TN: 1969...DP, Heitz, Freemark Abbey, Yquem

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B. Buzzini
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TN: 1969...DP, Heitz, Freemark Abbey, Yquem

#1 Post by B. Buzzini » May 12th, 2019, 8:44 am

Continued the big 5-0 celebration last fri night with the local fellas. I've had a smattering of birth year wines over the years...but this flight was by far the best yet! Will add the other wines later on. Thanks again guys!! [cheers.gif]
  • 1969 Moët & Chandon Champagne Cuvée Dom Pérignon - France, Champagne (5/12/2019)
    An original bottling from an Italian cellar...it was pristine! The cork came out perfectly just by tugging on the wire cage...a faint pop...then a waft of freshness released from the bottle...I knew then we were in for a treat! More tiny prickling bubbles than I thought there would be...poured a brilliant aged golden color...rich and creamy baked apple, apricot honey, aged nuttiness...so alive with lemon and orange acidity...saline minerality...a very faint sweetness that reminded me of an aged Sauternes...SO much elegance and finesse...yet full bodied and flavored...really drank well throughout the evening. Couldn't ask for a better showing to celebrate a 50th bday! (98 pts.)
    FC89EDAD-1AF9-4D8D-9BB0-5346CAA0D513.jpeg
  • 1969 Heitz Cellar Cabernet Sauvignon C-91 - USA, California, Napa Valley (5/12/2019)
    The story goes that when Joe Heitz came close to running out of selling the reg Napa bottling, and the precious Martha's was still resting in barrel, he would dip into the Martha barrels and bottle this wine, the C-91, so he could continue to sell wine to his loyal customers.
    Little concern for this bottle as the ullage was down to the shoulder...but after the cork came out in one piece...the wine was in fine shape! Still quite dark and youthful looking...amply fruit with slight sweetness...plum, currants, dried cherry...soft and delicate structure with a beautiful polished sheen...very complex, showing classic Heitz mint/euc/dried herbs nuances...dusty old cellar cedar spice...leather, mixed nuts...drank well till the end. (95 pts.)
    6A29BE79-D2EC-496D-99BC-D656882EF96C.jpeg
  • 1969 Freemark Abbey Petite Sirah York Creek - USA, California, Napa Valley, Spring Mountain District (5/12/2019)
    Last had this 7yrs ago...pristine bottles acquired from the late Barney Rhodes(owner of Bella's oaks vineyard) cellar sale back then. This bottle was in the same vein as before...aging at a glacial pace! SO youthful and dark fruited...smooth as silk, yet still a firm spine of dusty dry tannins. Plum liqueur, dried blackberries, cacao, licorice...dusty old cellar dryness...aged leather, olive, mushroom, dried tobacco leaf. The complexities have to really be searched for though, as this is still quite monolithic in nature. Not going to get any more expressive from here...but probably not going to die out either. (92 pts.)
    9FC187AC-F7BD-4F9F-844A-015B2D599143.jpeg
  • 1969 Château d'Yquem - France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Sauternes (5/12/2019)
    Coravined this a couple times back in Jan when the wife turned 50...now the cork comes out. Seems tired from what we tried in Jan? The fruit still has a nice sweetness of botrytis semillon...peach apricot tea, saffron threads, creme brule crust, honey butter, orange marmalade...aged dryness and mineral salinity...rich yet delicate...but the vibrant fresh citrus acidity was lacking...and more mothball mustiness and oxidized bitters were evident. Still pleasures to be had...but not the 97pt experience as before. (90 pts.)
A4E99F62-0E92-430F-BF39-FEFA425DAC22.jpeg
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Last edited by B. Buzzini on May 13th, 2019, 4:41 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: TN: 1969...DP, Heitz, Freemark Abbey, Yquem

#2 Post by R@y.Tupp@+sch » May 12th, 2019, 10:05 am

Happy 5-0. Nice line-up.

