TN: Half Century Wine Geeks celebration : '24/45 Huets, 70s

1960 seemed to be a birthyear for a disproportionate number of metro area winegeeks, so the Real Jay Miller sent out an invite for a communal birthday offline. So yesterday John and I headed down and braved the Holland Tunnel to Jay’s apartment in Jersey City. I believe there were 5 1960s present, plus a congenial group of others. In honor of the 60s food we grew up with, the menu was:

Cheesy Poofs and Sausages
Chicken Pot Pie
Cucumber Salad
Pork Roast
American cheese
Birthday Cake

Luckily, in consideration of his guests, this translated into delicious gougeres, local charcuterie, cuke and jicama salad, pernil, artisanal cheeses, etc. Jay did a fantastic job hosting.

A really nice assortment of wines, I took minimal notes but here’s some impressions:

Cedric Bouchard Roses de Jeanne Champagne
No actual notes, I wasn’t thrilled, not even sure if NV or vintage.

I was really interested to taste the first and second releases of the 2002 Huet Vouvray Petillant Brut side by side, but while there were distinct differences, both were fairly closed compared to bottles (I believe from first release) I had a couple of years ago. I liked,didn’t love, think maybe time to let these sleep. Both B/B+ for drinking now.

NV Clouet “1911” Champagne Brut
Jay was averaging a 1959 and 1961 to get 1960, so I cheated by bringing this and a 2009 rose to get the same thing. My joke was somewhat thwarted when I realized the 1911 doesn’t actually appear on the bottle.
I did quite like the wine, medium to full bodied, bread dough over pear and citrus fruit, a leesy note, good length. A-/B+

1980 Knoll Loimer Schutt Gruner Veltliner
Not only did I like the wine, but I finally learned the K IS pronounced (I’ve always wondered). Plums, pepper, mineral, smoke. Nice mouthfeel, maybe a bit fragile with some air. Not everyone liked, but one of my faves of the whites. B+/A-

1989 Baumard “Clos du Papillon” Savennieres
Wet wool, cidery apples, short. Not a fan of this bottle. C

2003 Coche-Dury Meursault
Not as flabby as some 03 white Burgs, but this could still use a jolt of acid. Warm fruits verging on tropical, a heavy dose of that distinctive “fish oil” thing I get from C-D (John tells me it’s iodine, hmmm). B-

2008 Eminence Road Farm Gewurztraminer (Finger Lakes)
The winemakers were present, and I was happy not to have to make any evasions, as I quite liked this. Spicy, assertive, with good acidity for Gewurz. I’d buy this. Winery is in Catskills. B+

2008 Selbach Oster Rotlay Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling (Mosel)
Not sure if this was a big Spatlese or a light Auslese, not that divisions are so defined these days. Fruit, power, precision, I liked, and didn’t find mid-palate dilution that one person complained about. A-

1977 Estrella River Cabernet Sauvignon (San Luis Obispo, Paso Robles)
I’d never heard of this winery, but I enjoyed wine. Herby, balanced, with just a hint of pruniness, the pruniness was gone on a later revisit. Very nice. B+

1978 Cheval Blanc (St Emilion)
I had been holding to pair with a 79 for SOBER, but decided we needed to celebrate when Jay, John, Jeff, Jim, and I (lotta Js born in '60) became legal to drink. Nice solid cork, some bottle funk that blew off quickly. Lots of Gravesque tobacco, mature black fruits, a little leafy/green note. Nice concentration though not a muscular wine, classic for my tastes. In a good place. A-

1985 Chevillon “Les Cailles” Nuits St George 1er
A bit odd, some solid cherry fruit and coffee notes but with a whiff of swimming pool. I didn’t get it as clearly corked, but in latter conversations it seems some others (probably more sensitive than me) had thought so

1975 CVNE “Vina Real” Rioja (was this a GR? didn’t note)
Slightly lifted, red fruit and molasses, herbs, earth. Lots of love for this in the room, I liked but maybe a bit less than others. B

1924 Huet Moelleux (pretty sure I heard this was LHL, but it was in a decanter)
A bit out of order, but the decanter was emptying fast and I didn’t want to miss this. No signs of tiredness, vibrant acidity, fresh fruit notes of peaches and oranges, turned soil, wax. Long, complete, excellent. A

