There is a story behind this incredible dinner. I got into a heated discussion regarding the possible 04 like taints in the 11s. Jon F, Don C and I decided to organize the 11 Burgundy tasting. Jon F quickly planned a family trip to DC and Don C decided to join in. I figure it would be nice to show a warm DCWINO welcome and I contacted the usual suspects. Since Jon F’s time in DC was limited and we didn’t coordinate the 11s much, the 11 tasting was postponed, actually more like cancelled, and we were left with the Jon and Don welcoming dinner. Although it seemed improbable, we enthusiastically agreed on the theme, “La Tache”
All of us contributed a bottle of La Tache plus another special bottle and it has quickly become an embarrassment of riches. Since it would be wonderful to include the 90 La Tache, we cost shared.
The original intent was to have eight participants but since this was a very special dinner, we ended up with eleven. As usual, we worked closely with the chef Jacob Esko and the food and beverage manager, Will Rentschler to create a ten course tasting menu to complement the great wines. They did a great job as all the dishes were nicely flavored but none overpowered the wines.
We were seated at the spacious board room in the basement. The room temperature was set at 60 degree for the first two to three hours and the wines showed extremely well.
For me, the best way to serve red Burgundy is over a small dinner, maximum of six but four is even better. IMO, it tends to require for more attention and time as there is no other wine that is more nuance driven. Having said that, it was an incredible evening and perhaps the wines being La Tache, they showed magnificently. I am not about to deny the event being over the top, a bacchanalian debauchery. However we all had incredible time and were keenly aware how privileged we were.
Two young Leflaives
A number of bottles were already shipped to my house a couple weeks ahead and I left the bottles standing for a few days. I drove back home and retrieve the bottles right before heading to the restaurant. I and JC arrived a couple hours early to prep the wines. The room was already at sixty degrees and all the bottles were very cool to touch. Since we anticipated that the dinner will last long, we decided to open the bottles at 6 PM. We just opened the 08 Batard and the 11 Chevalier and took small pours of each and headed to the rooftop.
2011 Domaine Leflaive Chevalier-Montrachet - France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Chevalier-Montrachet Grand Cru
Upon on opening, a bit of the 04 taint but it could be easily taken as a bit of green/pyrazine. With air, much less so and very Chevalier. Fresh white fruit driven nose, pear, slightly unripe white peach, white flowers, honeysuckle, delicate sweet and spicy spices, wax and cool mountain stream. Medium body, quite delicate, once again fresh white driven palate impression and nice seamless finish. Jon mentions being a bit tight and I have to agree, a very young chevalier. If I were to be stickler, there is a hint of green and not the most concentrated and energetic Chevalier especially considering the domaine. (93 pts.)
2008 Domaine Leflaive Bâtard-Montrachet - France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru
The color is golden which is surprising. Very ripe intense yellow fruit profile, a hint of burn caramel, honey, mineral and orange skin oil. Exceptional concentration, sweet and very ripe honey and yellow fruit driven palate impression, very good acidity and long finish. This is dense, mineral and masculine as one expects from a batard. Despite displaying exceptional mineral expression and being masculine, very ripe fruit flavor profile makes the wine not too precise. Knowing the premox issue at the domaine, I wonder how this will evolve. Drinking nicely but seems a bit more mature than I would have expected. (94 pts.)
These were pleasantly accessible. We were joined by a few more guests. It is always fun to compare these two. They are not as perfectly precise as they once were but I am kinda liking them with a bit more roundness as well.
1996 Salon Champagne Brut Blanc de Blancs - France, Champagne, Le Mesnil Sur Oger, Champagne
Ian Westcott posted that the bottle he tried recently was very tight. This is expressive and starting to be a bit more soft and generous, if that is even possible in a Salon, especially the 96. Intense sweet yellow citrus fruits, coriander, flowers, honey and limestone. First palate note is the strong presence of acidity followed by intensely sweet yellow fruits and honey, mineral, bright acidity once again then lovely long finish. This and the one prior seem to show more sweetness and roundness. It is hard to be absolute in this wine but it is starting to enter the second stage of development. Someone reminisces how perfectly precise this wine was upon release. If you have a lot, it won’t hurt to try one. (98 pts.)
1996 Krug Champagne Vintage Brut - France, Champagne
This reminds me a bit of the 90 drank a few days ago showing a bit of red fruits. For my palate, I find it interesting how Krug actually gets a bit fresher/brighter with cellaring. Just like the 90 Salon, this bottle is open for business. Beautiful interplay of intense tart and sweet flavors, baked tart red apple with cinnamon, sugar and butter, brioche, sweet spices, a hint of raspberry and mineral. Fine mousse, excellent concentration , just like the nose, lovely interplay of tart and sweet flavors intensifies the overall palate impression, bright acidity and lovely long finish. Lovely showing, very vinous. (97 pts.)
