TNs: Margaux, Mouton, Leoville Las Cases, Pichon, Cos, Mission Haut Brion, d`Yquem

Our monthly lunch group met for yet another stellar time at the Santa Barbara Club to celebrate wines from Bordeaux with a theme of first growths and, the highly disputed qualifications of, super seconds.

Before sharing my notes, I want to state a disclaimer that my notes merely reflect my humble opinion of what my palate and perception presents to me. They are not to be taken as an affront to anyone or any one wine. Also, Im learning that im more sensitive and aware of certain characteristics in wine than in the past and am less tolerant to some of them considered to be flaws. With this group of wines, I picked up 7 flawed ones, one of which I brought. Two were corked, one was slightly oxidized and 4 were inundated with Brettanomyces. With all of that, here`s my notes:

1997 NICOLAS FEUILLATTE PALM d`OR- the 6th of 10 bottles I bought; this showed the best although it was slightly oxidized at the outset; it offered great acidity, a pleasant crispiness and lots of fresh, citrusy lemon-lime notes which went into a long and welcomed finish; this served to cleanse the palate and ready us for a plethora of wines to follow.

1993 DOM PERIGNON- immediately recognized as corked even amidst the table comments of “ great, best Dom I`ve had, love it, etc.”; no doubt, there was a hint of the goodness this wine had to offer, but it was jaded by the corkiness for me; I kept my mouth shut and was happy some found delight in this Dom.

1975 MOLUTON ROTHSCHILD- from a really challenging vintage, this bottle was consistent with previous exposures; dry and tannic throughout, muted fruit profile which did offer some prune and plumy notes.

1979 CHATEAU MARGAUX- liked the soft, smooth texture and easy drinking this had; mild red fruit flavors and a steady, decent experience throughout, more importantly, no flaws.

1986 CHATEAU MARGAUX- probably my WOTD; certainly a young and vibrant expression starting with a great nose which included some cedar, black cherry, leather and a little earthiness that extended into the mid palate and beyond; this was nicely balanced and promises to be for 15-20 years.

1985 CHATEAU GRUARD-LAROSE- major Brett issues at the onset; peaking through was some decent fruit notes, but not enough to overwhelm the brettiness for me.

1986 CHATEAU GRURD-LAROSE- unfortunately, more of the same of the 85; what goes on here? This is in a different glass, but remarks for the 85 are repeated here except this was a milder version of it.

1990 CHATEAU GRUARD-LAROSE- now, this is more like it; the wine shined as it has over many years I`ve enjoyed it and suggests greatness many years down the road; nicely balanced, it was soft and velvety, offering some nice spiciness weaved into the black cherry and red fruit profile; a winner and maybe my 2nd WOTD.

1989 LEOVILLE LAS CASES- this was the most feminine example of this producers 89 that I`ve had; mild fresh red cherry fruit in a light / medium body; just on the mild side of everything; fading/ over the hill, bottle variation??

1995 LEOVILLE LAS CASES- liked this a lot; certainly the best of the 3 Leovilles, it held a steady course with nice fresh fruit notes, good structure and depth continuing into the long finish.

2000 LEOVILLE LAS CASES- nice blueberry, plum fruit in a medium plus body with some depth and complexity and probably a keeper for 5-10 years before the next opening.

1985 PICHON LALANDE- full of Brett and it was difficult fro me to get anything beyond it.

1989 PICHON LALANDE- Ive enjoyed many wonderful bottles of this wine and the 90 over the years; unfortunately for me, this was also inundated with Brett even though some of its nice fruit qualities were still evident.

1990 PICHON LALANDE- Of my favorites of all of the great 90`s, this has been one of them. I was anticipating another joyous experience and found it to be severely corked and undrinkable.

1998 MISSION HAUT BRION- good wine; some really nice fruity cherry/ black currant, medium body and weight; finishes a little tannic, but the fruit continues to express; years to go before its maturity.

2001 MISSION HAUT BRION- another MHB beauty with wonderful ripe dark fruit flavors jumping out of the glass from the nose on; very young; needs a lot of time to evolve into its certain magnificence.

2000 COS d`ESTOURNEL- TCA in the nose and beyond along with a brettiness that lingered and did not blow off; a shame.

2001 COS d`ESTOURNEL- just OK; a toasty dominant nose was followed up by some decent dark fruit notes; seemed discombobulated; maybe a dumb stage??; an average drink at this point; revisit this down the line.

2002 COS d`ESTOURNEL- more fruit forward, this too needs time to evolve; now, its pleasant and suggests a lot more to come with maturity.

2001 CHATEAU d`YQUEM- from a 750ml, this was a sticky sweet, honeyed wonderous caramel, butterscotch, apricot delight; it had a thick and creamy texture that could have passed for dessert itself although the warm tarte tatin w/ caramel ice cream worked perfectly.

All in all, another superior luncheon with good people sharing our common bond, loving great wine


Wow, if that’s for lunch…what’s for dinner? Great notes, Blake. The Santa Barbara crew drinks well.

big wines & a big Jayhawk win. Nice !

Great lineup Blake/ love the 98 La Mission, '86 Margaux and what a way to finish things off-the D’Yquem is off the charts!
Glad to hear the 2001 LMHB is drinking well, went for a magnum of that awhile back…

Well the 75’ does not surprise me, I found that this vintage is very tough, after tasting the Mouton, Latour and Palmer from that year.

The 2002 Cos, I had a couple of months ago and I am not sure how much more evolving it might do, it reminded me a bit of the 1998 which I drank about four years ago and I thought it had peaked out at that point.



personally i think '01 did pessac good, the wines i’ve had from that appellation in '01 have been stellar.

as for the '01 cos, tasted last year and I thought that not only was it ready to drink, but it was quite remarkable. I left the tasting excited that i had one in the hopper.

Rock Chalk!

Cordier was notorious for bretty, unclean wines. The 86 is a great wine if it isn’t flawed, but they are often flawed. Sorry so many of your wines were spoiled!

Oh, and GO VCU!!!

I agree. In this case, this Cos did not shine, but that has been an exception of my 01 experiences and may be attributed to bottle variation. Well see. Theres another Bordeaux night coming up and the 01 Cos is in the mix.

One additional note on the dYquem. A friend who has had just about every dYquem made over the last century and beyond, commented this 01 was one of the finest out of the gate and that what it is showing now is what youd expect in 20+ years from now. He`s referencing the more evolved,oxidative if you will, notes of the caramel, butterscotch and apricot. In this case the dessert course it complimented showed similar characteristics, but I drink wines first before merging them into the food to get the specific experience they have to offer and then enjoy the marriage.

Does this mean that he thinks the 01 is aging faster than other vintages? I would have expected the opposite given the vintage.

Also interested in your friend’s thoughts on the longevity of this Yquem as I have several 750s.

Ashish/ Glenn: The one who commented is away for the holidays and not available now for consult, but I will post his remarks when he returns. We did not discuss longevity. BTW, the bottle we had was a 750. If I had a lot of 01s, Id track them over time and follow the evolution. In the past, Ive had some younger vintages that were green and really immature and needed a lot of time. Unless this one was a bottle variation, that would not be the case here. Certainly, all the reviews Ive read about the 01` suggest this is age worthy for a long, long time.

If only I had a lot of 01’s. [swoon.gif]

Thanks for the response. Looking forward to hearing back when your friend returns.