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 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.

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