First flight of La Tache - 50, 53 and 69
We returned to the dining room and proceeded with three oldest bottles of La Tache. We thought it would make sense to serve them before the whites as we had no clue how they would show. When looking the bottles through a light, the 50 and 53 were clear and bright where the 69 was a bit cloudy despite left standing for a few days. It was not a major concern as I have had a lot of bottles of cloudy Burgundy that showed very well. The 50 was incredibly delicious and very much alive. Most thought the 53 was DOA with VA/Madeira and much preferred the 69. I was the only one who liked the 53 better as the wine became really nice and lively with air, caveat.
We served the wines ourselves. We poured about 2 oz per person in one serving. The 50, 53 and 69 definitely showed significant sediments and the early pours were definitely more expressive. The others had a very little issue and the first and the last were almost identical.
1950 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti La Tâche - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, La Tâche Grand Cru
The label is almost illegible. The cork at the top is most and covered with black gunk. It is hard to pull the cork which is a great sign. The cork came out intact and 1950 is clearly visible. This is a great old La Tache. Light color with a hint of brown but clear and bright. Decadent light caramel, slightly diluted raspberry jam, a hint of sous bois but not strong, grilled mushroom, smoke, soy and gentle Asian spice. Fully resolved seamless sweet palate, lovely long finish. Delicate yet not shy. A great privilege, an emotional experience. I can drink this all night. (98 pts.)
1953 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti La Tâche - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, La Tâche Grand Cru
Initially pine resin/VA and a hint of madeira. A bit of advanced nose, remnant of strawberry. The palate also shows a bit of oxidation. With air, the wine regained the composure becoming very similar to the 50 but not quite, a bit more noticeable strawberry fruits, perfume, tree bark and coffee. Soft and round palate, a hint of madeira, toffee, no sign of tannins and medium finish. I believe I was the only one who liked the wine. I love to drink another bottle but doubt my chance. (95 pts.)
1969 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti La Tâche - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, La Tâche Grand Cru
Good color but a bit cloudy. Wet moss and dirty damp cellar that didn’t go away for me. Also remnant of plum and dry cherries, mint, oatmeal and wet earth. Good concentration and acidity but bit dirty. Most dinners preferred this to the 53 by a good margin. (92 pts.)
It was a great privilege to drink these wines. The 92 Leflaive Batard is the best example I had. The Coche was incredible and the 89 Carillon is the most concentrated white Burgundy of my life.
2009 Coche-Dury Meursault 1er Cru Les Perrières - France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Meursault 1er Cru
Absolutely stunning showing. The last time I had a young Coche Perriers was the 01 and it reminds me of that, so precise, fresh, pure and incredibly delicious. Fresh and sweet white fruit driven nose, pear, whit peach and apple, a hint of flint which I find in Coche, white flowers,light honey, cool wet limestone and saline. Excellent concentration, delicate white fruit driven palate impression, strong presence of acidity that is nicely masked by ample fresh fruits and lovely clean finish. Stuart N recently commented how stylized Coche wines were but this is perfectly pure. Perhaps it is my love for Coche but this flirts with perfection. A great privilege to drink this elixir. (99 pts.)
1989 Louis Carillon Bienvenues-Bâtard-Montrachet - France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Bienvenues-Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru
One of the most concentrated Burgundies of my life. Very ripe yellow fruits, sweet spices, lemon curd and burnt caramel. Unctuous palate, good mineral expression, honey and yellow fruit driven palate impression and good finish. Barry P generous brought the 02 earlier as well and I prefer that bottle. This is incredibly ripe, certainly not overripe, and concentrated wine. A bit too overwhelming. (95 pts.)
1992 Domaine Leflaive Bâtard-Montrachet - France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru
I sourced a couple dozen top white Burgundies from a cold and damp European cellar about ten years ago and all the bottles have been stellar. Very youthful color. Ripe yet cool nose displaying lovely yellow pit fruits, smoke, oyster shell, licorice, oyster brine, a hint of light honey and mint. Beautiful harmonious palate, fruit, acidity and mineral expression have come together beautifully, ie starts with generous ripe fruit transitions to lovely mineral expression then a hint of acidity that lifts up the overall expression and ending in lovely seamless finish. A great example of the 92 GC white Burgundy, combining opulence and precision. (98 pts.)
Second flight of La Tache - 85, 88 & 89
I recently sourced the 85 for a friend but it showed noticeable TCA taint. The contrast between the 88 and the 89 were very interesting and educational.
1985 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti La Tâche - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, La Tâche Grand Cru
Corked, %&#*&. It was one participant’s birth year wine and he mentioned never having a good bottle of the 85 La Tache. He likes all of the 85 DRC bottlings except the La Tache, BTW he thinks the 85 RC is a killer and the GE is incredible. His streak continues! NR (flawed)
1988 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti La Tâche - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, La Tâche Grand Cru
This was served along with the 89. A great privilege to taste them together. Two excellent wines with very different personalities. Very youthful fresh red fruit drive nose, raspberries, cherries, pine, tar, only a hint of vosne spices, a strong note of raw button mushrooms and earth. Excellent concentration, energetic fresh red fruit driven palate, bright acidity and noticeable but not bothersome tannins. A big scale wine with formidable structure. This was the most masculine La tache of the night for me. (95 pts.)
