TN: Berserkerfest 2.5- Brad's table

Lots of fun last night at Berserkerfest 2.5 at Peking Duck House. Thanks to Leo for instigating, Michel for organizing, and Brad for organizing our table. Thanks to everyone for good company and generosity. Nice to meet Todd and other out of towners (and a few NYers who were new to me).

Below are the wines I took at least rudimentary notes on. I tasted a few others when walking around, but didn’t note. As it was, I turned down lots of pours, even though I was taking a train I wanted to be able to walk to Grand Central.

Crowded tables, but I really enjoyed the duck, and the other dishes were ok if not great. I’ll note that while all TNs are personal, I think I disagreed with table more than usual, and tried to note.

I think our official table theme was “91 and older, unless it’s younger”

2005 Foreau Vouvray Demi-Sec
A tad drier than I expected, edging toward sec-tendre, crisp, lively, I quite liked. I buy Foreau dessert wines, and occasionally bubbly, but now will be in the market for off-dry. B+

2007 Willi Schaefer Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Kabinett #9
This wasn’t really on my menu, but I had 20 minutes to spare after train arrived and picked up 3 bottles that were waiting at Crush. Might as well open one as an apertif. Crisp Mosel apples, sweet peaches, good minerality. Probably closer to Spatlese weight. I liked more than table, very happy to have these. A-/B+

1982 Moet and Chandon Dom Perignon Champagne
Apples, that cheesy thing I get (and like) in older Champagne, coffee, lemon. Good length, creamy, nice mousse holding on. Fully mature, delicious. A-

1994 Karthauserhof "Eitelsbacher Karhauserhofberg " Riesling Spatlese Trocken (magnum) (from Jay Hack)
I’m generally suspicious of Mosel trocken, but enjoyed this. Petrol, minerals, lemon. Good length. I still prefer my dry Riesling from Alsace or Austria, but good. B

1985 Daniel Jarry Vouvray Demi-sec
Tart, citric, some wax and wool. I shouldn’t have had this as a stand alone, needs food. B-/B ?

some blind wines
#1 - by time I try someone has already guessed Italy and it’s been confirmed. Big, tannic, fruit-driven. I’m thinking something like modern Aglianico, but it’s from the north- the 2006 Vajra “Kye” Freisa. I pretty much could guarantee if you gave me 25 guesses as to variety I’d have never gone to Freisa. B/B-

#2 Herbal, vegetal, asparagus. From nose I’m hesitant to try. OK, on palate just bad, not awful,green peppers and candied red fruit Chris says “bad unripe Cab Franc”. I can’t think in terms of variety, just as bad wine. It’s the 2007 Silver Springs/Don GiovanniTri-Dition (and I think Chris is correct, 60% CF). C-/D+

#3- actually unveiled as I’m trying, so no guesses (but I think Chris said inexpensive Pinot Grigio). The 2009 Silver Springs/Don Giovanni Pinot Grigio is pretty straighforward and acceptable, light pear fruit, innocuous PG. B-

back to labels
1970 Murrieta “Ygay” Gran Reserva Especial
Bright cherry fruit, just slightly lifted nose, clove, dill. Long and complex on a rather lithe frame. (I liked far more than neighbors). A-

1981 Lopez de Heredia “Tondonia” Gran Reserva (white)
Good acids, nutty, yellow fruit, brown sugar (though of course fully dry). Revisited on train (I took home the final few ounces) it was more herbal and vibrant, I liked at dinner, loved on train (of course by then my palate was shot). At dinner I put down B+

2004 Jadot “Referts” Puligny-Montrachet 1er (magnum) (I’m guessing from Leo)
Bosc pear, honeycomb, light vanilla notes. Good acidity, classic Puligny stones. (I like more than table) B+/A-

1988 Comte Armand “Clos des Epeneaux” Pommard 1er
Meaty, beaty, big, and bouncy. On the big (approaching massive) side of Burgundy. Not a case of modern heavy extraction, just the combination of producer, vineyard, and vintage. This is really young, needs time. B+

1988 Jasmin Cote Rotie
I don’t have much Jasmin experience, but liked this. Medium bodied, pepper, flowers, red fruits. Good acidity. B/B+

1998 Ch. Beaucastel Chateauneuf-du-Pape (mag)
Big, fresh, showing more Grenachey, but good acids as well as tannins.Ripe but not overripe. Nice showing. B+ with potential

1988 Ch. Beaucastel Chateauneuf-du-Pape
This was actually my clear favorite of the Beaucastel’s, smoky, spicy, with solid fruits and good structure. This was delicious and in no danger of fading. Ties with the red Rioja as my WOTN. A-

1990 Ch. Beaucastel Chateauneuf-du-Pape
Ripe, mature, some coffee and herbs over the fruit. I liked, but thought the 1988 was more my style. I think I liked less than the table, but still a B/B+

1991 Heitz “Martha’s Vineyard” Cabernet Sauvignon
Red fruits, a bit weedy, not really long. This was the most controversial flight at our table, with some liking this a lot. I thought this was at best ok and not getting better. B-

