Tag Archives: Domaine Leflaive

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

Ceja Burgundy Dinner

Following the recent Las Madres Winemaker Lunch, we attended a followup dinner the next day with Las Madres Vineyard Manager and good friend Armando Ceja. Dinner at the Ceja’s is always a treat guaranteed to have good company, food and wine!

Armando generously shared several Ceja wines, as well as some very nice Burgundy. We brought along an old California Pinot Noir served blind, to see how well it was showing, and test our knowledgeable host! Surprisingly, Armando could not pick the grape, vintage or region! Our hostess Martha Ceja however accurately guessed a California wine from 1978! She mentioned the wine tasted like ones she drank with Armando a long time ago!

2009 Ceja Sparkling Brut – A good starter wine, crisp, clean, a well made wine. Was impressed how well made this wine was as a highly affordable everyday drinker.

2007 Ceja Carneros Chardonnay – Fuller, creamier, rounder wine, pineapple on the nose, a wine that is very youthful at this point. Would improve with a little cellar aging.

2004 Jadot Corton Charlemagne – An excellent Jadot, mature without showing signs of oxidation, bread yeast, subtle minerality, and light sweet citrus. In a sweet spot right now, will not improve with cellar aging. My favorite white wine of the evening.

2005 Domaine Leflaive Clavoillon – More advanced than expected, but still drinking very well, did not have the powerful sulfur, black tar, I often get from the wine, it was buried in the background. Nose was a touch astringent, slightly reduced. Improved considerably with time in the glass. A very nice wine.

1978 Louis Martini Special Selection Pinot Noir – An awesome wine! Served this blind to the group, most thought it was a Burgundy. Game meats, exotic minerality, earth and redwood, clearly had age, but amazing structure. A complete lucious wine that I could still taste the following day, it was that good. Had a very good condition cork, and high fill level, but the cork was very short with a plastic capsule. Buy this wine with care.

2005 Louis Latour Corton Grancey – A good showing by the Corton. Light to medium body, strawberry fruit, resolved with no RS, sometimes apparent in other Corton Grancey tasted. Thought it was a good wine, expected a little more density prior to opening.

2009 Ceja Dulce Beso – Powerful peach and orange citrus, clean and also well made. A very nice end of meal wine.

A very nice evening, and to top it off, got to see the Ceja’s new very good looking and intelligent German Shepherd!

Nick Wittman
Santa Rosa Fine Wine
www.santarosafinewine.com

Double Blind Burgundy Dinner

Recently, we organized a Double Blind Burgundy Dinner with California ringers at the Fifth Floor Restaurant in San Francisco. While we do not typically enjoy blind or double blind tastings, as organizer, it was fascinating to observe the table discussion and what drove folks to think a wine was Burgundy vs California, not to mention discussions around personal preference.

As a result of the dinner, a few observations. First, despite notes from professional reviewers that say a California wine is made in a Burgundian style, nearly everyone pegged all ringers as distinctly California! The most challenging ringer was the 1998 Stony Hill Chardonnay. Second, some of the wines that expected to show best did not, and those with lower expectations showed surprising well. The double blind format removed any hint of label bias. Finally, the biggest surprise, given 15 bottles of wine among 7 people, two folks started the dinner with a beer and martini!

None of the wines were decanted, and given the number of folks attending the dinner, pours were good sized to allow a full evaluation of the wine over time. Before reveal at each flight, we guessed California vs. Burgundy, and ranked the wines in order of personal preference. Wines are sorted in the order of my personal preference.

Top White Wine:
1998 Domaine Leflaive Batard Montrachet

Top Red Wine:
1990 Jadot Bonnes Mares

Flight 1

2010 St Francis Intatto Chardonnay – Lemon, cream, round, a nice wine that should be opened young. This was a highly afforable unoaked Chardonnay that I enjoyed more than the group as a whole. Half the group thought it Burgundy, half California.

2004 Fevre Clos – Moderate browning in color and heavily oxidized. Have tasted this wine 3+ times in the past year or so, and nothing remotely similar to this bottle. Expected tight acidity, this bottle was completely flawed. Very surprised how poorly it showed.