1989 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti La Tâche - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, La Tâche Grand Cru
This was served along with the 88. A great privilege to taste them together. Two excellent wines with very different personalities. Expressive decadent nose displaying ripe black fruits, blackberries, blackberry jelly, also classic Vosne spices, soy, lovely dark flowers, black tea and mint. Fully integrated harmonious palate, lovely decadent black fruit driven palate impression, silky, nicely integrated tannins and lovely seamless finish that resonates. I preferred this to the 88 from the beginning where some tasters initially preferred the 88 and then this. This wine is drinking beautifully at the moment and a great surprise. (97 pts.)
Third flight of La Tache - 95, 96 and 98
These three once again showed the greatness of La Tache as they were all expressive and complex. I thought the 95 was most ready, the 96 still needs a lot of time.
1995 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti La Tâche - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, La Tâche Grand Cru
Another absolutely stunning showing. Incredibly expressive nose of a perfectly mature GC VR, subtle sweet red fruits, raspberry, raspberry essence, blackberries, Asian spices, decadent sweet spices, strong sous bois that adds additional complexity, sweet caramel and black truffle. Perfectly harmonious palate, silky and polished, fully integrated acidity and tannins. Drinking beautifully. (97 pts.)
1996 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti La Tâche - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, La Tâche Grand Cru
Another youthful example like the 88, intense red fruit driven nose, red cherry, cherry tart and rhubarb, a hint of stems, white pepper, raw button mushrooms and earth. Exceptional concentration, intense tart red fruit driven palate impression, mineral, bright acidity, nicely integrated tannins and long finish. One of the youthful wines of the evening, a vin de garde! (96 pts.)
1998 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti La Tâche - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, La Tâche Grand Cru
Noticeable sweet smoke to start, sweet red fruits, intense sour cherries, stems, a hint of Asian spices and mint. Very precise polished palate, very linear and noticeable structure. Still needs time. (95 pts.)
Fourth flight of La Tache - 93, 90 and 05
I really enjoyed the 93 but the 90 was mindboggling and the 05 was perfect. The 05 being at the nine year old mark, I am not sure whether this will ever shutdown hard. The last flight and the best flight for sure.
1993 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti La Tâche - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, La Tâche Grand Cru
Ken M mentioned that a very well-known critic found the wine to be green in a few occasions. No noticeable green in this bottle, fresh ripe red fruit driven nose displaying raspberry, only a hint of sous bois, stem, sous bois, a slight hint of Vosne spice and earth. Good concentration, fresh red fruit driven palate impression, good balancing acidity and nicely integrated tannins. A bit more earthier than the others. Although very youthful and structured, really enjoyable for me. (96 pts.)
1990 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti La Tâche - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, La Tâche Grand Cru
Most powerful and intense nose. Incredibly youthful nose displaying perfectly ripe red cherries, cherry tart, mint, licorice, hoisin, black tea, intense sweet dark spices and sweet incense. Infinite layers of fruits, contrasting the nose, the fruit is jammy black, also a mint, so much fruits that acidity and tannins are completely masked. The finish is extremely long. For me, the enjoyment comes from experiencing the greatness as it needs another decade to be ready. Total sensory overload. (99 pts.)
2005 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti La Tâche - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, La Tâche Grand Cru
Upon release, this wine quickly shot up to $3,500 per bottle in grey market. I was fortunate to try a few off a number of restaurant lists. Very youthful but very expressive and hedonistic. Perfectly ripe red fruit driven nose, raspberries, raspberries jam, dark cherries, a hint of stems, tie guan yin, perfume and sweet spices. Precise palate, incredibly layered, youthful intense sweet red fruit driven palate impression, silky and polished, bright acidity and noticeable but nicely integrated tannins. Despite the youth, this is very expressive and incredibly complex. Compare to the 90, perhaps slightly less concentrated and not as ripe but as complex if not more and more precise. For me this is perfect in every way. As a side note, some tasters thought it was way too young. I tend to love my Burgundy very young as well as very old. (100 pts.)
After the eight course, we decided to head up to the rooftop to enjoy the weather and drink the rest, including the 02 Salon and the 89, 90 and 01 D’Yquem. At this point, I stopped taking notes and enjoyed a couple stogies. For me, it was a ten hour dinner but I have enjoyed every minute of it. There was absolutely no pretension or stuffiness. We were fully aware how incredibly lucky we are to be a part of this incredible dinner. Jon and Don fit right in with DCWINOS.
Certainly it was an over the top dinner but we all had once in a lifetime experience. FWIW, I took the notes and partially spitted up to the last flight of La Tache. No doubt that the wines were incredibly special but hanging with a bunch of fellows made this truly once in a lifetime dinner.
Posted from CellarTracker