TN: Birthyear wines (1959 to 1970) with friends

Errol Kovitch decided to host a pre-holiday party with the bulk of wines being birth year wines for the various attendees. Also attending were the Fertals and the Manns.

  • 1966 Hessische Staatsweingüter Kloster Eberbach Rauenthaler Baiken Riesling Spätlese - Germany, Rheingau
    Burnished orange color. This wine was alive and not tired in the least with plenty of freshness and moderate sweetness. Lots of orange marmelade and tropical fruit flavors. Really outstanding for a 43 year old spatlese (properly stored from release is my understanding).

  • 1968 Ridge California Chardonnay Crush-2 - USA, California
    Golden-yellow. Old, but still alive, although the acidity is a bit prominent. Crisp white pear fruit, and a bit tart. No obtrusive oak, but definitely has the scent and taste of vanilla. A bit floral as well.

  • 1959 Bischöfliches Priesterseminar Trier Wiltinger Kupp Riesling Auslese - Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer
    Deep bronze color, melted caramel on nose, smokey finish, very rounded, full of molasses and dried apricot flavors, but with slightly bitter almond notes on the finish. This was actually slightly drier than a 66 Spatlese that we drank a bit earlier.

  • 1967 Château Labégorce - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux
    Light claret color, with a nicely scented floral nose. The mouthfeel was similarly light, with all the tannins having melted away, a bit of tartness, raspberry, and sweet rose petals. One might say this was nicely-aged claret in a more classical style. I enjoyed this more than others. Definitely on the downward slope, but I found this quite enjoyable nonetheless.

  • 1967 Château Lynch-Moussas - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
    Showing plenty of bricking, but definitely a deeper ruby than the other 1967. The Lynch Moussas had of cedar and cigarbox as well as a scents of pine forest floor. On the palate, this had some graphite, but was mostly leather, earth, and perhaps truffle. Relatively austere, with not a lot of fruit flavors left.

  • 1964 Vieux Château Cloquet - France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol
    Talk about a dark horse… this was it. This was brought back recently by the Fertals from France, and it seems to have been well-stored. It still had a fairly deep, dark ruby color, and just a hint cloudy. This was still surprisingly-concentrated and even had some notable tannins remaining. Much less secondary than I expected, with rich kirsch and dried red fruit flavors. A bit of sweetness on the palate. If this were blind, I think I might have guessed this to be from 1982… not 1964… and would have probably guessed this to be a ‘big name’ on the right bank… Apparently Vieux Chateau Cloquet no longer exists, and is now part of Chateau de Moulin.

  • 1964 Château Beychevelle - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien
    This had the unfortunate distinction to follow the '64 Vieux Chateau Cloquet which, despite essentially being a “no name”, really hit the ball out of the park. This seemed to me to be a fairly classical claret from the “pre-Parker” era… Relatively light-bodied, graphite and some cigarbox, somewhat boring. Others also noted some spice (nutmeg).

  • N.V. Edmond Barnaut Champagne Blanc de Noirs Grand Cru - France, Champagne, Bouzy, Champagne
    Straw colored, with lots of yeasty aromas, and delicious apples and some red cherries in the mouth. Not subtle, which is fine with me. Plenty of persistent fizz.

  • 1970 Château Mouton-Baron-Philippe - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
    Corked. (FLAWED)

  • 1970 Château de Pez - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe
    Musty on the nose. Some felt this might have been corked. However, this may have been a more borderline case, as the mustiness was mostly on the nose and the wine still had some fruit left.

  • 2005 Château La Vieille Cure - France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Fronsac
    Deep and dark and concentrated. Big and ripe, tannic, but not abusively so. Some oak, a bit of pencil lead. Very modern.

  • 1969 Bischöfliches Priesterseminar Trier Trittenheimer Apotheke Riesling Beerenauslese - Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer
    Reddish golden color, with a powerful nose of apricots, carnations, and botrytis, this was a bit drier than expect on the palate, but still sweetish, with dried peach and apricot flavors. The finish was shorter than you might want, but plenty delicious nonetheless.

  • 2003 Royal Tokaji Wine Co. Tokaji Aszú 5 Puttonyos - Hungary, Hegyalja, Tokaji
    Delicious and rich, with honey and orange zest flavors. Could have used a bit more acidity to give it backbone, but this never got cloying. Plenty enjoyable.

Lots of enjoyable wines. Stand-outs were probably the '66 Spatlese and the '64 Vieux Chateau Cloquet." onclick=";return false;


Wow. There’s a rarity and something I would love to try for a birth year wine. Thanks for the notes.

That about sums it up.

Very cool!

So who was the NV person in attendance? neener

Eric, I was going to make up a smart assed answer, but failed. The old Ridge was mostly interesting from an intellectual perspective… another cool thing is that this is pre-Draper. The guys here picked up an old cellar with lots of late 60s and 70s Californian wines (all nicely stored), so we had the opportunity drink a fair number of old Ridges the last year or so.