Flight 2

1998 Domaine Leflaive Batard Montrachet – Easily the top wine of the flight for everyone. Young in color and style, highly reduced, flinty, tar, this was a gorgeous wine that did not move from opening through the next three hours. More masculine than the 1998 Domaine Leflaive Chevalier Montrachet previously tasted. Nearly everyone guessed it blind as Leflaive.

1998 Stony Hill Chardonnay – Light browning, but surprisingly firm acidity. Chablis like in style, combined with a floral quality, thought it was very nice. Several folks thought it was oxidized. While certainly mature, thought it showed to expectations. A good mature California Chardonnay.

1998 Remoissenet Montrachet – Butterscotch, hint of acidity, tea, more browning than the Stony Hill, and more advanced. It was drinking less than expectations. Having tasted the wine three plus times, this bottle showed just ok.

Flight 3

1999 Jadot Clos St. Jacques – Game, leather, excellent balance and complexity. A beautiful wine with nothing out of place. Very good drinking wine right now, not minding a wine on the younger side, could easily age for many years.

2003 Kistler Vineyard Pinot – Bright candied red fruits, front and mid palate strength, not much on the finish. It was a good wine from a great California Pinot vintage, easily identified as California by nearly everyone.

1999 Jadot Estournelles St. Jacques – Corked. The underlying material appears to be very nice. Reminiscent of the 1999 Jadot Clos St. Jacques but more earthy and coarse.

Flight 4

1999 Rousseau Charmes Chambertin – A nice ripe wine, cherry liquor, first impression was it had no finish. Initially thought it was just an ok wine, with time in the glass, improved considerably. The vast majority thought this was the wine of the flight.

1996 Ponsot Chapelle Chambertin – Game meats, sweaty leather, nice balance. Initially thought this was the wine of the flight, but in time, came to think the Rousseau showed better. The Ponsot and Rousseau both rated in the 85 point range by Burghound, they were both appreciated more than the 93 and 92 rated wines that follow.

2000 Dugat Py Charmes Chambertin – Youthful, somewhat barrel sample like, but with a highly distracting bandaid brett. Expected this to easily be the top wine of the flight, turned out to be a disappointment. Highly anticipated tasting this wine, unfortunately it did not show well.

2006 Rhys Alpine Hillside Pinot – Quickly identified by everyone as distinctly California Pinot Noir, it was not a strong showing. Youthful and barrel sample like, clean and bright fruit, did not find anything particularly appealing about the wine, nor did the rest of the group. It did not show well.

Flight 5

1990 Jadot Bonnes Mares – Fantastic! This was a great wine! Thought it very young with rich ripe fruit, excellent structure and bold in style. If there was a Burgundy that showed more California like, this was the wine. Still a good bit of upside to further cellaring. Wine of the night!

2006 Marcassin Blue Slide Pinot – Blue fruits, barrel sample like, too young and unresolved. Difficult to tell where this wine is going in the long term, not particularly expressive or dense right now, a good wine to revisit with age.

1999 Joblot Givry 1st Cru Cellier Aux Moines – Gamey, light body, not a long going on, but all together not unpleasant either.

Nick Wittman
Santa Rosa Fine Wine
www.santarosafinewine.com

Wine and Spirits Top 100 Tasting

This past week, we attended the eighth annual Wine and Spirits Top 100 Tasting at City View at Metreon in San Francisco. It is the first time we have attended this particular tasting. The location was excellent for a wine event. Champagne, Sparkling Wines and whites were served on the outside patio, red wines on the inside. The tasting had the feel of a fun cocktail party with nice small bites from local restaurants circulating the room. It was a delightful, well executed event that was a lot of fun to attend.

No tasting notes were taken during the event, only some brief obversations. Wines are sorted in order of personal preference by group. If a wine is not listed, we either did not taste it, or did not find it particularing appealing to our personal palate.

Champagnes / Sparking Wines – The Bollinger Rose was arguably the best wine of the tasting, absolutely beautiful, well balanced and complex, it outshined all other wines tasted within this group. Notable, but not listed were the NV wines, in particular the Bollinger Brut Special Cuvee and Louis Roederer Brut Premier, both enjoyable. Find that the NV Louis Roederer Champagnes often show better than Cristal, which it did in this case. The 2002 Dom Perignon showed very young, would cellar for years before opening.

