Tasting Notes from Zach's mid-winter Vermonster weekend

Zach had a whole bunch of us up at his Vermont ski house for another crazy weekend of wine debauchery last weekend. On Friday night, we had 7 of us and on Saturday afternoon and evening we were joined by 4 more, so, at the height of the revelry we had 11 folks drinking, playing poker, playing video games, shooting pool, playing ping-pong and generally getting up to no good. Both nights ended around 4 in the morning, so we were definitely into maximizing our drinking hours! It was just a lot of fun.

Starting Friday evening at 5:00 p.m. on the dot, some older Bordeaux were the first corks to be pulled and it just sort of evolved from there. We had some delicious cheeses and meats courtesy of Tyler and Zach, and Gerry cooked up a delicious pot of shredded beef short ribs and penne that gave us the stamina we needed to drink into the wee hours.

1996 Château Chasse-Spleen Moulis en Medoc. This smells nice and fleshy, with aromas of cedar, red currants, creamed cherries and beets leading the way and accented along the way by notes of ash, menthol, tobacco and leather strop that bring in added layering and complexity. It’s dark and corpulent in the mouth, with a bit of a fudgy texture, a solid weighty feel and still plenty of tannin. Flavors of iron, menthol, mixed currants and dark earth tones provide plenty of stuffing and still feel pretty youthful, especially with all of the tannin still hanging around. Some might think the overall personality a bit stern, but I like it a good deal and would just advise holding for another few years before trying again.

1983 Château Cos d’Estournel St. Estèphe. First reports on this wine were not especially encouraging, as the consensus seemed to be that it smelled like shit and “sour ass” right out of the gate. However, by the time I pour some the shit element is not present at all, though I can clearly glean the “sour ass” bits. For me, the bouquet is just sort of feral–showing off distinctive aromas of sweaty horse, funky leather, forest floor, crunchy berry fruit, minerals and cool green pepper. As it sits in the glass, it settles down and becomes increasingly pretty to the point where a second glass poured a few hours later is just all gentle red fruit, softer leather, tobacco leaf, dirt pile and coffee bean. It is a wine that I have to say I enjoy following through every one of its stages and can really appreciate being able to follow its stages over the course of an evening. In the mouth, it is medium-bodied a lot softer and mellower right from the very start—featuring a classy light cherry and berry fruit profile augmented by notes of ash and iron filings. It shows off a real fresh squirt of acidity that propels the lengthy finish right along with effortless precision and elevates the pretty spiced character in a pleasing way. It just gets better and better with each sip and by the time all is said and done I’d have to call it my wine of the night.

1990 Château Lagrange St. Julien. This wine shows a lot of outstanding push and presence on the nose with its deep core of rich cassis and earthier tomato leaf elements. Warm cherry and raspberry compote aromas hint at the warmth of the vintage as the wine becomes ever-increasingly enveloping and engrossing with bits of fruitcake and mace aromas sprinkling in as the evening progresses. It feels rich and inwardly powerful with solid depth of flavor on the palate. It starts out with an introspective core of smoldering black cherry, plum and dark chocolate flavors and expands later to include fine leather and bitter smoke notes. It has just enough acidity and I find myself liking it a lot.

1989 Château Gruaud Larose St. Julien. The Gruaud Larose is compellingly savory and animalistic on the nose, where one finds the fruit perplexingly fading in and out but the prickly earth, leather, green pistachio and animal fur funk notes holding rock steady all the way through. In the mouth, it is again earthy, savory and feral in nature with the fruit coolly in reserve. It features very good acidity, maybe even a bit aggressive at times, and ends with a distinctive menthol note. I find myself wishing for a bit more fruit and textural density at times and overall I can’t stop mentally comparing it to a recent bottle of the 1988 and finding myself not liking this quite as much.

