My 55th with Some Great Friends and Killer Wines

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Robert.A.Jr.
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My 55th with Some Great Friends and Killer Wines

#1 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » November 21st, 2020, 7:52 am

I could not have scripted a more wonderful evening with some of my very closest friends and their wives, who are also dear friends. Fellow Berserkers Charlie Carnes and his wife Julie, and Marc Frontario, joined. It’s the week of my 55th birthday, so my wife planned a small group dinner on the veranda at the Club, on a perfectly cool and breezy fall Florida evening. The wines were stunning, all showed so perfectly, not a single dud. The evening was way too social to take side notes, so I’m just putting out some general impressions.

Started with some cocktails at the bar - the Club makes a killer Old Fashioned - then meandered to the veranda for an array of cheeses and 2008 Dom Perignon and a 2008 Veuve Clicquot Rose. I’ve had the 08 Dom a few times recently, it’s truly outstanding but I do think it is starting to tighten up for a little slumber. Much less open than some recent bottles of Krug. Love the power of that Dom, though. I kept popping back to some champagne throughout the evening. Not sure what y’all think, but I love the palate cleansing effect, not to mention the taste of champagne.

746E7DF7-002B-4873-A0B3-610837FE31D3.jpeg

We started with the youngest red wine first, a 2009 Bodegas Vega-Sicilia Ribera del Duero Valbuena 5°. I would have guessed a high quality classified growth Bordeaux on this wine. Really well-balanced range of fruits, tobacco and cedar, and a kiss of vanilla. I was craving chorizo with this wine but all we had was like 35 different types of cheese, fail! Although, with a Spanish flair, we did have an amuse bouche of grilled octopus and shrimp ceviche.

MarcF then poured the 2001 Chateau Haut Brion. I comment below what wines from the modern era will be like 1982, and while I don’t think the vintage hits the same high highs, I really do love some wines from this vintage for their impeccable balance, seemingly one of the last vintages before it became so vogue to go big and ripe. This 2001 Haut Brion is smoking, like really a point. Still showing the vigor of youth but starting to flesh out with the tobacco, dry earth, cedar box and citrus red fruits that you expect from a quality Graves in a solid year.

The 1982 Chateau Haut Brion and 1982 Chateau Magdelaine, paired side-by-side with the main course, were jaw-droppers. These wines continue to reaffirm in my mind that 1982 is the greatest vintage of my lifetime. When I started my journey in wine this vintage was the rage, and even then seemed approachable, especially compared to some subsequent 1980s vintages, like 85, 86 and 88. And 38 years out, well-preserved bottles from the top wines are at perfect peak. This is exactly what why you mature Bordeaux. I have no clue what recent vintages will ever match 1982, the near-perfect phenolic ripeness with lower alcohol levels than what we see today. The Haut Brion is like being transplanted back to my homeland of Cuba - ok, sorta BS, I was born in Boston of Cuban parents - walking through a tobacco farm, the dirt floor facilities, appreciating the aromas of aging tobacco leaves and the smoke from the lit cigars of the workers. The range of red to dark fruits on this wine was remarkable, with the reds having a level of intensity that stood out in comparison to the most-awesome Magdelaine. The Magdelaine was a more round, plush, silky, rich wine, though similarly in perfect balance. Had a gamey, herbaceous top note that was quite intoxicating. The palate was lifted by crisp acids and a citrus note. One could enjoy the entire evening just smelling these wines, but the company was even better!

From there we migrated to a 1999 Tertre Rôteboeuf, a wine recommended to me by Sir William Kelley. This admittedly was a surprise wine to me, I was stunned by how elegant this controversial wine showed. A more powerfully ripe, more lush wine than the Haut Brion and Magdelaine, but the structure and acids framed and lifted this wine impeccably well. Love the exotic, asian spice and truffle notes on this wine. Honestly, this is like an old-meets-new wine that just works. An awesome wine.

The dessert course came with a 1965 Krohn Vintage Port. A perfectly mature vintage port, translucent and almost weightless for a port. Loved the nutty expression on this wine. Alcohol really well balanced. A very good port, not a great vintage port. Who cares, my birth-year, which generally sucked in most wine regions!