2002 Bollinger La Grande Annee Rose
2002 Dom Perignon
1997 Iron Horse Green Valley Blanc de Blancs Joy
1998 Gramona Brut Cellar Batile
2006 Gramona Brut Imperial Gran Reserva
2004 Louis Roederer Cristal

White Wines -The Domaine Leflaive was easily our favorite white wine, lovely reductive flinty quality consistent with the wine, and producer! New to Philippe Colin, was highly impressed with both their wines, plenty of mineral, earth, and citrus. They were delicate wines with subtle qualities that were just delightful. Several other producers were new to us, will track over the next few years to see how consistent they are over time.

2008 Domaine Leflaive Pucelles
2009 Philippe Colin Chevalier Montrachet
2008 Tardieu-Laurent CdP Blanc
2009 Robert Weil Kiedrich Grafenberg Auslese
2009 Guigal Condrieu La Doriane
2008 Tardieu-Laurent Saint Peray
2004 La Castellada Collio Sauvignon
2006 La Castellada Ribolla Gialla
2009 Bouchard Meursault Genevrieres
2009 Jadot Puligny Montrachet Les Combettes
2009 Bouchard Chevalier Montrachet La Cabotte
2009 Philippe Colin Chassagne Montrachet Les Chaumes
2008 JJ Prum Graacher Himmelreich Kabinett
2009 C. von Schubert Grunhauser Trocken

Red Wines – Our top wine of this group was easily the Jadot Chapelle Chambertin. The opposite of a fruit bomb, it was restrained, elegant, yet quite approachable given its youth. Stylistically different, also enjoyed the Bond Pluribus. Typically lean toward the Vecina in the Bond lineup, in this case, found the Pluribus superior. It was a big wine, but in no way one dimensional. 2007 Napa Cabernets continue to show very well.

2006 Jadot Chapelle Chambertin
2007 Bond Pluribus
2007 Diamond Creek Red Rock Terrace
2007 Bond Vecina
2007 Diamond Creek Volcanic
2009 Ant Hill Farms Campbell Ranch Pinot
2008 Cristom Sommers Reserve Pinot
2009 Bergstrom Dundee Hills Bergstrom Pinot
2008 WillaKenzie Estate Yamhill Carlton Pierre Leon Pinot
2008 Cristom Mt Jefferson Pinot
2006 Ceretto Barbaresco Bricco Asili
2005 Ceretto Barolo Brunate
2008 Willamette Valley Vineyards South Block Pinot

Were the wines tasted the Top 100 in the world? Of course not! Were there plenty of very good drinking wines? Absolutely! Cheers to a very good tasting put on by Wine & Spirits!

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 Kickoff

A smaller than normal group of us got together in Sonoma this weekend for a Burgundy tasting to kickoff the new year. As always, the group was very generous and brought some excellent drinking wines to the tasting!

Cannot think of a better way to expose an individual to fine wine than to be part of a wine tasting group of like minded individuals. You certainly enjoy good wine across a broad range of producers, but also enjoyable and knowledgeable company! As luck would have it, our Burgundy group will often “go deep” where basically, we dig a little “deeper” than normal into our respective cellars and pull special bottles! Such was the case this evening.

Brief observations follow of all wines opened and are listed per flight in order of personal preference:

White Wine of the Night:
1998 Domaine Leflaive Chevalier Montrachet

Red Wine of the Night:
2000 Domaine Des Chezeaux Chambertin

White Burgundy Flight

1998 Domaine Leflaive Chevalier Montrachet – Initially the wine was light bodied, elegant and flinty, yet showed considerable balance and no signs of oxidation. It slowly put on weight over time, becoming far more powerful. The white wine of the night, a gorgeous Leflaive!

2005 Pierre Yves Colin Morey Batard Montrachet Hospices de Beaune – An excellent drinking young wine, showed sweeter fruit, distinct petrol, and firm acidity. Should age very well! Thought it was a very close second to the Domaine Leflaive, but for very different reasons.

