TN: Mucho vino at the 15th annual birthday jeebus.

It was 1999 when I first started gathering fellow wine-minded friends together for a birthday celebration as Joe Dougherty’s, my and Lisa Allen’s birthday all fall within three days of each other. It soon morphed into a birthday/farewell Joe party as Joe Dressner and Denyse Louis would head off to France for the summer right about the time we were celebrating our birthdays. This year’s celebration was bigger than ever. So big that Joe graciously moved the party over to his place when it became clear that not everyone would fit into my apartment. As usual, everyone brought good eats and tasty wines and a festive night it was!

  • 2002 Thomas-Labaille- Sancerre Chavignol Les Monts Damnés - France, Loire Valley, Upper Loire, Sancerre
    Unfortunately, an advanced showing. Rather tired with no real freshness, though the acidity remains pert. Some apple and mineral flavors, but there used to be a lot of fruit and vibrancy to this wine. Toasted nuts and oxidative flavors now dominate. Drink up. B-.
  • NV François Chidaine- Montlouis-sur-Loire Brut - France, Loire Valley, Touraine, Montlouis-sur-Loire
    From '05 fruit. Soft with a light mousse, but quite flavorful. It’s intensely earthy with quince, apricot, stone fruit and baked bread flavors and aromas. Shows the vintage’s ripeness and could use maybe a bit more acidity, but it’s drinking nicely and picks up a pleasant bitterness on the finish. B+.
  • 2005 Domaine de la Pépière (Marc Ollivier)- Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine Sur Lie Vieilles Vignes Clos des Briords - France, Loire Valley, Pays Nantais, Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine
    Ripe and a bit more plump than other less hot vintages, but absolutely delightful. The citrus is more orange than in other vintages and there’s a bit of stone fruits making an appearance, but the usual salinity and oyster shell is there too. Nicely intense, if a bit less crisp than usual. A-/B+.
  • 2011 Pearl Morissette Estate Winery- Riesling Cuvée Blackball Barrique - Canada, Ontario, Niagara Peninsula, Twenty Mile Bench VQA
    From a bottle opened the day before. Barrique is kind of a red herring as the winemaker explained that the barrels are neutral. Indeed, the wine showed no trace of new oak. 68 cases made and vinified dry, producing 11.7% alc/vol. Floral with apple, peach and jasmine aromas. It shows a vivacious personality on the palate with an intense peach and mineral character. Nice acid levels, though there’s perhaps a little bit of a fade in the mid-palate, though that may be from it being open 24 hours. Quite nice. B+/B.
  • 2009 Pearl Morissette Estate Winery- Chardonnay Cuvée Dix-Neuvième - Canada, Ontario, Niagara Peninsula, Twenty Mile Bench VQA
    From a bottle opened 24 hours earlier. 185 cases made. Shows more oak than I prefer on the nose and palate, but while there’s more butterscotch than I’d prefer, the wine shows lovely acidity which perks things up a bit. Nice ripeness to the the pineapple and apple and stone fruits and the wine seems fresher and lighter than the 13.5% alcohol listed on the label would suggest. Solid B.
  • 2010 François Cazin (Le Petit Chambord)- Cour-Cheverny Vendanges Manuelles Cuvée Renaissance - France, Loire Valley, Upper Loire, Cour-Cheverny
    A bit less intense and less sweet than previous vintages. There’s a more pronounced mineral character than usual with the fruit more in the background. Brisk acidity with quince, citrus and some herbal tones. The red fruit is there, but much less apparent than in other vintages. Seems a bit more streamlined and lighter than usual. I expected more, but it’s still quite enjoyable and I’m curious to see where this wine goes with some time on it. Solid B+.
  • 2010 Dönnhoff- Norheimer Kirschheck Riesling Spätlese - Germany, Nahe
    From magnum. Boisterous, vital and bursting with a passion fruit, stone fruit, lime and mineral personality. It’s focused with bright acids balancing out the medium sweetness and while it’s a complex and layered wine, it’s also just a ton of fun in a bottle that’s tough not to unabashedly slurp down. A-.
  • 2001 Clos Rougeard (Foucault)- Saumur Brézé - France, Loire Valley, Anjou-Saumur, Saumur
    I’ve never been able to embrace this bottling as I just don’t find Chenin agreeable to oak. Indeed, I find this wine too oaky for my tastes. The wine’s nicely textured and balanced. There’s a lovely tropical edge to the fruit to go along with the typical quince profile and there’s plenty of chalky minerality to be found, but it’s tough to escape the butterscotch and vanilla. B/B-.
  • 1971 Château Giscours - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux
    At this age, it comes down to the bottle and one I had six years ago was stunning. This one, not so much. Shows some mint, lots of earth and leather, but no real fruit to speak of. Dried out and not that pleasant. C+/C.
  • 1967 Château Giscours - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux
    I apparently missed its best showing, which occurred when it was first opened and didn’t get to it until the bottle had been open a half an hour or so. I found the nose more enjoyable than the palate, where it showed coffee notes, desiccated red fruit, leather, tobacco and a touch of herb. The first sip showed a quick hit of old red fruit, but the fruit was fleeting and very quickly the earth and leather elements took over. Drying and a bit over the hill, though king of the wine necrophiliacs, Jay Miller, enjoyed it more than I did. Low B-.
