Working on some recent notes. Starting w/ some Rhone wines:
1997 Thierry Allemand Cornas Chaillot - as great as these wines drink relatively young (the 11 is drinking great), at age 20, this is killer. Insanely savory, with gripping acidity. Rugged and beautiful, like it should be.
2009 Domaine Jamet Cote Rotie - still somewhat primary, but hints of the animal side starting to show here. Great fruit, will be really good. Great balance.
1999 Domaine Jean Louis Chave Hermitage - this is a wine from heaven. Everything was clicking. Great fruity, but gamey and savory, outstanding freshness on the palate. Total Knockout!
To the Southern Rhone…
2001 Clos des Papes Chateauneuf du Pape - 01 has tended to be my favorite vintage of CdP for current drinking. The wines are not over the top, and show great character. This was a really nice wine, though to me didn’t scale the heights of some of the Northern Rhones noted above. Red fruit, spicy, elegant wine.
Lastly for my Rhone section, not quite a Rhone, but some Syrah from California and a very special bottle:
2004 Carlisle Syrah Judge Family Vineyard - this is a special one for us. Back in 2010, when my oldest son Dylan was born, we drank this in the hospital. In 2014, when my younger son Cody was about to be born, I reached out to Mike Officer to see if he had any left. Those who know Mike will not be surprised that as a gift he sent me not one, but two bottles from his personal stash and signed them too! So we drank one of them in the hospital when Cody was born. And we decided to crack the last bottle this February for Cody’s 3rd birthday! Even if the wine sucked, it would have been special, but of course, it did not suck. I’ve always loved Mike’s syrahs from Bennett Valley. The “cooler” climate suited them well. Excellent fruit, great balance, a perfect Carlisle wine. Thanks again Mike!
1958 Giacomo Conterno Barolo Riserva Vini Pregiati - bottle was in perfect condition, yet it was underwhelming. Color was transulcent ruby. Very pretty. Nose was of red fruit, but a bit flat. Wine just missing x factor.
Speaking of X Factor, these next two wines had it in spades:
1964 Bruno Giacosa Barbaresco Santo Stefano Riserva Speciale - bucket list wine for me, and opened for my wife’s birthday. So pure and soft and elegant on the palate. Great sweetness typical in some of the best Giacosa. Mesmerizing.
1971 Gaja Barbaresco Sori San Lorenzo - as good as the Giacosa was, this was even better. Maybe the best Gaja wine I’ve had, and I really like especially old Gaja. Had a quality of brininess that I find to be my favorite quality in the best old Nebbiolo. Gives the wine almost an umami vibe. Like to have this wine with a seared piece of Otoro could be the greatest thing in life! Absolutely brilliant, and easily in the top 10, maybe 5 nebbiolo that I’ve ever had.
1967 Bruno Giacosa Barolo - the Giacosa normales from 67 are standing up today as really good wines, when they are in good condition. Consistent performers, like the Gaja 67s, that definitely lead me to the conlusion that 67s still have good life left. Good dried red fruit here mixed with some of that brininess. Nice balance on the palate. Really good.
1990 Bruno Giacosa Barbaresco Santo Stefano Riserva - this bottle was a touch off. Not spoiled, but not perfect condition. A very slightly oxidative note marred what was clearly a great wine. The palate presence here was exquisite, but I couldn’t get past knowing the nose just wasn’t right.
1982 Aldo Conterno Barolo Riserva Granbussia - absolute worldbeater. In line with the 89 and 71 as the best Granbussia I’ve had. Mesmerizing. Spellbinding. Just entering what I think will be a monster drinking window of epic proportions. Similar flavor profile to the 71 Gaja noted above, but clearly more youthful. Dynamite.
1964 Marengo Barolo Riserva Speciale - this was in surprisingly good condition. I don’t know the producer. Wine had very pronounced red fruit profile. Not particularly complex but was in good shape.
1964 Gaja Barbaresco - From the same dinner, but no picture - excellent wine, great condition, consistent performer. Just love the 60s era Gajas
1975 Vietti Barbaresco Masseria - also same dinner. This one was oxidized, such a shame, hard to find old Vietti around.
1999 Giuseppe Mascarello Barolo Monprivato - sound bottle but didn’t show as well as it has in the past for me. A wine I usually really like. Just felt somewhat flat tonight.
1974 Produttori del Barbaresco Rabaja Riserva - brutally oxidized, ouch!
1982 Produttori del Barbaresco - this was a fun one. Amanda and I occasionally play “guess that wine” at home. She doesn’t usually pull Nebbiolo when we do, so I was pleasantly surprised to smell the decanter and immediately smile. I guessed the vintage but missed the producer. I called Conterno, and it was a Produttori normale! Talk about punching above your weight class. This one kicked butt!
