we think of Rhone, the benchmark wine producer that always comes to mind are those from Guigal. Some of our best drinking experiences have been from this producer. The 1994 was more candied red cherry fruits and smooth with notes of vanilla. A lovely well made wine, no question, thought the Vieux Telegraphe the superior wine in this flight.

Cheers to a delightful evening with a good group of local friends!

Nick Wittman
Santa Rosa Fine Wine
http://www.santarosafinewine.com

Commonwealth Dinner

A local wine tasting group we are part of recently got together in San Francisco for dinner at Commonweath restaurant. The food was spectacular, and included Black River Ossetra Caviar, Salmon Tartare, Corn Custard Lobster, Veel Cheeks and a few enjoyable desserts. A highly recommended restaurant in the Bay Area!

Wine for the dinner was focused on Burgundy varietals from the United States and France. While nearly all wines were enjoyable, the standout was a bottle of 1945 Beaulieu Vineyards Beaumont Pinot Noir. It was remarkable how youthful the wine looked and tasted. The label said Pinot Noir, but suspect the wine included Gamay, Petite Sirah, or other varietals. Suspicion aside as to the exact varietal makeup, it was an outstanding wine. Brief observations follow of all wine opened.

Champagne Starter – The Krug was extremely young, firm acidity with hardwood, orange citrus fruits and a pleasant yeasty component. Could continue to age this gorgeous wine for a significant period of time. In contrast, the Bollinger RD was far more mature and a little funky. Tending to prefer Champagne on the younger side, did not show as well for my particular palate.

1990 Bollinger RD
1996 Krug

Flight 1 – The Leflaive was fully mature and resolved, in a sweet spot right now. Was interesting to taste next to the Williams Seylem, the color of which was significantly browning, yet showed surprisingly well, sweet, floral and butterscotch on the palate. The Bouchard was very young and tight, could easily continue to age this excellent wine for years. As a whole, loved the flight. At this point, a Ceritas Chardonnay was opened. Had it been served blind, would have guessed a Chablis! Plenty of Oyster shell, steely, and firm acidity, an age worthy wine.

1998 Domaine Leflaive Pucelles
1998 Williams Seylem Hirsch Chardonnay
2002 Bouchard Corton Charlemagne
2009 Ceritas Ritchie Chardonnay

Flight 2 – The wine of the night, was absolutely surprised by the 45 BV Beaumont Pinot. Expected this to be a wildcard wine, probably dry leather, light mineral, and light fruit or perhaps just oxidized and long past maturity, it tasted youthful, structured, full bodied and highly complex, with earth, minerals and an abundance of well integrated dark fruits. The 67 Burgundy was more strawberry, stemy, soy, a cool, clean enjoyable wine. Sadly, the 79 was completely oxidized and undrinkable.

1945 Beaulieu Vineyards Beaumont Pinot Noir
1967 Beaulieu Vineyards Burgundy
1979 Beaulieu Vineyards Burgundy

Flight 3 – All three wines in this flight were excellent. The Bonnes Mares showed blue fruits in contrast to the raspberry fruits in the Cazetiers, and in contrast to both, the Clos Vougeot was leathery and dry. Given the age on the Clos Vougeot, it was a vibrant wine that maintained some subtle sweet ripe fruit.

1964 Jadot Clos Vougeot
1985 Bouree Gevery Cazetiers
1999 Jadot Bonnes Mares

Flight 4 – The Chalone was the youngest tasting wine in this flight, huge tart jammy raspberry fruit, showed superior to a previous time having had the wine. The 99 Calera had the best balance of the group with subtle all spice and steminess. Sadly, thought the 97 Calera was a little disjointed and astringent, it never quite came together. A mystery wine, the 05 Yarra Yering was guessed early on as Australian, big ripe fruit wine from a solid producer.

