Friday Night Poker TNs - Pape Clement, Seavey, ESJ, Dain...

From last nights poker game:

1973 Pape Clement
High shoulder fill, cork came out in 1 piece!! Slightly oxidized, but plenty to like here if you dig interesting wines and not just milkshakes. Some bitter chocolate and herbs, some cherry and even a mild licorice note round this out. Filled out some in the glass, even showed a touch of heat at one point! Totally went away though, just a fun little ride. Drink em if you got em, for $20 it’s a fun wine.

1997 Seavey
This, Monte Bello and Montelena’s 97s continue to be my favorites of the vintage. Some oak, tarry iodine, earth and even a kiss of brett get this rolling, the fruit is still huge and dense, with nice chewy tannins. Soooooooo young. Repeat, YOUNG. By the end of the night, became quite seamless with a lengthy finish.

2006 Palazzo
This hailed from Napa and is a Meritage (I think). Oaky as all hell, but there was a nice roasted meat, spice and blackberry component which was pleasant. Didn’t spend too much time on this one, not my style.

2005 Edmund St John Wylie Fenaughty
Light to medium bodied for Cali Syrah, black raspberry pixie stix, charcoal. On the sweet/candied side, but there is so much acidity and minerality that it’s not offputting by any means. For around $30, a great wine, would buy more.

1998 Chateau Larmande
Great bouquet of tobacco leaf, oak and black currant - seamless drinking and in a great spot!

2005 Dain Los Madres Syrah
I liked this more than I anticipated! Tons of roast beefy goodness backed by pepper. Only nit was a teeny plasticky note to the fruit, though it kind of darted in and out. Really nice, price dependent, I’d seek it out.

1992 Domenico Clerico Langhe Arte
My favorite wine of the lineup…lots of nebbiolo goodness, minerality, tangy-Chambolle-like fruit. Pure. Delicious!

2002 Snowden Cab
Boring, foursquare.

2007 Domaine Jean-Marc Burgaud Morgon Côte du Py
Omfg is this wine beautiful. I liked the Clerico more - but this wasnt far behind. Delicious and fragrant sums this up. Wow. Gorgeous brambly blueberry and raspberry fruit - juicy and acidic and so gulpable. But wait, there’s structure too! Apparently this stunk on night one of being open according to others, but man was this a pretty wine. MUST buy some.

There were other wines, those were my notes!

Thanks for the note on the Seavey, I’ve had this wine a few times and have had mixed results. The first time it was stunning but the last couple of times it was unapproachable.

Did you decant? And how long?

Steve - looking forward to meeting you in a couple weeks. I believe it was decanted for about an hour before I first tasted it, but it was more generous towards the 4 hour mark. Hopefully Gerry who brought it can chime in…

Nice, Peter. Thanks for the notes.

I liked the Snowden a lot more than you but I tend to agree with a lot of your other impressions. I found the '07 Burgaud to be actually tight and reserved, but I probably should have revisited it later in the night to see if I got what you got. The 06 was tight a few months back, so I think these just need a bit of time, generally.

For whatever reason, I was just not into any of the Syrahs or Shirazes last night–I got a lot of plastic notes on several of them, which I never care for.

That was my second '73 Pape Clement in 4 days and while the core was rather similar (ashy sour cherry flavors, good acidity, lighter style that picks up weight as it goes), this particular bottle drank more advanced and less fresh than Wednesday’s (which actually had the worst fill of the 11 bottles Andy got at the auction). If you liked last night’s, you may be in for a nice surprise when you hit a somewhat cleaner bottle.

The '06 Palazzo was a big disappointment. 2 people at Marty’s told me independently that it was one of the better wines they’d tried in the past few months, and I just didn’t see it in this bottle. Young, oaky, primary, not much showing through at this time.

The '97 Seavey was sort of kind of a little bit approachable at times, but overall was still tightly packed and structured. I got real good enjoyment out of it but would hold off on it if I was cellaring any.

Glad folks liked the '92 Clerico Arte Langhe–I’ll pick up some more (let me know who wants some).

A huge thanks to Zach for hosting. Who the heck won?


I think it was Kyle, followed by ZB and Blaizer (who I swear I never saw actually win a hand!)

I would be interested to try the pape clement from a better bottle. That one last night was pretty void of any structure, fruit or anything resembling aged bdx. Its interesting how vintage can affect wine. I loved the 75 pichon we had at alex’s but this 73 pape was struggling.

Seavey was a monster, still way too young. Dain and ESJ were good, I preferred the Dain. Snowden was really nice after being opened for so long. Palazzo was terrible, oak milkshake and near undrinkable. Loved the Larmande, probably one of my favorite wines of the night.

I was tipsy and opened a 94 Warre’s to finish. Too big right now, saved 1/3 of the bottle and will revisit later tonight.

Your note on the Snowden sounds like my impression the few times I have had it.

Does anyone have a recent note on Seavey 01 or 02? I’m being patient, but wondering if they should be checked on or left alone.

I’ve had the 01 a couple times towards the end of 08 and it was hot and disjointed. No experiences with the 02.

