TN: Bordeaux classics that sang fine traditional tunes

Bordeaux classics that sang fine traditional tunes
Balvanera, NYC

So, we forged ahead with our plans to dine with some old, mature wines in spite of the advanced-announced no-show by the guest of honor, whom we hope to catch at a later date.

While another regular had to beg out due an unforseen medical issue, I was glad to meet another local oenophile and to reconnect with one from Bordeaux dinners of years past and, of course, have fun catching up with the usuals.

Venue was at Balvanera, an Argentine steak place in the Lower East Side. Very casual with very good service, the 6 of us shared more than decent steaks, deliciously fun appetizers and a cool outdoor table where we also soaked in the neighborhood noise and ambiance.


NV Marc Hebrart Mes Favorites Vieilles Vignes Brut
Apple, biscuits, quite rich and drinking very nicely. B+

2012 Abbatucci Cuvee Collection General de la Revolution Jean Charles Abbatucci Blanc
Served completely blind. Hint given was that out of the 6 varietal blends, only 1 is of common name and it happens to be the one with lowest (5%) share (Vermentinu). Not only is the name a mouthful, but so is the wine. Loved the complex aromatic bouquet and the rustic, yet impressive, melange of berries and lime. B+

2014 Gerard Boulay Clos de Beaujeu Sancerre
Youthful. Loads of firm and tart acidity, obscene minerality, mouthful of cool-weather ripened white fruit. B+


1970 Chateau Magdelaine, Saint Emilion
Provided good sense of what the property does in the most traditional way. Bottle may be slightly off compared to those that I’ve had before. Earthy with presence of ripe black fruit. B-

1988 Chateau Magdelaine, Saint Emilion
Bottle in excellent shape. Leather, cigar, wet leaves on the nose. Layered berries and hints of tea. You want old school, you get old school! B+

1970 Domaine de Chevalier, Graves
Quickly commanded attention upon first sip. Complex and appealing tertiary bouquet. Well balanced and delineated fruit, leather, cigar components. Lengthy. A-/A

1970 Bel-Aire Marquis d’Aligre, Margaux
I don’t get to drink wines by the property that is gushed about in wineboards by serious geeks and this bottle was in alignment. This BAMA was all expressive nose, rustic red fruit, earthiness and enjoyable. B+

1979 Chateau La Tour Haut Brion, Graves
Soulful, if you know what I mean. Not as ripe nor as intense as most of the wines tonight, but quietly made one notice its laid back, traditional Graves style with wet leaves and herbs on the nose and gentle fruit presence in the palate. B+

1978 Chateau Palmer, Margaux
A Palmer that highlights the house style. Nicely perfumed, a bit of slutiness, some ripe black and blue fruit, and pleasantness all around. B+

1970 Chateau Haut Bailly, Graves
In excellent drinking zone, this bottle can make a believer of how patience can have a virtuous result. Red berries, tea, cola all within a feminine elegant texture and overall experience. A-/A

1978 Chateau Haut Bailly, Graves
The property just amazes with consistently oozing class from the glass, with the traditional and elegant claret make-up. Fun, yet serious with a bit of mint, leather and cool blue fruit notes. Have years to keep going. A-

1981 Chateau Haut Bailly, Graves
One can never have enough of wines from Ch. Haut Bailly. This would be the first time that I’ll have this property’s vintage and this medium-soft bodied wine made sure I keep an eye out for more from even the not-so heralded vintages. Some wet forest notes with less-than intense fruitiness, but all within a fine structure. B+

Apologies for the abbreviated and the crappy notes, but that was some night when note-taking was not and should not be in the priority! There’s not one bottle that I wouldn’t drink again and the company definitely made the dinner more enjoyable than the wines already did.

ctto (JC):


Fantastic notes. Sounds like a lovely evening; thanks for posting!

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'78 Palmer is one of my recent favs.
I also enjoyed a bottle of the '81 Haut Bailly in 2015.

Thanks for writing up the notes as usual. I’m sure Dale will post his at some point but every bottle except slightly off bottle of 1970 Magdelaine was singing. And 1970 DDC showed how fabulous a wine that continues to be, my favorite of the night over that perfect bottle of 1970 Haut Bailly. It was a good night to be a 1970 baby.

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79 LTHB a real rarity! Impressive line up of old school.

