Tag Archives: Pichon Lalande

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

Super Second Bordeaux Dinner

This past month, got together with a few friends to enjoy a night of Super Second Bordeaux. As luck would have it, there were numerous very nice wines, including a 1950 Pichon Baron. The final wine of a series of 1950’s tasted over the past year from one of our good friends, thought it better than the 1950 Margaux and 1950 Palmer previously tasted. The group was small, and pours large. Brief observations follow, sorted in order of personal preference:

Champagne Starter

Pol Roger Pure – A no dosage Champagne, thought it was an excellent wine. Bone dry, crisp, nice acidity, need to search this out for future tastings.

White Wine Starter

2001 Margaux Pavillon Blanc – Corked! Some folks thought it was not corked, but in our opinion had that tell tale wet cardboard nose and sapped palate. Disappointing.

Super Second Bordeaux Flight

1950 Pichon Baron – Opened early in the evening, the fruit was huge on this wine. Figured this wine would be either dry or perhaps oxidized with a top shoulder fill, was completely surprised how beautiful it was, big fruit, good firm tannin and acidity. Furthermore, it continued to hold up well over the span of the evening, never declining. An excellent wine.

1983 Pichon Lalande – Cannot recall ever tasted a better Pichon Lalande than this bottle of 1983, and that includes that 1982 vintage! No green or grassy quality we so often get from the producer, the wine was clean, elegent, balanced, dark fruit, simply beautiful!

1981 La Mission Haut Brion – Another excellent Bordeaux, refined and elegant, noted eucalyptus, earth, and leather. This was a beautiful wine, layered and subtle, kept giving more the longer it sat in the glass. Highly enjoyable and worth seeking out.

1970 Montrose – A nice wine with good underlying material, jammy, red fruit, thought it showed well initially. As it sat in the glass however, it slowly declined, never showing a great deal of complexity. After some table discussion, think the wine may have experienced a little heat.

1996 Leoville Poyferre – Another dark berry wine, it was in very tough company, overshadowed by all the other wines. Had had this wine before, and it was consistent in style, game meats and earth. A little more lean and higher acidity than expected.

A highly enjoyable evening with good food, friends, and wine!

Nick Wittman
Santa Rosa Fine Wine
www.santarosafinewine.com

 

Sunday Rhone and Bordeaux

This past Sunday, got together with friends in Napa Valley to enjoy a few special bottles of wine. The theme was great Rhone and Bordeaux. What was particularly interesting about this dinner however was an excellent California wine opened at the end of the evening, a 1969 Louis M. Martini Cabernet Sauvignon!

At 40+ years old, 12.5% ABV, this wine was simply outstanding! The reference to Medoc and St. Emilion on the pictured back wine label was priceless! In the case of this dinner, did not take notes at the time, but brief observations follow. All the wines were so enjoyable, no attempt is made to identify a wine of the night.

1982 Pichon Lalande – The first time having had this wine, immediately found it a delightful, delicate and elegant wine. Tasted strawberry and sweet raspberry fruit, dry wheat, and some fresh cut grass on the palate. Took a few hours on a pop and pour for the wine to open up and show its full potential. This was an exceptional Pichon Lalande that will continue to age and improve for years.

1982 Ducru Beaucaillou – Another excellent wine, the Ducru was an interesting contrast to the Pichon Lalande. More rustic and old school Bordeaux, the palate was strikingly upfront with stewed baked red fruits and an appealing almost tomato sauce like palate. Immediately reminded of a young 1993 Philip Togni Cabernet. Like the Pichon Lalande, the Ducru will age gracefully for many more years. A beautiful wine!

1989 Jaboulet La Chapelle Hermitage – The two Bordeaux were both excellent, but stylistically different. Such was the case with both Rhones. The Jaboulet was gorgeous, exotic dark fruits, plum, barnyard, asian spice and game meat, had so many dimensions to the wine, it hit the palate in different ways with every taste. An excellent Rhone that is drinking very well now, but could easily continue to age.

1994 Chave Hermitage – Almost polar opposite to the Jaboulet in style, the Chave was pure and clean, with lush bright red fruit, yet restrained and subdued with a rich menthol finish. Aromatically, the wine had an appealing tropical citrus nose that was highly enjoyable. The youngest wine in the group with notable tannin, could easily age this wine for a significant amount of time, and it will continue to improve.

1969 Louis M. Martini Cabernet Sauvignon – The final wine of the evening, this was a gorgeous old school California Cabernet! Almost a hypothetical blend of a good year BV Georges de Latour, with mushroom, spice and earthiness, with the structure, depth, and darker clean fruits of a well aged Chateau Montelena. The wine showed no signs of oxidation, yet was fully mature and highly enjoyable. Cannot say enough positive things about the quality of this wine!

Cheers to a small but highly enjoyable evening with good food, friends and wine!

Nick Wittman
Santa Rosa Fine Wine
http://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/