1997 Remoissenet Montrachet – Advanced deep golden color, was initially orange peel, honey, and beeswax. Got funky and oxidized shortly after opening. A disappointing wine overall. Have had less than great experiences with this producer in the past. Quickly coming to the view Remoissenet does a far better job with its red over white wines.

Red Burgundy Flight 1

2000 Domaine des Chezeaux Chambertin – The red wine of the night, thought this was a rich, clean, very pure drinking wine with black cherry fruit, cola, and well integrated spice on the finish. An awesome wine!

2001 Drouhin Chambertin – Another very nice wine, had an almost cotton candy nose with raspberry fruit on the palate. Kept going back to this compelling wine, found it nuanced and easy drinking. A solid well made wine.

2000 Domaine des Chezeaux Griottes Chambertin – Initially showed some plum and prune, as well as spice and black cherry, the wine improved considerably in time. While not as strong a showing as the Chezeaux Chambertin, a nice wine nonetheless.

2002 Pierre Gelin Chambertin Clos de Beze – The wine never quite came around through the evening. It was grainy, baked, and funky, thought it may have been an off bottle. Did not think the wine showed well.

Red Burgundy Flight 2

1997 Francois Lamarche Les Malconsorts – A very nice drinking wine, more rhubarb than anything, had firm acidity and a nice medium bodied palate. Based on previous 1997 wines opened, generally do not have high expectations, but this one showed well for the vintage.

1993 Domaine Bertagna Chambolle Musigny – A light bodied wine and grassy, did not find the wine very appealing. Opposite to 1997, generally have a higher than normal expectation from 1993 vintage Burgundy wines, found this one disappointing.

2004 Rochioli West Block Pinot – A curiosity wine opened while we let the second wine flight open up did not show well. Overall, a simple, light and grassy Pinot. Clearly it was in tough company next to the Burgundy. The wine had been opened for some time prior to the tasting, so certainly a good wine to revisit from this solid producer.

Cheers to a good Burgundy start in 2011!

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

All French Wine Dinner

This past weekend, got together with local friends in Sonoma to enjoy an all French wine dinner! In the case of this dinner, it was nice to revisit quite a few wines previously tasted to see how they are progressing. As is often the case with French wines, they are progressing slowly!

Wine flights were two bottles each. Find this to be an effective format, if for one reason alone, to hold over a flight into the next and only have 4 glasses on the table. Often times, we do flights of 3 wines, and 6 glasses can be challenging to keep straight!

All wines were served pop and pour, with the exception of the 2000 Bordeaux which were given about an hour decant. As with other tastings, sorted the wine in order of personal preference per flight. Brief observations of all wines opened follow:

White Wine of the Night:
2004 Domaine Leflaive Clavoillon

Red Wine of the Night:
1996 Ducru Beaucaillou

Champagne Starter

2002 Cristal – Nutty, crisp, easy drinking with lemon and orange citrus. Somewhat light in body and certainly light in color, was rather disappointed in the wine. Enjoyed other Cristal Champagnes in the past so had high expectations that were not met in this wine.

Chablis

2002 Raveneau Montee de Tonnerre – Oyster shell and floral with firm acidity and excellent minerality. The wine was full bodied and simply beautiful with a clean almost cool clean ocean breeze nose. A highly complex excellent drinking wine.

2001 Raveneau Butteaux – An interesting contrast to the 2002, was more lemon, pineapple, and nutty in style. Lighter bodied, it had a loamy texture and notable yeast. The acidity on this wine was well buried, and carried the wine well into the evening.

White Burgundy

2004 Domaine Leflaive Clavoillon – Another great Domaine Leflaive. Petrol, sulfur, motor oil on the nose, became sweeter, almost cotton candy like on the palate. An absolutely gorgeous drinking wine that kept improving over the span of the evening.

2007 Coche Dury Meursault – The most “un-Coche” like Coche Meursault I have tasted, perhaps due to its youth. Restrained, very light sulfur, mineral, combined with lemon and caramel. Was far cleaner and laser precise in style than other years tasted. An excellent wine.

A Wine Intermission

1987 Chateau Montelena– Served blind, was grassy at first, had nice tannin, asian spice, anise, bell pepper, dusty stewed raspberry fruits and a deep dark ruby color that convinced almost everyone it was a mid to late 90’s wine. Having had the wine 6 or 7 times now, it was the most mature example tasted to date. No rush to open, has many more years to age and improve.