2000 Château Prieuré-Lichine Margaux. The nose of this wine is fresh and silky yet also solidly fruit-filled and just seems to draw the taster right in. Aromas of black currants, black cherries, plums, Belgian chocolate and charcoal are impressive in the way they seem to appeal to both Old and New World sensibilities. It feels solidly-balanced, fresh and controlled the whole evening long. In the mouth, one notices a burst of acidity running down the center of the wine that gives it a live, lithe feel stretched out across a grippy-feeling texture and sly structure. Yes, it is young, but also perfectly drinkable right now. It offers up lots of sour cherry and mixed currant fruit that can be a bit puckered at times by the acidity but the finish is nice and glossy with a substantial and earthy, darker-fruited feel. This is obviously able to go a good while longer, but I wouldn’t hesitate to enjoy it now, either. I think more than a few people were impressed with this performance.

1983 Château Belair St. Émilion. The last bottle of this I tried was corked, so I was eager to have a second crack at it. On the nose, it seems a bit roasty and definitely on the warm-fruited side of things—with aromas of dried plums, raspberry jam, warm currants and cigar ash. It does have some nice red flower petal over-tones that occasionally give it a lighter feel from time to time. In the mouth, it is a bit thin and also somewhat attenuated, with crackling hard acidity. Flavors of crab apple and sour cherry mix with leather, mineral, black tea leaves and balsamic notes in an interesting aged mix, but it stays clipped most of the way through. It provides the occasional glimpse into past glories but is otherwise past its prime.

1975 Spring Mountain Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley. What starts out as a hint of mustiness on the nose soon becomes obvious TCA cork taint. What a shame, as there are some nice aromatics of red currants, sweet crushed cherries, soft leather strop and mint leaf trying to compete. In the mouth, it shows a musty cardboard flavor on the very initial push but one can sort of look past it as the cherry and mixed berry fruit of the mid-palate folds over the top. However, the texture soon turns leathery and rough-hewn and the acidity begins to really take over as the TCA increasingly decimates what could have been a very nice wine.

1996 Long Meadow Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley. You know, the nose on this wine is not all that inconsistent with all of these bottles of Bordeaux poured alongside it. It shows firm, solid aromas of dark cassis, menthol, suede and earth but with an air of class and restraint to go with them. On the palate, it is more obviously California-styled, but in a totally appropriate and appealing way. Rich, sweet wild berries, cedar and herbs give good flavor and a late shot of acidity provides some nice carry through to a well-balanced finish. It has medium weight to it and the tannins are present but kept well in check for the most part. I was surprised by this wine and quite pleasantly so.

2004 Bounty Hunter Cabernet Sauvignon Blind Justice Beckstoffer To-Kalon Vineyard Napa Valley. Everyone seemed to have heard of this outfit but me, but I always look forward to trying To-Kalon fruit. The wine is an opaque black color to begin with. I find the nose to have a lot of confectionary candied aromas to it like blue pixie stick dust sprinkled atop brambly mixed berries all mixed up with cedar shavings and oak dust. The palate, too, is rather candied to my chagrin. If anything, it is even more dialed up on the confectionary ladder and also on the mint dust and oak accenting. My notes say “Pop Rocks on a cedar plank”. This is a true cocktail wine and one that starts to hurt my tongue after a while as the toasty oak and alcohol content begin to wear my patience thin.

2004 Pax Syrah Lauterbach Hill Russian River Valley. Well into the morning hours, this bottle appeared to sate the thirst of those who hadn’t already drunk enough. But, of course, I had to have some, too… Wow, what a palate adjustment here! The wine sports a huge and voluminous bouquet of boysenberry syrup, blackberries, grilled meat, cracked peppercorns, soft oak and dusty rubber bands. It is quite boisterous on the palate with its mélange of wild berry fruit and lactic texture. It has a lot of presence despite not being particularly over-weight or anything. The finish of smoked meat and rich fruit is also pretty nice, but there is still more wood and alcohol than I care for and it doesn’t do my tired palate any favors at this point.

The next day started with Andy cooking up his usual breakfast of champions that I, as usual, slept right through. There was an empty bottle of 1996 Henriot Champagne Brut Millésimé sitting out on the counter when I finally alighted upstairs and into the light of day. I hear it was tasty. There was also a raft of whites open and I was soon diving right in. Hell, why not?

