Our annual attempt to attempt to compete with the Tucson Lunch Bunch

We had our annual start of the year way too much wine dinner last night. Had three pretty solid Champagnes. The Krug 1995 was fabulous, just full of energy and full of a lot of good things. Nice acidity and structure and will live a long time. A 90 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne was also fabulous. Just wonderful flavors. I would drink this one now, however, as it does not seem to have much remaining upside - it is perfectly mature now. A 2006 Dom Perignon was also excellent, but probably lagged behind the other two.

Next we had a couple of Clos St. Hunes - a 2005 and a 2000. The 2000 was pretty rich and was perfectly mature. I would drink this now as it is unlikely to get better and could go downhill in a few years. Excellent wine with richness but perhaps a little low on acidity. The 2005 was the opposite. Still young, but with maturing flavors. This had wonderful acidity and was fresh and focused. Beautiful wine with a long future ahead of it.

On to white Burgs. A 2011 Boillot Corton Charlemagne was just outstanding. Full of energy, good acidity, this wine just kept getting better the longer it was open. A 2012 Fontaine Gagnard Criots Batard Montrachet is a wine to be drunk young. For now, it has a lot of richness and complexity and is a pretty big white Burgundy, but my guess is that this is destined for an early grave. If you want to buy them and drink them young, this is an excellent candidate. It really did not develop in the glass, however - with this wine, it was what you see, what you get.

Next we went to the reds, starting with a wonderful flight of Haut Brion. My favorite was the 1970. I have now had this wine several time now and it is consistently outstanding. Great bottle. Really complex and my favorite of the Haut Brions. I also really liked the 2001. Probably not as rich as the others, it had wonderful balance. A joy to drink. The 1996 and 1998 seemed young and closed when I first tasted them, but they really opened up and the wines were fabulous. I probably liked the 1990 the least of the Haut Brions. It was very rich, but seemed a bit less complex or elegant than the rest of the wines. All of the wines were fabulous and it is somewhat nitpicking among the wines.

Our next flight of reds was 1988 and 1990 Chave Hermitage. As red Rhones really are not my thing, I won’t say much other than I liked the 1988 much more than the 1990 and thought the 1988 was an excellent wine.

Now, we were in my territory - two wonderful flights of Burgundy. I really liked the first flight, which was a 1986 Ponsot Clos de la Roche and a 1999 Truchot MSD Clos Sorbes. The Ponsot probably was my favorite wine of the night. Ponsot’s wines remind me some of Truchot (the color on the two wines was quite similar), and this tasted like a wonderful fully aged Truchot Clos de la Roche. The 1999 Clos Sorbes started out a little off (and I would not be surprised if the wine had not been stored perfectly over the years as this was not as good as other bottles of this wine I have had over the years.). But, I still thought this was quite good and probably my second or third of the Burgundies we had.

Unfortunately, a 59 DRC Richebourg was dead. This was quite sad.

The other Burgundy flight was also at a very high level, so take all the comments in the context of that. A 2000 Mugnier Musigny was rich, but lacking a bit in elegance, which is unusual for Musigny. I had this wine a few years ago and that bottle seemed better. Still, this was Mugnier Musigny. A 2001 Rossignolt-Trapet Chambertin had a wonderful combination of power and elegance, but probably still is a few years too young. I recently had a 2001 Latricieres Chambertin from Rossignol-Trapet that really sang and this one was not quite as open. Lesson - drink the Latricieres, hold the 2001 Chambertin. Finally, a 2002 Mongeard-Mugneret Richebourg was a bit disappointing to me in the context of this flight - in any other setting it would have been a star. Very rich and powerful, it seemed to me to lack a bit of elegance. May just be too young and needs more time.

Wonderful flight of d’Yquem - 1986, 1996, 1999 and 2003. All of them were fabulous. I was surprised (and pleased) at how the 1999 fit in with the other wines and tasted like d’Yquem.

I think my favorites of the night were the Boillot Corton Charlemagne, 1970 Haut Brion, the 1986 Ponsot and the d’Yquems.

Thanks for writing this up, Howard–it really was an exceptionally enjoyable evening!

