Cantermerle 1949, VCC 1979 and Du Tertre 1979

Thanksgiving dinner with friends.

Before we left there were half a dozen wild turkeys relaxing in our yard. Seems that they had figured that the danger was over and they could afford to relax.

The heritage version at our friends’ house was less lucky. An incredibly moist bird, accompanied by a fantastic oyster stuffing and trimmings. The secret is dry brining apparently.

We opened with a Suenen Blanc de blancs grand cru Champagne. My first experience of the producer, but as friends were telling me how good it was, I was delighted to try. It was delicious, strong apple component., crisp and I sensed it could use a few years.

Cantermerle 1949
A UK import, I bought it five years ago. We babied it a little, it was picked up the previous week by my friend who took it to his house, so it only had to make one trip. Decanted half an hour before serving. The color showed little trace of age, and there was still fruit, but also spices licorice and a trace of halls cough drop. On the palate beautifully integrated, fine tannins and long layers in the finish. 95

The VCC 1979, was just about ok, a great nose but everything else was bunched up in the middle, and a medium finish. Having just done the vertical, and knowing how well Pomerol did in 1979, this was a little disappointing. 89

The Du Tertre 1979 was a sleeper at the time, and the geeks who know are constantly on the hunt for it. With good reason. Some of the power has gone, but there is a beautiful fruit component, leather and the beginnings of earth and forest floor. Although no great hurry, it is probably time to starting to drink them up, as it won’t get better. 94


I went through the '79 Du Tertre a long time ago but it was an easy drinking wine. Glad it’s still holding.

Nice set.

Nice bottles–just polished a tranche of '85 du Tertre I had sourced. Drank beautifully and I am now on to some 2001. Seems to be an underrated and classic producer. Still?

Thanks Mark so generous to send the 49.

The Thanksgiving day menu
Paddlefish and Hackleback caviar(with blinis, egg, creme fraiche)
Mark’s famous shrimp
At table:
Heritage Bronze Turkey, herb dry brine
Additional turkey breast, with fennel seed/fennel pollen/coriander rub
Southern dressing, oyster dressing, Gluten Free dressing
butternut squash
cranberry-orange relish
cranberry sauce that slides out of the can
roasted brussels sprouts with garlic
special secret relish (aka chili crisp)
green bean and maitake casserole (non-cream of mushroom soup version)
Philip’s favorite Apple Pie, vanilla ice cream
Gluten free pumpkin and pecan pies, whipped cream
Prairie Ridge and Womanchego cheeses

As everyone arrived we started with the Suenen Blanc de Blancs Champagne (2017 base, 6/20 disgorgement) Pear, citrus, fresh baked bread. Good zip, fine mousse, bright chalky finish. B+

1949 Cantemerle (Haut Medoc)
A Mahler-Besse bottle, with great fill. Great dark fruit for 73, but really about the leather and feral notes. Concise, complex,.holds up well over entire dinner. Thanks Mark! A-

1979 Vieux Chateau Certan(Pomerol)
Nice nose of flowers over black plums, those ‘79 acids are a bit dominant on palate, with crushed berries and earth. Short finish compared to the Cantermerle or du Tertre. B

1979 du Tertre (Margaux)
An old favorite still going strong, and keeps improving through the night. Black cherry, cassis, a slight ferric note, cigarbox. Fresh, resolved tannin, good length. A-

2011 Rhys Bearwallow Pinot Noir (Anderson Valley)
Jammy red fruit, a touch of sweet cola, not my style- Mark and I agree the Rhys Santa Cruz bottlings tend to show better. B-/C+

2014 Fichet Les Gruyaches Meursault
I had this out for someone who loves white Burgundy, but Mark seduced her with 49 Cantemerle so almost all of this was left at end of dinner. Chalk, lemon, damp earth, great ‘14 acids, young but drinking well. Sadly my only bottle. A-/B+

I had a ‘94 Auslese in queue, and Mark had brought a Sauternes, but we all decided we’d had enough. Wonderful holiday dinner, with friends to treasure, nice wines, and food worthy of a feast.

Grade disclaimer: I’m a very easy grader, basically A is an excellent wine, B a good wine, C drinkable. Anything below C means I wouldn’t drink at a party where it was only choice. Furthermore, I offer no promises of objectivity, accuracy, and certainly not of consistency.

I guess it’s dating myself to say that I remember what a sleeper this was. Nice to hear it’s still motoring along nicely.

I have a magnum of 1979 du Tertre somewhere! Quite excited to get into it…