33 wines: 5 bubbly,5 white Burgs,14 right bank Bordeaux incl Pavie,Ausone,Pavie Macquin,Mondotte,Valandraud,Violette,++

Our dinner group enjoyed a wondrous, if not over the top, evening, this time at a local country club thanks to considerable coordination by one of our members. The wine theme was the usual, champagne and white Burgundy, plus the featured wines for the night, this time from the right bank in Bordeaux.

Twelve of us brought an almost overwhelming number of 33 bottles and I found some real gems while guarding against palate fatigue. What also happens is each wine really does not get enough time to evolve in the glass and as most of us know, they change and they can change dramatically over time, especially from extended air exposure and temperature change. What’s also true is that few of the bottles were decanted so they needed more air time anyway and were looking for some breathing room. So, the notes are reflective of the first pass and purposefully relegated to a brief review.

We basically had 4 flights of wines, one each for 5 bubbly, 5 white Burgundy, 14 right bank reds, 9 dessert wines and 10 gallons of water which for the sake of brevity, was consumed in between each wine and not noted.

In order of serving:

2008 POL ROGER BLANC de BLANC- as is true for most champagne from the 08’ vintage, this was big and rich and full bodied with generous amounts of honey coated orchard and stone fruit delivered in an almost heavy motor in oil like substance; it was a mouthful, but I could handle it.

2007 LOUIS ROEDERER CRISTAL BRUT in magnum- this was so much better in this larger format than any of the 750s I’ve had; it’s seriously full on and super rich and yet has nice finesse and loads of charm; honey glazed golden delicious apple, peach, lemon zest and orange peel provide a marvelous taste profile and it’s creamy mousse contributed to more sensory pleasures to make this one extra special as echoed repeatedly around the table; it is still not to be confused with the other more recent vintages like the 06 08 or 09`, but it is a good Cristal and one I anticipate will shine brightly a few years down the road.

2006 TAITTINGER COMTES de CHAMPAGNE BRUT ROSE- this was my first exposure to this rose as it was just recently received a couple of weeks ago; I was expecting a whole lot more than it was willing to give; in fact, it seemed really tightly shutdown; I’ve had many bottles of the 07` rose and that one is a fruit bomb and could easily share some of its fruit with this release and they’d both be better for it; our bottle had mild and wild cranberry/ cherry flavors and not much more; I even left it in a glass and put it aside for over 45 minutes and not much changed; disappointing now and there’s a need for a lot of patience to allow it to get ready to give up its treasures.

2002 PIPER-HEIDSIECK MILLESIME RARE- 70% Chardonnay, a majority of which comes from the Montagne de Reims region and 30% Pinot Noir, all of which comes from the same region; it is a blend of 17 crus that matured for at least 7 years; as with the above champagnes, this was also very big and rich while touting ginger accented mango, papaya, honeysuckle and peach notes.

2009 ROEDERER ESTATE L`ERMITAGE ANDERSON VALLEY SPARKLING WINE- made only in special years, I’ve enjoyed many a bottle of this in the past and it paled in comparison to all those before it on this occasion; I liked the toasty brioche and ginger accents, but the unexpected and previously not experienced degree of sweetness was way too much for my preference and the dosage of 10 gpl seemed understated.

Next up, 5 fine white Burgs:

2011 PIERRE-YVES COLIN-MOREY EN REMILLY SAINT-AUBIN 1er Cru- after the first taste, it was clear the hallmark of this wine was its perfect balance; it had lots more redeeming qualities including its bright acidity which was evident throughout and the taste profile had wondrous mineral accented lemon, lime, apple and pear; the texture had the usual thick and almost chewy like viscosity.

2013 PIERRE-YVES COLIN-MOREY CORTON-CHARLEMAGNE GRAND CRU- the first thing I noticed was a green character that eventually dissipated; then came flint and mineral laced tropical fruit with guava and pineapple most noticeable before giving way to a nice streak of lemon oil; it was crisp and refreshing and in a good place with lots more to do as time allows it evolve.

2014 PIERRE-YVES COLIN-MOREY LES PERRIERES PULIGNY-MONTRACHET 1er Cru- fantastic wine here with so much going on from the nose through the tail; match stick, SO2, aromas come on initially but fade out in flavor of flint and mineral notes which take over and join lemon and baked apple to form a great welcoming committee; it’s creamy, thick; has decent balance and a long, satisfying finish; great wine.