1980 Chalone Pinot Noir
1997 Calera Mills Pinot Noir
1999 Calera Jensen Pinot Noir
2005 Yarra Yering Pinot Noir

Collectively, the wines for this dinner were very impressive and paired with equally impressive food. Along with delightful company, it was a highly enjoyable wine dinner!

Nick Wittman
Santa Rosa Fine Wine
http://www.santarosafinewine.com/

Burgundy in the City

Got together with a small group of friends from the San Francisco Bay area recently to enjoy some Burgundy. Among a very enjoyable group of wines, thought the 1990 Lafarge Volnay Clos des Chenes showed best overall. It had all the qualities of an exceptional wine, balance, complexity, good structure, and a seductive style that kept making you want to go back for more!

Another highly noteworthy and enjoyable wine, the 2004 Domaine Chevalier Corton Charlemagne. It showed extremely well and similar to the red, had all the hallmarks of an exceptional wine in terms of balance, complexity as well as subtle nuances that made it both interesting and thrilling to revisit over a few hours. Tasting 2004 and 2005 White Burgundies regularly, continue to prefer 2004 for drinking in the near term.

As with previous blog entries, brief observations of all wines opened follow, sorted in order of personal preference by flight.

Champagne Starter

1996 Bollinger RD – Yeasty, nice acidity, lemon rind, dough, meyer lemon, a young Champagne that kept improving over the span of the evening. A very exceptional wine.

White Burgundy Flight 1

2004 Fevre Les Clos- Very shutdown, firm acidty, mineral. No where near ready to enjoy, needs years to resolve. Took hours for it to even begin to show its potential.

2000 Fevre Valmur – Right out of the gate, highly enjoyable. Clean, pure, good balance, also mineral. In about an hour, started to decline and became less interesting.

2002 Ried Klaus Jamek – Dry, yet well rounded, paraffin and creamy in texture. Little experience with Austrian wines, but this showed very well.

White Burgundy Flight 2

2004 Domaine Chevalier Corton Charlemagne – Well structured, big wine, excellent power and balance, slightly flinty and highly age worthy. A gorgeous wine.

2005 H. Boillot Corton Charlemagne – More floral than the earthy Chevalier, sweet, big, though young and unresolved. Great long term potential after years of cellar aging.

1986 P. Dubreuil-Fontaine Corton Charlemagne – Wax, honey, oxidized, drinkable, but past maturity. Opened more as a curiosity than anything, did not show very well.

1988 Pierre Bitouzet Corton Charlemagne – Oxidized and undrinkable.

Mystery Wine

2000 Williams Seylem Allen Vineyard Chardonnay – A blind ringer, correctly guessed as aged Chardonnay. Fully mature, creme brulee, nice minerality and balance, a good drinking wine that indicated 16% ABV, but did not show heat.

Red Burgundy Flight 1

1990 Lafarge Volnay Clos des Chenes – Gamey, red and blue fruits, menthol, an absolutely gorgeous nuanced and near perfect drinking wine. The wine of the night!

1995 Lafon Volnay Santenots du Milieu – Black pepper, rich big fruit, took a long time for the wine to open up, when it did, excellent balance, showed very well.

1990 Lafon Volnay Santenots du Milieu – Wet saddle leather, sappy, full mouthfeel and firm tannin, a nice wine that should improve with additional cellaring.

1995 Lafarge Volnay Clos des Chenes – High acidity, like the 1995 Lafon, took a long time for the wine to open up. In this case, it never quite came around. Continue to cellar for years.

Red Burgundy Flight 2

1980 Roty Charmes Chambertin – Chewy texture, earth, mineral, leather, with a touch of appealing green. Mature and very enjoyable, showed better than expectations.

2001 Drouhin Chambolle Musigny – Firm acidity, simply in style, not a lot to the wine that made it particularly appealing.

Sweet Ending

1990 Huet Vouvray Moelleux – Sadly, did not take notes on this wine. Vaguely recall a very pleasant end of evening wine. One of those instances of, a small group and lots of wine!

Cheers to a highly enjoyable evening that will hopefully repeat itself again!

