Wifey is down in Palm Beach with the girls, so I had a couple of nights catching up with my buddies over some excellent bottles. Snuck in some great cycling, too. House is a mess, I could be in trouble. Client lunch meeting at noon, thinking about cracking something nice as well. Overall killer weekend, and after a crazy 3-week work and work-travel schedule, this is exactly the kind of weekend I needed to catch up.
2005 Domaine Levet Cote Rotie Les Journaries
La Chavaroche is the flagship, but there are some years when I think Les Journaries shines better. Perhaps that is a bit overstated, though, as La Chav just takes so darn long to come around. La Chav is older vine syrah from Cote Brune, while Les Journaries is younger vines from La Landonne. The 2013 is spectacular. This 2005 is damn fine as well, and is starting to enter its drinking window. Has the Levet signature purfume of stems, black olives and game. Very savory wine, rustic but in a good way, grainy sense on the palate, broad range of crisp red fruits and some spicey darks. Leather, iron, rust and iodine. Still has some tannic bite, but softening. The Islay Malt of Cote Rotie. (93 pts.)
1983 Chateau Cantemerle
Lovely. Pretty. Classic. Could not have asked for a cleaner bottle of this mature beauty. Cork pulled cleanly, really ready to go on pop and pour. We decanted it but dove straight in. A lovely Bordeaux funk, forrest floor and dried fruits. Mid-weight, perhaps lighter, on the palate, but a really refined sense of a classic claret. Nice array of dried red fruits framed by old barnwood. Paired so nicely with a tray of charcuterie. Everything in such balance. This is my type of Bordeaux. By the way, it had a Cordier sticker on the back. That surprised me, did not recall that Cordier once owned this Chateau. (91 pts.)
1999 Chateau d’Armailhac
I’ve experienced a lot of variation on this vintage of d’Armailhac, but this one was excellent. A really powerful, deep nose of cassis, pencil lead, sweaty saddle leather, sweet tobacco leaf, perhaps a touch of brett. Weighty on the palate, round, dark, full array of black fruits and some plum. Wet earth, dark soil. Really excellent here. Given the issues i have had with this vintage, I would not risk a back-fill, but this one shined. (92 pts.)
2005 Chateau Coutet
I have a soft spot for this Barsac, always seems to deliver and an excellent QPR. This vintage does not disappoint, and I have quite a few 375s. Has that notable Coutet botyritis spice, with an array of orange rind and marmalade, honey, sweet yellow fruits, closing with a touch of vanilla bean. Love it. (92 pts.)
2014 Domaine Weinbach Pinot Gris Cuvée Ste. Catherine
Starter wine with some apps. Lovely nose of yellow fruits and petrol. Deep, round, lush and sweeter than I had anticipated. Would have preferred a bit more acid, but tough to complain with the yummy richness of this wine. (91 pts.)
Ha, yes you read it correctly, I popped a garage wine. The nose reminds me of those classic, old Batman shows. BAM. POW. ZIP. This is a beastly, heady, exotic wine. Inky black in color, quite viscous in appearance. Rich liqueur on the nose. Black licorice, toast, sweet rich dark fruits color the perfume. Really heady (pardon the redundancy, but it is). Heavy on the palate, with very sweet blue and black fruits. Some interesting spice notes. Low acid, plush, lush, opulent. I handled one glass with an overly-salted grilled rib-eye, but eventually let my two buddies kill the bottle. They are Napa and Pavie fans, completely flipped over this wine. Not my style.