This is still a work in progress as I upload tasting notes and wine labels from as far as 1999... Check back once in a while to get the updates.

December 22, 2007

50s, 60 and 80s

Dinner at Amber.

1983 Dom Perignon - one of my favorite champagne vintages and the Dom is particularly good.

1985 JL Chave Hermitage Blanc - Dr. Poon brought this bottle, which normally can last 20+ years in good vintages, but it was clear that this bottle was over the hill. The color was copper gold, almost a bit reddish. The nose was still pretty nice, with a bit of pear and tropical fruit. However the wine was completely flat on the palate. We pass it up for the red wines.

1955 Cheval Blanc - we had high expectations of the wine. It was very, very smooth but the age is starting to show in the nose as well as the palate. We had another bottle at an MNSC dinner earlier this year, but this bottle is in much better condition.  Many thanks to Dr. Poon.

1961 Ducru Beaucaillou - I brought this bottle but was a bit apprehensive, as the last two bottles I had opened never measured up to my first experience with this wine. This bottle was drinking very nicely and showing classic traits of a Saint Julien - a bit green, grassy and "farmy". However, it was a bit muted and the sweet fruit never showed. This is the frustration that you get with Ducru. For the record, we drank this wine blind and Dr. Poon actually guessed correctly - even hitting the vintage.

1959 Huet Vouvray Clos du Bourg Moelleux -  I had hoped that this would be a sweeter wine than its cousin I opened a few years ago, but then again I have very little experience with Vouvray, especially old ones. The wine had a very nice nose of apricot, but there was a lot of acidity on the palate and not the sweet sticky I was expecting. It's a bit of a shame since 1959 was a superb vintage in the Loire Valley. I'm still looking for a bottle of aged Loire that is nice and sweet.

Full post on dinner is here.

December 20, 2007

The 100-year-old Champagne

MNSC dinner at the China Club, hosted by Pineapple.

Pineapple starts us off with some Champagne. Not just ANY Champagne. We were drinking the 1907 Heidsieck Monopole Goût Américain. This was one of the fabled bottles salvaged from a shipwreck off the Finnish coast, part of the cargo of the Jongpoking en route to Tsar Nicholas II of Russia when the ship was sunk by German U-boat in 1916. The wine had stayed at the bottom of the ocean for 81 years under constant temperature and pressure. I'm not sure how much Paulo paid for the bottle at auction, but recent reported prices were around USD 4,000 per bottle...

We were all curious to see if there was still life in the bottle. Paulo carefully removed the wiring around the cork, and pulled gently. We could hear a faint fizz as the cork was popped. We watched in anticipation as the waiter poured the champagne into flutes and served them to us.

The Champagne was lovely. Being goût Américain, it has a higher dosage of sugar than the Brut Champagnes we normally drink. The result, after years of aging, is a wonderful caramelized nose. There were still some bubbles in the Champagne flute, and there was still life left in the wine. The taste was very much that of aged Champagne, but more advanced. Very smooth and mellow, it was just delicious. We each poured ourselves a little more and savored this treasure from the sea.

The theme for the rest of the evening was 1976 horizontal - Pineapple's birth vintage.

1976 Ausone - we all thought this was classically Left Bank... 92 points.

1976 Rayas - the nose was a bit "funky" and we took it for a Bordeaux... 91 points.

1976 Comte de Vogüé Musigny Vieilles Vignes - half of us made the classic mistake of confusing between an old Rhone and an old Burgundy... 91 points.

1976 Lafite-Rothschild - half of us actually did well and thought it was a Pauillac, although no one guessed Lafite.  93 points.

1976 Paul Jaboulet La Chappelle - we all identified the wine as an Hermitage, although only one of us nailed it on the head.  92 points.

1976 DRC Grands Echezeaux - we all knew this was a Burgundy, and most people guessed Echezeaux. This was a classically delicious Burgundy.  96 points.

1976 Petrus - we all got it wrong and thought it was a Left Bank. 92 points.

1976 Guigal La Mouline - this was clearly the wine of the evening. It was very, very yummy and the Syrah clearly showed. But at least half of us knew it was a Syrah, despite guessing it was an Hermitage...  97 points.

Full post on dinner is here.

December 2, 2007

MNSC Dinner - Caprice

MNSC Dinner at Caprice, hosted by Juliano.

1983 Salon - even though many others had pooh-poohed it as being "acidic, mushroom piss", I actually thought that was just classic old Champagne, though it was a bit on the acidic side for my taste.

First flight:
1983 Mouton-Rothschild - classic left bank Bordeaux from the get go. I actually guessed it was Lynch-Bages, another Pauillac. 95 points.

1983 Rayas - I detected the perfumed nose, and given my very limited experience with Rayas, decided it was a muted bottle of Guigal La Mouline. 96 points.

Second flight:
1989 Rayas - I was the only one who did not like the "funky" nose of this wine, and gave it a relatively low score. But I did think it was a Rayas. 92 points.

1989 La Conseillante - again a classic Bordeaux from a seemingly ripe vintage, and definitely my wine of the evening. I was led astray by someone else's guess earlier and thought this could be a Margaux, even though the host gave me a very big hint by initially refusing to accept my guess. 98 points.

Third flight:
1996 Mouton-Rothschild - I initially guessed it was Margaux (to be consistent with the last flight) but finally changed to Pichon Lalande due to the smoky tobacco in the nose (should have been a tell tale sign that it was Mouton!) But at least I thought it was a Pauillac, which was better than most people...95 points.

1996 Rayas - the nose was incredibly perfumed, which strengthened my conviction that this was the Guigal La Mouline. Oops...I think I should drink more Rayas. 97 points.

Full post on dinner is here.
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