Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Who says big isn't better?

With a massive amount of notes and pictures to sort through, the Cape May reviews have been more delayed than I had expected. However, there’s always something going on in the world of fine wine, so I decided to take this chance to highlight some truly amazing bottles of wine that I tasted through this past Saturday night.


This weekend, wine critic Neal Martin (Wine Advocate) was in town and he put the word out that he was interested in sampling the local scene. Leave it up to Leo Frokic, friend and fellow collector, to organize a massive tasting. With a crowd of 30 guests, Leo, with the help of his wife, managed to turn out a menagerie of salads, cheese and cold cuts, followed by grilled chicken, steak and ribs. The food alone was worth the visit but it was the wine that truly stole the show.

Leo doesn’t do anything small. It’s always big and an exciting time and so it was with last nights event, where all wines were poured from magnums. We’re not just talking a few good bottles either. The mix was classic to modern, French to new world, and everything in between with vintages going back to 1959. I wasn’t even able to taste everything but I did manage to take notes on a few of the standouts.

The Notes:

1959 Louis Jadot Beaune 1er Cru Clos des Ursules – This came from a double magnum and was enjoyed after two hours of decanting. This was a dream of a wine that made you feel like you were floating on a cloud above Burgundy with a whiff of red fruit and the earth with all its greens and dirt and clays being wafted up to you. It was almost impossibly young and yet perfectly resolved with soft, sweet red fruits, herbal tea and honey. This pinot washed across my palate like velvet and never lost any of its momentum from start to finish. 

I fear I'm falling in love with Burgundy. (95 points out of 100)

1988 Louis Jadot Chevalier-Montrachet Les Demoiselles - It scares me how much I find myself enjoying aged white burgs. The nose was fresh and showed pear and brie with a sweet dustiness. On the palate, it was a beautifully aged white with roasted nuts, burnt sugar and sharp cheddar. The finish was lasting with buttery toasted almonds. (94 points out of 100)

2000 Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe Châteauneuf-du-Pape La Crau - Initially the nose was big, sweet and rich that reminded me of a strawberry fruit roll but, as it sat in the glass, the flamboyancy stepped back and what emerged were black currants, clove and spice. This wine was lush and velvety on the palate with dark fruit, honey, cedar and more spice. The finish was medium long with peppery red fruits. (93 points out of 100)

1988 Pierre Bouree Fils Clos de la Roche - The bouquet showed old library books with dried cherry and earthy mushrooms. On the palate, it was juicy and resolved with red fruits and dried herbs. The finish turned dry but kept the red fruit present. Very enjoyable. (91 points out of 100)

2003 Ferrando Nebbiolo di Carema Black Label (Etichetta Nera) - On the nose I found plum fruit with violets, spiced roasting sausage and notes of fresh dug soil. On the palate, this showed restraint and begged for a revisit later in the night that unfortunately never happened. However, at the time of tasting, about an hour after opening, I found red fruits with cloves, and stems. The finish showed short for me, but again; this bottle will likely improve a great deal with a few years time. (90 points out of 100)

1998 Querciabella Batàr Toscana IGT- This was enjoyed over the course of an evening from magnum. At first, it was extremely tight with more buttery vanilla showing than anything else but, as the night wore on, the details began to unfold. The nose showed like a peach pie with a scoop of Breyers vanilla bean ice cream on top. On the palate I found notes of apricot and butterscotch, which lead to a long acid cleansing finish with a hint of olives and medicinal fruit. This wine showed very young tonight, however it was the first magnum I've ever had of this bottling. (89 points out of 100)

1998 Taittinger Champagne Brut Blanc de Blancs Comtes de Champagne - This showed a refreshing whiff upon first pour. On the nose I found pear, forest floor and field grass. The palate was dominated by sour apple and minerality. (89 points out of 100)

2000 Emrich-Schönleber Monzinger Frühlingsplätzchen Riesling Spätlese trocken - On the nose, I found minerals, chalk dust and grapefruit. The palate was full yet vibrant and showed pear with lemon rind and an oily, buttery hint. The finish was long and citrusy.

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