Hard to tell, but are those remnants of foil around the cage of the '69?
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Re: TN: 1969...DP, Heitz, Freemark Abbey, Yquem

#3 Post by dsimmons » May 12th, 2019, 10:26 am

Happy 50th. Not many could come up with such a delightful line up.
D o n

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Re: TN: 1969...DP, Heitz, Freemark Abbey, Yquem

#4 Post by William Kelley » May 12th, 2019, 12:12 pm

Good to see you got a good bottle of the DP, I'm on the fence about a bottle with a poor level but great provenance and I'm now more inclined to take the risk.
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Re: TN: 1969...DP, Heitz, Freemark Abbey, Yquem

#5 Post by Bruce Rudman » May 12th, 2019, 12:21 pm

B. Buzzini wrote:
May 12th, 2019, 8:44 am

1969 Château d'Yquem - France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Sauternes (5/12/2019)
Coravined this a couple times back in Jan when the wife turned 50...now the cork comes out. Seems tired from what we tried in Jan? The fruit still has a nice sweetness of botrytis semillon...peach apricot tea, saffron threads, creme brule crust, honey butter, orange marmalade...aged dryness and mineral salinity...rich yet delicate...but the vibrant fresh citrus acidity was lacking...and more mothball mustiness and oxidized bitters were evident. Still pleasures to be had...but not the 97pt experience as before. (90 pts.)
[/quote

Thanks for the post. With regard to this one, do you think the Coravin compromised the bottle since it was so different after four months? I usually fully open bottles I've coravined within a month or two and not noticed a difference.
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Re: TN: 1969...DP, Heitz, Freemark Abbey, Yquem

#6 Post by B. Buzzini » May 12th, 2019, 12:42 pm

Bruce Rudman wrote:
May 12th, 2019, 12:21 pm
B. Buzzini wrote:
May 12th, 2019, 8:44 am

1969 Château d'Yquem - France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Sauternes (5/12/2019)
Coravined this a couple times back in Jan when the wife turned 50...now the cork comes out. Seems tired from what we tried in Jan? The fruit still has a nice sweetness of botrytis semillon...peach apricot tea, saffron threads, creme brule crust, honey butter, orange marmalade...aged dryness and mineral salinity...rich yet delicate...but the vibrant fresh citrus acidity was lacking...and more mothball mustiness and oxidized bitters were evident. Still pleasures to be had...but not the 97pt experience as before. (90 pts.)
[/quote

Thanks for the post. With regard to this one, do you think the Coravin compromised the bottle since it was so different after four months? I usually fully open bottles I've coravined within a month or two and not noticed a difference.
Yeah, it did. Just not a fan of the Coravin like I use to be. I believe there is a compromise every time you access...and when you decide to finally open the bottle, looking at a half empty(or half full) bottle is just not that appealing. Young wines can take it, especially Port or dessert wines...but older more delicate wines, with aged corks, can not. On the Yquem, I thought the sugars would seal it up, but I could see seepage coming from the access holes four months later. It has its uses for a lot of people though.
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Re: TN: 1969...DP, Heitz, Freemark Abbey, Yquem

#7 Post by B. Buzzini » May 12th, 2019, 12:44 pm

R@y.Tupp@+sch wrote:
May 12th, 2019, 10:05 am
Happy 5-0. Nice line-up.

Hard to tell, but are those remnants of foil around the cage of the '69?
Yes. DP foil is SO hard to remove!
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Re: TN: 1969...DP, Heitz, Freemark Abbey, Yquem

#8 Post by dcornutt » May 12th, 2019, 1:02 pm

Happy Birthday! Nice lineup of wines.
DON Cornutt

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Re: TN: 1969...DP, Heitz, Freemark Abbey, Yquem

#9 Post by R@y.Tupp@+sch » May 12th, 2019, 1:19 pm

B. Buzzini wrote:
May 12th, 2019, 12:44 pm
R@y.Tupp@+sch wrote:
May 12th, 2019, 10:05 am
Happy 5-0. Nice line-up.

Hard to tell, but are those remnants of foil around the cage of the '69?
Yes. DP foil is SO hard to remove!
If it was foil and not the old plastic capsules, then it wasn't an original disgorgement. Any DP pre-1970 that has foil isn't an original disgorgement even though it doesn't say RD, or Oenotheque etc. I don't know exactly when they started stamping the labels with R.D. but there were quite a few years that the '69's had no label marking.
It makes more sense that your bottle showed so well because I've found most of the true '69 OD's that I've had in the past 10-15 years to have seen better days and bottles like yours to be much fresher.
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Re: TN: 1969...DP, Heitz, Freemark Abbey, Yquem

#10 Post by Karl K » May 12th, 2019, 4:25 pm

Good point.
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Re: TN: 1969...DP, Heitz, Freemark Abbey, Yquem

#11 Post by Rich Brown » May 12th, 2019, 6:01 pm

NIIIIICE man! Just a killer lineup, and exactly the type of bottles I'd reach for if i could find em to celebrate a big birthday!

