TN: Two wines with half of the Wine Advocate crew.

I was excited when Luis Gutierrez recently got in touch with me to let me know that he was finally going to be in NYC and would love to get together with some of the old time Wine Lover’s Discussion Group folks. We go back 18 or 19 years there as he was part of the Spanish contingent, which also included Victor de la Serna, that posted regularly and it was their participation, and, of course, the arguments between old school Rioja styles versus modernist Rioja and Ribera del Duero, that really grew my interest in Spanish wines. Now, Victor and Ignacio Villalgordo had come to NY and jeebed with the NY crew and I’ve been pestering Luis since I saw him in Madrid some years ago that he really needed to get to NY. Well, the one evening he was going to be free from his Wine Advocate Matter of Taste tour duties was problematic. Many of the WLDG people he wanted to meet were already committed to an all day jeeb, which had already been postponed once, out in NJ and the thought of doing a wine dinner after six hours of the same wasn’t too appealing to them. A clear sign that my friends are getting old. Wouldn’t you know it, Rieslingfeier was also being held that day and evening and a lot of other folks were committed to that. Then, as fate would have it, Bob corrals the troops for another Wine Advocate dinner on that evening. But, hey! That dinner gets overbooked and as I’m in a comfortable stupor on the train back from NJ, after fifteen wines and an endless array of tasty vittles, Luis shoots me an im saying that he and part of the Advocate crew were heading to Racines for a late dinner and I should join them. Funny how wine geeks from all backgrounds end up at Racines. Anyhoo, I head home, pick up a couple of bottles and head downtown. There’s Luis along with Neal Martin, Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Stephan Reinhardt and Liwen Hao. I had met Neal a few years ago at a party at Leo’s and it was nice to catch up with him again and it was a pleasure meeting Lisa, Stephan and Liwen. What followed was a lovely evening of the name game, remembering people and how things were in the early days of wine bulletin boards, the current state of wine and wine media and, of course, the wines on the table, though I only took notes on two of them. Many thanks to Luis for including me and I hope the next time he comes to town, we can give him a proper NY jeebus!

  • 1996 François Cazin (Le Petit Chambord) Cour-Cheverny Vendanges Manuelles Cuvée Renaissance - France, Loire Valley, Upper Loire, Cour-Cheverny
    I brought this along as it’s always fun to bring oddball wines to critics and it never fails to impress. Still a vivid ageless wonder bursting with quince, mineral, citrus and hints of red fruit with a bit of sweetness and snappy acidity. Expansive across the palate and growing in depth and intensity with air, it’s as spine tingling and thrilling as it always is and I was happy to see the Parker peeps were also digging it. I wish I had hijacked the truck back in the day as I really do need an endless supply. A.
  • 2011 Marcel Juge Cornas - France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Cornas
    Certainly young, but showing beautifully with wonderful purity and clarity. Just what you want aromatically and on the palate from a Cornas. The black fruit is ripe, but not remotely overripe and is joined by olive, garrigue, meat and light seaweed/iodine notes all buttressed by sprightly acidity and suave tannins. Absolutely delightful. Solid A-.
  • 1977 Robert Mondavi Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve - USA, California, Napa Valley
    I was originally thinking of bringing an old Rioja to share with Luis, but than thought better of it as he certainly drinks his share of them in Spain and opted instead to bring one of my favorite old Cabs. Wouldn’t you know it? Corked! NR. NR (flawed)

Posted from CellarTracker

Cool coincidence, sorry your Mondavi failed to show.

I’m surprised that it took this long for Luis to get to a WLDG offline in NY. I’ve been to two offlines with him, one in his honor in Atlanta in the late 1990s, and then in Ampuis in 2002 at an incredible international offline, with attendees from all over the US, as well as Spain, France, the Netherlands, Portugal (I think), and there may be one or two other countries represented that I don’t recall. Luis is really a terrific guy with a very good palate, and I’m tempted to pick up a WA subscription just for his contributions.

'11 Juge is delicious now and has been since release. I’m a yuge fan (sorry, couldn’t help myself).

My epiphany wine about 33 years ago. What a drag it was corked. I’d have enjoyed the note for a sound bottle. [cheers.gif]

I have two en route as I type this. Planning to open in a couple months for my fiancee’s bday. Hoping one of the two shows well. Will be sure to report back.

Mark’s here all week, folks. Try the veal!

Super nice guy and he really knows his stuff. I learned a lot about Spanish wines from him, Victor, Helio and Jens back in the old days of the WLDG. I guess he just never made it to NY. Funny enough, the first time I went to Dougherty’s place, back in '98, it was for a Victor de la Serna dinner.

Here’s a note from a Mondavi Reserve vertical I put together four years ago. Probably the best showing of the wine that I’ve had, but I’ve had a couple of bottles recently, including this past New Years Eve and it showed just a little bit below this level, which is what I’d say has been typical for about the past ten years. Call it a Solid A- to A/A-.

From 1/12.
All I can say is “wow!” What a stellar showing for this wine. It’s been one of my favorite older California Cabs, but this bottle blew away away every bottle I’ve had in the past. It’s color is still a vibrant garnet and upon opening, one is greeted by the sweet smell of cedar and cherries. On the palate the wine has vitality as well as elegance in a way that only a mature wine can show. It gives a hint of being Bordeaux-like with its cedar, tobacco and sweet cherry profile, but it lacks the earth notes and herb qualities, though previous bottles have shown some herb and even graphite. The balance is impeccable and the wine is fully integrated with wonderful harmony and great depth. My friend and I couldn’t stop commenting on how good the wine was. It’s in a wonderful place right now, though there’s no real hurry to drink well-stored bottles. Just superb and a wonderful accompaniment to beef stew. Solid A.