TNs--Mike on Mini-Tour--"50th weekend" in Atlanta--main party---lots of fine wine!


We had close to 100 people and everyone really outdid themselves. Even with a morning after to catch up, I didn’ t get to half of the fantastic stuff people brought and opened for this party. Randy did a huge amount of work to prep a delicious rabbit, duck and chicken paella. There were many other treats I didn’t get to, including a 2008 Cristal and 1998 Leoville Barton. If I was going to celebrate a little in advance, couldn’t ask for a better group to do it with.

2014 William Fevre Chablis Montmains

I brought this and the next one. Lemon, lime and an edgeing of crushed rock in the sniffer. Taste has replays and adds a small bosc pear note, but it’s somewhat simple and almost easygoing for a Chablis.

2003 Christoffel Urziger Wurtzgarten Ries Auslese

I only had a very small sip of this, but that was enough to make me smile. Apple pie, but with the juice still drizzling out, this wins kudos for how bright and expressive it is over top of the sugar. Still a lovely freshness here, a very good bottling.

1999 Franck Peillot Roussette du Bugey Montagnieu Altesse

Mike Evans brought this especially for me—he said a couple years ago after I had remarked on my delight at a younger vintage that I needed to try an aged version and he was as good as his word. For me, some sweet sage and linseed oil permeate the nostrils. This has a very attractive follow-through with honeycomb, kumquat and touches of lime, and is still plenty vivacious. A real conversation piece.

2011 Philippe Colin Chassagne Montrachet Les Chaumees

This was wound pretty tight when opened but after a couple hours’ air and some time in the glass, started to unwind with tart apple, a little baked bread and some minerality. There is marked precision here, without being overtly acidic. Good, polished, focused wine.

2014 Anne Gros Echezeaux

Only had time for a quick taste of this. Fine aromatics, though, real sense of place with earth, strawberry, violets as well. In the mouth, sturdy and very, very young. Acidity is there to last a long time and it has the tension I’ve been seeing as a hallmark of the 14s.

2013 Chave Hermitage Blanc

Still very kinetic nose and mouth and it’s a bigger than usual wine, but stuffed with stuff—big tropical fruit element, creamy texture, light coconut brush and length to go decades. Leave these alone for a while or decant a day in advance.

2004 Vina Tondonia Bianco

Bouquet is lemon cake, nasturtians (!) and light honey tones. I do so love these wines. Splendid creamy presence with sweet lemon-based replays and long, long finish. More of a surprise to me, it’s ready to drink. I think my #3.

2005 Drouhin Griottes Chambertin

Beautiful bouquet of red fruit, roasted nutmeg and chestnut. Whee! This is fab-u-lous. Its drinking perfectly, with structure, rich fruit, acid and delicacy all at once. Shudderlicious and phenomenal wine, really incredible. WOTN

1995 Chateau Lynch-Bages

This didn’t suck either. Tobacco-infused cassis and blackberry. On the tongue, still room to grow, but this is one of the good ones, needs 10 more years to fully fruit out, but classic structure here. Very admirable.

2012 Chateau Montus

Ginger and somewhat attractively musty with some pine nut in there. Tasty—sort of. Has a stick-to-your-mouth texture but in a nice way. Unripe pineapple and some custard, the flavour profile won’t be for everyone.

2015 Koehler Ruprecht Kallstadter Annaberg Chard Spatlese

Yup, you read right. A chard spat. Still, lightly apple and a tiny swatch of diesel. Super-tangy on palate, like biting into a ripe pink grapefruit. All up front. Definitely needs chilling.

2009 Heitz Napa Cab

Plenty of damson plum and woodsy scents develop into a juicy and relatively rich wine, but with nice length and overall feel here. Good but not great.

1986 Dunn Howell Mountain Cab

Aromas throw off red berry, earth, a little sage. Some light, light char surfaces in the mouth. It is fine and quite pure in its expression of small berry and currant fruit.