The after-party started with a 1998 Vieux Chateau Certan. Another wine that really showed beautifully and is right smack into its optimal drinking window. Much more open and expressive than the 2000. Love the exotic notes in VCC, herbs and spices, bitter sweet chocolate. Rich wet earth. A stunner. We also popped a 2011 Black Cat that Merrill gifted to me and Charlie - thanks Merrill! An elegant, restrained Cabernet that melded really well in an old world line-up. I know it’s not the critic’s choice vintage, but I really do like 2011 for what it is, balanced and restrained. Merrill’s wine had that deft touch between ripeness and acids that really sings for me.

At this point it’s like midnight. The Club is empty, the wait-staff is nowhere to be seen. Lights may have been blinking on and off for all I know. A true Berserker, MarcF is breaking out another mature Bahans Haut Brion, 2000 I think, and the wives shut us down. They, of course, are the wise ones. So I finished off some remaining champagne as a final palate cleanser. One must be civilized at these times. And we went home.

Today I just plain hurt. A good hurt. I consider myself to be truly blessed by the friendships I have made through my connections in wine, including Charlie and Marc, both of whom I met right here many years ago.

The 1982 Haut Brion is my WOTN, easily in that 98-100 point range, with the 2001 Haut Brion and 1982 Magdelaine just a notch below, but not much. The other wines are similarly stunning. Any of the wines would alone have been the highlight of any nice dinner. Like I said, no duds, everything showed so optimally, like the birthday gods were shining on us down here in the sticks of Orlando.
Last edited by Robert.A.Jr. on November 21st, 2020, 9:03 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: My 55th with Some Great Friends and Killer Wines

#2 Post by Greg K » November 21st, 2020, 7:55 am

Well done Robert - happy birthday! I had a bottle of the 82 Magdelaine for my 40th last year, though it was paired with the 82 Margaux rather than the Haut Brion :)
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#3 Post by Ed Steinway » November 21st, 2020, 7:56 am

Great wines, and Happy Birthday to you, Robert!

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#4 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » November 21st, 2020, 8:04 am

Greg K wrote:
November 21st, 2020, 7:55 am
Well done Robert - happy birthday! I had a bottle of the 82 Magdelaine for my 40th last year, though it was paired with the 82 Margaux rather than the Haut Brion :)
Thanks, guys!

It was a coin flip whether I brought the 82 La Mish or the Magdelaine. Had I known that Charlie and Marc were bringing Haut Brion, I would have brought that La Mish that sits in a wine fridge, middle row, staring at me everything time I open the door. I went with the Magdelaine only because I’ve been on a streak of these wines lately and 1982 was my most mature one outside of two 1970s, that I’m holding for another occasion.

I prefer Haut Brion over Margaux, but boy is that a first world quibble!
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Re: My 55th with Some Great Friends and Killer Wines

#5 Post by Greg K » November 21st, 2020, 8:11 am

Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
November 21st, 2020, 8:04 am
Greg K wrote:
November 21st, 2020, 7:55 am
Well done Robert - happy birthday! I had a bottle of the 82 Magdelaine for my 40th last year, though it was paired with the 82 Margaux rather than the Haut Brion :)
Thanks, guys!

It was a coin flip whether I brought the 82 La Mish or the Magdelaine. Had I known that Charlie and Marc were bringing Haut Brion, I would have brought that La Mish that sits in a wine fridge, middle row, staring at me everything time I open the door. I went with the Magdelaine only because I’ve been on a streak of these wines lately and 1982 was my most mature one outside of two 1970s, that I’m holding for another occasion.

I prefer Haut Brion over Margaux, but boy is that a first world quibble!
Haut Brion is the best first growth for sure, but I drank my bottle of 82 some years back. The third bottle in our Bordeaux lineup was the 83 La Mission :)
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Re: My 55th with Some Great Friends and Killer Wines

#6 Post by Corey N. » November 21st, 2020, 8:15 am

Great noted, but (n)Ovid?
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Re: My 55th with Some Great Friends and Killer Wines

#7 Post by Marc Frontario » November 21st, 2020, 8:28 am

Corey N. wrote:
November 21st, 2020, 8:15 am
Great noted, but (n)Ovid?