2015 OLIVER LAFLAIVE BATARD-MONTRACHET GRAND CRU- almost as if the wine gods stepped in to make up for the flawed Le Moine Les Clos, this was undoubtedly the white WOTN; it was rich and creamy, tasty and fulfilling; flint, pear and apples dominate the aromas and continue on to be joined by a coat of honey and a dollop of minerals; it just reeked class, elegance and sophistication.

And now, if my count is right, we move on to 14 right bank Bordeaux; 3 from Pomerol, 11 from Saint-Emilion:

1970 CHATEAU GARRAUD LALANDE de POMEROL in magnum; this was showing its age from the browning color, musty, dusty, earthy nose and mature dried dark fruit profile which was mostly made up of black currant.

2009 CHATEAU LA VIOLETTE POMEROL- mint chocolate laced black fruit dominate this surprisingly intense wine which had a bit of heat initially; also, atypically as it seems, was its harsh tannic bite as it did not have the soft and smooth texture expected from a Merlot based wine.

2000 CLOS L`EGLISE POMEROL- loved this wine for its inviting aromatics and follow through on the palate as it gave generous amounts of licorice accented blackberry and blueberry while being delivered in a soft and velvety textured medium; it’s a big wine with lots of depth and complexity and hangs around for a long, wondrous finish; one of my favs of the night.

2008 CLOS FOURTET {PHILLIPE CUVIER} SAINT-EMILION- 85% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet franc; this was a confusing wine in that the nose was more substantial than the rest of the wine; the taste profile was really suppressed and understated after strong aromas of dark chocolate and dark fruit suggested otherwise.

2005 CHATEAU LARCISE DECASSE SAINT-EMILION- whatever was missing in the Clos Fourtet was made up plus much more with this dandy; it had balance, layered depth, was seamlessly bonded and gave up nice cedar and leather accented black currant and black raspberry.

2003 CHATEAU PAVIE MACQUIN SAINT-EMILION- 375ml; an off bottle; the consensus was that it was cooked.

2004 CHATEAU AUSONE SAINT-EMILION- this kind of opened up and then closed down and then went back and forth like a pendulum that never reached its resting point; when I caught it on its upswing, I gleaned some nice leather and licorice accented blackberry, blueberry and black cherry; there’s an underlying streak of tannins that still needs to integrate, but the acidity should ensure longevity; it needs another 15+ years. Interestingly, I discovered notes after writing up these for a previous bottle tasted in 2011 which stated very similar impressions. Not sure how to interpret where this will eventually land.

1998 CHATEAU AUSONE SAINT-EMILION- there’s no need to wait on this splendid wine as it’s so ready to give and give it did; it was epitome of the iron fist in a velvet glove analogy as it had a huge amount of power and tons of finesse; aromas of chocolate covered blackberries gets it off on the right track and then once tasted, a bounty of milk chocolate laden ripe dark fruit with a touch of blueberry jumps out of the glass while being delivered in a super soft and smooth textured medium; it hits all of the sensory receptors just perfectly and as a result, became the co-WOTN for me and the top wine for a majority of others.

2009 CHATEAU VALANDRAUD SAINT-EMILION- 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc; this was a big boy with lots of power and not so much finesse; it was fully loaded with serious dark fruit with chocolate and pencil accented lead blackberry and black currant most evident.

2009 CHATEAU LA MONDOTTE SAINT-EMILION- 80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc; this was another big boy, but unlike the Valandraud, it had some balance and was a whole lot more approachable at this early stage; cedar and licorice accented blackberry and black cherry highland the taste profile and its viscous texture provided the tactile pleasure required to make this really good overall; oak integration is still in the process.

2005 CHATEAU MONDOTTE SAINT-EMILION- on the heels of the 09`, it was surprising how much difference there was in the two; this possessed much less power, but a lot more finesse and charm; it was super smooth and had a nice fruit profile that included chocolate covered plum, blackberry and red cherry.

2008 CHATEAU PAVIE SAINT-EMILION- at this point, this was my co-WOTN as it hit all of the right places and then found a few more; milk chocolate laden dark fruit wafted out of the glass and all the way to the back end of the palate while being delivered in a smooth, velvety texture; it was in a perfect, balanced place; 70% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon.