Impressive, Howard. Heavy night.

Hope your group has as much fun as we do in Tucson. You really must come out here sometime and we would be pleased to have you participate with us.


Thanks Hank. You guys did pretty well also. It would be fun to come there sometime. However, unfortunately, I could see it happening when you are in Canada - I could have to go to Phoenix for work this summer, not sure.

Randy, did you have any significant disagreements with me? I thought the wines were all quite good and I am a bit concerned that my notes magnify preferences among them well beyond what I felt drinking them.

Not really, Howard. I liked the 1998 Haut Brion a tad more than the excellent 1970, but that’s about it.

I was surprised at how good the 1998 was. A good choice.

The guys with the big cellars here aka John, Bill, Roger and David spend all or a portion of the Summers here and I know you would be welcome !

Hank [cheers.gif]

i need to come out and meet Hank, too

Nice fest!

I opened a 1990 Taittinger Comtes on NYE and it was more evolved than a bottle of the same I opened 6 months before - bottle variation?

Have to get up with you all sometime if I ever make it out of SW VA to DC area.

Could be. But, I often find that differences in bottles are the result of one of them being heat damaged. Cannot tell that the wine is ruined, just that it is not quite right. Did you own these from the start or buy them later?

Great notes Howard. It was a great night. I admit that by the time I got to the 1986 Yquem, I recall enjoying it certainly, but was not as focused on the note taking as at the beginning. I do recall just adoring the 2003 Yquem. I also liked all the Haut Brions but appreciated the purity of the 1996 and the depth of the 1998 in particular, but they were all delicious, with a silky and elegant 2001 and a smooth and refined 1970. The 1990 did have some brett but I did not mind at all and enjoyed that very much as well.

I agree with you on the Musigny. For the amount of money that fetches I penalize it for lacking that elegance. Probably needs more time in bottle. Loved absolutely the Ponsot as one of my WOTN.

The Champagnes were such a great way to start this marvelous evening!

A lot of great wines that evening. Mostly agree with Howard’s impressions. I’ll add a few random thoughts on some of the wines.

My favorite of the whole evening was probably the 1995 Krug - it’s just fabulous, very happy to have tasted it twice in a one month span. Also really liked the mature, winey 1990 Taittinger Comtes. Tough crowd for the very good 2006 Dom Perignon to hang around with.

The two white Burgundies were so different - a very rich, flavorful 2012 Fontaine Gagnard Criots Batard Montrachet and an exciting, zinging 2011 Boillot Corton Charlemagne. Totally agree on Howard’s thoughts on these two.

I’m a big fan of Haut Brion so it was great to taste 5 in a row. They were all wonderful, I think I liked the 1998 the best. I thought the two Chave Hermitage were very good but they were a little hard for me to focus on after all those Haut Brions.

Unlike Howard, I thought the 2002 Mongeard-Mugneret Richebourg was great. It was my favorite of all the red Burgs, I just loved its richness and flavor density. Also great showing by the 1986 Ponsot Clos de la Roche and the 2001 Rossignolt-Trapet Chambertin.

Four vintages of Yquem together - such a tough life. They were all outstanding. Loved the density of the 2003 and the balance of the 1996. The 1986 was rich and mature. The 1999 trailed the field in my view but still had that Yquem magic.

Wow–this thread is giving me flashbacks! I know what Chris means about the '95 Krug–just a brilliantly rendered bubbly. And that Ponsot…

Yum Yum!!! Lunches done right have no equal :slight_smile: - especially with good people and wine at the table.

Some of our group actually work. So this was a dinner, not lunch, but in channeling our inner lunch bunch we did start at 5:00.

We could do a very nice dinner with just the Krug and Taittinger.

A flight of Haut Brion and a flight of d’Yquem is really living pretty large isn’t it.

I should add that from best wine to worst we probably are talking 4-5 points, so at least for me a lot of the differences are of style rather than big differences in quality.

Fabulous dinner wines Howard. Great write up and useful notes on many wines I have cellared. Amazing that there were no flawed wines. How many attended?

11, but we also gave some wine to the chef, the waitress, etc.