We have one rule Corey...we do not drink wines that rhyme with Covid [wink.gif]
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Re: My 55th with Some Great Friends and Killer Wines

#8 Post by Nick Ellis » November 21st, 2020, 8:44 am

Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
November 21st, 2020, 7:52 am
The 1982 Haut Brion is my WOTN, easily in that 98-100 point range, with the 2001 Haut Brion and 1982 Magdelaine just a notch below, but not much. The other wines are similarly stunning.
Happy birthday Robert!

I notice you didn’t say much about the 2010 Pavie; was it also similarly stunning? neener

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Re: My 55th with Some Great Friends and Killer Wines

#9 Post by Alex Valdes » November 21st, 2020, 8:45 am

Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
November 21st, 2020, 7:52 am
The Haut Brion is like being transplanted back to my homeland of Cuba - ok, sorta BS, I was born in Boston of Cuban parents
Great notes and happy birthday! Also great to have another Cuban American on the board. Cheers [cheers.gif]

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Re: My 55th with Some Great Friends and Killer Wines

#10 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » November 21st, 2020, 8:52 am

Nick Ellis wrote:
November 21st, 2020, 8:44 am
Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
November 21st, 2020, 7:52 am
The 1982 Haut Brion is my WOTN, easily in that 98-100 point range, with the 2001 Haut Brion and 1982 Magdelaine just a notch below, but not much. The other wines are similarly stunning.
Happy birthday Robert!

I notice you didn’t say much about the 2010 Pavie; was it also similarly stunning? neener
Pavie? Wtf? Who the f*ck brought a Pavie to my house!
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#11 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » November 21st, 2020, 8:58 am

The Orlando Berserkers. Marc with the hair is in the middle, Charlie is on the right with the sexy Gucci shirt, I’m the lug on the left.

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#12 Post by D@ve D y r 0 f f » November 21st, 2020, 9:00 am

Happy Birthday! [cheers.gif]

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#13 Post by Jim Stewart » November 21st, 2020, 9:06 am

Nice! Good friends and sounds like the wine gods were also with you. I wish you a very Happy Birthday!
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Re: My 55th with Some Great Friends and Killer Wines

#14 Post by Rich K0rz€nk0 » November 21st, 2020, 9:34 am

Happy Birthday Robert, and not bad for "general impressions" lol

Sounds like a delightful dinner with good friends, can't ask for more.
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#15 Post by Alan Rath » November 21st, 2020, 10:22 am

Happy birthday! Where was the Rougeard?!
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#16 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » November 21st, 2020, 10:27 am

Happy birthday. Killer line up. 2001 Bordeaux are often a great treat, and seem like they still have lots of time for such an overlooked vintage.
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Re: My 55th with Some Great Friends and Killer Wines

#17 Post by Claus Jeppesen » November 21st, 2020, 10:33 am

Alan Rath wrote:
November 21st, 2020, 10:22 am
Happy birthday! Where was the Rougeard?!
It seem after all he was not born in an outhouse in Loire
Congrats my dear inspiring Winefriend champagne.gif champagne.gif champagne.gif
Last edited by Claus Jeppesen on November 21st, 2020, 2:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: My 55th with Some Great Friends and Killer Wines

#18 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » November 21st, 2020, 10:36 am

D@vid Bu3ker wrote:
November 21st, 2020, 10:27 am
Happy birthday. Killer line up. 2001 Bordeaux are often a great treat, and seem like they still have lots of time for such an overlooked vintage.
I need to constantly remind myself to backfill on these kinds of vintages. I’ve recently been acquiring some really nice 2004 vintage wines, any 2001s in particular that caught your fancy?
“Dammit Brian, until you tuited this diatribe, I was haiku aging my sh*t.“
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Re: My 55th with Some Great Friends and Killer Wines

#19 Post by MikeHill » November 21st, 2020, 10:36 am

Happy birthday! Glad you were able to enjoy it with good wine and even better friends. I know it was the baby in your lineup, but I also recently enjoyed the 2011 Black Cat, and well made Napa 2011s in general for the very reasons you mention.