2002 Beringer Vineyards Chardonnay Sbragia Limited Release Napa Valley. This wine is a dark golden color with a big-time cloudy appearance. The richly-styled bouquet smells a lot like canned peach syrup and Juicy Fruit gum initially, but soon fans out to include aromas of apricots, botrytis-tinged meringue and oak spices. In the mouth, it is a real butter and oak bomb, with unctuously thick body and a glycerol texture that totally coats the tongue like marmalade. The wine is really long and quite persistent with its sweet apricot and peach fruit flavors and toasty nutmeg spices. It has a lot of impressive qualities but I just find it to be too extreme to enjoy more than one glass of.

2007 Rivers-Marie Chardonnay B. Thieriot Vineyard Sonoma Coast. The nose of this Chardonnay is bright but somewhat lush at the same time, with delightful aromas of crushed rocks, lemon candies, soft oak and hazelnuts. In the mouth, it is in a great place–delivering lovely pear, peach pit and lemon ball flavors framed by soft oak spicing. The balancing acidity is just right while still allowing the creamy texture to caress the palate and deliver the goods. It offers very nice drinking right now.

2005 Didier Dagueneau Blanc Fumé de Pouilly. This is a very light pale color. The bouquet offers up gentle aromas of herbs, lemon peel, limestone, white flowers and a bit of grapefruit that are perfectly pleasant but not particularly distinctive or effusive. In the mouth, it is easy-balanced and moderately layered in a mellow easy package of herb, stone, chalk and lime pith flavors. It doesn’t have a whole lot of cut or drive, though, and while perhaps a nice little food wine, it doesn’t seem all that special for my first exposure to a Dagueneau wine.

1995 Trimbach Riesling Cuvée Frédéric Emile. This wine offers up lovely aromas of petrol, blue slate, talcum powder, peach kernel, and bright honey that feel almost oily in the nostrils. In the mouth, it is a live wire of acidic intensity, but that really works for me. The texture is distinctly oily and combined with the intense drive of the wine and the lovely flavor profile of white peach, petrol, mineral and lemon peel makes for a real impressive package. The acidity after a while does begin to strip the enamel off the teeth, but the wine stays intensely engaging, flavorful and long. I think it is still rather youthful and while I am a fan right now, I think it will be better with several more years in the cellar.

1999 Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe Châteauneuf du Pape Blanc La Crau. The color here is fairly dark yellow in color, but looks plenty healthy to me. The bouquet is really gorgeous in my opinion, with its focus on rich honeycomb, butterscotch, lavender and sweet lanolin showing a nice bit of age and plenty of layering and complexity. In the mouth, it is sumptuously textured and delightfully long. Flavors of honey, minerals, and brown spices seem at peak to me, though a glass later in the afternoon does start to show some hastening oxidation—making me think it shouldn’t be held a whole lot longer.

1998 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage Blanc. There is a cool waxiness to the nose of this wine, which features all kinds of lemon rind, dark honey and cool stone aromas in a taut and tensile package that is incredibly well-constructed and holistic-feeling. In the mouth, the wine is a real super-star—feeling like a satin-lined torpedo of spherical flavor sliding across the tongue. The consistency and dimensionality is world-class, giving the wine a feel of both richness and elegance to go along with both intensity and a caressing touch. It feels like a cool mousse of yellow fruit draped over the tongue and sliding effortlessly down the throat. I just love that texture and persistence of pure flavor allied to easy balance. This could very well have been my wine of the whole weekend.

