Tag Archives: Massandra

French Wine Night at Pera

Recently we joined friends in SF for a French Wine Dinner at Pera. The dinner included a lineup of awesome wines, including two exceptional bottles of Coche Dury pictured at left. The flight of the night, found the contrast in the two wines striking. One was delicate and feminine, the other powerful and masculine!

What made the tasting more challenging than usual was the relatively small pours. Given the larger group size, it did not allow the best opportunity to revisit the wine later in the evening. Continue to suggest that 6 to 8 person tastings offer the best opportunity to fully evaluate a 750ml bottle of wine. Evaluating wine aside, the true spirit of the evening was to share special bottles of wine among friends, and that is exactly what we did!

The following are very brief observations of all wines opened sorted in order of personal preference by flight.

Chablis Starter

2001 Raveneau Butteaux – Oyster shell, sweet citrus, moist white cake, nice acidity and balance. A well structured, very good drinking wine.

Dom Perignon Flight

1978 Dom Perignon – Clean, peach, bright orange, nutty, white chocolate, a compelling full bodied Champagne that showed best among the flight.

1976 Dom Perignon– Not too far off stylistically from the 1978, walnut, hardwood, hazelnut, and spice. Some oxidation, but not significant.

1998 Dom Perignon -Honey, tart, lemon, firm acidity, was way too young to be opened. Should cellar this wine for years before opening.

1990 Dom Perignon – A flawed bottle.

Rose Flight

1996 Dom Perignon Rose– Bright, light cherry, powder, restrained, elegant and clean. An excellent Rose, and close top pick as wine of the flight.

N.V. Krug Champagne Brut Rose – More powerful than the Dom Perignon, yeasty, rose pedal, young, and a long finish. Very close second wine of the flight.

Coche Dury Flight

2001 Coche Dury Meursault 1er Cru Les Perrieres– Floral, oily, creme brulee, flinty, a lovely soft, but well balanced elegant wine that is ready to drink now.

2001 Coche Dury Meursault – Toasty, petrol, powerful wine, coarse texture, intense citrus, mineral, a young drinking wine that should be aged longer.

Burgundy Flight 1

1990 Frederic Esmonin Griottes Chambertin– Clean blue fruits, mineral, rough texture, but highly age worthy. Did not have a strong preference of the 90 over the 93.

1993 Frederic Esmonin Griottes Chambertin – Sweet, game meats, ripe, perfectly mature, open knit, shut down a bit as it sat in the glass.

Burgundy Flight 2

1996 Domaine Dujac Charmes Chambertin– Blue fruits, exotic and tropical, stemy, a strong showing as wine of the flight.

1996 Louis Jadot Chambertin – Big ripe powerful full bodied Jadot, showed very well next to the Dujac and Bertagna.

1996 Domaine Bertagna Chambertin – Medium bodied, spice, firm acidity, but mellowed out in time. Good balance, nice age worthy wine.

1996 Frederic Esmonin Clos Vougeot – Light bodied, high acidity, lacked character, thought this was a disappointing wine in tough company.

Bordeaux Flight

1983 Chateau Margaux– Mineral, earthy, floral, perfect balance and integration. A young wine that has plenty of life.

1962 Chateau Canon – Saddle leather, nice tannin, no signs of oxidation, an excellent old Bordeaux that showed well.

1986 Chateau Margaux – Not too far off in style from the 83 Margaux, however slightly more menthol and less balanced.

1983 Chateau Palmer – A flawed bottle.

Sweet Finish

1944 Massandra Muscat Rose– Absolutely gorgeous, caramel, thick, rich, butterscotch, a lovely end of meal wine, one of the best wines of the evening.

1955 Domaines et Terroirs du Sud Rivesaltes Millesime – Lean, tight, did not find this wine appealing. In very tough company next to the Massandra.

Cheers to wonderful wines, good friends, and a highly enjoyable 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/

Burgundy Dinner

This past Thursday, got together with local friends in San Francisco for a high end Burgundy Dinner, one of which was a lovely 1926 Musigny pictured at left! There were a total of 14 wines opened among the 7 of us, paired with a mult-course meal prepared by a local personal chef!

Each person brought 2 bottles, which is probably just about right for any normal dinner, but not so sure with wines of this level. Normally a dump bucket is actively used, but not in this case.

What made this dinner interesting beyond the excellent wine, was the distinct impact the glass type had on your perception of a wine. We tried many of the same wines in different high quality glasses and noted profound differences. That said, some future experiments are in order! The following is a list of all wines opened and brief notes sorted in order of personal preference.