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#20 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » November 21st, 2020, 10:39 am

Claus Jeppesen wrote:
November 21st, 2020, 10:33 am
Alan Rath wrote:
November 21st, 2020, 10:22 am
Happy birthday! Where was the Rougeard?!
It seem after all he was not born in an outhouse in Loire
Congrats my dear inspirating Winefriend champagne.gif champagne.gif champagne.gif

Thank you kind sir! Now let’s be clear, I have had a lot of Loire wines these past two weeks, and will probably pop another tonight! I will be sitting on my Rougeards a little more, however. Gosh are those such awesome lines.
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#21 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » November 21st, 2020, 10:40 am

Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
November 21st, 2020, 10:36 am
D@vid Bu3ker wrote:
November 21st, 2020, 10:27 am
Happy birthday. Killer line up. 2001 Bordeaux are often a great treat, and seem like they still have lots of time for such an overlooked vintage.
I need to constantly remind myself to backfill on these kinds of vintages. I’ve recently been acquiring some really nice 2004 vintage wines, any 2001s in particular that caught your fancy?
I really like Las Cases, Montrose, Malescot, Leoville Barton, and Giscours. There are a couple others I enjoy that are not your thing. Latour is great, flat out great.
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Re: My 55th with Some Great Friends and Killer Wines

#22 Post by P L owet » November 21st, 2020, 10:52 am

Great lineup. Happy birthday!
I’ve only had the 1982 Haut Bruin once. Terrific, almost as good as the 1985. 😉
My one taste of the 2008 Dom left similar impressions — very tight but powerful. I’m surprised by how many folks here like it for current enjoyment (vs potential).
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#23 Post by Kelly Walker » November 21st, 2020, 11:12 am

Happy B-day! Great wines and notes. Both the VCC and Tertre are wines I always find to be exotic as you noted. Sometimes even kinky. I love both. Two of the best visits I ever made in Bordeaux were VCC and Tertre. Barrel tasting at Tertre was like tasting at Hogwarts. Well done.
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#24 Post by Jim F » November 21st, 2020, 11:20 am

Happy Birthday! Hard to believe you are only 55 based on your commentary about buying aging Bordeaux.... champagne.gif
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#25 Post by Julian Marshall » November 21st, 2020, 11:20 am

Happy 55th Robert, what a great occasion - fine wines, fine friends - and a bottle of Pavie to boot! Well done you for having such a fun evening in these troubled times! I shall raise a glass to your good health later.

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#26 Post by Alan Rath » November 21st, 2020, 11:20 am

Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
November 21st, 2020, 10:36 am
I need to constantly remind myself to backfill on these kinds of vintages. I’ve recently been acquiring some really nice 2004 vintage wines, any 2001s in particular that caught your fancy?
2001 Cos is excellent
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#27 Post by Lee Barnard » November 21st, 2020, 11:23 am

D@vid Bu3ker wrote:
November 21st, 2020, 10:40 am
Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
November 21st, 2020, 10:36 am
D@vid Bu3ker wrote:
November 21st, 2020, 10:27 am
Happy birthday. Killer line up. 2001 Bordeaux are often a great treat, and seem like they still have lots of time for such an overlooked vintage.
I need to constantly remind myself to backfill on these kinds of vintages. I’ve recently been acquiring some really nice 2004 vintage wines, any 2001s in particular that caught your fancy?
I really like Las Cases, Montrose, Malescot, Leoville Barton, and Giscours. There are a couple others I enjoy that are not your thing. Latour is great, flat out great.
Have had good experience with 2001 DdC as well. Pops up pretty often for sale.