  • 1976 Catherine et Pierre Breton- Chinon Beaumont - France, Loire Valley, Touraine, Chinon
    I haven’t had this wine in at least a dozen years and it was a pleasure to catch up. Nicely softened and mature, but still showing freshness to the fruit, the aroma is alluring with its cherry, tobacco and earth scents. Like satin across the palate with the cherry showing sweetness and aged complexity. The herb is more in the tobacco stage at this point and there’s a distinct tomato and fur note. Integrated, well balanced and drinking beautifully. A-.
  • 1983 Trimbach- Riesling Cuvée Frédéric Emile - France, Alsace, Alsace AOC
    A really beautiful showing as the wine revealed perfect balance, great intensity and length, mature notes as well as freshness. Typically FE with its lime and mineral profile buttressed by stone fruits. It has picked up some petrol notes. The fruit shows nice ripeness and lends a savory quality while the wine remains dry. More, please. Solid A-.
  • 1998 Michel & Stéphane Ogier- Côte-Rôtie - France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Côte-Rôtie
    Showing fairly typically, though with a smokier profile than other bottles. The black and blue fruit’s there with a bit of spice, herb and olive. Acidity is pert and could use a little more fruit to soften the edge, but a morsel of food helps. B+/A-.
  • 1999 Domaine Jean Deydier et Fils- Châteauneuf-du-Pape Les Clefs d’Or - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
    Seems like a CDP for those that are normally CDP averse as it’s rather lean with high acid levels. The red plum and red berries are quite tart and with air a strong iodine note took over. There’s a resinous character along with some game, licorice and spice notes and it’s a bit dry on the back end. Needs more flesh. B.
  • 2006 Thierry Allemand- Cornas Chaillot - France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Cornas
    One sip and I wish I had taken a Dressner pour. What a beautiful wine. Aromatically, it had a group of us wishing that someone would make one of those plug in air fresheners with this scent. Just a gorgeous nose that was full of sweet black fruit, violets, licorice, spice and a hint of game. Classy and elegant on the palate with similar flavors as aromas with the addition of a graphite/mineral note. There’s terrific purity to the fruit and the wine is balanced wonderfully by crisp acids. Wish the bottle had been a magnum. A/A-
  • 2001 Domaine de Trévallon- Vin de Pays des Bouches-du-Rhône - France, Provence, Vin de Pays des Bouches-du-Rhône
    Corked. NR (flawed)
  • 1997 Clos Roche Blanche- Touraine Cuvée Cot - France, Loire Valley, Touraine
    Connell is grinning like a mischievous gremlin when he shows this wine off. A throwback to days long gone when Jeff still lived in the city and the NY group also included the likes of Andrew and Jen, Oleg O, Callahan and Manuel & Josie. Man, if that isn’t a grand cru jeebus right there. Alas, I wish I liked this wine as much as Jeff did, but the Cot bottling has always been a thorn in my side. The added ripeness from '97 certainly helps and the wine does show off pretty black and red fruit to go along with the twigs, violets, earth and spice, but I find it’s a bit lacking in the middle, rather drying with the structure a little too coarse. That said, I still found it pleasurable and would be happy with it along side a roast chicken on a Tuesday night, which, after all, is what it really is meant for. B.
  • 1996 Domaine François Cotat (Paul & François)- Sancerre Cuvée Spéciale Les Monts Damnés - France, Loire Valley, Upper Loire, Sancerre
    A late harvest Sauvignon Blanc with just a touch of residual sugar, it’s in fine form this evening. Large scaled, ripe and full of dry extract, it shows an exotic side of Sancerre with it’s fruit forward nature, but still sports some minerality. Sweet orange and yellow citrus and stone fruits do dominate with a tinge of red fruit and there’s also just a touch of VA showing. Always a treat when Joe breaks one of these out. A-.
  • 1998 Dönnhoff Niederhäuser Hermannshöhle Riesling Spätlese - Germany, Nahe
    A little bit controversial as I and one other person felt that while good, it was showing its age and wasn’t as great as it was in its youth while a couple of others looked at me like I had three heads. This bottle just reinforces my view that, to my tastes, Donnhoffs are best consumed within about eight years of vintage. Beyond that, with of course some exceptions here and there, it loses that amazing electricity and vibrancy these wines show when they’re younger. The wine is a perfect example. It’s mineral driven at this point and taken on some petrol notes and shows pale yellow and white fruit, but there’s nothing really exciting about the wine. While the acidity is nice and fresh, the wine has lost the energy it had in its youth and is now just a pleasant wine and that’s a shame. I just don’t see positive development with age in these wines, broadly speaking, as I do in other Riesling producers, but, ymmv. Solid B+.

I didn’t take as many pictures as I normally do, but here are a few from the evening.

Jeff Connell arrives with a bottle and a bread he made in hand.

Scott & Eden Seyffarth, Melissa & Don Rice.

Jayson Cohen, Arnold, Jay Miller and Sasha Katsman.

Sasha, Elissa Middleton, Lisa Allen and Joe Dougherty.

Jayson and a very happy Greg dal Piaz.

Jeff Grossman and Don.

Sasha, Elissa, Jeff and Jayson.

Sasha, Elissa, Lisa and Joe.

Jeff and Lisa’s mother, Lorraine, watch Joe work his magic in the kitchen.

Posted from CellarTracker