Side note, the 69 DP I had a few years ago is easily the best champagne I've ever had, and a top 5 wine ever. Wish I had another!

Happy Bday!

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Re: TN: 1969...DP, Heitz, Freemark Abbey, Yquem

#12 Post by alan weinberg » May 12th, 2019, 7:16 pm

happy birthday. Glad the Dom showed so well since I steered you to it. Chapeau!

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Re: TN: 1969...DP, Heitz, Freemark Abbey, Yquem

#13 Post by B. Buzzini » May 12th, 2019, 9:36 pm

R@y.Tupp@+sch wrote:
May 12th, 2019, 1:19 pm
B. Buzzini wrote:
May 12th, 2019, 12:44 pm
R@y.Tupp@+sch wrote:
May 12th, 2019, 10:05 am
Happy 5-0. Nice line-up.

Hard to tell, but are those remnants of foil around the cage of the '69?
Yes. DP foil is SO hard to remove!
If it was foil and not the old plastic capsules, then it wasn't an original disgorgement. Any DP pre-1970 that has foil isn't an original disgorgement even though it doesn't say RD, or Oenotheque etc. I don't know exactly when they started stamping the labels with R.D. but there were quite a few years that the '69's had no label marking.
It makes more sense that your bottle showed so well because I've found most of the true '69 OD's that I've had in the past 10-15 years to have seen better days and bottles like yours to be much fresher.
Ray...you are no doubt the expert here. I called it an original bottling because I was told by the seller, Walker Wine Co, that this was acquired from an Italian cellar that purchased a lot of DP on release. What does an original plastic capsule look like? Also...when buying these old DP’s, do you look for originals or later disgorgements?

[cheers.gif]
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Re: TN: 1969...DP, Heitz, Freemark Abbey, Yquem

#14 Post by R@y.Tupp@+sch » May 13th, 2019, 5:50 am

Here are a couple of pics of what I call the DP "plastic" capsule. It's sort of a plastic/latex type material that came in various shades of blue, blue-green and green.
A number of years ago I asked the recently retired DP winemaker Richard Geoffroy why there were different colored capsules and if they meant anything. He responded that they used whatever color the supplier sent them. When I asked him about foil on some of the bottles from the 60's, he then told me that DP first starting using foil for the 1970 vintage and also used it for all subsequently later disgorged bottles from previous vintages.


DP Capsule.jpg

DP Capsule II.jpeg
As far as buying older DP's that are original release vs later released -

For most vintages I prefer great examples of originals over later disgorged. However, the hit/miss ratio is much lower for the OD's.
However, the '69 vintage is one where I've always preferred the later disgorged over the OD whether they be the unlabeled version like your bottle, RD labeled, Oenotheque etc.
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Re: TN: 1969...DP, Heitz, Freemark Abbey, Yquem

#15 Post by Glenn L e v i n e » May 13th, 2019, 6:19 am

Happy 50th my friend. I am so glad to read about this line-up and the great showing!
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Re: TN: 1969...DP, Heitz, Freemark Abbey, Yquem

#16 Post by B. Buzzini » May 13th, 2019, 9:03 am

Other wines had...

2008 Louis Roederer Champagne Cristal Brut - Brilliantly airy, chiseled...impressive...but I was more impressed with 08 DP.
NV Krug Champagne Brut Grande Cuvée Edition 164eme - Always striking! Every bottle has been a true joy to drink.
1996 Pierre de Crillon Meursault 1er Cru Charmes 1er - Blind...corked.
2017 Walter Scott Chardonnay X-Novo Vineyard - Blind...I called out Roulot Bourgogne. Love the integrated match strike and crystalline freshness.
2015 Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Champs-Gain - PYCM is PYCM...creamy and rich, intense citrus, match strike, mint.
2013 Domaine Ramonet Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Ruchantes - Tropical/stone fruits, great energy, subtle match strike, mineral salinity, SO good!
2011 Maison Ilan Chambertin - Blind...actually really good! Bright crunchy red fruits, pretty florals and spice, elegant...just not Chambertin weight and magic.
1999 Fratelli Revello Barbera d'Alba Ciabot du Re - Rich, big oak spice, brett, leather, tar, licorice...very creamy with amazing balance. Nice.
1995 Château Ducru-Beaucaillou - Wonderful classic claret flavors and smoothness, yet still posses the 95 grip. Needed more air...and a steak!
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Re: TN: 1969...DP, Heitz, Freemark Abbey, Yquem

