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Old 23-03-2006, 11:39 AM posted to
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Default TN: It Came from the '80s ('88 Montille Mitans, '85 Guigal Herm, '83 Raphet CdlR)

MONTILLE MITANS) - Elevage Wine Bar (3/22/2006)

A friend is leaving the firm, so we headed out for a few sips and a
bite or two. Various things eaten at the counter: salami, pork terrine,
fennel-flavored sausage, sautéed foie gras, green salad, tipe a la
mode de Caen. Very nice selection of reasonably priced wines (for a
Tokyo wine bar) by the bottle with about ten or twelve different things
available by the glass.

Only drawback was the cigarette smoke that would occasionally overwhelm
the wines.

*1983 Jean Raphet Clos de la Roche - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits,
Morey St. Denis*

Clear fading red still rich at center but nearing a light orange at the
edge. Nose immediately shows gentle blue cheese, freshly picked button
mushrooms, typical pinot flavors of beetroot and cherry. Overwhelming
impression is of cleanliness and pinot character. On the palate, there
is good acid, fully resolved tannin, and a chalky spine. It is thin in
the mid-palate but the tautness helps to fill it out. The finish brings
out pine needle and dry earth, but is relatively short with only a bit
of lingering fruit sweetness. A wine that is elegant and stylish
without being manipulated and that stands up on the basis of its space
frame-like structure. While the flavors are pure and elegant, they also
approach close enough to anemia that I think I would have had quite a
hard time with a blind guess. Discernibly pinot; discernibly Bourgogne;
maybe discernible as Côte de Nuits, but no more than that. Lacks
flavor impact, but enjoyable for its shadowy elegance.

*1985 E. Guigal Hermitage - France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Hermitage*

Clear deepish red just fading at the edge. Nose is of light iron, plum,
high-toned red berry fruit and a little leather. Palate shows light
tarry earth and tin-tinged plum in a fully resolved and lowish acid
package. An interesting contrast to the prior wine, as each of the
notes was pleasing and probably had more actual flavor impact than in
the Raphet, but the structure was pretty much gone. Even though it was
only mid-weight, it seemed to be waiting to collapse upon itself at any
moment. Lacks will and resolve.

*1988 Hubert de Montille Volnay Les Mitans 1er Cru - France, Burgundy,
Côte de Beaune, Volnay*

Bright cherry red color, fairly sharp all the way to the rim -
youthful looking. On the nose there is mineral rich earth, both acerola
and darker fruit, forest leaf. Both the nose and palate are pure, clean
and incisive. With time, a piercingly high tone comes out on the nose
- almost a harmony note on the basic fruit - as does a washed-rind
cheese note. The palate shows more earth and sappy red fruit within a
still very strong and sturdy acid structure. On the enduring finish
(and with time in glass), the tannins emerge and still have a slightly
raspy quality. What I most love about Montille wines is the extremely
precise, almost painfully etched detail. At its best, that is combined
with a great sappiness, as it is here. The one mark against this wine
is the raspiness to the tannins that I fear may never go away, but this
is an '88 after all. This one's a winner in my book.

Nice to taste the Montille. Several of the Montille '88s are in the
market out here right now. At the right price, I'd definitely buy. Very
happy to have had the Raphet and would be interested to try in a
smoke-free environment to see if it had more flavor impact then.
Hermitage was not much, but then I didn't expect a lot either.


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