Dinner with '06 Taittinger Comtes, an amazing '13 Dumenil Brut, '14 Girardin Les Folatieres, '15 Swan Pinot, '78 Remoissenet Clos de Beze, all tasted blind

Our Monday night dinner group enjoyed another fabulous evening at our venue of choice, Ca Dario Montecito.

Our blind wine theme was for 2 champagnes, a white Burgundy and 2 red Burgundy although one missed the request and brought a new world Pinot Noir.

Here’s some tasting notes:

2006 TAITTINGER COMTES de CHAMPAGNE BLANC de BLANC- blind, my bring, double brown bagged and switched around with the other champagne by our waiter, so I had a 50/50 chance to ID, but actually a bit more as I’ve had quite a few bottles {well over 100} and baring a huge bottle variation, I’m thinking it should be easy; it was not; the way this started off, I was pretty certain it was not the Comtes as it offered notes of ginger lime soda in the nose following its yellow, light green color; the taste was even more different from what I had expected with wild, honeyed and peppered melon and I’m sure I’ve never had a ’06 Comtes with these notes; so, I moved on to the 2nd champagne and it’s Comtes or maybe Cristal, but most certainly better and more to my liking; and then I went back to re-taste this and it was so different; in fact, it’s now the Comtes with everything coming together and righteously so; the final product consisted of delicious toasty brioche and honey covered lemon and yellow apple fruit, rich and creamy and yet elegant and sophisticated. BTW, this bottle had the French back label having been purchased when it was first released.

So, what is this next one?

2013 CHAMPAGNE DUMENIL SPECIAL CLUB BRUT 1er Cru- blind; 60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay, aged 6 years on the lees and sourced from choice fruit from the north slope of the Mountain of Reims in the little 1er cru village of Chigny-les-Roses as well as from Rilly-la-Montagne and Ludes; the color was a youthful yellow green which I had only observed very early on with the Comtes and that was only with a few bottles; the nose and taste profile was so good with lovely minerals and spice laced citrus fruit with lemon being most prevalent; it had a huge backbone of acidity and yet was in perfect balance; it’s frothy feel good mousse supported its full body and it wasn’t until I got a touch of red cherry that I became convinced this was not the Comtes along with the now evolved and more typical expression that allowed it to stand up and be accounted. I was all over the place trying to ID this wine, first calling it 2008 Cristal and then Dom Perignon. Another had it as 2002 DP. Regardless, this showed amazingly well and confirmed how many wonderful champagnes there are that are under the radar.


2014 MAISON VINCENT GIRARDIN Les FOLATIERES PULIGNY-MONTRACHET 1er Cru- blind; this was just lovely in every way; the color was yellow to gold; the nose had inviting mild aromas of lemon, mineral and subsequently flint notes, the latter being more struck matchstick like; once tasted, all continued on to be joined by a nice streak of honeyed yellow apple while being delivered in a medium to full bodied medium which enhanced the finish. Loved it.


2015 JOSEPH SWAN VINEYARDS SOLAS VINEYARD RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY PINOT NOIR- blind, but known to be a new world Pinot as the one who brought it missed the Burgundy theme and announced such; there was no doubt after the first nose that this was not a red Burgundy, or better yet, a new world Pinot as it was very fruit forward with fresh and ripe red cherry/ berry notes with a jujube candy like profile; on the palate, some wild cranberry and red raspberry came in and it was a delicious treat albeit needing some time to balance out; the soft and easy mouthfeel added to its pleasing attributes; I eventually called it an Anderson Valley Pinot from around 2016 perhaps from Foursight.


1978 DOMAINE REMOISSENET CHAMBERTIN- CLOS de BEZE GRAND CRU- blind and obviously a red Burgundy; the color was a deceiving dark red purple with no signs of aging; the nose suggested either some age or brettanomyces or both with an earthy, barnyard character that eventually blew off leaving us with the joy of a fine, aged wine more than ready to please; earthy, leather laced black currant was most prominent in this full bodied wine that surprisingly seemed to improve with more time in the glass; we had poured both reds well ahead of tasting them, so it had already had 30 minutes of air time.

We discussed the appellation and the sole use of Chambertin on some labels or only Clos de Beze. Here’s some info from Wikipedia:

“Chambertin-Clos de Bèze is an Appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC) and Grand Cru vineyard for red wine in the Côte de Nuits subregion of Burgundy, with Pinot noir as the main grape variety. Chambertin-Clos de Bèze is located within the commune of Gevrey-Chambertin, together with a group of nine Grand Cru vineyards all having “Chambertin” as part of their name. It is located uphill from (to the west of) the Route des Grands Crus, borders on Chambertin in the north, Griotte-Chambertin and Chapelle-Chambertin in the east (across the road) and Mazis-Chambertin in the north. The AOC was created in 1937.

Under AOC regulations some wine from Chambertin-Clos de Bèze may be labeled as just Chambertin. Since Chambertin-Clos de Bèze has a good reputation on its own, this is not widely practiced.

In general, Chambertin and Chambertin-Clos de Bèze are seen as one notch in quality above the other seven Grands Crus with “Chambertin” as part of their name. This is also reflected in a small difference in the allowed yield, where Chambertin and Chambertin-Clos de Bèze are restricted to a base yield of 35 hl/ha, while the other seven are allowed 37 hl/ha.”




Great notes as always, and some educational value as well.

Sounds like Dumenil Special Club is one to look around for. There’s no more 2013 in the market, though, except at that weird Pennsylvania government monopoly store.

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Special order, means it’s probably not available.