TN's: Mature Wines From Various Regions

Got together with a few of the Country Squires at Locanda Verde for an eclectic mix of wine. Atmosphere was lively and the food was really great. One course after another of very well prepared dishes using top ingredients. Staff did a great job and Josh N. took great care of our wines. Had some hits and a few misses for the wines but still a great night.

’64 Dom Perignon a true original release with a plastic capsule. Unfortunately this bottle had clearly seen its best days some time ago. Ok on the nose, not so ok on the palate with the fruit gone, the effervescence gone and a very bitter finish. DOA

’64 Dom Perignon original but with foil capsule. Dark gold colored with no effervescence in the glass. Some smoky fruit and caramel on the nose. I knew this wasn’t going to be a great '64 DP by the look and smell of it. However, it was a big step up from the previous bottle with a fair amount of effervescence on the palate. Good fruit on the palate but the finish is short. After a short period of time this faded in the glass and the second glass wasn’t as good either. Great bottles of this wine gain in the glass. This clearly wasn’t one of them. Good minus

’90 Krug - a big improvement over the last two bottles, but this wasn’t a perfect example of the wine either. Big and bold but there is too much maturity to this bottle than there should be. Some honey and creme brulee are already in the forefront with the fruit just behind it. What was in the glass was excellent, but the wine didn’t have the power and stregnth it should. Excellent minus

’52 Moet - re-release with an unknown disgorgement but probably early '90’s. I brought this for a couple of the more “mature” Country Squires who share a birth year of 1952. Now we’re talking. Deep gold color with good yellow fruit on the nose and mature notes of honey and creme brulee. A bit of effervescence in the glass but much more on the palate. Finish however is not the longest in the world. While this was a good bottle it was not as good as the bottle I had a couple of weeks ago. Like the previous bottle this started to fade after an hour or two. Unlike the previous bottle there was no “52” in the bottle mold. Excellent plus.

’64 Veuve Clicquot DOA - not a good evening for my birth year nor my cellar. Three out of the five wines I opened were sub par.

’69 Veuve Clicquot Rose - beautiful vivid rose/cherry color with lively effervescence, especially for its age. Great fruit on the nose with some meatiness as well. Liquid roast beef on the palate. Still excellent structure to this wine. My favorite champagne of the evening. Staggering minus.

’90 Cristal - a baby of a wine compared to some of the ones before it. That said has started to evolve into the next stage of maturity. The 90 minutes of airtime in the bottle surely helped it open up. Some vintages of Cristal push my limit of dosage/sweetness but this isn’t one of them. Performed in the glass over a several hour period. Excellent plus.

’85 Dujac Clos St Denis - the only thing missing from this wine was the label on the bottle. Excellent aromas of sweet fruit with just a hint of barnyard adding to the complexity. Even better on the palate with just layers of red and dark fruit on the palate. Great structure and finish. Staggering plus.

’85 Clos de Tart - had the unfortunate placement of following the previous wine in the flight. Still, it held its own in a subtle and understated way. Very elegant and feminine. While I’ve enjoyed this wine in the past, I don’t remember it being this good. Goes to show that top red burgs need 25+ years to show their best :wink: Excellent plus

’91 DRC Echezeaux - finished up the evening’s best flight by far with a solid showing. Good dark fruit with a little more power showing, possibly due to the contrast with the femininity of the Clos de Tart.
Was a touch of cola on the nose that I didn’t love. Still plenty of life left to this. Excellent

’82 Chateau Margaux - what can I say other than I’m just not that into Bordeaux anymore especially those from the left bank. Hopefully it will be a passing phase because this was clearly an excellent example of the wine and one I have enjoyed immensely in the past. For me it was Very Good but the bottle was Excellent plus.

’89 La Turque - the bottle showed some seepage but it must have been due to overfill because this was a correct example. Smoky dark fruit and a lot of it. Thick but velvety mouthfeel. This is drinking very well now but it may not have as long as life as the '85 and '88. Staggering minus

’78 Giacosa Santo Stefano Riserva - had this been served as a blind Barolo I probably would have said it was a good wine from a good producer and vintage. However, considering the pedigree this was a bit of a disappointment. Classic tar and roses on the nose but lacks the significant depth and complexities it should have. Very good minus

’64 Conterno Monfortino - well on this night even my birth year wines that didn’t come out of my cellar didn’t show well. This was marred by VA and the color was too pale and thin for this wine. Under the VA you could get a sense that the classic Barolo profile was there, but it took too much work to be worthwhile. Fair

’61 B. Mascarello Barolo Riserva - opened as a replacement for the previous wine. However this needed to be replaced as it had seen better days. Clearly not properly stored its entire life - it was clinging by its fingernails for its life. Fair plus

’82 B. Mascarello Barolo Riserva - after the previous wines, this seemed like a barrel sample. Great freshness, with power but elegance on the finish. Excellent plus.