I’m really surprised at the flop wine of the night (aka Palazzo). What amount of decanting time did it have? Was it opened at least a day in advance as advised? Who has the leftovers so it can be tasted again?

We had Scott in the shop and the wine sang. I’m the first person to NOT want to taste a “new” California Meritage. The market is so overloaded with $50+ blends that I tend to avoid them. However, the '05 Palazzo was delicious on the spot; the '06 showed the potential to excel beyond its older sibling. It was only after being in a glass for several hours that it came around, spreading its quality like the tail of the peacock.

I’m sad it didn’t perform for you guys. Real shame.

I haven’t had the 2006 Palazzo yet, but the 2005 was a stunner. I had it at a huge trade tasting, and it stood out as one of my favorites among hundreds, an impression I confimed with a more controlled, hang-with-the-bottle night. I have a bottle of the 2006, so I might pop and compare.

As to the Dain wine, while I am biased due to our friendship, the Los Madres bottling has a very Crozes style to it. For me, it’s only real flaw is a shortness on the finish.

I would also highly recommend the 07 Smart Set, Dain’s swan song to Syrah. There was a little play with a rotary fermenter that year, and the results of the experiment were pretty impressive.

Thanks for the update. Not sounding super promising though!

I had the Palazzo maybe 2 years ago. Would have been the 05 I assume? It didn’t do too much for me at the time, but it was pop and pour and I only got one glass. Sounds like I should try it again!

OK, one month in arrears with the notes from this get-together, so nothing new to see here… Just for the record.

Back at the end of May, Zach had a few of us over for some poker and pizza on a Friday night. Everyone brought a bottle and Zach provided plenty of extras.

2007 Jean-Marc Burgaud Morgon Cote du Py Vieilles Vignes. The nose of this wine is shy and tight right now, with gentle strawberry, fern, ash and earth aromas that are fairly pretty but certainly restrained. I find it to again be tight and youthful on the palate, with a pinched feeling where everything is being played very close to the vest. Taut, drying tannins and a crisp acidic edge frame finely-honed red fruit that seems to be showing just a fraction of its future potential. I would wait at least 2 years before trying this again.

2006 Ben Glaetzer Shiraz Grenache Wallace Barossa Valley. The nose on this wine is young and right out there with a ton of pure kirsch and crushed raspberry fruit. However, there are also some dark smoke notes around the edges and, more importantly, an annoying dusty rubber smell that I can’t help but wish would go away–as it gets in the way of the purity more than adding any sense of complexity. In the mouth, it is back to very open and fruity on the entry, though it turns more structured in the middle and back of the palate in spite of a tart mouth-puckering acidity. It does have a very smooth texture throughout the mouth, though, and the big tannins are pretty well-polished already. It lacks for nuance right now, though, and could use a few years to bring the promising raw material together.

2005 Epsilon Shiraz Barossa Valley. This is a much more rough-hewn, muscular and brawny effort that features big aromas of black currant, patent leather, dark tire tread and black lava rocks. Thankfully, it tastes better than it smells–with a nice smooth and cohesive feel to the rich dark fruit packaged in a full-bodied frame. It is a low acid wine, enhancing the bodacious body and texture. Some spicy wood and jalapeno flavoring come in to add accent to the dark fruit on the nice finish. I’m not sure that the nose can ever catch up to the palate here, but if it does, I would be a much bigger fan of the wine.

1973 Chateau Pape Clement Pessac-Leognan. Once Peter arrived and Andy delivered him a few bottles of this wine from the recent Skinner auction, in went the corkscrew and out came the cork. Sadly, this bottle was not the equal of the one Andy and I had enjoyed a few nights earlier, but variation is certainly to be expected at this point in the wine’s life. First off, this bottle smells a bit caramelized from oxidation, but it manages to marry that to aromas of horsehide, jalapeno, chocolate and dusty earth in a decent mélange. Like the other bottle, it is lighter-bodied, but not really overly-delicate or in danger of fading in the glass. This one features some bright-toned red fruit, caramel, ash and bell pepper flavors and an unfortunate touch of sharp alcohol poking through at times. Overall, it is more advanced, less fresh and further down the slope than the previous bottle, but if one keeps expectations reasonable, it is still a fun old claret to enjoy with friends.

2000 Robert Mondavi Winery Merlot Stags Leap District. The nose of cedar dust, cassis, musky incense, fruitcake and eucalyptus is young and a bit much, but at the very least affords a good deal of fun. In the mouth, though, this is showing way too much wood in all aspects. The appealing fruit is rounded and smooth with some zippy spices, but overall the wine is suffering from too much oak and too much alcoholic heat showing through right now. That fruity exuberance is hidden by this treatment, and only time will tell if that all works out for it somehow.

1987 Beaulieu Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Rutherford. I am not sure if I was alone in this, but I thought I detected some chlorine taint in the nose of this wine early on. Still, the wine pushes ahead with other aromas of mixed blue and purple berries, chalk and dusty earth. However, it seems to fade in and out a bit in an uneven fashion–making me think the wine has some taint it is trying to deal with. In any event, the wine features a lot of sour cherry flavor in the mouth, with drying and mouth-puckering acidity ever-present. I just find it too astringent and dusty at this point. While it could be flaws at work, I think this is just tired.

