Wonderful dinner last night with my wife and two of my oldest friends at Marea. As usual the restaurant wowed the uninitiated and more than met the high expectations of the veterans. Crudo great as always, Guinea Hen particularly good. I believe the front of the room and service are up a notch since the recent changes.
The Jadot was the only bottle from a lot recently purchased at a Zachys auction to be labeled “Le Montrachet”, the others being designated “Montrachet”. No idea at all what Jadot’s practice was at the time or if this is a distinction without a difference, but I will say that this was a great example and much better than a merely very good bottle from the same lot consumed a few weeks ago at the Rob Caine pre-auction dinner. That earlier bottle had a touch of the austere about it; perfectly proper but without much pleasure to give. Not last nite! The nose initially revealed some not unexpected oxidative notes, but these never came to dominate and indeed with time in the glass integrated with a growing citric element to create a beguilingly rich but fresh character that just kept drawing me back to the glass. That richness and volume, balanced by fine acidity and the perception of a touch of false sweetness, presented as a completely convincing Montrachet palate. If I were to find any fault at all with this wine it would only be by comparison to some large scale and wild Ramonets and Leflaives from the same decade–but why go there.
Speaking of large scale, the Giacosa was just a majestic bottle of Barolo. When you catch a good bottle and a “ready” bottle of one of his 89 Riservas it is just an incredible Nebbiolo trip. In that vintage in particular he manages the neat trick of capturing both the power of a great Monfortino and the elegance of a mature Bartolo Mascarello, and for me that whole really is greater than the sum of its parts–which is saying alot because those parts are pretty great on a stand alone basis! Circumstances didn’t permit any slow oxing or decanting in advance, but the Falleto revealed a high octane, pure Nebbiolo nose right out of the gate. In truth there wasn’t much in the way of evolution on the nose during the 90 minutes we were drinking it, and as the smooth tannins rose up over time there was some muting of that inital blast of fruit. But what rich fruit, hanging on a firm but refined structure of acids, those tannins like a comfortable blanket, now covering, now revealing all the elements of a tremendous young wine. This is so great right now, but will be so much more in ten years.
Do you mean to say you have seen Jadot bottles with both “Le Montrachet” and “Montrachet” on them, would mean Jadot bought from both Chassagne & Puligny portions of the vineyard…unless, they chose not to follow standard naming convention? Jadot doesn’t own any vinyards, as well as Latour, but both get their fruit from the Guaillame/Beaucaron portion of Le Montrachet in Puligny.
Kimberly, '86 & '85 were good years for wh. Burgs ('85 is classic for Chablis…supposing you can find these gems for anything less than an arm & leg from the top producers). I’m guessing most critics favoring '85 for the usual top producers, but I’ll let the more knowledgable Burg fanatics chime in on those details. In '86 there was a small amount of botrytis, iirc; so if you like that additional complexity, it’s there in some '86 wh. Burgs.
From the map of Montrachet drawned by J.C. Wallerand in 1998…I believe … the portion of the Appellation Montrachet Controlee on the Chassagne side …should be from the liex-dite : “Le Montrachet” and the portion of the Appellation Montrachet Controlee on Puligny side should be from the liex-dite : “Montrachet”.
According to Jean-Francois Bazin’s Book - Le Montrachet - the climat Montrachet …used to be : Mont-Rachet or Morachet; or the middle part : was one time known by the names of : Vrai-Montrachet or simply Montrachet.
Kimberly, for the Italian side, '89 is considered one of the most classic Piedmont vintages in the past 100 years. I’m drooling at the note on the Falletto Riserva. Giacosa’s '89 Collina Rionda Riserva rates a 110 out of 100 on Ken Vastola’s Giacosa-meter. These bottles are rare now and tres expensive. I have one bottle of that wine, which I hope is in pristine shape, and I also have an '89 Santo Stefano Riserva, which I also hope is healthy. Can’t wait to try them…
Kimberly, as others noted 86 was a good year for White Burgundy, not so much for the reds. At this point of course you need to be highly selective, but if for example you come across well stored bottles of the Jadot grand crus–or especially Ramonet’s–you’re in for a treat. As for the Barolo, yes 89 was a great year for Piemonte in general and for Giacosa in particular. But Giacosa worshippers like myself will tell you that one of the pleasures of drinking his wines is that he is so consistent, making great wines in great years and very fine ones even in ordinary or mediocre vintages. So by all means add one of his 89 “red label” riservas to your wish list, but don’t hesitate to purchase–at a fraction of the price–one of his single vineyard “white label” Barolos or Barbarescos from less highly esteemed vintages like 86, 87 or 93.
Ray, my note only included the wines I actually brought. Francesco graciously allowed me access to the private stock of 64 DP you store in the private dining room. Thanks!
Gordon, thanks very much for the link and interesting information.