Blind tasting~ Jadot, Rhys, Hosanna, Ch Margaux, Sassicaia with a surprise winner

One is humbled by such things… Blind tasting!

10 of us got together for our 15th blind tasting and it was my turn to host again (I hosted the 1st one). It was my intention to make this interesting and educational rather than trying to confuse everyone.
While almost everyone guessed that first flight was burgundy I don’t think anyone guessed Villages. All 3 burgundies showed well and were very site specific, Puligny was well balance and most ready, Chassagne, which was my fav of the flight showed the power with nice lemon and minerality while Meursault was creamy.

Second flight was rather interesting and we were divided. I liked the brightness of Jadot with aromas of wild raspberry and elegance. I think this one is closing down and should be revisited in 10 years. Rhys on the nose had dark raspberry concentrate and incredible balance, Keith went crazy for it and guessing it was Chambolle. I loved the Rhys and consider tham to be the best Californian Pinot and kudos to Kevin for making wines with such a balance and harmony.

In third flight clear winner was Hosanna, which was such a beautiful and balanced wine. Castello di Ama was big and ripe and seamed little out of balance.

Fourth flight was very interesting and there was our unsuspected WOTN, Benziger Cab Reserve, which unfortunately is not made anymore. It was the last wine poured and we went wow. Margaux was very primary, loaded with ripe fruit, 3 tasters choose it as their #1 while 6 Choose Benziger
(in parentheses are how many first, second, third and so on places did wine get)

1st flight
2004 Jadot Puligny Montrachet Clos de la Garenne, DDM (4,4,2,0)
2004 Jadot Chassagne Montrachet La Romanée (6,3,0,1)
2004 Jadot Meursault Les Perrieres (0,2,7,1)
2004 Craggy Range Chardonnay, Les Beaux Cailloux (0,1,1,8)

2nd flight
2006 Jadot Griottes-Chambertin (5,3,1,1)
2006 Rhys Pinot Noir Swan Terrace (4,5,0,1)
2006 Chacra “32”, Patagonia (1,1,5,3)
2006 Chacra “55”, Patagonia (0,1,4,5)

3rd flight
2002 Craggy Range Merlot, Gimblett Gravels (0,7,2,0)
2001 Chateau Hosanna, Pomerol (8,0,0,2)
2000 Castello di Ama, Vigna l’Apparita Merlot (0,1,1,7)
1999 Benziger Merlot, Reserve (2,1,6,0)

4th flight
1996 Chateau Margaux (3,2,2,2,1)
1996 Sassicaia (0,1,5,0,4)
2000 Cos d’Estournel (0,2,3,3,2)
2000 Sassicaia (1,2,2,4,1)
1997 Benziger Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserve (6,3,0,1,0)

I am very impressed with your ability to not only pour each wine but to record all votes for first second etc…
Wish we could have spent more time with the last flight. How far in advance did you open the Margaux and Sassicaia?

They were open at 2;30, spent two hours in a decanter and poured back into the bottle.

Lots of fun, thanks for including me in this one. What a great format for a tasting to have one person put together a lineup instead of the usual free-for-all. The Rhys was easily my wine of the night followed by the three white Burgundies.

Gee, I wonder who proposed the the 2006 Swan would make a great ringer in a Burg Tasting… [wink.gif]


I don’t have good notes on the last two flights which were mostly monolithic fruit to me (the Hosanna was my favorite of those flights), but here are my reactions to some of the wines…

2004 Louis Jadot Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Clos de la Garenne Domaine du Duc de Magenta
Very nice. Pure and chalky but with a fleshy, creamy fullness at its core. This was served first and came across more simple than the other wines in the flight, which led me to think that we were dealing with an ascending hierarchy, but despite that this was my favorite of the flight for its cleansing purity and soft touch.

2004 Louis Jadot Chassagne-Montrachet La Romanée
Served between the Puligny Clos de la Garenne and the Meursault Perriers. Certainly vis-a-vis the Puligny it managed to show the stereotypical communal differences in that this seemed thicker and deeper-toned. Aromatically it wasn’t as expressive as the Puligny but a bit sharper.