2005 CHATEAU PAVIE SAINT-EMILION- this was as good as the 08 and now I’m rethinking my vote for tonights best; in a blind tasting, Id be hard put to differentiate between the two and I’m seeing a 2000 coming around next; so what is the difference? The fruit in this wine was a bit more advanced and raisiny, but not as in dried, but mature; this also had toasty oak and graphite laden blackcurrant notes, but it was the layered depth that spoke to me while i searched through each layer to glean more nuances and they were there in spades.

2000 CHATEAU PAVIE SAINT-EMILION- well, it just got more difficult to choose between the 3 Pavie`s as they were all spectacular; there’s some of the same notes in each and this probably was the most balanced and complete; it was intense and yet had so much grace and charm and like the other 2, the dark fruit profile consisted of ripe and mature blackberry and black currant; the amazing velvety texture placated my tactile receptors to the extent that I now call this my WOTN.

As if 24 wines are not enough to this point, a lineup of 9 dessert wines comes around, many in 750 formats, and I actually poured a small taste of a few and passed on most:

1998 ALOIS KRACHER WELSCHRIESLING TROCKENBEERENAUSLESE NUMBER 11- 375 ml; this was a honeyed yellow peach and apricot nectar delivered in a 20W-50 motor oil like substance; for me, a few drops did me just fine.

2001 ALOIS KRACHER SCHEUREBE TROCKENBEERENAUSLESE NUMBER 9- 375 ml; this was pineapple and grapefruit zest sugared oil disguised as a dessert wine; a dropper full was almost too much.

2011 CHATEAU dYQUEM SAUTERNES- 750 ml; had to have a taste of this, but only one and a small sampling at that; honeyed peaches, mango and papaya showed up in a creamy viscous liquid form.

3- 750s not tasted although the 00` is fantastic. I’m fantasticed out:

There were 3 others I did not even look at.

Palate fatigue? Most definitely. Enough alcohol for one evening? Most definitely. Happy I did it? Most definitely.

Time for about a 5 day rehydration period before the next go round? Most definitely.



Most definitely enjoyed your terrific notes!



1 Like

What a stud getting all those notes done! You are living right, my friend. Cheers

1 Like

Thanks Neal. What’s missing are the photos. I inserted all but about the last 10 and got a message I’d used up the allotment. It seemed to weird to leave part of them in. Fortunately, it took much less time to delete them as it did to load them up.

Great and well written notes. Thanks for all of your work in writing these up for us.

1 Like

Thanks for the detailed notes. That sure is a lot of good wine.

Happy to see the positive notes on the Pavies (especially 2000 and 2005), given how polarizing those can be.

Any thoughts on where they are at in their drinking window?

I have both, but haven’t found an opportunity to open up either.

1 Like

IMHO, those 2 wines are still evolving and although they offer lots of redeeming qualities now, it would be prudent to hold them for a few more years and the stand up well in advance of decanting.

1 Like

Great notes, great wines. But a sad dearth of female faces at that table… :wink:

There are ladies in this group; none of this night as you note. This group started 23 years ago with a mostly couples. Some of the women have their own tastings now. Come and join when in the area.

1 Like

muy bueno, senor. Terrific notes as always. Especially appreciate your thoughts on the 06 CdC Rose, of which I have a bottle. I have only had Larcis-Ducasse a few times, but those few times make me want to have more–and curate some for myself. Kracher…of course, a little drop will do ya every time.

Stay well and continue to enjoy as you have

Sarah, he means it–if you two end up visiting out there, Blake will treat you royally.


1 Like

Hey Mike. Many thanks and all the best; hold on to the rose.

I noticed the same thing but thought it might have been one of those old, male-only country clubs? [scratch.gif]

Terrific notes. I could not possibly read my own notes after this many wines. My poor scribbling would never be legible by this time.

1 Like

Thanks for all the notes Blake. Wonderful job as always. I had a the 2001 Yquem at the winery in 2014 and thought it was wonderful. I have loved it since as well. Nice acidity in the vintage that balances out all the richness and sweetness.

1 Like

Thanks to a fairly good memory, using medical abbreviations and my own version of shorthand, I was just able to get this done. I’m probably the only one that could interpret my own notes.

Thanks Howard. This group has opened numerous 01s and other vintages and I loved them all, so I just had to go for a taste of the 11 which I had not had previously. Sensationally consistent wine; just better in some vintages than others.

My typo. I meant to say that I had a the 2011 Yquem at the winery in 2014, thought it was wonderful and have loved it since as well. I do love the 2001 as well (great vintage) but I meant to type the vintage you had and not to go off on other vintages.

1 Like

Got it

Lots of good wine and excellent notes.