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Old 10-04-2006, 02:33 PM posted to
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Default TN: TTG#6 -- 4x Older Claret, 3x Burgs, 1x Champagne


Seven of us gathered for our monthly tipples. Food was excellent, but
since I'm two weeks late posting these notes I can't remember in detail
what we ate. Just remember that it was generally wine-friendly and that
it matched pretty well. I'm just glad I managed not to lose my written
wine notes over the course of a week of ski trip and a hellish catchup
week at work.

Wines all came from a single private cellar with great storage
conditions. Most (if not all) of the wines were acquired at release.

*N.V. Patrice Marc Champagne La Cuvée Noir et Blanc - France,

Deepish gold with a beautifully centered stream of medium bubbles. Taut
nose needs time to unwind but shows rich yeast sweetness and tart apple
fruit. On the palate, cold steel and more apple. Fresh and prickling on
the front of palate - a bright knife edge of primary fruit. Fills out
in mid-palate with fruit that is deeper and slightly darker but still a
bit hard. Finish shows some more generous yeasty sweetness. Like a
blanc de blancs but with a hint of darker fruit. First encounter with
this producer, I will definitely revisit. Good today, suspect it would
be much better with a little time.

*1988 Paul Pillot Chassagne-Montrachet La Romanee 1er Cru - France,
Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Chassagne-Montrachet*

Depth of yellow/gold suggests a bit of honeyed age, but not to the
extreme. Initially closed on nose but a little bit of volatility
showing. Volatile character passes quickly to reveal a little
early-stage oxidation - the slightest brown apple - that also blows
right off. Finally, we get to light honey and apple and peach fruit.
Aromatically, it is a bit tired. On the palate, there is great acid in
the front of the palate that keeps the tree fruit fresh and white
rather than browning. The mid-palate is really nicely full and shows a
great big dose of mineral. On a nice and soft but lingering finish, the
age shows again with a bit of brulée. At peak on the palate and a bit
past it on the nose, this works for me but won't for folks who are
more youth/fruit-driven.

*1971 Domaine Robert Arnoux Vosne-Romanée - France, Burgundy, Côte de
Nuits, Vosne-Romanée*

Brick-tinged and very light at the edge. Overall appearance is very
much of its age. Nose shows sappy pine, deep healthy funk, smoke and
plum. Nose says this is ripe, extracted and deep. There is more plum
throughout the palate and a little aged wood tannin on the back of the
palate. With a sweetish soy note on the finish, this seems to be just a
little too deep and extracted. Then all of a sudden one becomes aware
of a great streak of acid that brings balance. Finally, the palate
picks up pine and spice, particularly on the finish. In a style that is
a bit big and heavy/plummy for my taste, but in amazingly great shape
for a village wine of its age. Surprisingly enough, this really needs
time in the decanter and becomes more typically and recognizably Vosne
as it opens up.

*1979 Domaine Chevalier Père et Fils Corton-Rognet - France, Burgundy,
Côte de Beaune, Aloxe-Corton*

A little darker and thicker and deeper looking than the Arnoux. Nose is
more cedary than any other Burg I've ever tasted. Blind I would have
been hard pressed not to guess claret at first sniff. Along with the
cedar, there is some dark berry fruit and tar-like mineral. On the
palate, very rich and ripe and echoing the flavors of the nose.
There's a bit of a rough and diffuse character to the finish, but -
if one doesn't care that Burgs taste like Burgs - this is a strong
showing from a 27-year-old medium-weight vintage. Impressive in its
way, but not well-suited to my palate and preferences.

*1981 Chteau Cos d'Estournel - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St.

(From magnum) Lightening at the edges, but the core has a bright depth
hinting at remaining youth. Plum and herb on the nose, with a
higher-toned layer of currant and spice. Palate shows a growing amount
of green, but in a completely good way. The green joins with iron-tin
mineral, a streak of graphite, and good acid to make this extremely
fresh and very well balanced. Light in texture without completely
lacking concentration, this is an overwhelmingly food-oriented wine.
Not a blockbuster or a wine that will ever get critical raves, this is
the kind of claret I could drink on a daily basis. Amazingly fresh for
age and vintage.

*1964 Chteau Cheval Blanc - France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St.
Émilion Grand Cru*

(Not chateau-bottled, but not merchant bottled either. Privately
bottled by chateau owners.) Surprisingly bright appearance with some
lightening and bricking at edges but a good degree of darker depth in
the middle. (Simply the appearance - not to mention the nose and
taste - of all of these wines is a testament to the quality of their
storage. Kudos to our host!) The nose shows a tiny bit of raisin, but
also a great smoothness and cinnamon-licorice spice and brown sugar.
The palate is largely resolved and integrated without noticeable
acidity and only the smoothest edge of tannin. The fruit here is some
very dark berry and more black cherry, held up by a central spine of
earthy mineral. Finish carries forward fruit and some of the spice from
the nose but introduces a slightly muddy dustiness that worries me a
bit. That bit of muddiness and a certain simplicity on the palate are
its biggest faults, but I'm still thrilled to add this to the buy
list of birthyear wines (as I'm a '64).

*1950 Chteau Le *** - France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol*

Mature reddish tending toward a bit of mahogany at edges and a slight
bit of cloudiness throughout. Big volatile acidity on the nose. Will it
blow off? It never does blow off, but one can still smell and taste
through it. In fact, there are high-toned plum scents that are lifted
up on the volatility and help to provide a lightening note to the
deeper, sweeter, more toasted palate. Nose also shows an almost
textural note of scraped velvet and moss. Palate shows Pomerol mature
merlot notes of sweet roasted plum, brown sugar, and irony clay. Finish
is fading fast, but echoes the evolution of the nose to a mixture of
rich sweet soy and furniture polish. No structure left to hold this up
for much longer, but it's not hot or collapsing quite yet. A great
vintage to take a punt on old Pomerol, this was worth the punt and fun
for old-wine nuts like me but not for most other folks.

*1966 Chteau Léoville Las Cases - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St.

Still young looking with deepish plum and red colors. A little bit of
green vine-leaf and nice dose of berry and plum fruit are immediately
apparent on the nose. The green is never intrusive, merely interesting,
and a little time lets the cedar and tobacco and currant fruit come
out. This one clearly wants a few hours open, as the palate was still
tight when we finished it. There is clear evidence of good dark fruit,
a bit of wood spice, and some non-earth mineral but it is wrapped
tightly enough in good acid and some fine remaining tannin that it is
really only just peeking out. In a nicely lean and defined package,
this is a wine that very much fits my style of claret. Just as we're
finishing the bottle, a bit of that sweet low library character that I
like so much is starting to move to the fore.

Great company, wines in great condition for age, a chance to drink a
few things I'm unlikely to see anywhere else. And our usual case of a
surfeit of generosity that makes it difficult to bear one's own weight.
Someone else is always taking the burden.

Thanks everyone. And sorry for my tardiness in getting these notes up.



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Old 10-04-2006, 10:15 PM posted to
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Default TN: TTG#6 -- 4x Older Claret, 3x Burgs, 1x Champagne

Thanks Dale.

The '81s really are nice when they're on form. The storage of all of
these wines really was amazing. So fresh!

If you tire of drinking '64 Latour, I'd be very happy to take it off
your hands.

I recently seem to have been on a run of reversing Right/Left in 96/98.
One of my backlog of notes is on a completely dead '96 Canon Fronsac.

And despite what seems to have been the complete underperformance of
the wine from the whole decade of the '70s (except the Lafleur Petrus),
I'm jealous of your dinner at Triomphe. That's doing it right!


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