TN: RJ’s wine dinner – random wines – Krug, Salon, Leroy, Truchot, Dujac, La Turque, Chave, SQN and etc.


RJ initiated and organized a dinner and ten of us got together at Mon Ami Gabi in Reston, Va. Although there was a no theme, everyone generously contributed the great wines and we were able to have a few excellent flights. This was our first dinner at the venue. The food and service were good but the stems were less than ideal. Our sole waitress was quite attractive and attentive which made up for a few shortcomings.
It was nice to compare correct bottles of the 96 Salon and Krug.

  • 1996 Salon Champagne Brut Blanc de Blancs - France, Champagne, Le Mesnil Sur Oger, Champagne
    Initially somewhat coiled and dense, strong presence of acidity. It opens up nicely, honey, fresh granny smith, mineral, white pepper and anise. Impressive concentration, sweet, dense and mineral palate expression and bright acidity. Still young and fresh but start to show some yellow fruits. I just ready my TN from December, 2011 and this bottle is almost identical in that there is a beautiful interplay of sweet dense fruit, strong mineral presence and bright acidity. Perhaps one of the most dense and precise Champagnes. Still long life ahead but ready to be enjoyed. (97 pts.)
  • 1996 Krug Champagne Brut - France, Champagne
    Apple, soft and warm, coriander, spicy and brioche. I first served this in a genetic restaurant stem and it was showing poorly, a bit clumsy and not too expressive. Transferred to Zalto universal and this drastically improved. Lovely delicate sweet yellow fruits, allspices, honey, sweet apple, brioche and limestone. Beautiful fine mousse, soft, round yet precise mouthfeel and long finish. It got better with time and the last sip was the best. It is not as linear but still very precise. A lesson in how a proper stem can drastically enhance the experience, going from 94 to 98pts. (98 pts.)
  • 1973 H. Andre & Cie Champagne Cuvée Royále - France, Champagne
    This is a recent acquisition from a sound cellar. Very delicate and creamy. Baked apple, apricot marmalade, caramel and smoke. Still show decent amount of shy bubbles. Despite being fully matured, a delicate body hints blanc de blanc. A bit out of place in the flight but still enjoyable. (93 pts.)

Cali Chardonnays

  • 2005 Marcassin Chardonnay Marcassin Vineyard - USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast
    A big scale of Chardonnay that still seems very youthful. Mostly tropical yellow fruits, pineapple, lemon curd, guava, light caramel and smoke. For me, a bit of heat but remains balanced with bright acidity and minerality. The palate is sweet, rich and dense. If you love the style of Marcassin Chardonnay, you would definitely love this wine and score at least a couple points higher. (94 pts.)
  • 2009 Aubert Chardonnay Ritchie Vineyard - USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast
    I have almost no domestic Chardonnays in my cellar but I got to try a lot of the high end ones thanks to my friends. IMO, Aubert has more mineral expression than Marcassin or Kistler, resulting in better overall definition and precision. Served next to the 11 Aubert Ritche, this seems to be more in harmony as all the components have come together nicely. Intense sweet yellow fruits, mineral, sweet spices and smoke. Dense and chewy, round and soft palate expression and bright acidity that keeps the wine fresh. (95 pts.)
  • 2011 Aubert Chardonnay Ritchie Vineyard - USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast
    This closely resembles the 09 but all the elements have not come together yet which resulting in mineral expression, acidity and oak spice expressing separately. Fresh yellow fruits, mineral expression and oak. It will required a couple years to settle down. (93 pts.)