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#28 Post by Brian Pinci » November 21st, 2020, 11:33 am

Happy Birthday and sounds like a wonderful dinner with beautiful wines! I agree with your notes regarding '82, amazing vintage. I still have 8 different bottles left, including Mouton. Can't wait for the occasions to pop them open. Although the last '82 was a disappointment (Pichon Baron), smelled and tasted like a barnyard.
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#29 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » November 21st, 2020, 12:37 pm

Jim F wrote:
November 21st, 2020, 11:20 am
Happy Birthday! Hard to believe you are only 55 based on your commentary about buying aging Bordeaux.... champagne.gif
Well it’s really more about timing. I came out of law school in 1992 when the market was awash in excellent 1980s wines. Had some jingle in my pocket, no debt or kids, and some like-minded buddies to start a little wine group. Kept the momentum going in 95/96, when I got married, my wife and I took two trips to France in one year for four weeks of vacay, hitting Bordeaux, Loire, Southern Rhône, etc. Was damn fun and also educational. Bordeaux has remained a constant theme in my wine appreciation and purchases. Most of my current cellar, of anything 20+ years old, is a backfill. That’s the great thing about Bordeaux, well-preserved bottles from very good vintages remain easy to source.
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Re: My 55th with Some Great Friends and Killer Wines

#30 Post by Alex Frank » November 21st, 2020, 12:42 pm

Happy birthday and what a cool-sounding dinner. I'm buying and cellaring as many BDXs as I can so that I can drink this well on my 55th. Cheers!

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#31 Post by Jay Miller » November 21st, 2020, 12:43 pm

Happy birthday!
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#32 Post by Kirk.Grant » November 21st, 2020, 1:19 pm

Happy Birthday!! Great to see you celebrating & living it up!!!
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#33 Post by Jayson Cohen » November 21st, 2020, 1:52 pm

Happy Birthday, Robert! Looks like a great time.

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Re: My 55th with Some Great Friends and Killer Wines

#34 Post by Charlie Carnes » November 21st, 2020, 3:50 pm

Robert, it was a great time, and Julie and I were happy to be a part! We have done quite a few "Berserker" things together over the past few years, but last night was the first with a full accompaniment of our better halves. That made it extra fun. And your friends are just awesome! You have outdone yourself on your notes, quite early this morning; impressive! They are spot on as well. I will add my impressions tomorrow...
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Re: My 55th with Some Great Friends and Killer Wines

#35 Post by Jason R. » November 21st, 2020, 3:58 pm

Happy Birthday Robert! Great line-up. And I'll take this opportunity to thank you for turning me on to several faves - it turns out I was also born in an outhouse in the Loire - I just didn't know it till I read your posts! Best wishes for a great year.
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Re: My 55th with Some Great Friends and Killer Wines

#36 Post by Jeremy C » November 21st, 2020, 4:39 pm

Happy birthday, Alfert. Looks like you had an awesome evening. Will have to check out the Tertre.
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#37 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » November 21st, 2020, 4:41 pm

Jeremy C wrote:
November 21st, 2020, 4:39 pm
Happy birthday, Alfert. Looks like you had an awesome evening. Will have to check out the Tertre.
Ha, me too! I was looking for more 99 but couldn’t find any on WineSearcher!
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Re: My 55th with Some Great Friends and Killer Wines

#38 Post by Vikrant Rachakonda » November 21st, 2020, 5:54 pm

Alan Rath wrote:
November 21st, 2020, 11:20 am
Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
November 21st, 2020, 10:36 am
I need to constantly remind myself to backfill on these kinds of vintages. I’ve recently been acquiring some really nice 2004 vintage wines, any 2001s in particular that caught your fancy?
2001 Cos is excellent
Happy birthday!
I’ve really enjoyed the 2001 Gruaud Larose. I like it better than the 2000 right now!

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Re: My 55th with Some Great Friends and Killer Wines

#39 Post by jordan jacobs » November 21st, 2020, 6:03 pm

Alan Rath wrote:
November 21st, 2020, 11:20 am
Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
November 21st, 2020, 10:36 am
I need to constantly remind myself to backfill on these kinds of vintages. I’ve recently been acquiring some really nice 2004 vintage wines, any 2001s in particular that caught your fancy?
2001 Cos is excellent
Agreed. The pagodes was also a great qpr.