’62 Bertani Amarone - we had been giving the person who had brought this a hard time because Amarone’s are not our group’s typical fare. It was remarkably youthful, and went well with the cheese course, but there is a reason that I don’t drink a lot of Amarone. Good

Mixed results for the wines which has been a pattern for me over the past few weeks, but there were enough highs on the evening to make the wine portion very enjoyable. However, as mentioned all aspects of the restaurant were great and the eclectic personalities of the Country Squires always makes for an interesting and fun evening.

I just bought one of these, and I´m definately hoping for a better experience than this. Do you happen to know how this was aired prior to tasting?


It was an off bottle. I’ve had the wine several times and it usually great.
The cork was pulled a couple of hours in advance. I believe it was decanted right before serving but the handling wasn’t the issue, it just wasn’t a good example of the wine.

Ray, great notes as always! Sorry so many poor showings. Sounds like the burgs made up for some of it.

I’m amazed about the Amarone - 1) that someone has one that old, 2) that it showed as well as it did.

Not a wine I’d typically consider aging for 50 years!

Some beautiful wines there, Ray - awesome work, as always.

I like the note on the '69 Veuve Cliquot Rose on many levels.

Cause and effect.

Ray do older NV Champagnes ever show well?


I don’t have huge experience with many older NV’s other than Krug which has shown the ability to age for decades. I also had a very good jero of Pol Roger NV that was about 30 years old. However, most of the others that I’ve had with more than 5 or 6 years of age post release have started to fade.


Wow, '85 Dujac and the '69 Veuve Clicquot rose sounded fantastic. Is the color usually able to stay that vivid on 40 year old rose Champagne?
As usual, thanks for posting.


No, the color on this was much brighter and more vivid than most Rose’s half its age. I’ve had older Rose’s where you can barely discern that they are in fact Rose’s.

How did the 90 Cristal and the 90 Krug compare to what we had at Brooklyn Fare?

Not sure how you know what liquid roast beef tastes like either… neener

This Cristal was fresher with more complexity - I thought the one at Brooklyn Fare had seen a bit of abuse. The reverse is true for the Krug

Distant childhood memories !

You know that sinking feeling when neither of the bottles you brought is “right”, and then your backup is just plain “wrong”? And it’s made all the worse because the evening was preceded by a debate over the merits of great Nebbiolo vs great Burgundy, and you figure hey, I’ll give 'em the 64 Monfortino (the birthyear of one of the less “mature” of the Squires) and the 78 Giacosa SSR–how can I go wrong?

Well on this night it went wrong, with bottles that were simply not good bottles; hard to say it, but Ray’s notes may have been generous. Although the bottle of 82 Bartolo ordered off Josh’s list was head and shoulders above those that preceded it, the wine showed young, lacking the explosive aromatics that I’ve encountered consistently with that wine. Had we the time to let it develop in the glass I think we would have seen it unwind, but unfortunately we were approaching the evening’s end by the time we opened it.

Thankfully a number of the bottles brought by others were quite beautiful. With Ray, my Champagne of the night was the 69 Veuve Rose–can’t speak to it’s qualities of “meatiness” and “liquid roast beef”, but for me it was a rich, delicious drink. My wine of the night by a fair margin was a terrific example of the 85 Dujac CSD, so good that it simply overshadowed the other wines in its flight which included really fine bottles of the 85 Clos de Tart and 91 DRC Echezaux.

As Ray noted, Josh and the restaurant did a fine job with food and service, no easy mission given the reasonably frenetic “scene” that has come with its success. I’ll return there soon. And notwithstanding the good natured drubbing that I took from some of my friends on behalf of Piemonte, it was a great night–and I’m alreadly strategizing over the “can’t miss” Barolos that will no doubt change theirs lives forever at our next dinner!

1952 is a wonderful year for Champagne. I have had many examples of huge quality for 1952.
And I like the old Moets which get with age qualities that one never finds in young wines.

I love the 64 Conterno Monfortino.

Nice report, as usual !

Curiously owing to a family peculiarity I have had very many bottles of poorly stored NV Moet with 15 or more years bottle age. They nearly always develop a quite unexpected richness, spice and depth. Why this should be I do not know.

Amarone can age for longer than most of the people who will ever drink it. I don’t think I’ve EVER had one that was over the hill or even “tired” and I’ve tasted a lot of quite old ones with producers.


I once bought a bottle of N/V Gosset Brut Grande Reserve and kind of “lost” it in my cellar. When I finally served it years later [6?, 9?] it was fantastic and would have buried many a vintage Champagne twice the price.
Suggestion: write your date of purchase on the label of a N/V Champagne and use that as a “vintage” marker.


Basically the group is living up to its’ namesake. neener


You have any old Monfos that do not suck? As I was mentioning to Monsieur Tuppy, I’ve had maybe 20 selections from the 60s that pretty much sucked. Few were “OK”, but nowhere near the Holy Grail of 78 CRR. I wonder how many refills, heat damaged, sketchy bottles are out there…because that’s pretty much what I’ve tasted.

Do you have the elusive transcendent bottles of old Monfortino? If so, what shall I bring when we drink them? [cheers.gif]