2004 Louis Jadot Meursault 1er Cru Les Perrières
A major departure from the Chassagne and Puligny – a bigger, fuller, creamier wine but also with a prickly, sparkling acidity to it. I preferred the purer and more open-knit Puligny but figured nevertheless this wine was probably higher on the hierarchy in some sense, which I guess is true if you’re one of those people who considers Perrières a de facto grand cru.

2006 Louis Jadot Griottes-Chambertin
Ouch. Poured blind and this was a perfectly pleasant drink, but I was figuring it might be a Santenay or something like that. From a grand cru in general and Griotte in particular you definitely expect something more substantial. I have not been much of a fan of the 2006 red Burgundy vintage and this sort of demonstrates why; lighter vintages are useful when they have personality and early drinkability going for them, but this wine like many '06s has the lightness without much personality at all.

2006 Rhys Pinot Noir Swan Terrace Alpine Vineyard
Poured blind and really blew my mind when the label was revealed. I had not even considered for a moment that this might be anything other than a red Burgundy. The enticing maply scent, red-fruited palate, and evocative base of powdered white stones had me thinking Chambolle-Musigny and while it might have been a bit rich in body for that address I was willing to believe it was one of the vineyards on the Morey side. I can’t believe how much more transparent this has gotten since release, when it was a huge bruiser of primary fruit.

2006 Bodega Chacra Pinot Noir Treinta y Dos
Well, what do you know, two and a half years since the last time I had this and once again my notes on this read, “Tastes like NZ pinot.” Clearly pinot but slick and glossy and obviously New Worldy but without carrying any candied flavors. It’s not bad, but this is a very ambitiously priced wine from bona fide old vines; you expect more grip and character from this kind of material. I kept some in my glass because I wanted to see if it revealed anything more with air but unfortunately it stayed pretty primary. I wish I could keep a few bottles of this in the cellar to see if age does anything for it, but at the price this sells for it’s impossible to justify that kind of experiment.

2006 Bodega Chacra Pinot Noir Cincuenta y Cinco
Poured blind. This was a shocker not only because of how it tastes in isolation but how different it tastes from the Treinta y Dos from the same winery. I didn’t sense any family resemblance whatsoever between the two and didn’t consider for a second that this might even be pinot noir. I kept wavering between modernist Barolo and modernist Tuscan and I think that’s where most people were on this. This had more oak and more grippy tannin than the Treinta y Dos and less fruit sweetness and gloss; the fruits were also redder while the Treinta y Dos was kind of blue-fruited. If you had asked me to guess which was the older-vine bottling I would have guessed this one unhesitatingly. Wrong. (These vines were planted in 1955, the other in 1932, hence the names.) But even though it tastes like a more serious wine it’s a little unsettling how little it tastes like anything made from pinot noir.

1996 Château Margaux
Poured blind in a flight with 2000 Cos d’Estournel, a pair of Sassicaia’s, and a California cabernet, all of which tasted kind of New Worldy to me. I had this down as my favorite but I can’t say I loved any of them at least in terms of current drinking. This is very richly fruited stuff showing essentially no development whatsoever for its 12 years in the bottle. It’s not bad and I had it down as my favorite of the flight mostly because it seemed a bit better proportioned than the rest, but it was still pretty much a one-note wine. If you’re looking for a first-growth experience out of this it seems likely that if it’s destined to happen at all it’s at least two decades away.

Looks like a great time. Yet another example of how a $600+ auction wine doesn’t always outshine something you might find knocking around < $75. Loved that 06 Jadot Griottes…but Zachy’s asking $250 = very salty. The results certainly speak well for the Rhys and I’m happier to have one. Interesting flighting with the 2 Chileans. Just haven’t been wowed by Bodega Chacra’s PN efforts (YMMV).