White Wine of the Night:
2001 CocheDury Corton Charlemagne

Red Wine of the Night:
1990 George Roumier Bonnes Mares

Champagne:

1985 Krug – The Krug was reminiscent of a lighter 1985 Dom Perignon tasted at a previous wine dinner. Somewhat honeyed, a little oxidized, slightly flat, with a full mouth feel and fully mature. Having had an excellent 1982 and 1988 Krug in the past, expected more, especially more crispness and youth, so overall considered it just an ok wine. The wine was not flawed by any means, stylistically however, not personally enjoyable.

1981 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Rose – An interesting bottle of wine. When first opened, one of the guests immediately said it was a flawed bottle! Always curious to learn, several of us took a quick taste. Half immediately agreed it was flawed, a few others not so sure. At first, thought the wine was very light, but pleasant. In about 5 to 10 minutes, faded further and was just flabby and tasteless. Agree, a flawed bottle.

White Burgundy:

2001 CocheDury Corton Charlemagne – The Coche was the white wine of the night. Initially closed, crisp and balanced, had some diesel and toasty oak notes up front. It was very elegant, could sense the hidden potential richness that slowly came out in time. This is a wine you really want a full bottle to enjoy slowly over a long evening, buckle in, and get ready for quite a ride!

2004 Domaine Leflaive Bienvenues Batard Montrachet – The not too distant second best white wine of the night, take the diesel of the Coche and multiply it by 10! Along with it, add tons of citrus, black tar, burnt matchstick and you have this Leflaive! It was intense, brutal on the palate, a monster wine! Set aside a glass and enjoyed throughout the evening as it opened up and balanced out. Domaine Leflaive is a world class producer and makes awesome White Burgundies.

1985 Joseph Drouhin Marquis de Laguiche Montrachet – How often can you say that the least enjoyable bottle opened at a wine dinner was a Montrachet? Such was the case with this dinner. The wine was funky, a little oxidized, and not too enjoyable. There was some discussion the funkiness might blow off, but skeptical it would ever come around. Tend to think it was just a bad bottle, the fill was pretty low. Would be interesting to revisit a different bottle.

Red Burgundy:

1990 George Roumier Bonnes Mares – The red wine of the night, the Bonnes Mares was slightly barnyard on the nose in an appealing way, with rich, almost candied cherry notes on the palate. A gorgeous wine with perfect balance and awesome complexity.

1990 Leroy VosneRomanee Beaux Monts – A close second for red wine of the night was the Leroy. It was drinking far younger than the Roumier. Noted the wine as closed, but with significant depth dominated by chewy boysenberry fruits and distinct acidity. A huge wine!

1926 Jules Belin Musigny – The oldest Burgundy tasted to date, the Musigny was spicy, leathery, and tart with dark chocolate notes and surprisingly toasty. It had an absence of oxidation with firm acid and tannin. Once opened, started to decline in about a half hour.

1988 Bouchard La Romanee – An elegant smooth cola dominated Burgundy, initially tight, opening up quickly into a mature easy drinking wine. Have been fortunate to taste a lot of 1988 Burgundy and consistently pleased with the overall quality across producers.

1988 DRC Echezeaux – A very young 1988, the Echezeaux was gamey with big fruit, and subtle balance. It was clear the wine had a lot of life ahead of it and drinking wonderfully. It exceeded expectations and was a surprisingly lush fruit forward wine.

1998 DRC Echezeaux – Interestingly enough, the 1998 DRC Echezeaux was more mature drinking than the 1988. It was brighter, with strawberry fruit, and good underlying structure. It also has a long life ahead of it, but slightly more mature drinking at present than the 1988.

1993 DRC Romanee St. Vivant – Better than the 1991 RSV, it showed high acidity when first opened, and was relatively grassy, some spice, but predominately green notes. With air, it did put on some weight, but quality was not as high as both Echezeaux. Good wine to revisit.

1991 DRC Romanee St. Vivant – Had high expectations for this wine, but fell short. Found the wine light in style, somewhat grassy and forest floor. Not very complex, just an ok wine. The wine may improve considerably with air as some suggested, making it a good wine to revisit.

Dessert Wine:

1937 Massandra Rose Muscat Gurzuf – Second time tasting this wine with consistent notes, it is liquified maple syrup, honey, thick and rich, and this is said in the most positive way. In the last year, have increasing become a big fan of Massandra as the ideal end of meal wine!

Cheers to world class Burgundy!

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