Best overperforming wine you’ve ever had

The 1993 Ampeau Puligny-Montrachet Les Combottes 1er immediately comes to mind. I opened it a few years back at a Chicago La Paulee and it just stunned everyone there, including some who would brought some very serious whites, such as Coche (which was by no means half bad). Still, the concentration in this was astonishing, just could not believe the density and intensity.
On reds, 1983 Rousseau Chambertin and 2014 Macdonald both stay with me, but maybe not overperformers given the hype; true of the one perfectly cellared 1989 Lynch-Bages that I’ve had also.

Borges 15 year old Malmsey Madeira
Quinta do Sobral Reserva Tinto

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1982 Branaire (Duluc Ducru) - in 2005. My note had two words, “fruit salad.” I had it the same night as 1989 HAUT BRION from Magnum and I liked this more.

1976 Chateau de la Maltroye Clos de la Maltroye Rouge in 2006. After decanting, my dining room smelled like someone had just smashed a couple pounds of ripe cherries on the floor.

2009 Black Sears Zinfandel. The best Zinfandel ever made. Laser sharp smooth white pepper with a fruit backdrop.

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Hi Don, funnily enough this was going to be my answer… I had a mind blowingly good 1947 Fleurie courtesy of Eric at an unnamed steak house in Tampa. Don’t remember the maker however.

Cheers Brodie

A few:

2006 Henri Jayer Bourgogne Rouge (shocked that this was just a Bourgogne rouge)
1982 la Lagune (punched way above its weight)
1989 Neiderhauser Steinberg Kabinett from Staatsdomaine (one of the best Kabinetts I have had)
2003 Truchot Clos de la Roche, Charmes Chambertin and GC Combottes (shocked that 2003 could be one of his best vintages)
1978 Ridge Geyserville (had this a couple of years ago and it was still going strong)
1973 Sterling Cabernet (still doing great about 5 years ago)

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That’s 82 La Lagune is a great call. I had it several years ago with MarcF. Very close in quality to the 82 Talbot. Loved them both.

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Best is hard, but I had a 90 Merryvale Profile last night that was outstanding. No expectations, but great result.

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It was an obscure grower Champagne recommended by the crew at the old Garnet Liquors back in 1988–H. Selosse was the grower. Pretty sure it was 100% Chardonnay and I think it was $15. Drank it with my now wife on Chappaquiddick beach at sunset that summer. Magic.

No contest for first here, but I’ll also mention a couple of runners-up:

NV Gallo Zinfandel from gallon bottle in 1963.
This superb bottling bears huge responsibility for my career, ie, for all of the Ptrid Swll I’ve foisted off on other people over the past 40 years. YMMV.
To my eternal shame, I do not remember the name of the person who caused it to be brought to that fateful Monday night college poker game in 1963.

A few other goodies:
1947 Jadot Beaune 1er Cru ‘Avaux’.
1961 Chateau Lanessan
NV Foppiano Petite Sirah (from jug-handled half-gallons; I laid down a case of six for 10 years, cracked one, then drank them with anybody I could over the next 30 days).

Dan Kravitz

1982 La Lagune. Held its own with the 1982 first growths at a dinner last month.


1988 Catherine et Pierre Breton Chinon Beaumont
1994 Weingut Hermann Ludes Klüsserather Bruderschaft Riesling Auslese
1991 Souverain Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve Alexander Valley

2002 Fery-Meunier Charmes Chambertin consumed in 2012. An obscure negotiant stateside, it absolutely held myself and two friends speechless. Good vintage, good vignoble, so we had reasonable expectations but this was wonderful wine. Minerality, finesse, depth, balance, not a lot of oak. This might be the my answer to this question forever.

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1988 Heidsieck Monopole Diamant Rose - One of the last great wines from a house that lost its way and greatness in the era when Mumm owned it and only got worse once Vranken took over. This drank brilliant into the late 2000s. It is tired now, but I still have a bottle left to track how it evolves once past its peak.

1992 Jean Laurent Rose - Not the greatest Champagne vintage, but one that has excelled for Rose. This bottle is not only the best Rose I have had from the vintage, but the best Champagne and it stands tall and proud with the best Rose from any vintage. An absolutely beautiful wine that I no longer have bottles of, but one I do have fond memories of.


1994 Gallo Estate Cabernet Sauvignon – I could pick these up for ~$30-$35/bottle on the secondary market in the mid-2000s. An absolutely stellar wine suffering from the name on the label that made the entire family rich. When I snuck these into blind tastings against labels priced 5x greater it more than held its own.

The 1978 Gallo Cabernet Sauvignon -

An early release just labeled ‘California’ and sold for five bucks. I was kind of a snot in the early 80s, and pretty much poo-pooed this wine, but held on to the bottle. In the late 1980s, the tastiing group I was in had a blind tasting of '78 California cabs. I remember bringing a bottle of Diamond Creek Gravelly Meadow (which was tight as a nun’s … at that point) but I also brought the '78 Gallo bagged to throw on the table. Everyone, and I mean everyone thought it was the '78 Lafite as a ringer. And this was an older group raised on mature Bordeaux.

Well…if we are going to Gallo-out here…1994 Frei Ranch Cab…1997 Barrelli Creek! Blew socks off in the day! [worship.gif]

Sometime in the 2003-2005 time frame I purchased a half bottle of H. Lignier Bourgogne Rouge for $3.99 off a clearance rack at a local wine store. That was a beautiful wine truly punching way above its weight.

Clos Roche Blanche, pretty much universally but the Côt in particular.

1986 Talbot

1985 Rousseau Gevrey Chambertin village when 12-15 years old – wow!
1986 Chasse Spleen
1990 Marquis de Terme

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