Red Burgundys

  • 2002 Domaine Truchot-Martin Clos de la Roche Vieilles Vignes - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Clos de la Roche Grand Cru
    Although there is a hint of soft and decadent fruit expression, the wine is quite dark and dense for a Truchot. Ripe yet fresh red fruit driven nose, cherry and raspberry, also noticeable floral note, smoke, mineral and earth. The palate is pretty dense, sappy sweet fruits, bright acidity and noticeable but nicely integrated tannins. Despite being ripe, this is fresher and younger than the 01 Leroy CDR. This is a decadent wine with nicely layered delicate sweet fruits. The fruit expression is not terribly complex but it is hard to complain as the wine is so darn delicious. Still showing young but quite enjoyable. (95 pts.)
  • 2001 Domaine Leroy Clos de la Roche - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Clos de la Roche Grand Cru
    For me, the wines from Leroy have such a strong producer imprint that looking the expression of terrior is a futile exercise. For me, the wines always display intense sweet fruits, roasted nut or coffee, caramel and stewed fruits. There is also very complex and exotic Vosne spice note. Expressive decadent nose of fresh red fruits as in raspberry and ripe jammy dark fruits as in blackberry essence, also vosne spice, truffle, medium caramel, sap, earth and soy. Big scale wine with excellent concentration, sweet fruits, bright acidity and nicely integrated tannins. Both in the nose and palate, there is distinct sweet stewed tomato note. Just like the 01 Rousseau Chambertin, there is a slight hint of oxidative note at the end. This is a hedonistic expressive exotic big scale wine that is fully matured and ready to go.
    I read Jeremy’s note which I think is spot on, especially “‘DRCesque’ with its scents of Hoisin and soy.” Perhaps Hoisin for a white guy=Tomato Stew for an Asian guy? (96 pts.)
  • 2008 Domaine Dujac Clos de la Roche - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Clos de la Roche Grand Cru
    Started real tight, also as Peter and Mark stated very reductive with noticeable sulfur presence. Initially shy red fruits and cedar as in oak. With air, it opens up nicely, sappy red fruits, raspberry, spicy spices, sesame coming from oak, mineral and earth. Medium concentration, sappy sweet fruits, strong mineral presence, bright acidity and noticeable but nicely integrated tannins. Fresh, red fruit driven, intense, precise and nicely structure. It kind of got lost in the flight. Still need at least five years to integrate and ten plus years to show secondary and tertiary notes. If drinking now, I would recommend in a dinner for not more than four with a couple hours of decanting at cellar temperature. 92 pts today but should be a 95 pointer. (95 pts.)

Domestic Sangiovese

  • 1996 Shafer Firebreak - USA, California, Napa Valley, Stags Leap District
    Apparently Sangiovese based wine. Strong burnt rubber note, soft red fruit driven palate but mostly devoid of fruits. Perhaps it would have been much more enjoyable when young.

Red Rhones

  • 1989 E. Guigal Côte-Rôtie La Turque - France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Côte-Rôtie
    What a treat to drink this elixir twice in ten days. I got the last pour and since the bottle was not decanted, initially unexpressive and bitter. Once settled, expressive complex nose displaying intense sweet black fruits, blackberry jam, tapenade, Asian spices, tieguanyin tea, lavender, smoke and earth. Perfectly balanced palate, silky and sensual, bright acidity and fully integrated tannins. Once again, a great example of perfectly harmonious and balanced wine. Memorable! (99 pts.)
  • 1989 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage - France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Hermitage
    There were varying opinions regarding the maturity. I personally thought this was a fully matured classic Chave but others thought still young. Delicate sweet fruits, bright red fruits, cherry, beef blood, mint, white pepper and garrigue. Medium concentration, silky, sweet, bright acidity and nicely integrated tannins. I find the matured Chave to be very Burgundian and this is no exception. It was a lovely wine that was the La Turque. (95 pts.)
  • 2007 Domaine de la Janasse Châteauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
    Certainly impressive but somewhat overwhelming for me. I can see this easily getting 99-100 in a blind session of the 07 CDPs, big bad jammy black and blue fruits, wet tobacco, crème de cassis, licorice, liquid smoke, ink and violet. I find the fruit to be pure and there are noticeable classic CDP notes. Incredible concentration, ink, ripe and long finish. Nice to sip but incredibly difficult to drink. It would be interesting to follow how this ages. (94 pts.)