Nick Wittman
Santa Rosa Fine Wine
http://www.santarosafinewine.com/

Volnay and Pommard Burgundy Dinner

Last week we got together with friends at Firefly restaurant in San Francisco to enjoy a Burgundy Dinner focused on wines from Volnay, Pommard and Chablis.

With the exception of two corked bottles, the overall wine quality was high. As sometimes happens in local wine dinners, a special wine is brought you don’t typically see. In this case, a still red wine from Champagne! While common in California where Sparkling Producers routinely sell Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines, it is uncommon in Champagne. Thanks to a generous guest, the first time we have tasted this wine!

All wines opened, along with brief observations follow. Normally all wines are popped and poured, this time however, the red wines were double decanted. All wines are sorted in order of personal preference by flight.

White WOTN: 2001 Dauvissat Les Clos
Red WOTN: 1985 Joseph Voillot Volnay Champans

Chablis Flight 1

2002 Brocard Valmur – The wine of the flight, was creamy, lemon cake, and medium bodied with a fat mid palate. With a light spice on the palate, had nearly perfect balance!

2002 Fevre Valmur – Dusty, lemon and orange citrus, as well as exotic tropical fruits. Initially thought it was going to be wine of the flight, but in time, thought it the Brocard.

2000 Raveneau Valmur – Corked!

Chablis Flight 2

2001 Dauvissat Les Clos – A powerful, very big Chablis, focused, firm acidity, nice citrus fruits, kept getting better over the span of the evening. Would continue to cellar.

1996 Brocard Les Clos – Similar to the Brocard Valmur, creamy, however sweeter, holding up very well and nicely balanced, but should drink within the next year or two, fully mature.

1990 Dauvissat Les Preuses – The wine is on the downward slope of maturity, somewhat sherried, oxidized, waxy, not disappointing, but not thrilling either. Just an ok wine.

Intermission Wine

2002 Bollinger cote aux Enfant – Special and quite rare, we were treated to a still red wine from Champagne! The Bollinger was dry and backward in style initially, and remained so for a few hours, tannic, black tar and burnt rubber, it was highly reductive in style. After a few hours, some bright cherry fruit started to emerge, ultimately evolving into a wine that was more thick, rich red fruit liquor in quality three plus hours later. Somewhat one dimensional in style as it opened up, would not consider it a great wine, but would definitely consider it a unique wine!

Burgundy Flight 1

1990 Comte Armand Pommard Clos de Epeneaux – A huge wine, young dark fruits, fat, dense, cola and cherry, a beautiful well integrated wine. One of the top wines of the night!

1988 Comte Armand Pommard Clos de Epeneaux – Far more exotic, game meats, yet also well balanced, a very close second wine of the flight, but for very different reasons.

1996 Comte Armand Pommard Clos de Epeneaux – Not a good showing for this wine, bretty, freshly opened plastic bandaid, never really improved over time. Disappointing.

Burgundy Flight 2

1985 Joseph Voillot Volnay Champans – A stunning, exceptional wine! Leather, exotic well integrated blue and red fruits, subtle texture, ready to enjoy now, but plenty of structure to allow additional aging, a near perfect wine worth seeking out!

1999 d’Angerville Volnay Champans – Very young drinking, barrel sample like, cassis, spice, cinnamon, forest floor and firm acidity. The wine should be aged considerably longer before opening.

1999 Potel Volnay Taillepieds – Dark fruits, green, somewhat similar style to the 1999 d’Angerville Volnay Champans, however less resolved. Continue to age for years.

Burgundy Flight 3

1999 d’Angerville Volnay Clos des Ducs – A beautiful, big, age worthy wine with nice spice, earth and chocolate notes. Plenty of life ahead of the wine, second best of the evening.

1995 d’Angerville Volnay Clos de Ducs – Corked!

Cheers to a highly enjoyable evening!

Nick Wittman
Santa Rosa Fine Wine
http://www.santarosafinewine.com/