There was also a bottle of 2004 Bodega Catena Zapata Chardonnay Catena that was available that I did not try, but at this point complaints about white wine overdose were being lodged with the social committee, so we nixed plans to drink a 1994 Guigal Hermitage Blanc and dove into the red wines. I fell a bit behind in my drinking at this point, as I was trying to play poker and also work with Kyle to make some butternut squash risotto for a late lunch. However, I soon got back on track with a little help from my Burgundy-loving friends…

1999 Domaine Jacques Parent Monthélie. The moderate nose here is fairly cool and somewhat dark in tone, with aromas of grilled herbs, menthol, charred wood, tangy cranberry, and foresty moss. In the mouth, it isn’t the prettiest or most engaging, but it does have decent heft, a creamy but narrow texture and a good shot of juicy acidity to give it some verve. The flavors of sour cherries, cranberries, leather and smoke remain in a tight beam through the middle of the palate but have decent drive and persistence. Some sneaky tannins are also there on the finish. Overall, it fails to captivate, but does provide some moderate enjoyment within its narrow range of sensory experience.

2002 Domaine Henri Gouges Nuits St. Georges. Aromas of dark cherry paste, soft leather, cranberry, black tea leaves and forest floor give an impression of a serious but promising young Burgundy. In the mouth, it draws you right in with its mellow up-front welcome, but by the time you swallow it at the end it feels like a rather fierce wine in need of a whole lot more time. I do like that cushiony feel and welcoming burst of juicy fruit that defines the entry but before too long there are lots of leathery tannins coming forward and a good deal of boxy structure to contend with. It has good length on the finish, but the tannins after a while grow to such a degree that it feels almost undrinkable. My advice is to stash this away for a good sleep.

2000 Meo-Camuzet Hospices de Beaune Volnay 1er Cru Santenots Cuvée Jéhan de Massol. This wine offers up an attractive and enticing nose of musky dried flower petals, soft raspberry fruit and flecks of fine leathery funk. In the mouth, it has a lot of life and some nice flavors of black cherries and dark mixed berries, menthol and toasted oak spices. However, the cool acidity and fine tannins are pretty aggressive right up front and the wine as a whole feels like it is more tightened up than from what I heard from preliminary reports around the room an hour or so earlier. My advice is to continue to hold this, as it has real nice ingredients for further blossoming down the road.

1997 Domaine Mugneret-Gibourg Echezeaux Grand Cru. This wine needs a bit of time to unfold, but it does so nicely after a while, offering up lactic, almost fuzzy aromas of wild cherries, brown grape stems, tree bark and pretty baking spices. In the mouth, it is medium-bodied and even-keeled, coming across as not particularly expressive in any one dimension. It does have a good tangy acidity and pleasant flavors of red berries, clean earth, stems and spices that are nice, but overall I think it is showing a bit muted right now.

2006 Jacques Puffeney Pinot Noir Arbois. A real change of pace within the Pinot set of wines, this one pleases the senses with layers of rich blue and purple berries, soft chalk and clean earth aromas on the nose. On the palate, it is lush and lovely, with a deep sappy character that gives it real weight and definition of character. The tasty berry flavors and juicy acidity work great together despite the plush, fuzzy tannins that lurk below and make themselves increasingly teeth-coating over time. I like the unique style and character a lot, but this needs perhaps another 4 or 5 years in the cellar to tame those tannins.

2006 Rhys Alesia Pinot Noir Falstaff Road Vineyard Sonoma Coast. There are boisterous berry and rhubarb aromas galore on the nose of this wine that quickly meld together with a sort of whole cluster stem and earth dimension that I normally don’t care too much for but which works really well here. In the mouth, it is pretty darned sweet-fruited, with rich, creamy piquant cherry and red berry fruit allied to those stem bits again. A really vibrant acidity gives it freshening balance and a sense of solid construction, but over time the finish starts to feel a little too oaky and sweet to me and the longer I stay with it the less that oak component feels able to integrate with the wine. My belief is that this will be better in 2 to 3 years.

1984 Antonio Cerri Campo delle Piane Piemonte La Meridiana Boca. At this point, Kyle slipped in a pair of Italian wines for us. This Adonna Imports selection was shipped directly from Antonio Cerri’s Campo delle Piane cellars in the little-known appellation of Boca and is a blend of 85% Nebbiolo and 15% Vespolina aged at least 10 years in large casks before bottling. The color is definitely a bit advanced and the nose offers up some mellow, finely-aged aromas of brandied cherries, dried flowers, sweet earth and mildly balsamic notes that set this very Old World-styled wine apart from the crowd. It features medium body in the mouth, with a nice silky texture that also shows some surprising grip and persistence as the flavors of dried berry fruit, flower petals and soft spices flow by. It shows its age most on the leathery finish, but some pretty strawberry and balsamic notes there lend a pleasing sensibility that lasts a good while. Everything feels well-integrated here and the wine would be rather welcome at table, I am sure. The more time I spend with it, the better I like it.

