After the disappointment of last weekend we decided to put things right with a hastily arranged dinner that fortunately lived up to expectations. I think among the group, I probably value a seductive nose and palate the most - which is possibly why Bordeaux rarely moves me and hence why the Bartolo might be one of my wines of the year so far.
2014 Marguet Champagne Grand Cru Avize & Cramant Extra Brut - France, Champagne, Champagne Grand Cru
Slightly off-putting milky nose but palate was fine. High acid, vinous style with some green apples. As usual for Marguet it was an intellectual champagne more than anything else.
2014 Maison Albert Bichot Clos Vougeot Domaine du Clos Frantin - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Clos Vougeot Grand Cru
Airy and light wine, guessed Vosne from 15/16 from the warm and sweet red fruit. Slight cola note with air that made it seem rather new-world. Good drink but just missing a little structure for me.
2012 Bartolo Mascarello Barolo - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
Slow ox-ed for 4 hours before dinner. A wine that you can smell all day, it had a wonderfully seductive floral nose that only the best producers that transcend their appellation achieve - almost no one placed this as a Barolo. Exceptionally fine and silky tannins, seamless palate that had no trace of the hot vintage. I absolutely adore such wines with delicacy, transparency and incredible aromatics. Absolutely no regrets opening my bottle even though it is still in its infancy.
1990 Château Lynch-Bages - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
Slightly green on the nose, but the unmistakable pencil lead and graphite that allowed a Bordeaux novice like me to guess Pauillac immediately. Ripe fruit that led me to a good vintage but given the colour I thought it was a 1982. Lacked a little charm and a little dull for me.
1968 La Rioja Alta Rioja Reserva 904 - Spain, La Rioja, La Rioja Alta, Rioja
Needed some time in the decanter to blow off the funk. Very sweet and ripe fruit for its age so most of us thought Tuscan and guessed it was from the 80s for this. A pleasure to taste a wine this old, remarkably long finish.
A new-world Pinot lunch that was quite educational. Some observations that confirmed what I thought previously. 1. Restrained well-made Pinots still exist (albeit at a high price point). 2. I usually prefer them on pop-and-pour before the new-world characteristics such as cherry cola, blue fruits and alcohol take over. 3. Similar to Burgs, producer is still the most important variable but at this price point I think I’ll stick to the Burgundy producers that I like.
2016 Rose & Arrow Pinot Noir Yamhill Close - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Yamhill-Carlton
A brooding, dark-fruited nose. It was sufficiently restrained at the beginning to have some doubt over which of this and the Ramonet was the Burgundy, but with air it became more blue-fruited and denser to leave no doubt. Not sure if this is worth the current market price as the palate is not as seamless as you would expect at this price point.
2016 Jean-Claude Ramonet Chassagne-Montrachet Rouge - France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Chassagne-Montrachet
Brought as a ringer. Some earthiness, elegant red fruits with some stem inclusion. Even though this wasn’t the most complex, it had the most linear and weightless quality among the wines. Based on this showing, I think the 1er crus are a step up with more precision and drive and are worth the premium.
2010 Domaine Serene Pinot Noir Yamhill Cuvée - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
I thought this was very similar to the Rose & Arrow so I guessed Oregon Pinot, turned out that they were from the exact same plot. Cooler area compared to the Eola-Amity Hills that I tried previously that had a horrible kirsch note to it, this held its restraint much better despite some red cherry character. Out of all the wines it had the least candied notes by the end of lunch.
2014 Hirsch Vineyards Pinot Noir Raschen Ridge - USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast
Again much better than my previous experience with the same producer. Nice raspberry fruits without the confectionery note with sufficient acid holding it together. Good depth of flavour with a slight spice note. This has aged gracefully.
2016 Rippon Pinot Noir Mature Vine - New Zealand, South Island, Otago, Lake Wanaka
Most new-world of the line-up with the candied fruit and meatiness but still very restrained compared to the new-world Pinots that I cannot stand. Showed the most overt fruit of black cherries and alcohol but at the same time this still felt rather young and austere.
**2015 Markus Molitor Brauneberger Mandelgraben Pinot Noir **** - Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer
Intense, slightly wild and earthy nose. Very large-scaled Pinot but the oak is well-integrated. Immense concentration and complexity, some drying tannins. Not usually my style of Pinot but this was an interesting experience.