1998 Mongeard Mugneret Echezeaux Vieilles Vignes – Served for our friends who are not big fans of white wine, was intially light, but put on weight. Noted some light grass, blue fruits with a hint of cola. A clean wine, had nice acidity and a citrus finish. Really enjoyed this wine, but in tough company next to the 1987 Montelena.

1980’s Bordeaux

1989 Pichon Baron – Bacon, fatty, meaty, and raspberry fruits, the wine showed very tight at first, and put on considerable weight in time. A dense wine for sure, with a sweet caramel finish. Showed very well and drank young.

1986 Montrose – A notably aged wine, showed more forest floor, baked red and black fruits, and an appealing barnyard component. The wine was somewhat foxy in a good way, and showed a little rougher than other examples tasted of this wine.

1990’s Bordeaux

1996 Ducru Beaucaillou – The red wine of the night, it was simply outstanding with ripe red raspberry liquor fruit, with a dense full bodied mouthfeel and a long sweet finish. While it was both elegant and refined, was surprisingly ready to drink now. Overall, a wow wine!

1996 Lynch Bages – Far more structured and youthful drinking than the Ducru, was far more shutdown at this stage and more grassy with darker fruits, cigar, earth and an appealing minerality. Had a lovely mint note on the finish. A very good wine that needs additional cellar aging.

2000’s Bordeaux

2000 Pichon Baron – One of the most nuanced wines of the night, noted menthol and mint, chalk and leather, coffee and black berries, all over the place, but in a good way. Decanted the wine for about an hour, and proved to be very youthful. An excellent wine to continue aging.

2000 Calon Segur – Impossibly closed and shutdown, was unapproachable even after an hour plus decant, and additional time in the glass. Noted rhubarb and scorched earth in a wine that is just not ready to go. Cellar for many more years before opening.

Sauternes

1986 Rieussec – Waxy, orange rind, sweet honey, and butterscotch in an easy drinking end of meal wine. Would be an excellent wine to revisit in a few decades!

Cheers to an awesome evening!
Nick Wittman
Santa Rosa Fine Wine
http://www.santarosafinewine.com/

Medieval Burgundy Dinner

For the second year in a row, a group of us got together at Estate Restaurant in Sonoma for our annual “Medieval Burgundy Dinner”. It is part birthday celebration, part Sonoma Burg Team grand finale, and all around amazing time where we pull cellar gems to share among good food and friends!

Two examples of some amazing wines opened are pictured, a 1957 Remoissenet Richebourg and 1969 Leroy Echezeaux. Both were surprisingly youthful and drinking extremely well. Among the group, 16 wines were opened and enjoyed over the span of a long evening. Brief observations of all wine opened follow. Within each flight, wines are sorted in order of personal preference.

Coche Dury Flight

2004 Coche Mersault Genevrieres – The wine of the flight, was the most pure and clean of the white wines. Distinct Coche in style, noted cedar, flowers, pine nuts, with a thicker more textured mouthfeel than the other wines. Acidity was well buried but present.

2004 Coche Mersault – Big nose of sulfur and matchstick, lemon, almost loamy texture, the wine was very powerful. No question a young wine, would age this one for some time before opening. Not minding White Burgs on the younger side, found it highly enjoyable.

2002 Coche Mersault les Rougeots – Less sulfur and more resolved than the other two Coche, a gorgeous drinking wine with firm acidity, toasty oak and a pleasant yeasty component. Had far more in common with the 04 Mersault than the 04 Genevrieres.

White Burgundy Flight

1996 Domaine Leflaive Puligny Montrachet – A blind village white wine turned out to easily be the wine of the flight! Accurately guessed it as Domaine Leflaive, pre 2000 prior to its reveal. Noted petrol and crisp citrus in an elegant drinking wine. Showed extremely well!

2002 Remoissenet Montrachet Thenard – Very strong orange peel with a deep yellow color suggesting a much older wine. A huge wine at first with high acid, went through some odd changes over the span of a few hours, got astringent, than balanced out, then caramel, ultimately becoming funky. Overall, thought it off and uninspired.