1999 Castello Banfi Brunello di Montalcino. This wine is dense and not especially giving aromatically, even after extensive time in the decanter and with swirling in the glass. One can coax out some aromas of dense plum, black cherry, fruitcake and dark earth, but it never really opens up or shows any signs of wanting to express any more of its character. In the mouth, it is more forthcoming, but still not all that expressive. It gives up some juicy but at times murky and indistinct black fruit flavors that ride atop a stream of leathery tannins. It shows some creosote and herb notes on the finish, which is a bit chewy at this stage. Overall, this just seems muted and dumb right now.

At this point, there was a bottle that was initially served blind and by the time I poured it was revealed to be a 1992 Penfolds Grange. It is a dark dense purple color and smells almost like a Syrah paint-by-numbers—with aromas of meaty black cherry, black pepper, dried blood and rubber bands blasting up out of the glass but not showing any nuance or layering or sense of character. Despite the list of “proper” descriptors, it leaves me feeling cold. In the mouth, it feels, chunky, rich and corpulent, with flavors of black cherry paste, chocolate-covered cherries and cough syrup galore. It pumps out the flavor over a nice easy texture, but it has no style or grace to it. I just don’t like it—is that so wrong? A while later, it was revealed that we were the victims of a hoax and that the wine inside the bottle was actually a 2006 Charles Shaw Shiraz California! In retrospect, that was a lot of wine for two bucks, but it doesn’t mean I like it any better (well, maybe a little bit).

It was probably right around this time that Blair served up some delicious chicken with two kinds of mushroom sauces and some oven roasted potatoes. Andy also took the opportunity to carve up about 10 gigantic steaks and grill them outside in the frigid Arctic air. We feasted like kings, and I don’t think a single person was able to polish off a whole one of those steaks. We pushed ahead with a whole lot of Cabernet.

1995 Niebaum-Coppola Rubicon Napa Valley. Served from magnum. This is just a solid effort all around and I would say that every person I spoke to this night agreed that it was a rather good showing for this Rubicon. The wine has a very nice bouquet of dark red fruits, tobacco leaf, jalapeno pepper, red beets, soft incense and at times some fresh herbal edgings. It has just a bit of mystery to it, but also some freshness that is nicely done. It is medium-bodied, complex, softly-layered and endowed with plenty of fine flavor. It exhibits solid density and push without any heavy-handedness and the whole thing just seems easily balanced. No one thing stands out, everything just works together the way it should. There’s no “wow” factor, but it just delivers the goods with a great deal of pleasure.

1993 La Jota Cabernet Sauvignon 12th Anniversary Release Howell Mountain. This is just excellent Cabernet. It features a creamy, dense and distinctive nose of pure cassis, currants, coffee grounds and sliced jalapeno in a richly layered and character-filled bouquet. In the mouth, it absolutely pumps out the flavors, which unfold in layer after voluptuous layer. It has oodles of body and great intensity, but stays within itself at the same time. It also has just enough fine acidity and some smooth spicy tannins, but what is most notable is just how well-integrated, cohesive and flavorful this wine is from start to finish. There is lots and lots going on and it’s all good stuff. This was my red wine of the night.