A group had scheduled to meet to greet an out of town friend but his trip got cancelled- we met anyway. A nice group of 6 gathered at Balvanera, an Argentine place on LES… Outdoor space was nice, rain had stopped but awning wide enough it wouldn’t have mattered. Good food and very good service. The octopus with olives, beet with ricotta, ,and salmon crudo with blood orange & fennel pollen were all excellent. I also thought the empanadas were good. We split some steaks and sausages- I loved the skirt and morcilla, really liked the ribeye, liked the strip steak and chorizo. Sides were good as well (though I’ve never seen so much dill in a green salad). I’ll be back.
NV Marc Hebrart “Mes Favorites” Brut Champagne
Nice flavor profile though dosage is a bit intrusive. Bread, apple, and peach,.broad. B+/B

2012 Abbatucci General de la Revolution blanc
I blinded crew with this, they didn’t stand a chance (guesses were Loire and Rhone, both reasonable). I like the wine, but even I only know one of the 6 grapes (25% Carcajolu Biancu, 25% Paga Debiti, 20% Riminese, 15% Rossola Brandica, 10% Biancone, 5% Vermentinu).
Savory and saline, citrus and almonds. long and leesy. B+/A-

2014 Boulay Culs de Beaujeu Sancerre
Dynamite with the octopus. Blinded, I got producer and vineyard, but big hints. Citrus, chalk, a floral note, long. B++

1970 Magdelaine
Great nose when double-decanted for travel, a bit closed on serving, opens back up with time. Cassis and black plum, tangy, lots of earth/mushroom. Better at end. B+/B

1988 Magdelaine
This is elegant for an ‘88, resolved tannin, silky texture, but meat still helps a lot. Black cherry, blood orange, and a spice/sandalwood note, this really grew on me. B+/A-

1979 La Tour Haut Brion
Surprisingly round for a ‘79, red fruits and cigarbox, good finish. B+

1970 Domaine de Chevalier
This was good to start with, but was great with some air at end. Classic nose of tobacco and gravel, red and black plum, a ferric note. Great length, depth. A-
1970 Haut-Bailly
Rich lush texture (surprising for HB). red and black cherries, a little cocoa. B+/A-

1978 Haut-Bailly
Little hint of barnyard (a feature not a flaw), dark plum, lean in a good way, nicely balanced. B+

1981 Haut-Bailly
Redder fruit, tobacco, mushrooms, fun! B+

2 bonus Margaux bottles were opened late, no chance to really breathe
1970 Bel Air Marquis d’Aligre
Pretty open right away, resolved tannin, balanced acid, black fruit and some dirt. Ready to go, pleasant wine Others liked more. B
1978 Palmer
Tight but still convincing, red fruit framed with truffle and cocoa, balanced, wish I had time to follow more. A-/B+

I had to dash for the train, but what a fun night! No wine I wouldn’t happily have on my dinner table.

Grade disclaimer: I’m a very easy grader, basically A is an excellent wine, B a good wine, C
drinkable. 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.

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No disagreement there, as I would have voted 70 DdC as my WOTN.

Yes, the 79 LTHB was a pleasant add after a certain RKLin from dinners past had gracefully joined us and brought this with another good red.

Their older gold labels remind me of Brane Cantenac from a distance.

Ramon always drinks so pro, wow!!!

Love the Bailly, Magdelaine and BAMA pairing. Three of my top tens right there. I’m popping another 1970 Magdelaine with a crew from here next week, last one I popped was beautiful.

Thanks for the great notes, guys!

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Thanks. But am just an amateur that take notes and giddily get swept in with the pros.

My local winegeek dudes just know how to get things going with their cool wines. :blush:

My kind of tasting; every wine there sounds extraordinary.
Old DDC have been superb, and we did a vertical a few years ago for our SOBER group which may have one of my favorite tastings the group did. It was anchored by an unbelievably good 1953.

Magdelaine is a known wine among for people who like old fashioned Saint Emilion and Haut Bailly has long been a bit of a sleeper. Thank you for updated notes.

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This was the best bottle of ‘70 Haut Bailly I’ve had. Really great transparent seamless bottle.

I have one bottle left of the 78 Palmer, from a case I purchased at auction years ago… It has proved to be so yummy over the last 15 years