1961 Lascombes (Margaux)
I quite liked a 70 Lascombes last year and looked forward to this, but found it boring and not very fresh. B-/C+

1975 Ridge Montebello
Somewhat muted, light cassis notes, mushrooms, I liked a pour later a bit better. Some discussion over whether it was corked? If so below my threshold. Not bad but least favorite of the CalCabs for me. B/B- if a representative bottle

1964 Borgogno Barolo Riserva
Raspberries, cranberries, tart acidty, olives, mushrooms, tea. One person thought it was dead, not to me. Maybe a tad past some ideal peak, but interesting and lively. A-

2008 Thomas Labaille “Les Monts Damnes Cuvee Buster” Sancerre
No contemporous notes, but I liked this even between the reds. B+

1974 Ceretto Zonchera Barolo maderized/cooked

1974 Sterling Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve
Really interesting, black currant fruit, notes of earth, cocoa, and BenGay (strangely, that’s a positive in small doses). Nice length, balanced acidity, one of my favorites. A-

We went out on the patio for some lovely cheeses and enjoyed the view of NY harbor, the Statue of Liberty,Ellis Island, and various ships (including one tall 3 master). Some nice dessert wines

1945 Huet “Le Haut Lieu” Vouvray Moelleux
Peaches, canteloupe, orange rind, caramel, wax, wool. Beautiful balance, color (gold/orange with a green edge), length. Maybe I’m just a vintage/label whore (nothing was blind) but the older Huets were everything I’d want in a wine. A

1959 Moulin Touchais Anjou
I was really happy to see this, as I had loved a bottle at Betsy’s 50th in December. This bottle seemed a tad darker, but not extreme. On pouring I thought this was corked, but then I get more “false positives” with Chenin than any other wine. With some time I didn’t get the cardboard hints, what was there was a midbodied wine with quince, citrus and peaches, good acidity. Not bad, but nowhere near the bottle from 6 months ago. B/B+

1959 Ch. des Coulinais Ste. Croix du Mont
I found this a bit dull and dilute, though some liked it. I don’t think it was so much tired as just soft & light, 51 years is pushing it for SCdM! The apple and apricot fruit is there, low acidity, not very long after the Chenins. B-

2005 Pinon Moelleux
I liked more than some others. A bit out of context after the more mature wines, but nice. B+

Really fun night. I was driving so spit a lot, but that saved my palate (such as it is) for the later wines. Hoping that some others will chime in with their disagreements.

Good group of people, nice to see some I haven’t seen in years and meet some new faces. Thanks to all,but especially Jay.

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.

Happy birthday Jay et al.!

The '08 Rotlay doesn’t have a pradikat on the front label, but it does indicate Spatlese on the back. I also have found it to taste more like an Auslese, though.

Thanks for the info, Keith. Also, Jay says the Bouchard was the NV Roses de Jeanne Blanc de Noirs, and the Coche-Dury I thought was the basic Meursault was actually the ‘Les Rougeots’.


Thanks for the notes on the Huèts. When I visited last month, the cellar dude/commercial man who led us through their caves told me that the 1924 Haut Lieu was the most beautiful wine he ever had. All those ancient bottles are in separate locked cellar nicknamed “Le Paradis”. Unfortunately msr. Pinguet was gone for the day, so we couldn’t sneak a peek. Anyway, I’m appropriately envious and hope to be back in Vouvray for a more private tasting.

Maybe it’s my age… I’ll be 60 in a month or so, but I like this kind of scoring much better than numerical ones. Given the subjective nature of the subject it is as accurate as possible.

Having had it a few times I’m looking forward to trying the '07 Auslese sometime soon

Did you ask Brad for his opinions again? Silly Dale.

I really liked this one.

The “K” is pronounced in Knoll? Really? How do you say it, Ka-noll?

Love Thomas Labaille’s entry level Sancerre as a consistent QPR performer (turned on to it in a TN posted by Jason Brandt Lewis on the old Board). Never had the Cuvee Buster before.