#17 Post by BLittle » May 13th, 2019, 10:13 am

Thank you for sharing and making the trip!!!
Might be my favorite dinner for all the right reasons (company, special wines, great wines, food and atmosphere).
The three bubbles, Heitz and chards were an absolute treat.
Until next time champagne.gif
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Re: TN: 1969...DP, Heitz, Freemark Abbey, Yquem

#18 Post by Ed Gonzales » May 13th, 2019, 1:47 pm

B. Buzzini wrote:
May 13th, 2019, 9:03 am
Other wines had...

2008 Louis Roederer Champagne Cristal Brut - Brilliantly airy, chiseled...impressive...but I was more impressed with 08 DP.
i was expecting more from the 08 cris based on the countless praise i've read. i agree that the 08 dom p is more impressive at this stage.
ed s @ n

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Re: TN: 1969...DP, Heitz, Freemark Abbey, Yquem

#19 Post by Anton D » May 13th, 2019, 2:05 pm

Happy birthday!

I look forward to many more of your great tasting notes and beautiful pics! [cheers.gif]
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Re: TN: 1969...DP, Heitz, Freemark Abbey, Yquem

#20 Post by Vince T » May 13th, 2019, 2:17 pm

Congrats on 5-0, Buzz. I turned 42 this weekend and also had a Heitz birthday wine. These old bottles of Heitz really stand up to the test of time!
  • 1977 Heitz Cellar Cabernet Sauvignon Bella Oaks - USA, California, Napa Valley, Rutherford (5/12/2019)
    Mid shoulder fill, corroded capsule. Cork crumbled even with the ah-so, but upon first whiff of beautiful violets, old books and kirsch. Double decanted for 3 hours before drinking. Remarkably consistent with last year’s bottle, although this showed a bit cleaner and fresher. Very alive in the mouth, and it only progressively gets better over 5 hours. Plenty of lift and fruit left, in the form of Balsamic strawberry and black cherry, buffered by slate and chalk. Vibrant acid. Tertiary notes abound - old library, leather gloves, soy and wet earth. Just lovely. (94 pts.)
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Re: TN: 1969...DP, Heitz, Freemark Abbey, Yquem

#21 Post by S. Stevenson » May 13th, 2019, 3:17 pm

B. Buzzini wrote:
May 12th, 2019, 8:44 am
Continued the big 5-0 celebration last fri night with the local fellas. I've had a smattering of birth year wines over the years...but this flight was by far the best yet! Will add the other wines later on. Thanks again guys!! [cheers.gif]


[*]1969 Heitz Cellar Cabernet Sauvignon C-91 - USA, California, Napa Valley (5/12/2019)
The story goes that when Joe Heitz came close to running out of selling the reg Napa bottling, and the precious Martha's was still resting in barrel, he would dip into the Martha barrels and bottle this wine, the C-91, so he could continue to sell wine to his loyal customers.
Little concern for this bottle as the ullage was down to the shoulder...but after the cork came out in one piece...the wine was in fine shape! Still quite dark and youthful looking...amply fruit with slight sweetness...plum, currants, dried cherry...soft and delicate structure with a beautiful polished sheen...very complex, showing classic Heitz mint/euc/dried herbs nuances...dusty old cellar cedar spice...leather, mixed nuts...drank well till the end. (95 pts.)
6A29BE79-D2EC-496D-99BC-D656882EF96C.jpeg

Posted from CellarTracker
Joe's 69 MV was his masterpiece (according to Joe) and he handpicked the best barrels of MV for the MV bottling that year and the rest went into the C-91(as was his custom until '74 when ALL the MV went into the MV bottling). Of course, his son made the '74 (Joe was in the hospital with a bad back) so there's that as well. Also, all of the '71 MV went into the regular Napa bottling without and specific lot #.
Stan

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