TN's: Champagne, Red and White Burgs and Conterno at Marea

Got together with a few of the Country Squires as well as a couple of others last night at my favorite dining location in the city, Marea. Food was as usual off the charts, service was great and the wine service was perfect. Truffles were fantastically aromatic.

Crudo including needlefish, razor clams, wahoo and tuna - Staggering plus
Sgombro e Fegato - lightly cured yellowtail, foie gras, chanterelles, cranberries, oats Excellent
Slow poached egg, polenta, pamigiano with white truffles - Killer minus
Housemade tagliatelle with white truffles - Staggering plus
Baby chicken delicata squash, garnett potato, romanesco, fonduta, rosemary suga Staggering

On to the wines

’62 Dom Perignon - might have been the worst smelling bottle of Champagne I’ve ever encountered. DOA

’76 Dom Perignon Mag - this was a classic DP from the '70’s. Round and creamy with the signature notes of espresso and coffee. Some caramel as well. I must have had about five refills from this magnum and I still wanted more. Staggering

’76 Cristal - tons of butterscotch. This bottle was showing a bit more age than it should have been but is still in a great drinking place. Still good acidity on the finish. Excellent plus

’78 Neillon Chevalier Montrachet - bottle was in perfect shape. Great fruit with some minerality and a touch of chalk. Staggering minus

’78 Ramonet Montrachet - a couple of people initially thought this was corked. I disagreed and just thought it was a touch of must that would blow away. And it did. Showing a bit more maturity than the Neillon and less fruit as well. Quite the rare pair of White Burgs. Excellent plus

’48 Monfortino - on its last legs, but still hanging in there. Weak tea colored like many old Nebbiolo wines get. Classic nose. Not sure I’ve ever had this vintage of Monfortino before. Excellent minus

’52 Monfortino - not a perfect example. VA on the nose is too persistent to get past. Better on the palate, but it lacks fruit. Good minus

’55 Monfortino - VA and cooked. DOA. Old Monfortinos have so many issues that I don’t understand why the sell for so much money. Abundance of fakes, extremely variable and even when correct I still think they are overpriced.

’64 Conterno Barolo - very youthful, especially in comparison to the previous wines. However, it lacked any real depth or character. Very good

’75 Dom Perignon Rose Mag - about as juicy as you can get. A ton of red berry fruit, lively effervescence and good structure. Much better than the previous mag of this that I opened last month. This has decades of life left to it. Staggering

’52 Ampeau Volnay Clos des Chenes - not flawed but simplistic and straightforward like most of the examples of Ampeau that I’ve consumed. Likely topped off. Good

’62 Leroy La Romanee - clearly a level up from the previous wine but it still falls a bit short. At least this bottle was showing its age unlike some other ridiculously youthful Leroy re-releases. Solid but unspectacular. Excellent

’69 Clair Dau Bonnes Mares Mag I had higher hopes for this wine than what showed in the glass, so much so I thought it might best the following two wines. A bit restrained both aromatically and on the palate. Still has longevity in this format. Clean fruit but not exciting. Excellent

’69 Rousseau CdlR - Now we’re talking. Rousseau made great wines across the board in this vintage and while many other '69’s have seen better days, Rousseau’s wines are still in their prime. Beautiful color to the wine. Sweet fruit emanates from the glass. Complexity on the palate and good acidity on the finish. A complete wine Staggering

’71 DRC Grands Ech - One of the few wines that can follow up and surpass a '69 Rousseau is a '71 DRC. Even more aromatics than the previous wine with an extra gear on the palate too. Staggering plus

’88 Roumier Bonnes Mares - was a late minute add on by our “aloof” diner to make up for the '55 Monfortino. Unfortunately, it didn’t have the luxury of being opened a few hours in advance or a chance to grow in the glass. Still showed well, but it has more to offer. Also, had the difficulty of following the previous two wines. Excellent plus

Another fun evening thanks to everyone’s company and generosity.

Yum, crudo.

Amazing notes, but looks like it may have been an off night?

Nice of whomever brought the 55 Monfortino to anti up to such a nice bottle of wine as a replacement.

Nice one Ray.

Great notes as usual. Thanks.

Great notes Ray. Too bad about the Monfortino.


Sorry to hear about the '62 Dom Perignon. Have you had any recently that were good? This makes me concerned about the '62 Dom that I want to open up in the very near future.

Where is CK to defend the perpetually beat up old Monfos? :slight_smile: A+ for effort as old “Monfo” sounds great in the pregame.

I’m sure you are overrating the Montrachets! Very cool 69 Rousseau, never had the CDLR.

A proper bottle of 62 DP is off the chain delicious.

Uncharacteristically for me, two champagnes–the 76 DP in Mag and the 75 DP Rose in Mag–were clearly my wines of the night. Staggering may be understatement. Sorry Todd, but no defending the old Monfortinos. The 48 is rare, and had some interest, but let’s just say you might label its limited pleasure to be of the detestable “intellectual” variety. The 64 normale was a pretty good example, and Ray may have been overly critical. On the other hand he may have been a bit enthusiastic about the Rousseau, which I enjoyed in the context of its being “merely” the CDLR and awfully good–but you will understand when I say it ain’t the Chambertin!

Finally, Ray underestimated the quality of the Sgombro e Fegato. A peek at his plate indicated he had ordered it without a critical ingredient, presumably on ethical grounds–and I’m not talking about the oats. When consumed with foie gras as the Chef intended, I’d say its a Staggering minus.

Another great performance by the folks at Marea, and a great night all around.

Just another staggering Tuesday night Ray. Keep it up!

CK, point is those bottles ain’t no 78 CRR! Don’t even need to taste that bottle to know the only intellectual pleasure would be seeing you struggle with the cognitive dissonance yet again. Old Monfos have a really rough track record. Fakes, refills, damaged bottles, but don’t stop believin! Plus, I’m not sure they age well for 50+ years even if proper. Seriously they have got to be the worst percentage play in old wine. I’ve always thought serious Italian lovers start buying them up…eventually open quite a few and realize the hit rate is abysmal…then on to the next one, on to the next one.

I am so overdue for Marea trip. 76 DP Mag is going to pancake some 78 Montrachets any old day! You’re cracking up on White Burgs too… [rofl.gif]

P.S. Don’t stop believin!