TN's: Dinner at Cagen w/Champagne and Red & White Burgs

Last Monday eight others and I did a private dinner at Cagen. Fantastic food that was better than the following picture highlights. Very solid showing for the wines, with as usual a couple of surprises and disappointments. Brief impressions from memory.

1996 Bollinger Grande Annee Mag- This is already fully mature/on it’s back end which should not be the case for a twenty year old Champagne in magnum format. Not premox’d but a typical showing for '96 Bollinger. Quite enjoyable as a reception wine, but drink up soon out of magnum and drink tonight if you have it in 750ml. Very good plus

’66 Dom Perignon Excellent color and good effervescence. I’ve had dozens of bottles of this Champagne from this parcel and unfortunately this wasn’t one of the better bottles. A touch of sour milk, but certainly drinkable. Excellent minus
’71 Pol Roger This had zero effervescence and had a yellow/gold color. Palate had good flavor but I put this aside knowing how much wine we had coming. Good
’82 Dom Perignon Mag I’ve owned this case of magnums for probably 15 or more years. It made up for the previous Champagne that I also brought. At a perfect place with mature flavors but with plenty of vibrancy. Staggering

’92 Leflaive Batard Montrachet The wine was in fine shape but was showing too much botrytis for my liking. Others liked it a lot. For me, Good plus
’92 Leflaive Chevalier Montrachet Great bottle with great fruit and acidity. Probably at its peak, but it still has years to go. Staggering minus

’90 Dom Perignon Rose Magnum Always love this wine and tonight was no exception. Great berry fruit. A slight fault was that I would have liked a touch more acidity, but it was still Staggering minus.
’82 Dom Perignon Rose Oenotheque Magnum These mags are frightfully expensive and considering the lack of fireworks it made it a double disappointment. Very good plus

’04 Leflaive Chevalier Montrachet I remember drinking this but can’t remember details about it. That probably means it showed as I expected it to. Somewhat youthful and… Excellent
’02 Carillon BBM
’04 Carillon BBM Both of these bottles were a bit of a disappointment. The person that brought these has shared many vintages and bottles of this wine and they have usually been in the better quarter of wines consumed during the evening. This time they under performed. No excitement. Excellent minus

’90 DRC Grands Echezeaux This may have been the surprise of the evening as it was clearly the wine of the flight and for me was the wine of the night. Best showing for this wine that I’ve encountered. Killer minus
’91 DRC Grands Echezeaux I expected this to be the second best wine of the flight, and it was but with the wines ahead of it and behind it reversed. Not sure if it slightly under performed or the previous made it seem so. Excellent plus
’91 La Tache So, the most expensive wine of the night (along with the DP Rose Oenotheque) also was a disappointment. Was a bit strippped of fruit and flavor. I think the wine was labeled correctly; maybe a bit too much transportation trading hands. Excellent minus

96 Krug Magnum Still very youthful (had been opened along with the next two wines upon arrival) but showing its greatness. This wine along with the next wine are my two favorite wines of the vintage and will last forever. Killer minus
96 Krug Clos du Mesnil I know the reputation of the '79 Mesnil, but this along with the '88 are by far my two favorite CdM’s. The Chardonnay clearly shows especially when drunk side by side with its brother. Killer minus
’96 Salon Some nights this wine can hang with the previous two, some nights it can’t. Tonight was one of the good showings for it. I think having so many different disgorgement is the reason. Staggering minus.

Great evening as always at Cagen. Chef, his son and the rest of the staff couldn’t be nicer and the food is truly outstanding. While not inexpensive in the absolute, considering this was a private event, the quality and quantity of food, it’s a screaming deal.
For those of you who live in NYC and haven’t been here yet, you are making a mistake.

Some more pics

Food looks great Ray. Wines aren’t too shabby either.

So glad to see you posting notes again!! Awesome line up! Too bad about the 91 LT, that could have been epic

Great notes, pics and wines, seems like some fantastic matches with the food, thanks for sharing Ray!

Agree on the '90 DRC GE, wish I still had some left…the '90 Ech. is also in a fantastic place now.

sounds like a dream night. Thanks for the notes.


Great to see you posting again. I’ve been missing your killer notes! Re the 96 bolly, I’ve got mags of the 96 RD that I haven’t touched yet. Have you had experience of them needing to be drunk up too?


Sounds like a great night! I love the 92 Lefalive Chevy. The 96 CdM is a killer wine indeed.

BTW, how was the tuna head?

Great notes, Ray.

A little disappointed by your description of the Leflaive Chevalier 1992, I thought it one of the greatest white Burgundies I had ever tasted, and incredibly fresh at the time. That was about two years ago. I see you liked yours well enough, but it wasn’t earth shattering. I am wondering whether I should drink my last bottle.

Based on the bottle last week, I don’t see it getting better but there’s no rush to consume it. Also, I’m not a huge fan of '92’s in general so that may have tempered my note a bit.

Great to see some notes from you, Ray. Thanks.

I actually tried to eat there on that night! Glad you had a great night.


I asked for the tuna head based on your post from a couple of months ago.

Nice Ray . The 92 Chevalier and the 90 Grand Echezeaux are some of my all time favorites .
I will try to go to Cagen next time I go to NY

A great night. I too miss your notes, but at least I get to drink with you a lot. Some misc additions. I liked the 92 Batard better than the Chevalier. Different strokes. The 04 Leflaive Chevalier was outstanding. Best bottle of that wine I can remember having. Agree the Carillon BBM’s were subpar, but we’ve been spoiled on that front. The 90 DRC GE was ridiculously good. Blew away the 91. 96 Krug is so so good! Both vintage and Mesnil.

Is the second picture part of the tuna head?

Will be there tonight if any other berserkers happen to be…

Excellent minus = disappointment.


Is that equivalent to somebody on CellarTracker calling wine disappointing and then scoring it a 90? [berserker.gif]

It is. We were told it was the “eyeball muscle”.

Yes, a big disappointment.

'91 La Tache can and should be a tremendous wine; some might say staggering or killer.

Yum yum Ray and Brad :slight_smile: