Tag Archives: Leoville las Cases

1989 Bordeaux Lunch

As many local San Francisco area wine drinkers are well aware, we are fortunate to have a world class butcher in close proximity. Flannery Beef arguably sells some of the best steak in the country. And to add to this well deserved distinction, some of the best Burgers too! For a tasting of 1989 Bordeaux we hosted, that is exactly what was served, world class hamburgers. The owner of Flannery Beef, Bryan is always helpful in coming up with the perfect blend, in this case 25% Prime Filet Tail, 25% Wagyu Short Ribs, 25% Prime Hanger Steak, and 25% Dry Aged Ends. It lent a near perfect compliment to the wines of the afternoon.

Ten of us were in attendance and all bottles pop and pour. Did not take notes at the time, but have some fond recollections the following day. Wines are sorted in order of personal preference by flight. Brief Tasting observations follow:

White Starter Wines – The Roulot was top wine of a flight where all were quite enjoyable but stylistically different. Found it balanced, round, easy drinking and slightly fuller bodied than the others. In contrast, the Bouchard was tight, mineral, saline, and youthful. It will continue to age well. The crowd favorite was the Boillot, also young and very nice drinking. Finally, the Latour Corton Charlemagne, more toned down, little more yeasty and lighter bodied.

2004 Roulot Meix Chavaux
2008 Bouchard Corton Charlemagne
2005 Henri Boillot Clos de la Mouchere
2004 Latour Corton Charlemagne

House Wine – Opened from an imperial, a glass was dedicated to the wine and essentially bottomless as we got the opportunity to taste through the entire lunch. A gorgeous Mouton, showed textbook earth, dark fruit up front, red on the finish with the most delightful menthol quality intermixed in a seamless great drinking wine. Has all the great attributes of an exceptional wine, truly exceptional balance and complexity. It opened up quickly, and maintained a consistent style through the end of the bottle. A close tie with the Latour as wine of the afternoon.

1989 Mouton Rothschild

Starter Red – A great start before moving onto flights. Might add, it was a surprise. Was not expecting much prior to opening, but turned out to be big, lots of high end fruit, and showed on the youthful side. That said, would not hesitate to open a bottle and enjoy in the near term. A wine you want to open and enjoy over a long evening. The most full bodied of all wines opened.

1989 Leoville Barton

Flight 1 – 1989 Lynch Bages has always been a personal favorite wine of ours having tasted it many times over the years. Consider the 89, 90, and 00 Lynch Bages their best efforts in the past few decades. This bottle was particularly youthful and showed layer after layer of complexity. Subtle leather, tobacco and dark fruits. The Cos d’Estournel was lovely, but overshadowed by the Lynch Bages. More restrained, underbrush and closed. Suspect with more time in the glass, would put on weight.

1989 Lynch Bages
1989 Cos d’Estournel

Flight 2 – My least favorite flight of the afternoon, both did not show very complex. The mid palate was there, but did not have a standout nose or memorable finish. The wines probably suffered to some degree based on the quality of the previous wines. A fun curiosity none the less from two producers we have never tasted before. Both were open knit and could be opened and enjoyed in the near term.

1989 Chateau La Rose-Pourette
1989 Chateau de Fieusal

Flight 3 – Always excited to see a Chateau Latour on the table, this wine did not disappoint. The Latour and Mouton were our two favorite wines of the evening, Lynch Bages and Leoville Las Cases close seconds. The Latour was youthful and clearly needs more cellar age. Found it superior to the 1990 Latour tasted on other occasions. Perfect balance, complexity and structure, zero signs of decline. Another stunning wine, the Leoville Las Cases showed true to the producer style. Medium bodied, gritty, earth and nuanced. While you should continue to cellar age the Latour, the Leoville Las Cases was more approachable.

1989 Latour
1989 Leoville Las Cases

Finish Wines – The TBA was gorgeous, perfectly resolved, could not have asked for a better end of meal wine. Round, full bodied, honey, and a delightful freshness that made it appear far younger than 1971. Prior to the TBA, tasted a equally gorgeous Wittmann Riesling. The depth and complexity of this wine was outstanding. Sadly, Wittmann has limited availability in the US, and the country is missing one of the truly great producers of German Riesling.

1971 Ungsteiner Honigsackel Trockenbeerenauslese,
2009 Wittmann Morstein Riesling GG

Bordeaux from 1989 are in a good place generally speaking. Classically styled, was impressed with the wines overall. And cheers to no flawed bottles!

Nick Wittmann
Santa Rosa Fine Wine
https://www.santarosafinewine.com/

 

Southern Marin Wine Dinner

Recently we got together with good friends in Marin for an end of year wine dinner. As always, the food and company were enjoyable, combined with an interesting mix of wine. With the exception of the Italian Flight, all wines were served double blind. This tasting was particularly challanging in that, with nine of us in attendance, pour sizes were very small not allowing to revisit the wine over time. All wines are sorted in order of personal preference by flight.

Champagne Starter

1996 Dom Perignon – Remember drinking this wine numerous times when young, and it was very apparent it would be long lived. The wine showed far more mature now, and in a good place. Noted honey, almond, and orange citrus fruit. An elegant and subtle wine.

Chardonnay Flight

2005 Pernot Bienvenues Batard Montrachet – Mature, almost lightly oxidized, some citrus deeply buried in the wine. Correctly guessed it as a Burgundy, but thought it had more age on it than a 2005. An ok wine, not sure it is going to hold up well in time.

2006 Rhys Alpine Chardonnay – Bright, young, almost Aubert like fruit, on the sweet side and a little one dimensional. Thought it might be a 2006 to 2008 Rochioli Chardonnay. Generally like Rhys Chardonnay, thought this one just ok.

Pinot Flight

1996 Arnoux Echezeaux – Light body, elegent red and black cherry fruits, good minerality, and plenty of structure to easily carry the wine into future. Thought the wine representative of Echezeaux in style, and a delightful wine to drink. No rush to open, will continue to age well.

2005 Rochioli West Block Pinot – Big ripe wine, was easy to guess as California. Bright strawberry and cranberry notes, thought it might be from the Russian River. Thought the wine was not particularly complex, more one dimensional, and was surprised on reveal is was a single vineyard designate Rochioli.

Non Blind Italian Flight

1997 La Spinetta Barbaresco Vigneto Gallina – Both of the Italian wines showed qualities we find incredibly off putting. The Barbaresco had a ripe plum prune quality we have never found appealing, in addition to an astringent almost paint thinner nose. A highly disappointing wine.

1997 Bartolo Mascarello Barolo – Similarly disappointing and also showing a quality we find distracting and unpleasant, a high degree of bandaid brett. It was so distracting to make the wine undrinkable. Others at the table were not as sensative to brett, and found the wine enjoyable, though recognized it might not be fully to expectations.

Cabernet Flight

1996 Leoville Las Cases – Easily wine of the night, thought this was a beautiful and highly elegant drinking wine. Dry dusty dark fruits, game meats, menthol, it showed everything we enjoy in an exceptional Bordeaux. 1986 has long been our favorite Leoville Las Case, wonder if the 1996 will hit that same level in another 10 years!

1996 Peter Michael Les Pavot – Another wine we have tasting many times. The interesting thing about the 1996 Les Pavot is how different the fruit intensity has been from bottle to bottle. Most of the time, the fruit is very big and powerful. This bottle showed more shut down this time. A good drinking wine, though not entirely to expectations.

Finisher

1990 Zind Humbrecht Tokay Pinot Gris – Predominately tangerine, and pretty much to expectations. Full bodied, notable sweetness, it is a well made wine and a good way to end the meal. For us, it is a wine to drink in very small amounts.

Interesting to note, in each flight, the French wine was preferred over the California wine by the majority of us in attendance. Cheers to France!

Nick Wittman
Santa Rosa Fine Wine
www.santarosafine.com

 

Small Wine Tasting

It might be said that numerous blog posts are written for an audience of one, the writer! In the case of this post, it is true, a record of wines we tasted for future reference. We recently attended a small sampling of wine in San Francisco. It was a tasting where nice wine was poured, however pour sizes were very small. In this type of tasting, you get a quick sense of the cellar provenance before purchase, and a snapshot view of the wine quality itself. In this particular instance, tasted each wine when first opened, and revisited the majority later in the evening. For Santa Rosa Fine Wine, it is invaluable to taste samples from a private cellar prior to purchase.

Excellent Drinking wines:

1959 Doudet Naudin Volnay
1970 Chateau Pichon Lalande
1978 Mongeard Mugneret Echezeaux
1978 Robert Mondavi Reserve Cabernet
1982 Clos Rene
1984 Dominus
1986 Cos d’Estournel
1995 Harlan Estate
2000 Dalla Valle Maya
2005 Chateau Certan de May

Very Good Drinking Wines:

1975 Leoville Las Cases
1983 Ducru
1989 Hospices de Nuits Les Fleurieres
1993 Calera Jensen
1995 Lynch Bages
1997 Pio Cesare Barolo
2006 Aubert Ritchie Chardonnay

Beyond these, some wines showed just ok: 1978 Jaffelin Chambolle Musigny, 1978 Lynch Bages, 1980 Heitz Martha and 1999 Gemstone Red. Sadly, some bottles did not show well: 1971 Jadot Gevrey Chambertin, 1976 Jordan Cabernet, 1983 Pierre Bouree Corton, 1991 Moraga Bel Air Cabernet, 1995 Chateau Gloria, 1997 Galante Blackjack Pasture Cabernet, 2002 Jones Family Cabernet, 2005 Chateau La Gomerie and 2007 Hartwell Reserve Cabernet. The not so great wines showed various degrees of oxidization, drying out, past maturity, or simply out of balance.

As a general rule, we value balance, age worthiness, structure, and complexity. We do not value, brett (bandaid on any level, barnyard when excessive), obvious flaws (corked, VA, ethyl acetate, etc.), one dimenional wines, as well as those that are past maturity, oxidized, or overly ripe with a plum, prune, raisin quality. Very small samples pose an evaluation challenge, but in the context of writing for yourself, it is certainly helpful!

Nick Wittman
Santa Rosa Fine Wine
www.santarosafinewine.com

1990, 1995 and 1996 Bordeaux Dinner

Recently, a group of us got together in Marin County for an all 1990’s Bordeaux Dinner. In the case of this get together, we decided wine flights would center around three years, 1990, 1995 and 1996. It was interesting to compare and contrast the years, as well as see how each wine was progressing over time!

As a flight, thought the 1996 showed best overall. All the wines were excellent, and not separated by a large margin preferring one wine over the other. Second best flight turned out to be the 1990’s. The 1990 Cos d’Estournel aside, another group of excellent drinking wines. Finally, was the 1995 flight. The wines were all ok, but out classed by both the 1990 and 1996’s.

All wines are sorted in order of personal preference by flight. The 1996 wines were decanted, all others, pop and pour. Brief observations of wines opened follow:

California Starter

2008 Ceritas Porter Bass Chardonnay – A medium bodied, lemon, oyster shell and floral wine that was oily in texture, funky on the nose, and spicy on the palate. Thought it was a just ok wine that would be interesting to revisit in the future.

1990 Bordeaux

1990 Lynch Bages – A gorgeous wine with excellent balance and complexity. Had an almost motor oil component to the wine, very dark fruits and copious amounts of cigar, mineral and earth. This was an exceptional wine that will age gracefully for many more years.

1990 Pichon Lalande – Another gorgeous wine! Had baked red fruits that became sweeter and more candied in time with an appealing mint, eucalyptus, and dry tea leaf component to the finish. Swapped back and forth on preference with the 1990 Lynch Bages. Wine Advocate gave this wine a 79? Really? The wine was exceptional.

1990 Troplong Mondot – Aged, animal, raspberry fruit, plum, and some wet cardboard. While the nose was dryer, almost cognac like, the palate did have some pleasant sweetness. Thought the wine was oddly interesting. A good wine, but overshadowed by the Lynch Bages and Pichon Lalande.

1990 Cos d’Estournel – Brett, brett, and more brett combined with some funky animal, grass, and more brett. Thought the wine was pretty much sapped of anything that made the wine interesting, and overall, was dominated by brett. Tend to be more sensative to brett than others, so did not care for this wine at all.

1995 Bordeaux

1995 Leoville las Cases – A great nose hinted at an excellent wine, but it was simply too closed at this stage in its life. Spice, plum, and cedar, had a laser fine precision in a clean wine not remotely ready to drink. Let this one age for many more years before opening.

1995 Grand Puy Lacoste – Good balance in this cool and clean wine with predominately plum and mushroom on the palate. Noted some menthol which was nice and helped the wine, but overall, could not say it was a thrilling experience. Just an ok wine.

1995 Monbousquet – Have tasted only a handful of other Monbousquet in the past, so was curious how this one would show. Unfortunately, found it flabby and sappy, more full bodied than the other two 95’s, did not find it to have a lot of character overall.

1996 Bordeaux

1996 Pichon Lalande – An elegant, perfectly balanced wine with fresh cut grass, a super long finish, and a rich liquor quality with expressive fruit. A very well made wine that showed best among three really excellent 1996’s.

1996 Leoville Poyferre – Far more meat, game, olive, and well aged fruits in this rustic, almost old school bordeaux. Flip a coin, and could pick this vs the Pichon Lalande as wine of the flight. Both were very good, but for very different reasons.

1996 Cos d’Estournel – Similar to the 1990 Cos d’Estournel, picked up brett, but it was very minor. Nice acidity, spice, and fruit balance, another very well made wine that more than held its own against the other two 1996’s.

Sweet Finish

2003 Donnhoff Niederhauser Hermannshohle Spatlese – Clean and crisp with sweet lemon and very light sulfur, this was an excellent wine! Along with Massandras and Sauternes, find sweeter German Rieslings a pleasant way to end a wine dinner!

Cheers to a very enjoyable evening!

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