2001 Château Malescot St. Exupery Margaux. Leo brought this pair of 2001 Margaux up with him from New York and they had been sitting out open for at least a few hours by the time I was able to sample them. For me, the Malescot is the run-away favorite of the two, though I spoke to at least one other person who felt quite the opposite. Personally, I think the nose of this wine is just outstanding. It impresses with all of its creosote-laden blue and black fruit, shoe leather, black lava, espresso roast and hickory aromas. It is youthful and dark at the core, but also shows some lovely flower fragrances in the top register to marry perfectly with the savory and dark-fruited elements. On the palate, it is succulent, savory and solidly driven, with a creamy, sometimes fudgy mouthfeel that goes well with the juicy mouthwatering acidity. Gushing flavors of black currants and chalky limestone run into some mildly chewy tannins toward the back of the palate, but they don’t really interfere too much with the forward progress of this train. It shows a lot of staying power and should only get better with time.

2001 Pavillon Rouge du Château Margaux Margaux. This one is considerably more polished and smooth on the nose, with aromas of creamy currant fruit, soft ash and smoke, with some sweeter red cherry fruit lurking beneath. However, there is also a little streak of green menthol and green pepper running through it that will be a turn-off to some (though not especially to me). In the mouth, I just don’t care for it much at all. I find it to be rather narrow and not especially full-flavored. That evergreen streak is even more pronounced, as well, and here it bothers me a lot more. The acidity is rather sharp and pokes out at odd angles and the wood treatment just feels raw and obvious. It just doesn’t show much fruit and it doesn’t deliver much pleasure, at least not to me.

2002 Beringer Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reserve Napa Valley. I heard great reports all around on this wine, but alas it was all gone by the time I turned my attention to it.

2002 Seavey Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley. The nose of the ’02 Seavey is surprisingly right out there and open for business, if still a straining against the reins a bit. It features very nice aromas of deep cherry and pretty Christmas spices while holding tight to its core of even richer, sweeter fruit. It balances a lot and seems on the verge of really breaking through in the not too distant future. In the mouth, it is showing more youthfully, with a lot of force and intensity tightly wound around a huge well of raw stuffing. The fruit may be just a bit syrupy right now, but it is easy to see that it is not a function of being over-done, rather just being barely able to contain its exuberance the way it seems to want to. Still, even now, it has a nice glossy texture, solid juicy acids, no hard edges and a good dose of strong but smooth tannins framing nice young fruit that make for some fine drinking. This is going to be really impressive in about 5 years, though.

2004 Maybach Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Materium Napa Valley. This one is a bit sweet and slightly confectionary on the nose, though not overblown or anything. The creamy cherry and sweet raspberry aromas are right out front and present a sort of fun, care-free profile that is all about the fruit. In the mouth, it is full of sweet red berry compote and bright fresh cherry flavors up front before an iron gate of tannins come in to try and shut down the party. After that, the wood, tannins and acids take over and the wine shuts down. There are a lot of things I like about the wine, but it is a wine divided right now and would seem to need a good 5+ years in the cellar to sort things out.

2002 Bond Matriarch Napa Valley. In my opinion, this wine is just a mess right now. It smells like a mini-Port to me, with tons of treacled, over-ripe, roasted fruits in the prune, fig and hard fruitcake register—all slathered atop oak staves. In the mouth, it is exactly the same story, with an oak forest and a wall of massive tannins making it virtually undrinkable. What is there is super-rich, warm and glycerin-laden, but it just doesn’t stand up on its own. Is it a poor bottle, in a bad stage or just a train-wreck? I don’t know.

2006 Larkmead Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Solari Napa Valley. This one is richly-fruited in a big, ripe black cherry and licorice rope aromatic package. It is absolutely loaded on the palate with sweet wild berries, oak and a whole bunch of youthful tannin. The tannins are not overpowering, but just staunchly standing watch all the way through the palate journey. That allows the dark espresso, black currant and black cherry fruit flavors that are loaded to the gills to come streaming through. But the whole thing is still distinctly primary and the oak becomes ever more distracting the longer one stays with it. This has all the stuffing, but is a bit punishing right now and especially at this stage of the night.