1974 Souverain Cabernet Sauvignon
While I like 70s CalCab a lot, I’m always shocked when a wine from a winery that I think of nowadays as middling/generic shows well at 36. Mature, tannins fully resolved, soft acids, red fruits, maybe a bit tired but still complex and interesting. B+

2001 Bouchard “Le Corton” Corton GC (from Alan Chan)
A generous offer from another table, I was wishing for more Burgundy but this didn’t excite me. Red fruit, a little earth, correct but a bit short and dull. B-

1970 Pichon Lalande
I brought this. I’ve seen a lot of variability in this, I thought this was a good bottle but not as good as some. Nice cassis fruit, mature, tobacco and leather. Good but not great length. A couple of people liked more. B+

1996 Baumard Quarts de Chaume
I’ve had some recent mixed experience with the drier 96 Baumards, but this is delicious. Honied, quince, apricots, long with good acidity. B+/A-

1976 Baumard Quarts de Chaume
As much as I liked the 96, I think I was alone in preferring the 76. Sure, maybe it was a bit tired, and maybe better 10 years ago. But there’s a complex core there - burnt orange, honey, citrus zest. I thought it intriguing and delicious. A-

1989 Bourillon Dorleans “Tris de Noble Grains” Vouvray
Sweet, young, peaches, apricots, rich. There’s nothing wrong with this wine from a second/third tier producer except it tastes like it’s from a tsecond/third tier producer. B/B- (but I bet I would have graded higher if it hadn’t been next to the Baumards).

Fun night, thanks to everyone at my table (and generous people from other tables).

Grade disclaimer: I’m a very easy grader, basically A is an excellent wine, B a good wine, C mediocre. Anything below C means I wouldn’t drink at a party where it was only choice. Furthermore, I offer no promises of objectivity, accuracy, and certainly not of consistency.

Dale, good notes there. It was great meeting you last night. The Heitz was pretty nice as was the Souverain. I liked the Heitz a bit better. Typical eucalyptus and clean.

Great time!

Don’t know how you were able to take notes at this, but great job!

I got a taste of the Heitz and initially thought it was off slightly. But as I kept tasting I got that eucalyptus thing, but it was still light on the fruit. A bottle I had a few years ago was def better.

Also tried the '98 & '90 Beaucastels–both were great though I was expecting a little more from the '90. Great night!

Thanks for posting notes Dale. I think I missed all the Vouvrays at our table but there was so much wine going around, that it was not hard to miss a few.

Hey Dale-

Thinks for being the diligent one. Glad you were able to join us.

While I agree with your notes on the Soverain, '88 Beaucastel, Schaefer and Ygay, though I found the oak more in the coconut realm than dill, my take on a number of wines differed from yours.

1998 Beaucastel. This was my wotn and has always been one of my favorite Beaus, right up there with the '90 (though not the bottle we had here) and the '81. This was gorgeous. Tons of fruit and spice, rich mouthfeel, but balanced. Certainly young, but provides a ton of pleasure. A+/A.

1990 Beaucastel- Nowhere near as good bottle as the last one Chris brought, but was still quite enjoyable. This one seemed tamped down and didn’t show any of the fruit and character as it usually does, but was still tasty. Solid B+. The last one Chris brought was a A+ stunner.

1988 Beaucastel- Just need to add that the last few bottles I’ve had of this from Paul’s cellar have been marvelous. The wine has really entered a wonderful zone the past couple of years. A-.

1991 Heitz- I was right about this wine. This was kind of the height of their phylloxera problem. There’s nothing too this wine. Thin, under fruited with a ton of eucalyptus. Brent should’ve listened to e. B-/C+.

1981 Lopez de Heredia- Tondonia Blanco- Was too tight when we tried it. These really need several hours of decanter time before they start to reveal themselves.

1988 Comte Armand- I thought it was heat damaged. I definitely got some beef broth notes out of it which is always a giveaway and then the second half of the wine was clipped.

1988 Jasmin- This was a beautiful wine, full of bacon, dark fruit and herb with perky acidity. A-.

1970 Pichon Lalande- I liked this a little more than you did. I was really digging the tobacco character. That said, not a lot of fruit left and more in the tobacco, earth and leather realm. I’d drink up. Low A-.

2005 Foreau- Vouvray Demi-Sec- Kind of tight right now, but quite typical with quince, apple and mineral with light sweetness. This will age wonderfully. A-.

1976 Baumard- Quarts de Chaume- My bottle. There were some decent flavors to it, but the wine was oxidized.

1996 Baumard- Quarts de Chaume- Gorgeous stuff. One of the better vintages from them. Sweet, but with wonderful '96 acidic cut. Plenty of apricot, pineapple and mineral. Solid A.

Hey, so what was wrong with that '82 Tempier?

The Tempier to me had some kind of spritzy, carbonic maceration-esque thing going on.

Glad to see that I at least redeemed myself with the Baumard.

The Beaucastels were great and that was the flight of the night with those and the Jasmin. I agree with Brad’s note on the Pichon Lalande, I thought that was a phenomenal bottle that still had an opaque ruby color and weight; the leather/cedar/spice box aromas were really clicking on all cylinders.

The 1982 Dom was also unbelievably fresh, with plenty of bubbles and almost showing some green/acid notes that made me think this could still have gone a long time. Paul really must have a magic cellar.