TNs—Mike on Tour, May 4 with Alex Valdes and friends, champagnes, Muller, Soldera others

I was very glad that Alex responded to me saying he’d be happy to host me as part of his weekly group at the Wine Spectator Club (a.k.a the place of a thousand Zaltos) at Hudson Docks. It’s a spectacular venue for wine tasting with very good food and outstanding service. Joining us were Alex’ friends Dan and Phil, along with Rodrigo Braga, who I’d first met a couple nights before. And Dan Almodovar was also able to come on this night. It was fantastic to share a table and conversation and wines with all of them

2009 Gallez-Lemaire Cuvée Jadis Extra Brut

Charles Smith, who provided this to me (as tribute for a fantasy baseball win :wink: ) assured me this was ready to go and he was certainly right. Very nutty nose—almond and walnut, graham cracker underneath. On the palate, definitely ready and quite bold. Green apple, mint and unripe honeydew. Very good attack with some ginger ale and vanilla trace on the finish

2015 Agrapart La Minerale

Lives up to its name with sniffs of freshwater and lots of stoniness. Lemon and lime for the fruit. Steely and marvellous frame and shape. I love this producer, as usual. #4

2009 Egon Muller Scharzhofberger Kabinett

Ooo-La-lah. Pure apple at the core, edges of lychee, sweet lime and lilacs. Dans La bouche, this is truly a wine that is plein de lumiere—full of light. Apple and orange and flowers throughout, almost like I’m tasting an impressionist painting of a wine. 95-96, revelicious, it lights up my soul. Easy WOTN and strong contender for wine of the trip

2018 Henri Boillot Puligny Clos de La Mouchere

A little salt in the bouquet, slightly reductive to me, which blows off quickly. Fairly strict, yet I have the sense it will drink quite a bit earlier than normal. Lemon and some limestone to me, but I also feel this has a definite ceiling and won’t E.g. be a 20 year wine. Leave for a couple of years, it should level up a little

2015 Heymann-Lowenstein Winnigen Uhlen “L” Laubach Ries Trocken

Curious notes of green beans, pine needle and unripe pineapple underneath. A bit earthy too? Replays on the tongue here, which keeps up the intrigue. Good carry but I couldn’t get my head quite around this. May have suffered being served with the Muller

2007 Marc Bouley Volnay Clos des Chenes

Touches of sous-bois around dark slightly sour cherry and whisper of chestnut. Like the 07 Giroud the other night, shaped, with gentle texture. Berry and some bing cherry. Elegant and sneakily long

2015 Michel Mallard Aloxe Corton La Toppe en Vert

I brought this as my 2nd bottle. There’s some surmaturite for me here, sweet red fruit but missing some nasal complexity. It’s eminently quaffable, with sweet, ripe strawberry and cherry and maybe a little Cali-styled. It has a nut skin/bitter afterbreathe. I enjoyed it enough, but have seen more elegance and complexity from this producer, albeit with higher-end product

1991 Soldera Brunello di Montalcino

Open for 3 hours. Leather, a small hint of nutmeg, also underbrush and berry fruit. Super-tasty with plum and boysenberry but still really young. Primal but super wine and better with time in the glass. #2

2012 Stella di Campalto Brunello di Montalcino Riserva

Solid all-around aromatics with cocoa notes around plum main. More of that to taste, quite smooth and also fairly open. Liked this, my first try of this producer

2 blinds were then served. Touches of campfire with red and black cherry. Palate is active, with plenty of plum, blackberry and some heat. I waver between Rhone and Supertuscan with maybe 7 or 8 years. Reasonably close, but rather shocking that the 2016 Casanova di Neri Tenuta de Novo Brunello Riserva was giving this much so early on

2nd blind, scents of merde and nut meats, some tight berry fruit pokes through. Smooth activity, tons of bright, fresh berry fruit, yet with presence and carry. I think all of us were in Burgundy with me feeling it was a 2014 and maybe MSD—even Clos de Lambrays. Well pilgrims, the only thing right was the grape. This 2008 Friedrich Becker Kammerberg Spatburgunder totally changes my perspective about these wines. It was superb and a fabulous blind. #3

1985 Pfeffingen Ungsteiner Honogsacker Ries TBA

Nose of great goodness. Treacle and date and light molasses. Great feel and lift too, with honey cake, flashes of citrus and maple syrup. Vivid but controlled. Scrumplicious and #5—might be WOTN in other company

1983 Freiherr Langwerth von Simmern Hattenheimer Nußbrunnen Riesling Trockenbeerenauslese

Less in all respects here. Has much of the prior wine’s profile but without the intensity or complex interest

Hedonistic night and great to meet so many new people. Thanks again to all


Thanks for posting these Mike. It was a wonderful time and I’m glad I answered your siren call. I look forward to doing it again on your next trip through the area.

And D. HEIN the Soldera was fantastic. Always fun to share wines from Berserkers with fellow Berserkers.

For sure a fun evening!

Thanks for the TNs Mike it was a blast meeting you and hanging with other berserkers. Thanks again Alex for hosting. As per the TNs I have to agree that the Muller Riesling was spectacular, i do wish the Volnay I brought showed alittle better but there was a little too much VA for my palate. The Soldera was just drinking so well and seemed still young it has a nice long life ahead of it. The shock of the night for me was the 08’ Spatburgunder wow!! I think most of us went for pinot in the CDN and wow were we wrong a very delicious wine that was a great education in German pinot.
Overall had a great time and can’t wait to do it again. Hope your travels are going well Mike.