Tasting Last Night at Kittle House

Last night, we had dinner at one of my favorite restaurants, appropriately within a couple of miles of the Clinton’s Chappaqua home. My turn to provide the wines. It was a slightly rushed affair, as a few of the masochists wanted to get back home to watch the debate. The food was excellent, and despite the sommelier, Leo, coming down sick, the service was exemplary. first flight was one I had long wanted to do.
Background for those who are not familiar with the wine.

Fiorano Boncampagni 1990
Young petroleum, apricot. Soft it would be special if the 1986 wasn’t in the flight. Blossomed in the glass. 92

Fiorano Boncampagni 1988
Showing signs of fading honeydew melon earth pleasant but drink up 89

Fiorano Boncampagni 1986
The best of the three lychee and rose petals earth and oyster shell. Delicious and grew better as it warmed. 94

Mount Eden Reserve Chardonnay 2007
This was an early example of the Reserve and long lees contact, and although quite lively, faded relatively quickly. At its best, showed pear and honeysuckle and orange peel. 89

Mount Eden Reserve Chardonnay 2008
Superb! This is my third bottle of the wine, and all have been stellar, but this may have been the best of the three. Floral, spices, citrus, and oyster shell. More intense and grounded than anything else in the flight, and so incredibly young. This has a decade or two in front of it. 95

Mount Eden Reserve Chardonnay 2009
Mount Eden Reserve Chardonnay 2010

Both of these came across as very Burgundian, and actually quite hard to tell apart. The 2010 seemed a little more assertive, but both showed plenty of fruit, and great minerality. Beautifully balanced, and good acidity, and long finishes. Insert these into a Leflaive Grand Cru tasting, and they would be right at home. 93 and 93

Adastra Merlot 1996
This was an add on, as my inventory is done alphabetically, and I can’t remember having bought it, so I was curious to try it. Not much expectation, but it far exceeded that. Well made, beautifully balanced and still in need of time. Preferred it to Altamura, and a good and friendly wine that can be served to traditionalists and modernists without offending either. 90

Altamura Cabernet 1992
An example of decent California wine of this era. Quite concentrated with some sweet fruit, no great complexity apart from a little spice in the finish 88

B. R. Cohn 1984
Sadly corked. Despite being the oldest wine, the darkest in color. FYI, Helen Turley’s first wine.

Grimaldi Barbaresco 1999
Needs a defibrillator; the heart was fading. Actually had better bottles of this, but the package is the same, rich and slightly overripe. Here it had turned. NS

Sandrone Le Vigne 1999
Long time since I have had this wine, but it didn’t disappoint. Archetypal Barolo. Core of pure licorice surrounded by fresh blueberry, roses and a little road tar. I have always thought that except for 1996, the Le Vigne was at least the equal of his Cannubi, and have been happily drinking the 1997s recently, probably the best he has ever made. This didn’t quite have the impact, but it was a beautiful example of Barolo in its early maturity. 94

Brunello Podere La Vigna 1999
Lean and aromatic and very, very, well made. The flavors of blackcurrant, leafmeal and violets stretched long, and the wine was even better with food. 93

I don’t give Mt. Eden enough consideration. Thank you for putting it back into my brain with your great note.


I think the Reserve Chardonnays are only available at the winery. Tiny production.

Correction: Tribeca Wine Merchants has the 2012.