1997 Sandrone Barolo Cannubi Boschis - this was outstanding. Really complex, great nose of red fruit, spice. Outstanding on the palate. Truly excellent.
Adding the few burgs that I meant to, starting with a pair of 05s:
2005 Dujac Files & Pere Vosne-Romanee 1er Cru Aux Malconsorts - spicy, great red fruit. I adored this wine.
2005 Nicolas Potel Romanee Saint-Vivant - I have to say after the Dujac, this felt like childs play. While it may be from RSV, this wine showed me nothing. Not that there was anything wrong with it, but if I tasted blind, I would never have guess this was Grand Cru stuff.
2002 Roumier Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Les Cras - forgot to take a picture but my friend who we dined with put it on his instagram, so I have a pic after all! His note said it all!
2013 Kracher Zweigelt Beerenauslese - not Burgundy, but the same meal. This was a very cool red beerenauselse, something I’ve never had. Went really well with all the desserts. Sweet but acidic. Very nice.
Excellent, on point, notes on many spectacular wines! And great with pictures! What a wonderful gesture from Mike Officer. Sounds like you also appreciated it duely. I didn’t even know he had made a Syrah from this vineyard!
Nice pictures of some great bottles, Daniel. And what a nice gesture from Mike. Thanks for posting the story of your son’s birth!
Hans, I believe that 2004 was the only year that Mike made a Syrah from the Judge Family Vineyard. I remember a few other years from Bennett Valley, but none that said Judge Family Vineyard on the label. I started buying with the 2003 vintage, so perhaps he made one before that year.
Thanks for sharing Daniel, I love reading your old Nebbiolo notes. I’m looking forward to receiving some of the older Produttori normales that I’ve got sitting in Italy. I’m just waiting for the Australian summer to end before having them shipped! IIRC I’ve got the '70, '71, and '74 awaiting shipment. I’ll share on here when I do pop the corks!
I’m almost certain the 04 was the only Judge vineyard made. The Cardiac Hill was the other Bennett Valley single vineyard, which was made from my dear friends, Jim and Gloria Mack’s vineyard (Jemrose). An awesome site. The Judge vineyard was down the block.
2007 Schrader Beckstoffer To Kalon - you know what to expect here, feels like it hasn’t aged a day. Big and sexy, voluptous wine. Delivers exactly what its supposed to. Good fun.
2013 Memento Mori - this was one of the best young cali cabs I’ve had in a while. Super balanced, with nice enough acidity to balance the fruit. Been really pleased with this winery and the 13 is better than the 12. Excellent stuff.
2014 Sine Qua Non Syrah Piranha Waterdance - super young, but decided to try this out. Frankly it was a mistake. Really gave nothing to me at this stage. I think put away and try again in a few years.
2012 Ojai Vineyard Syrah Bien Nacido Vineyard - Ojai is one of my California staples. I find their wines tremendous. Great fruit, spice, and beautiful acidity to round it all out. Excellent.
1970 Cappellano Barolo - this was exquisite. Cork in great shape. Another example of a wine from the 1970 vintage, which as noted in the Giacosa thread, often gets overlooked b/c of the greatness of 1971. Well stored 70s are very good. This wine had an almost burgundian vibe to it, with aromas of forest floor alongside more traditional nebbiolo themes. Still possessing ample tannins, this one has a lot of life left, but is in the early stages of a great drinking zone.
1964 Franco Fiorina Barolo - not so lucky here. DOA big time. Though I have to say the bottle was pretty cool. Not sure I’ve seen the glass imprint on the back of a bottle before. I dug that at least
1964 Burlotto Barolo - this was another adventure. Could call it “Adventures in Old Barolo”…Opened the foil, the cork was pushed halfway into the bottle, maybe more than half. However, somehow miraculously, it must have held well enough because the wine was in great shape. Really aromatic, possessing a bit of the briny quality in nebbiolo that I find intoxicating, this was an excellent wine. Almost never come across these old Burlotto wines, so pretty fun.
1978 Bruno Giacosa Barbaresco - sadly another DOA, undrinkable mess, oxidized.
1982 Cavallotto Barolo Bricco Boschis Vigna San Giuseppe Riserva - wow wine. This had so much structure I think this one will last forever. Feels like its aging glacially. Powerful, tannic, great fruit. Fun now but save it if you have it.
1964 Giacomo Conterno Barolo - on bottles of this generally show really pleasurable. Not at the Monfortino level here, but a downright enjoyable nebbiolo in a perfect stage of maturity. Don’t think it will have more to give than it does now, so drink up.
1999 Domaine Clape Cornas - buoyed by such a successful experience with the 99 Chave we opened this. While good, it didn’t wow like the Chave did. Olive was the primary flavor here. Tons of tannin and structure. Good wine but not ready.
1989 Chateau Montrose - excellent wine, really enjoyable to drink. Great balance between the fruit and tertiary notes like leather. Beautiful finish.