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Howard Cooper
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Re: My 55th with Some Great Friends and Killer Wines

#40 Post by Howard Cooper » November 21st, 2020, 6:04 pm

Happy birthday. Great celebration.
Howard

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Re: My 55th with Some Great Friends and Killer Wines

#41 Post by ClarkstonMark » November 21st, 2020, 6:31 pm

Happy Birthday!
I had 2011 Black Cat last week over 3 days and it is indeed a really good wine. That may have been my last 2011.
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Re: My 55th with Some Great Friends and Killer Wines

#42 Post by Ron Erickson » November 21st, 2020, 7:17 pm

Happy birthday and welcome to the old codger stage of life. It's probably good for your wife's bottom line financial statement that your birth year was a wine vintage dud. [stirthepothal.gif] neener
"Think of how stupid the average person is, and realise half of them are stupider than that." George Carlin (1937-2008)

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Re: My 55th with Some Great Friends and Killer Wines

#43 Post by Kris Patten » November 21st, 2020, 7:37 pm

Happy Birthday Alfert. At a decade younger than you, I still remember when hangovers were for other people.....no longer.
ITB

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Re: My 55th with Some Great Friends and Killer Wines

#44 Post by NED VALOIS » November 21st, 2020, 10:17 pm

Happy 55th, Alfert !
Great wines and happy friends !
You would fit right in with our G12 group.
I've got 2 decades on you and am still buying Futures ! [wow.gif] champagne.gif

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Re: My 55th with Some Great Friends and Killer Wines

#45 Post by Jeremy Holmes » November 21st, 2020, 10:20 pm

Happy Birthday Robert.
ITB

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Re: My 55th with Some Great Friends and Killer Wines

#46 Post by Glenn L e v i n e » November 22nd, 2020, 1:51 am

Happy Birthday, well done man. I got a few 01 HB, was thinking 65th but maybe sooner...
"Never lose sight of the fact that it is just fermented grape juice" - a winemaker and negotiant in Napa Valley, CA

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Re: My 55th with Some Great Friends and Killer Wines

#47 Post by Carlos Delpin » November 22nd, 2020, 3:11 am

Feliz cumpleaños Licenciado.
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Re: My 55th with Some Great Friends and Killer Wines

#48 Post by William Kelley » November 22nd, 2020, 4:12 am

Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
November 21st, 2020, 4:41 pm
Jeremy C wrote:
November 21st, 2020, 4:39 pm
Happy birthday, Alfert. Looks like you had an awesome evening. Will have to check out the Tertre.
Ha, me too! I was looking for more 99 but couldn’t find any on WineSearcher!
You'll have to come to Beaune!

Glad it delivered, and Many Happy Returns.
The Wine Advocate

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Re: My 55th with Some Great Friends and Killer Wines

#49 Post by Howard Cooper » November 22nd, 2020, 4:34 am

William Kelley wrote:
November 22nd, 2020, 4:12 am


You'll have to come to Beaune!

[rofl.gif] [rofl.gif] deadhorse [winner.gif]

Maybe you will be able to convert Robert to Burgundy. But, he has seemed awfully resistant so far.
Howard

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Robert.A.Jr.
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Re: My 55th with Some Great Friends and Killer Wines

#50 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » November 22nd, 2020, 4:42 am

Howard Cooper wrote:
November 22nd, 2020, 4:34 am
William Kelley wrote:
November 22nd, 2020, 4:12 am


You'll have to come to Beaune!

[rofl.gif] [rofl.gif] deadhorse [winner.gif]

Maybe you will be able to convert Robert to Burgundy. But, he has seemed awfully resistant so far.
Ha!

I drank a Jouan last night! ;)

True.

PS. And William did use the “Burgundian” label on the 1999 Tertre Rotebeauf.
Last edited by Robert.A.Jr. on November 22nd, 2020, 4:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
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