1999 Leroy Les PucellesPremoxed! What was particularly sad about this bottle, opened the same wine less than a month ago and it was gorgeous, absolutely everything you want in a well aged White Burgundy. Very disappointing and again pointing out that White Burgundy can be quite a minefield.

Aged Burgundy Flight

1969 Leroy Echezeaux – Very youthful looking in color, initially showed brighter blue fruits than expected and notes of forest floor and spice in a highly nuanced and complex wine. With some air, some of the exotic aged rustic components came out in a very appealing way. Was an awesome wine, and strong contender for wine of the night.

1957 Remoissenet Richebourg – Like the Echezeaux, youthful in appearance and taste. Noted primary fruits, cranberry, spice, mint, and grass with firm acidity and structure. It was also an excellent wine that tasted significantly younger than a 1957. Only on the finish, an hour after being open, did you notice some slight aged characteristics.

1999 Dujac Chambolle Musigny – A wine served blind, was stemmy, with bright fruits, and some mint, immediately guessed it as a Dujac. On reveal, we were surprised to see a bottle of 1996 Henri Jayer Vosne Romanee Cros Parantoux! Turns out it was a little joke funneling a Dujac into a Jayer bottle that seemingly lead to the quote of the night, “It’s the person, not the bottle that matters.”

Leroy Flight

2001 Leroy Clos Vougeot – Initially thought the 89 Leroy Chambertin was the better wine, but with time, came around to think the Clos Vougeot best. A flashy, big, bright ripe blue and black fruit wine that was both spicy and powerful. Became more nuanced in time and had an exceptionally long finish.

1989 Leroy Chambertin – A gorgeous wine, though more toned down in style than the Clos Vougeot. Showed more mineral, earthy, dryer fruits, the wine was more consistent from the point of opening through finish. Plenty of youthfulness and structure that would allow for extended aging.

Miscellaneous Flight

1991 Leroy Corton Renardes – A highly concentrated, dense, and gorgeous wine. Found it had more in common with the 01 Clos Vougeot than the 89 Chambertin, brighter blue fruits, minus the spice, it was an equally powerful wine. Very young, would cellar for many years before opening again.

1988 A. F. Gros Richbourg – Lighter in style than the 91 Corton Renardes, what it lacks in power, it makes up in balance and complexity. More earth and mineral with a hint of blue fruits, showed extremely well and viewed by others as the wine of the night. No question, an excellent wine.

DRC Flight

1991 DRC Richebourg – A gorgeous highly complex wine that was more earthy and had darker fruits than the 88 Richebourg, combined with some asian spice. Found it balanced and elegant with exotic secondary fruits. A wow wine that will age considerably longer, however could easily be enjoyed now.

1989 DRC Romanee St Vivant – Wet grass and some spice, baked fruits, a nice, but not a profound wine. Had a similar experience recently where we tasted a 91 and 93 DRC RSV, had high expectations, but ended up thinking other RSV producers would have shown much better.

Massandra Finish

1937 Massandra MadeiraPredominately coffee, bitter dark chocolate, sweet butterscotch and caramel. An awesome end of meal wine.

Several of our high end wine dinners are held at an excellent and highly recommended restaurant in Sonoma called Estate. Chef Chris Jones and John Toulze prepared a special menu for us that was simply outstanding. As always, service was excellent, and the food well prepared. The specific menu was game focused, and included some wonderful items: Beausoleil Oyster Gratin, Mediterranean Rouget, Burgundian Escargot, Autumn Game Terrine, and Roasted Bison Strip Loin.

Cheers to another wonderful evening among good food, friends and wine!

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

Eclectic Burgundy Tasting

This past Friday, got together with the Sonoma Burg Team for an eclectic tasting of some interesting wines. Over the past year, the tasting group has been very fortunate to have opened relatively few off bottles. As luck would have it, there were a record number of flawed wines this night!

