Notes from New Year's Eve Dinner: Valentino, Bertani, Dauvissat, LMHB and a few etcs

Dinner at the house of a close friend and amazing chef. He had put together a 12 course meal for 14 people, and the food was serious and utterly delicious. Some of the people there were wine geeks, the rest seemed to really savor the wines.

Billecart Salmon 2000 from a double magnumThis seemed at its peak, and it was showing beautifully. Rich, and racy at the same time; white fruit, a touch of apricot and an edge of brioche. Complex and ready to go. 92 points

Zind Humbrecht 2004 Gewurtz
A single vineyard. Clos Windsbuhl. Delicious. young, so vibrant. sweetness held in check. Very primary, grapefruit and white pepper. 91 points

Schlumberger 1976 VT Gewurtz: Just beginning to fade but showing vestigial fruit and minerality. With the 3 layered vegetable, it really sang, and seemed to gain extra layers. 90points without food, 94 points with.

Valentino Riserva 1978 Yup, here it is again, an absolute favorite of mine, and served with wild mushrooms and pasta. And what a showing, certainly my wine of the night. The complex mature flavors of a great Barolo, a core of sweet rosewater, earth, smoke and cherries. Perfect, not going anywhere. 97 points.

JJ Prum Gracher Himmelreich 1976 BA
Occasionally I am hit by a wine that I don’t feel like scoring. Often it is not the best wine at the table, but it seems to speak more resonantly to me than others. Such was the Prum. The scents of summer, white peaches, apricot acacia flowers and honey. Mature delicious and holding up well. I loved the wine.

Dauvissat les Preuses 1996
There was a recent note on the 2006 Preuses. It is not my favorite Dauvissat bottling, I prefer the minerality of the Les Clos, but this was a delight. Rich, big fruit, lime peel and a buttery edging. Good acidity without it being the 1996 problems. And not a sign of premox 92 points

La Mission Haut Brion 1967 in magnum.
When I was asked what my favorite wine was, I said La Mission and lo and behold this appears. Color showing only a disc of crimson surrounded by the mahogany color of aging. Yet the nose was still surprisingly young, plenty of Graves character particularly the cedar, and a slight note of eucalyptus on the palate. It shows a little of the dilution of the vintage, but enough intensity to make a delicious easygoing food wine. 90 points

Beaune Marconnets Bouchard 1962
I brought this wine, so as well as sporting a corroded capsule and a 4 inch ullage, it had been shaken and stirred from a train ride followed by two in the subway. We let it rest as long as possible, opened it, decanted it (long discussion but with 14 people I did not want the last pour to be only sediment) and it hit a glass with a bang. Beautiful aged Burgundy, soft complex all about about leafmeal, smoke and cherry. Delicious 93 points.

Bertani Amarone 1971
I love the Bertani style. This was typical of the seventies Bertanis possessing an elegance and complexity; of rich plums, Christmas pudding (the British one not to be confused with Christmas cake) coffeee and bitter chocolate. Beautiful texture, vied with the Valentino as my wine of the night. 97 points.