2003 Sorrel Hermitage Blanc

Interesting stuff, still reticent nose gives way to a very creamy caramel-feel wine with some liquid marzipan and yellow fruit. Needs time to maybe come into focus.

2011 Camille Giroud Meursault Charmes

From mag, one of Randy’s. Bouquet has plenty of mineral and flint. It is still quite young, no surprise. Grippy with lemon and some raw hazelnut. Would love to check back in 4 years

1998 Kracher #10 Grand Cuvee Nouvelle Vague

Ah, that evil genius. This was going fast, so grabbed a taste. Vanilla, treacle, small dab of mango and plenty of peach for me. Darned good, it has the right mix of acidity and presence to please. I have really liked where the 98 lineup is in terms of drinking right now.

1990 Chateau Lafon-Rochet

Good wine here, nose and mouth are complex, with relatively mature red and black fruit presiding. A little clipped on the finish, but I think it works in the context of the overall presentation

2005 Domenico Clerico Barolo Percristina

Open a while, cured meats and tarry notes emerge. Hits pretty hard when it reaches the mouth, with beef blood, some tomato and also red fruit. The tannins are super-grippy and this is many years from apogee, shows very rustic at the moment.

2004 J. Sanders Bonnes Mares

A cuvee made especially for Sherlock’s wine merchant in Atlanta, it came out of a discussion Randy and I had had the day before about Bonnes Mares being the one exception to the hail damaged fruit in that vintage (possibly the real reason, rather than ladybugs, for the green meanies) and, at USD $90, I felt I could spend the money so we could test that theory. This was tight on opening but does come up with air time of 8 hours, a bit of funk but also cinnamon and berries. Still rugged but some real promise and a very tangy and active feel to the aftertaste. No greenies. Check back in 6 years.

2001 Chateau Prieur-Lichine

Evocative bouquet, jumps out of the glass with allspice, violets, pipe smoke and blackberry. Maybe a little soft and short at the back, but a hale and hearty wine with a defined creosote and licorice afterbreathe. Plenty of talking points here.

2014 Jean-Claude Ramonet St. Aubin En Remilly

From mag, plenty of cool, steely notes in the aroma. Palate is nicely flavourful and has some drive, especially on a second taste when lemon custard and key lime pie take their place.

1989 Chateau Pavie

I think Randy fetched this from the cellar. Teensy cloves, a little pit fruit and fantastic pure plum bouquet. Smooth as silk and yet no lack of power. It’s still in its somewhat extracted style, but such an elevated version of it. Licklicious

2002 Bollinger R.D. Champagne

This has a fair bit of salinity and a more-than-bracing acid profile. Not too much brioche, it’s kind of a wake-up Champagne if you will, maybe a sorbet/cleanse style 


Nothing was really capped.

2010 Pride Merlot

Day later, still ringing red fruit. Wow. That’ll wake you up. Red plum and raspberry, but jumpy and showing every bit and more of a listed 15.2% Didn’t really care for this.

2006 Charles Smith Royal City Syrah

100 pointer apparently. A “thick” plum-filled bouquet. Big is the operative word. Very, very mocha here with underlying plum and cassis. Full-throttle wine but good in its style.

2015 Turley Dogtown Zin

Blue and black fruit and chocolate scents. Decently accessible, plenty of blueberry and plum replay and a little tree bark at the back. Retiring for a Turley.

1998 Chateau Beaucastel

Almost some dates here today, coffee, dark fruit. Le gout doesn’t present much, just some earth and slightly sour plum. I had heard murmurs that people weren’t enthralled, but still probably better last night.

2014 Tensley Syrah

Walnut and even peanut butter nips around darker plum and chokecherry fruit. This is quite nice dans la bouche—juicy cranberry and boysenberry fruit here with a good feel and flow—a little plush, but nothing wrong with that given the components. I liked this.