Interesting note, Keith, as this wine was drunk on the other coast - not blind - and Frank Murry III had a very different impression, if I read his notes correctly. Different palate, different context, different format (open vs blind). FWIW, the '06 Rhys Alpine (not Swan Terrace) that I served last Friday also fit right in with a range of Burgs served blind.

FWIW I was convinced the Rhys was a pinot not from Burgundy. On the other hand I was also convinced the Jadot Griottes was a high end Beaujolais so you can see how much my guesses are worth :slight_smile:.

Bottle variation, stages of the moon and all perhaps, but I recently tasted that 06 Swan double-blind and thought it might be a Kosta Browne or even Zinfandel. Chock full of cola and syrupy (so I get Keith’s maple note). Different strokes maybe.

I love me some Meursault Perrieres, wish I could afford it to drink on a regular basis. Bouchard in particular seems to do well with the vineyard.

Think of the money you’ll save with the real thing [cheers.gif]. Nothing like blind.

FWIW, Alesia/Rhys usually sticks out as Cali/new world in the blind Burg line-ups I’ve tried (probably 4+ times). Looking forward to Rhys PNs that break the streak.


Thanks for the notes, sounds like a really interesting dinner.


I think a little bit of bottle age makes the difference. I don’t think I would have confused any of the '06s for Burgundies when they came out, but now they taste very Burgundian. My bet is that it becomes even harder to tell the difference when they have some real age on them.

Actually, the wine was served to me blind, albeit in a decanter without labeling. I tried it and was trying to pin it down, as it first seemed to show black cherry, something older world but then I swirled it, sat with it, and then he revealed what it was. I then spent more time with it and it did seem to be just quite a bit bigger and more forward then I would have thought. Given the context for how the wine was served, it was alongside Echezeaux, Richebourg and Clos St Denis, all were much more restrained comparatively. In fact, the Rhys here was more like the 02 Clos Pepe VS bottling nex to it (which I also liked, but a more forward style for sure), then the aforementioned. Keith’s impression above talks about ‘rich in body’…I can concur with that.

FWIW, having just tasted the 2009 Swan last month, I found the vintage to be much more to what I drive towards now, far different than the 2006 in comparison:

Posted from CellarTracker

Really fun tasting and an insane lineup, thanks Leo! (And thanks Jay for covering me on stemware)

My thoughts on the flights/wines… Loved the Romanée and the Clos de la Garenne in the first flight - the Perrieres I thought showed a little tight, nicely balanced but more about future promise than current enjoyment. The Craggy Range was fascinating - managing to convey both oxidative/nutty flavours and fresh fruit at the same time - tasted quite similar to some older white Riojas I’ve had. Very nice, though I preferred the Jadots.

The Jadot Griottes may have been my favourite of the evening - really polished and finessed with a lightness of touch I found very appealing.
The Rhys was excellent - quite ripe and a little sweet, but impeccably balanced with a polished, glossy mouthfeel, good structure and impressive length. Certainly the best wine I’ve had from Rhys. Wasn’t a fan of either of the Chacras - found both a little too slick, confected and slightly overripe for my liking.

Flights 3 and 4 were really fascinating - was really taken by the Craggy Range Merlot - thought that was an '03 Super Tuscan at first with the ripe fruit, chocolate and some slightly roasted flavour elements. It got much better with air, and that and the Hosanna were the two standouts of the Merlot flight for me.
Both Sassicaias were incredibly young, brooding and tannic - my favourites of the flight were the Margaux and the Benziger, which was quite the shocker. Thought it was fantastic though - very well balanced, pure, elegant and a really classic, polished Cabernet. Must look out for some of those older Benzigers after this tasting…

Always fun to drink blind.

A few surprises - some not so much.

The Craggy Range Chard was definitely not my cup of tea

The Chacra’s were flat out bad wines.

Benziger’s performed WAY over their labels

Big “thank you” to Leo for including me.

I am sorry to have missed this one. I am thinking of moving my cancelled March hosting to September 15, 2011, which is my 60th Birthday and will certainly justify pulling out some fun stuff to drink.