TNs--Some recents: LLC, 70 Graham's, 94 Beringer, Clerico, Collin, others

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Mike Grammer
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TNs--Some recents: LLC, 70 Graham's, 94 Beringer, Clerico, Collin, others

#1 Post by Mike Grammer » October 17th, 2020, 8:41 am

Over a dinner with friends last Saturday (my friends Heather, Jeff, Victor, Victor's wife Anna and Jeff's gf Grace---we had all taken the needed precautions to be able to be together) and lunch with my friend Dave last Sunday

2017 L'Ecole 41 Semillon

My first try of this, I really liked it. Hints of florals in the schnozz, hints of tropical fruit on the palate and a real juniper element, fresh and very enjoyable for me.

2014 DuMol Clare Chard

Our friend Victor brought this. To me, Hyde vineyard has always expressed as bold and tropical, and this certainly fits the bill, with a rather creamy feel on the tongue. Not a tremendous amount of depth or complexity, this too I like for what it is--very tasty and the alcohol is quite well managed.

2016 Benoit Ente Puligny Clos de la Truffieres

Jeff, our host for the evening, opened this---the last one we'd tried was corked. This was not, and a kind of intriguing wine is in here. Aromatics are still a little locked up, though white flowers and some steel and stone fruit come out with some swirling. A saline tanginess in the mouth is balanced with slight sweet and slight bitter tones at times. I really don't know at this point where this is going----I want it to knit together and refine itself and it sort of has an equal chance of doing that or not. Would love to try again in 3-5 years.

2018 Clonakilla Shiraz Viognier

My friend Heather wanted Jeff to try this, so I brought it along. This is a really, really pretty wine---I haven't had a Clonakilla in at least 15 years. Sweet raspberries and lots of florals. A bit short on finish at first, that lengthens out with some air and this is a fine bottle of wine with undertones of plums and very slight sweetmeats. #4 tonight (and super-unusual for me to have the top wines be all reds!)

2010 Domenico Clerico Barolo Ciabot Mentin

Heather brought this and decanted it for 2 hours. Tar, strawberries, earth and a little leafy in the sniffer. The lines and structure are awesome in this wine and the fruit is there, just playing second fiddle. For now. Possibly eternal wine, but such class. It's sometimes hard to play the potential game, but could this someday be a perfect wine? Maybe. Heather and I both spoke in an undertone that, despite some of the other entries, this was the WOTN for both of us. At this point, 94++

1994 Beringer Cab

And it had to go some to beat this out, which Victor also brought. Absolutely superlative, such divine harmony for all the senses to enjoy. The amazing part is how fresh this remains. Heather thinks we may be having the best bottle of this produced. Regardless, it's a joy to drink, with fresh berry and currant framed by gentle sweet herbs. Tie #2

2006 Far Niente Cab

Victor also brought this. I had gone out of the room briefly but Heather laughed when I came back, tasted this and declared that 2006 was not the best of vintages---exactly what she had said. It was a bit unfair to pour this beside the Beringer. Nothing wrong with the wine, but nothing stands out either. There is good fruit base here, but just not enough drive or interest.

A bottle of 1997 Fuligni Brunello was unfortunately flawed with VA.

1997 Chateau Leoville Las Cases

Also Jeff's, sleek and suave are the adjectives that come to mind. Crisp currant and blackberry fruit, touches of earth, herbs and mineral and extremely balanced. It is archetypal Bordeaux for me, but also the reason I have my saying--that I admire a lot of Bordeaux and love very few. For me, just doesn't quite have the elements that reach my soul. No derogatory though for this wine, and for other tastes, it just might. So glad to try.

1970 Graham's VP

I didn't decant this, but poured a tiny bit for dad the night before, and he said it was awfully good. Hard to dispute that assessment when we had it tonight. The midpalate, as Heather notes, is still spirity, but the fruit is finely pure and the finish is all candied plums and juicy raisins, if that makes sense. Yes, the 70 Taylor's was better, but not by a lot. 90 and #3 tonight.

***************************
Next-day lunch with Dave, the Graham's had settled down quite a bit today, though *maybe* at the cost of a *little* bit of character. (makes me wonder if 4 hours of decanting might have put it in the best spot for last night's drinking).

Ulysses Collin Les Taillons Brut

I asked for Champagne and Dave opened this one. You need to like your Champagne on the racy side, but this is an absolute delight. Thrilling level of acidity and the purity of lemon-lime fruit is hard to beat. Where was I, wandering in the wilderness 10 years ago when I had no time for Champagne??

2000 Silvio Grasso Barolo

Although this had life and sweet fruit on opening, it gradually got rather limpid and heavy, especially dans la bouche. I've had better from this producer, and maybe it's a producer to drink young.

2006 Bouchard Volnay Clos des Chenes

Although not reaching majestic heights, it was good to leave this in the glass for a while, as a rather light-bodied wine put on some weight after a while. Good core of cherry (maraschino, says our friend Stan) with touches of earth and cedar. The finish is somewhat velvety, if not long. Ends up being a good and enjoyable bottle, delivering more than I first expected.
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Victor Hong
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Re: TNs--Some recents: LLC, 70 Graham's, 94 Beringer, Clerico, Collin, others

#2 Post by Victor Hong » October 18th, 2020, 1:17 pm

I do not ever recall an off bottle of the Beringer 1994 Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, across the almost 25 years since release.
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Nick Christie
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Re: TNs--Some recents: LLC, 70 Graham's, 94 Beringer, Clerico, Collin, others

#3 Post by Nick Christie » October 18th, 2020, 2:38 pm

I like these notes!

I think off-vintage Leoville Las Cases simply has to be kept as long as possible to get some magic out of it... I have not thought much of them opened young, let alone from mediocre vintages, but the age gets the tannins to good place, even if the fruit doesn't follow. Glad to see you drinking some 'medium age' Cali Cab! Good job, Victor.

Graham's '70 is special Port. One of the great 'above its weight' punchers, period. A few hours decant and then get at it all the same night would definitely be my recommendation, as you mused.

You two would pick a '10 Barolo as WOTN :). Sooooo young.

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Re: TNs--Some recents: LLC, 70 Graham's, 94 Beringer, Clerico, Collin, others

#4 Post by Ed Steinway » October 18th, 2020, 5:23 pm

Nice set of wines, Mike. Those Beringer Private Reserves from 1990 through 1997 are all outstanding, IMO.

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Mike Grammer
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Re: TNs--Some recents: LLC, 70 Graham's, 94 Beringer, Clerico, Collin, others

#5 Post by Mike Grammer » October 19th, 2020, 6:48 am

Victor Hong wrote:
October 18th, 2020, 1:17 pm
I do not ever recall an off bottle of the Beringer 1994 Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, across the almost 25 years since release.
Indeed, Victor, although I haven't had any, I think Heather has tasted others and they've all been good to great....this was a comment on just how superior this particular bottle was.

Nick--will pass on your good wishes to the others when I see them again. Ed---thanks, hope you are keeping safe and healthy yourself.

Mike
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