1998 Parker Coonawarra Terra Rossa

Quite sweetly fragrant now, mincemeat and sweet currant. Palate shows a forthright wine and mature, but kind of simplistic and, for me, missing the tobacco/tar/eucalyptus notes and the structure that I like to find in Coonawarra Cab.

2010 Veleta Cabernet Sauvignon

I reasoned that many had not had Nola and Juan’s wines and so I brought this to taste. Light accents of cocoa and cola to firm plum fruit aromatics. This is rather yummy today—solid cherry and plum, but with a cocoa and currant thread. Very easy to lay back and have a glass of this wine.

2015 Quivet Napa Cab

Rich scents of cooked pomegranate mingle with plum and boysenberry coming up the glass. On the tongue, super-plush and quite sweet but within some boundaries and very expressive fruit. My hunch is to leave another 2 years to get the best out of the wine.

2005 Chateau de Fieuzal

Whiffs of tabac, raspberry and sweet rhubarb play up here. A rare approachable 05, not super but composed with some nice replays.

2006 Vineyard 29 Aida Estate Cab

Aroma gets your attention—black pepper and blackberry and a tiny bit of charbroiled steak. Rich this is, in the style of the Quivet, also just-restrained with plum jam, boysenberry and blackberry jam.

2003 Smith Woodhouse LBV Port

Definite nut tones over black prune here. Slight heat, but core of sweet raisins and figs.

2014 Canard The Rescuer Napa Red

Bit of soy today, lots of berry fruit. This is good. Smooth, deep and very tasty, with meat-edged dark cherry and plum. Right up my alley.

2014 Chateau Montelana Montelana Estate Cab

Pleasant woodsy and baking spices. Tasty, active without being big in any way. Drinks very vividly with quite lovely red fruit.

Awesome list of wines!!

Wonderful to see you Mike.
Happy 50th to you as well as Randy and Cris.

Was so glad to see you and the gang, Don—as you know, one of the annual trips I cannot miss. This year, extra-special. Randy and Cris really outdid themselves.

Nola, was glad to open the Cab in such company.


Mike, it was great to see you as always, and thanks for posting your notes. There were several wines you listed that I never saw and I had several wines that don’t appear in your notes, which is the nature of a tasting like this.

Wines I liked that aren’t in your notes include the 2008 Cristal, 1996 Pol Roger (from magnum), and 2009 Thibault Liger-Belair Chambolle-Musigny Les Gruenchers. I also enjoyed the 2000 Cantine del Notaio Aglianico del Vulture La Firma magnum that I brought, but apparently this wasn’t the right audience for a magnum of Aglianico.

For wines we both had, the 2013 Chave Hermitage Blanc was my WOTN, and the 2004 Vina Tondonia Blanco was a favorite as well. I was happy at how my 1999 Franck Peillot Roussette du Bugey Montagnieu Altesse showed. I liked your 2003 Christoffel Urziger Wurtzgarten Ries Auslese, which was the ***. The 1995 Lynch Bages was more approachable than I expected, and the 1986 Dunn was one of the first really drinkable Dunns I can recall having. I thought the 2005 Drouhin Griottes Chambertin showed great potential but desperately needs a lot more time. The 2015 Koehler Ruprecht Kallstadter Annaberg Chard Spatlese Trocken was interesting, but didn’t excite me. It showed precision and tension but lacked complexity and nuance. I didn’t find greenie meanies in your 2004 J. Sanders Bonnes Mares either, but I didn’t find too much of anything else, though it was a worthwhile experiment. I also enjoyed the Veleta.

Most of the wines I had that night have faded into a bit of a blur, but it was a fantastic celebration of some great people achieving the half-century mark and I’m thrilled to have been able to be a part of it.

I saw the 08 Cristal whizz by and knew I wouldn’t get a taste—'s OK as I had my chance at that in July in California----painfully young but loaded with potential. Very sorry I missed the Ligier-Belair, and the Aglianico which I would have been keen to try.

87 Dunn a few years ago was wonderful too, a fine vintage for slightly earlier drinking for them.

It was a great time.