(March 4, 2000) None of us mere mortals one can afford to stuff our
cellars with the best Grand Cru Burgs anymore. But if you get enough
wine-geeks together, you can stage a minor miracle -- an entire evening of
So that's what we did last night. Each brought
one or two treasures, and together, they rang my chimes like a 17-bell
carillon. It was very expensive, but not what you'd call ridiculous.
It was, in fact, worth it, and I guess that's
about the highest praise you can deliver in times of galloping wineflation.
The good news is that
this wine has knit together nicely. The Latour new oak treatment that
partially masked the mineral flavors has now become just another nice
note in this creamy, yummy wine. There's a lovely core of pure
Chardonnay fruit here that makes this wine just stunning...but the
sobering news is that it fades after an hour or two. It's not going to
get any better than this. Drink up.
**1990 Louis Latour Corton Charlemagne.
**1992 Louis Latour Corton Charlemagne. Very similar to the 1990,
but the oak is more prominent and there may be a touch less primary fruit.
On the other hand, this wine seems to hold up better in the glass. So pick
**+1989 Bonneau de Martray Corton Charlemagne. This is CC for the
purist. Very little oak is apparent. The stony flavors sing out loud. Some
truffle flavors show too, which made this wine a perfect match to our fois
***1991 Ramonet Chassagne Montratchet "Les Ruchottes".
Snuck in and pulled the rug out from under the Corton-Charlemagnes. On top
of it's game. Replete with aromas of mushrooms, stones and hazelnuts. Lots
of power on the finish. Maybe we just caught it at the right time, but
this gets my vote for WHITE OF THE EVENING.
*+1995 Fernand & Laurent Pillot Chassagne Montrachet "Vide
Bourse." Kind of austere in comparison with the others. Focused,
steely flavors remind me of Puligny-Montrachet.
a roller coaster. Gorgeous aromas of cinnamon-orange-spice, tea and
raspberry tempt you unmercifully. Take a sip and smile. Then take
another and whats this -- its fading. Fifteen minutes later, up it
comes again! Yeah, thats Burgundy for ya.
**+1978 Drouhin-Laroze Chambertin "Clos de Beze."
*+1990 Drouhin Chambertin. Lovely wine and all that. But I have to
say Im surprised at the elegance of this Chambertin. Drouhin strives
for grace, I know. Still, I would have enjoyed a little more oomph in a
wine thats usually known for its untidy power.
**+1985 Mongeard-Mugneret Clos Vougeot. Lots of mediocre Clos de
Vougeot is lurking on store shelves, waiting to dash your Burgundy dreams.
But this one makes up for a few disappointments. Straight-down-the-middle
classic Burgundy in great shape. Heavenly nose, gracious palate
experience, plenty of substance on the finish. Bravo.
*** +Domaine de la Romanee Conti Echezeaux. Some of us take a
perverse pleasure in watching a DRC fall on its face. We cant afford it
and we hope its overrated. But this one aint. In fact, its killer
stuff. In fact, it wins WINE OF THE EVENING without any argument. Still a
babe, but so concentrated, the fruit rolls right over the tannin and sexy
oak. Vanished in a heartbeat. I drained the last few drops from the bottle
and all but chewed the sediment.
*-1988 Dujac Clos de La Roche The good news is that all the 88s
tonight are showing quite well. This is the dullest and its not bad.
Fades after an hour. A couple of us note that Dujac may tend to do better
at a younger age. Certainly this is the case with...
***1995 Dujac Clos de la Roche. Hmm. I guess I do like em young.
This is gorgeous! Sure theres oak, but its way overbalanced by the
raspberries and minerals. You may want to age this for a few more years,
but you cant go wrong pulling a cork right now.
***1996 Dujac Clos de la Roche. This ones got even more
stuffing. More tannin too, however. Cellar for at least a few more years,
then get ready for a great evening.
*+1988 Dujac Bonnes Mares. A step up from Dujacs 88 Clos de
la Roche, this one stays lively for as long as I hold it. However, it gets
blown away by...
***1988 Roumier Bonnes Mares "Vielles Vignes." I think I
heard one say that the old vines got pulled up shortly after this vintage.
Too bad, because this wine easily wins top honors among the 88s
tonight. In many wines from the vintage, the tannins will always be a tad
too high, but here the fruit triumphs unquestionably.
*1989 Roumier Bonnes Mares. Must say I dont like this one nearly
as much. A milder wine, with a big snort of earthy, gamy stuff that
tempers my enjoyment of the fruit.
**1991 Roumier Bonnes Mares. Back to form. This one is in very good
shape, but Id counsel drinking it now. Notes of tea are creeping in,
and it doesnt have the body of either the 88 VV or the 95.
**+1995 Roumier Bonnes Mares. Yowsah! Maybe the most Californian
wine were tasting tonight, this baby is dark, supple, juicy and velvety
-- but not oaky. Do not deny yourself the pleasure if youre holding a
So. Does this story have a moral? If so, Im
afraid its an expensive one. Basically, we found that Burgundies in the
nose-bleed pricing tier really can be not only heavenly, but consistently
heavenly. DRC really does taste good. And so on.
Id just better hope that my friends keep
letting me drink theirs.
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