2005 Edmunds St. John Syrah Wylie-Fenaughty El Dorado County. This one features a wide-open bouquet of brambly, briery, rugged berry fruit, grape stems and fallen branches sitting atop a streak of really unappealing industrialized rubber. I really don’t like it at all. In the mouth, the dark, funky, incense-tinged fruit is pure and intensified by supporting dark chocolate flavors. It manages to avoid being too full-bodied and in fact really displays a sense of knowing how to achieve perfect balance to all of its traits. That is impressive, but I just don’t personally like the profile of the wine.

1998 Chateau Larmande St. Emilion. This wine has a nice, pretty nose of sweet cherry compote balanced well by notes of rawhide tassels, forest underbrush, cinnamon, and rich milk chocolate. In the mouth, this wine is still pretty darned youthful, with a plethora of saliva-sucking tannin. Otherwise, though, it is smooth and velvety-textured, with full, cylindrical fruit filling the mouth, especially through the expansive mid-palate. But those tannins come back on the finish and are just too heavy right now. Give this one another 2 to 4 years before trying again. One of my four favorite wines on the night.

1992 Domenico Clerico Langhe Arte. The color of this wine is slightly faded, but it still appears plenty healthy. And it is. The nose is really interesting—offering up a cornucopia of scents like pungent dried roses, red currants, brambly mixed berries, ash, saddle leather, dry forest floor and musky perfume. In the mouth, it still has plenty of both acidic and tannic structure, with sharp red currant and strawberry fruit carried along by a silky texture. The tannins are still kicking a bit and I think this could hang around for a while, though it is not going to improve. A really interesting wine and in my top three wines of the night.

2005 Dain Wines Syrah Sojourn Las Madres Vineyard Carneros. I’m not sure what it was with my palate on this night, but I just could not find a Syrah that appealed to me for some reason. This one features an inky, corpulent nose of vulcanized rubber, white pepper, tomato leaf and both black currant and black berry fruit. The savory notes are a constant, while the darker fruit turns a bit toward the red and sexy side later in the evening. Either way, though, it just isn’t my cup of tea. In the mouth, this wine is absolutely intense, rich, thick and chewy, with a much-needed acidic off-set saving the day a bit. This is heady, cocktail style stuff that is pleasant enough in terms of the fruit, but just too obvious right now.

1999 Joao Portugal Ramos Vinho Regional Alentejano Marques de Borba Reserva. CORKED.

1997 Seavey Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley. This wine has a smooth, polished and classy nose that slowly unfolds and feathers in ever-more-interesting notes as it goes. Aromas of pretty melted milk chocolate, worn leather moccasin, smoke and fuzzy cassis are richly enveloping and nicely engaging. Perhaps as expected, the wine is still young and tannic in the mouth, which is obvious right from the get-go. There is a good deal of bright, yet sticky mixed fruit flavors that give the wine a lot of stuffing, but there are also the tannins to contend with. The fruit has a lot of character that shines through no matter what, though, and despite the struggles this puts up, it gets better and better and I find myself liking it more and more. I would just continue to let it rest a while longer if I owned any of it. Definitely a top three wine for me.

2006 Palazzo Red Wine Napa Valley. This wine opens up with aromas of spiced blackberries, currants, licorice, tea leaves and some leafy greens. Later, some higher-toned black raspberry-tinged aromas come in, but the wine begins to give off a lot of alcohol fumes—burning the nostrils in a big way. On the palate, this is just brutally tough, hugely sticky and totally mouth-punishing right now. It shows a massive amount of fruit and a lot of sappy texture, but comes across as a fruit and oak bomb to me. Whatever this will become in the future, it is lost on me right now.

2002 Snowden Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley. The final wine of the night has a very attractive nose of classy black currants, dark earth and sexy incense that is easy and engaging. This wine really fills all the crevices of the mouth with flavor, but in a very nice way with fine balance and pleasing structure. It has both a sweet black fruit and a sexy savory blend going on that really works well in a yin-yang sort of way. It has a very lasting, persistent presence on the palate, ending long and smooth and mouth-watering. Fine tannins do sneak in late to start coating the teeth a bit, but the wine works no matter what. It gives plenty of sexy pleasure right now and should last a good while longer at this level. Among my favorites of the night, for sure, no matter what Peter says!


forget the wine, i want to hear about the poker!

I think Kyle and Zach took home the biggest part of the purse (QPR wine caches). I nursed crappy cards all night before hitting a good streak and then lost all in to Zach as he hit a King on the flop. Shit happens in poker, I guess… hitsfan" onclick=";return false;

Had it last week and I loved it.

He does awesome Pinot as well…

Thanks, Mark. Pretty similar description, I would say, but it was just too much for me and just right for you. I have a bunch of Dain in the cellar, but minimal Syrah. I’m going to let it age a bit longer.


Yeah, the Sauvage Juliet is rocking and it has that nice bright acidity that makes it ageworthy.

After playing head to head with Kyle at the end, I conceded and he took First place, and I grabbed the second place winnings. I don’t recall who was third???