Those last few wines nearly did me in and I was contemplating wrapping it up for the night when Zach popped one last cork on the 1999 Château Rayas Châteauneuf-du-Pape Reserve around 2 a.m. I’m glad he did, because this was like a breath of fresh air on my face after all of the punishing Cabernet I just consumed. The nose is light and airy, with an Old World mellowness, balance and finesse that spells elegance. True, there are some sweet earth, mushroom, fireplace ash and meaty raspberry notes for added complexity and bass noting, but otherwise it is ethereal with its finely-wrought notes of soft suede, dried cherries and soft red and white flowers. In the mouth, it doesn’t work quite as well, as I am left wanting a bit more gravitas and consistency. Instead, one gets a gentle entry of soft wild cherries and kirsch flavors that quickly get lifted up by a burst of a bit too-exuberant acidity that provides an abrupt a transition to the mid-palate that is a bit sharp-toned. The finish of sour cherry and leather is extremely dry and a bit hard, leaving me thinking that this needs some more integration time in the bottle before pulling another cork.

I looked around and saw that there was a perfectly good magnum of 1994 Niepoort Vintage Porto that Gerry brought on the counter, but I just couldn’t muster the strength to try it. Leo had also brought a bottle of 1963 Delaforce Vintage Porto that I also really wanted to try but just couldn’t. However, I did make an effort to taste (and spit) the Delaforce right before leaving on Sunday. It was giving up aromas of dried red flower petals, desiccated cherries, liquid caramel and warm spirits. On the palate, it delivers a surprising punch of spicy, tawny flavors in the caramel, date, spice cake and dried cherry vein. It shows a bit of length and has an acidic quality to it that almost leaves me gasping. While not exactly what I want from a vintage port, it has a decent bit of interesting old character.

On Sunday, after breakfast and some mimosas made with N.V. Mionetto Prosecco Brut, we had the long ride home, but it was a beautiful sunny winter’s day and we all managed to get home in time to watch the Saints put a hurting on Manning and the Colts, so it was all good! I’d like to extend a huge thanks to Zach for his ever-gracious hosting skills and to all the guys for cooking and bringing fantastic wines to drink. I can’t think of a better way to spend a mid-winter weekend.


That is a shitload of wine.

The LMR cabs are really enjoyable and under the radar. The Larkmead sounds great to me…

good work! thanks for the update on the 02 Seavey. i have a few bottles that I have been waiting on, looks like I should keep them buried!

Yowsa, congats Michael on even being able to take those notes.

Michael, you are the Hercules of TN taking! [welldone.gif]


Good Lord, the whole state of Vermont must have blown a .12 from the event.

Probably because it was screaming out for a steak!

Yeah, even the '97 could use more time, and the '99 a lot more time. For whatever reason, I have found the '04 real nice early on, but I would put the '02 kind of in the middle of this range. Hope that makes sense.


How come I wasn’t invited? [scratch.gif]

charles shaw courtesy of Napa Valley Wine and Cigar?

I do believe my initial reaction to the 83 Cos was Skunk’s ass to be specific!!!

Cool, thanks. I have some 01 and 02 that I am deeply afraid of opening. I will wait another 5 years or so.

On a side note…is there any snow in Boston? I’m on my way up tomorrow!

It’s amazing to watch The Scribe at work - and all this while kidding around with us, playing poker, etc! It’s not like he’s in a corner writing it all

you’re in Telluride you goon! We’re on for summer though!!!

a dusting at best!

I am going to make on of these some day! Great notes as always Michael. The blind wind sounds like a Muck special…

couldnt agree more

I think Tyler was the culprit on this one. Bad man!

Jud, you gotta make it next time!

As usual, great notes Michael! There was so much great wine generously offerd up by everyone but in retrospect my two favorite were the 83’ Cos and the 90’ Lagrange. There was just so much going with both of them. Michael is not exaggerating when he says the Cos’ smelled like sh*t. To take a whiff of it made you wince it was so bad. Thankfully we let it sit foe a couple of hours and it just kept getting better and better.

Thanks goes to Zach for once again putting up with us. You’d think he would’ve learned his lesson after last time! (Just kidding, actually I think everyone did a decent job of trying to police themselves to cut down on the mess).

Also gotta thank Andy for the morning after “cheesey goodness” classic that brings one back from the dead.