Two white wines were premoxed, one red wine was corked, and another red wine was off from some undetermined cause. One additional wine showed some Brett, which if significant, would be considered a flaw, however in this case, it was relatively minor, and only an issue if sensitive. Brief observations of all wines opened follow:

White Wine of the Night:
2004 Domaine Leflaive Les Folatieres

Red Wine of the Night:
1996 Armand Rousseau Clos St Jacques

Starter Wine

2004 Dumol Chloe Chardonnay – A little pre Burgundy Chardonnay, the Dumol was a nice and distinctly California wine. Sweet, leesy, ripe, orange peel, a very pleasant drinking wine from a solid Chardonnay producer.

White Burgundy Flight

2000 Bouchard Corton Charlemagne – Premoxed! The wine was immediately identified as flawed by the group. Disappointing and far more oxidized than another premoxed bottle tasted this summer, a 2000 Bouchard Chevalier Montrachet La Cabotte.

2004 Domaine Leflaive Les Folatieres – Another awesome Leflaive, white wine of the flight and night. Heavily toasted oak and scorched earth with a very long finish. In time, became more nutty, yet retained considerably power and intensity.

2007 Jean Noel Gagnard Les Caillerets – Tight, lemon, oily, restrained but with definite potential. Put on weight and became more floral in time. Noted a slight wet cardboard characteristic later in the evening, but not altogether unappealing.

Burgundy Flight 1

1981 Philipe Leclerc Gevrey Chambertin Combe Aux Moines – Rich, big, and spicy, had a sappy almost liquor like quality to the wine. With firm acidity and exceptional balance, this was unexpectedly the wine of the flight.

1990 Albert Morot Beaune Teurons – A light and lean wine, was dry and noted some faint leather. Over time, noted brett, which was not over powering, but certainly existed. Did not find this wine particularly enjoyable.

1993 Remoissenet Mazis Chambertin – An excellent wine, thought it a close second to the 1981. Cola nose, clean blue fruits, and celery. Initially liked the nose better than the palate, but in time, became a beautifully balanced and elegant wine.

1993 Laboure-Roi Lavaux St. Jacques – A funky unusual wine initially, very quickly picked up predominately baked fruits and sherry. Color had some light browning, appearing far older than a 1993. Went downhill quickly, an off wine on both the nose and palate.

Burgundy Flight 2

1996 Armand Rousseau Clos St Jacques – An awesome wine of the flight and night! Was smoky, funky in a good way, and exotic with red fruits, meat, earth, minerals and game. Perfectly balanced, this was a great wine in a nice sweet spot.

1998 Robert Arnoux Clos De Vougeot – Another excellent wine in the flight, noted clean and pure raspberry and cherry fruits. In time, became a little grassy, but subtle. A very nice drinking wine, and second best of the flight.

1999 Louis Remy Clos de La Roche – Corked! The third of four off bottles! Attempted to decant thinking maybe it was not corked, perhaps something odd that might blow off, but turned out the initial identified flaw was indeed correct.

2002 Comte Armande Auxey Duresses – Bright strawberry initially with a light body, the wine became more muted and green in time. In tough company next to the Rousseau and Arnoux, it did not show as well.

Burgundy Flight 3

2000 Esmonin Charmes Chambertin – Primarily blue and black fruits, had a barrel sample like quality to the wine. Decanted, it showed good overall structure, but remained youthful tasting after revisiting a few times through the evening.

2000 Nicolas Potel Vosne Romanee Les Gaudichots – Initially the second wine of the flight, thought it best in time. Barnyard, asian spice, tea and cola, became far more expressive with patience. As a female guest aptly put it concerning the wine, “Treat it like a woman.”

2001 Robert Chevillon Les St Georges – Initially impressive and wine of the flight, noted aged leather, iron, sweet earthiness, and game meats, it was very interesting. Opposite to the Nicolas Potel however, the wine declined over time, not as structured or ageworthy.

Some of us went to dinner afterward, and several more wines were opened, two of note. First was a premoxed 1996 Ramonet Les Ruchottes, the forth flawed bottle of the night, and completely undrinkable. Second, and a much better experience was a 1998 Meo Camuzet Hospices de Beaune Corton. While not flawed, it was impossibly shutdown and unapproachable, even after an hour plus decant and plenty of swirling in the glass. Suggest not opening this wine for another 10 years. When it does finally come around, should be a very nice drinking Burgundy!

Cheers to less flawed wine in the future!

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