Cali Reds

  • 2005 Araujo Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Eisele Vineyard - USA, California, Napa Valley
    Black and blue fruit driven nose, cassis, coffee, crushed blueberry and lead pencil. Excellent concentration, primary intense sweet fruits and nicely integrated tannins. This is not as big as the 05 HSS. Not overdone and shows excellent balance. Needs time but still enjoyable with primary fruits and baby fat. (95 pts.)
  • 2005 Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select - USA, California, Napa Valley, Stags Leap District
    This is a big scale wine. Intense jammy black fruits, crushed blackberries, cassis, licorice, bitter chocolate and earth. Excellent concentration unctuous palate, nicely integrated tannins and long finish. Enjoyable now but will improve with time. My recommendation is to decant for a couple hours minimum and serve with a dry aged extra fatty charred USDA prime ribeye. (96 pts.)
  • 2004 Sine Qua Non Syrah Ode to E - USA, California, Central Coast
    Intense and expressive nose displaying dark fruits, nutmeg, sweet spices, vanilla and coffee. What is impressive is that the wine is so silky and there are absolutely no detectable tannins. It somehow reminded me drinking a great cognac or scotch that shows absolutely no heat. Incredible product. (97 pts.)
  • 1995 Ridge Monte Bello - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
    A classic California cab. Cassis, plum, a hint of green, stem, lead pencil, mint and leather. Medium concentration, silky palate, bright acidity and nicely integrated tannins. (93 pts.)
  • 2004 Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley
    It was big, soft and jammy. A hint of alcohol and bitter end. Ample soft and jammy blue fruits but lacking definition. Perhaps need more time. (93 pts.)


  • 2004 Klein Constantia Vin de Constance - South Africa, Coastal Region, Constantia
    I like this wine upon release as it shows nice balance due to bright acidity. This seems to show a hint of oxidative note as well as strong presence of spearmint. Apricot, dry apricot, yellow peach, burn sugar, and spearmint. Medium concentration and nice acidity. (92 pts.)
  • 2001 Château Nairac - France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Barsac
    Rich, fat and unctuous with noticeable botrytis. The fruit expression is slightly monolithic. Need time. (92 pts.)

The dinner lasted over five hours and some of the guys went to grab a nightcap. It was a great evening sharing great wines with friends.
Posted from CellarTracker

Some damn fine wines there, Kevin. Great notes.

gahh i love that 08 dujac cdlr. Keep telling myself to load up and keep delaying… and… the price keeps going up. tears

Thanks for posting your notes Kevin. The QC was an 04 and there was a 95 Monte Bello on the table as well.

Updated. At the end, I liked the Krug better.

A very nice report, Kevin–much appreciated! Nice to read that the 2002 Truchot Clos de la Roche is still performing well–one of my favorites.

Nice notes Kevin.

Great notes Kevin on some nice wines, thanks.

One thing I’d point out:

I think Leroy has changed their style somewhat in the last few vintages, with the wines now having less typical “Leroyness” than they used to.

A good or a bad thing, depending on where you sit…

Let’s get together soon.

Thank you.

The only recent Leroy I had was the 09 Combottes which everyone loved in our top 09 and 10 red Burg tasting. I though the wine showed the Leroy signature. The price of Leroy in US is so high, I don’t think I will get a chance to try anytime soon.

I noticed [cheers.gif]

Having to choose between 96 Salon and 96 Krug is not a bad problem to have. My opinion has stayed the same. I like the Krug better, but find the Salon has less bottle variation and I think that over time I may come to prefer the Salon due to the brightness it has vs. the Krug.

Great set of wines Kevin.

great notes Kevin. I hope they treated you well. I was gm of the original Mon Ami in Chicago many moons ago and still feel a kinship for them.