Wine with Lawyers!

Some quick notes, before I leave for the day…

Last night, I conducted a “seminar” for the summer associates at a major Manhattan Law Firm. The theme was comparing the same grape varietal from different wine regions of the world.

3 Chards, 2 Syrah and a 1989 Suduiraut just for fun.

1998 Billecart Brut Blanc de Blancs: Our first “Chardonnay”…most of the grapes for this one come from Le Mesnil. This was big hit and why not? It was not as bone dry as I like many of my 100% Chard Bubblys to be, but this was pretty spot on for quality. Definitely more fuller bodied and meaty that I expected, great pairing for some food.

2004 Billaud Simon Chablis Blanchots: This is what I am talking about. I love 2004 Chablis and this showed why. Double decanted it and let it sit for an hour more, which seemed to do the trick. This was flinty and fresh. Very popular popular amongst the future lawyers. I believe this had a touch of oak on it, but I have not verified that yet.

2005 Ramey Chardonnay Ritchie Vyd: For me, this is Ramey’s best wine. Amongst the lawyers, they were split between this and the Chablis. but those that liked the Ramey, kept coming back for more. For me, while it is a great wine, but I still prefer Peay, Eric Kent, and Dutton Goldfield in a similar price range. Nevertheless, excellent juice, not to be confused with a white Burgundy, though.

2004 Chave Hermitage: Dbl decanted and left to sit for about 2 hours. This was the most consumed wine of the night. I guess lawyers have good taste. About 80% preferred this to the Shiraz. I loved it as well, and the only wine I had two glasses of. This was rich dense and pure. The finish, while not overwhelmingly big (a la 2003 Chave) still carried in my mouth for a nearly a minute. I would love to see how this would develop over a day as it kept getting better.

2005 Greenock Creek Shiraz Apricot Block; Sadly, this wine receives a better rating in the Wine Advocate than the 2004 Chave. About 20% of the audience enjoyed this over the Chave. Those that loved it, enjoyed the jamminess of the wine. It was rich, saturated and completely over the top. Listed at 16.5% alcohol, it had to be closer to 18.5% and for me, it showed. I do not enjoy these types of wines, and it appeared that the lawyers did not either. Except for one lawyer in Monkton. The first few btls were dbl decanted and poured about 2.5 hours later. I had to open another one (along with more Chave). When I poured one female a glass from the new btl, she asked if the wine would benefit from more air time. I gave her a glass from the older btls and she said, “nope, same crap.”

1989 Ch Suduiraut: Good way to finish. 20 year old Semillon from Sauternes. Served slightly chilled and opened one hour in advance of pouring. No decanting. The funk blew off almost immediately and this was a very pleasant glass of dessert. Not overpaying in any way and I would have loved some chocolate cake with it (although the chocolate dipped strawberries were adequate). I managed to polish this one off before I left. As usually is the case these days, many shied away from this one, calling it too sweet. And we wonder why Riesling is such a hard sell?

Dan, were these folks wine novices?


Most novices, but my client, who set it up, is a partner there and very knowledgeble.

They had 50 RSVPs. It was at his apartment. I think about 40-45 showed up.

35 btls consumed approximately.

The guys who seemed the most disinterested were some of the partners.


Dude. I never got summer associate events that were that much fun. Well done. Wanna come down here and do that for us? :smiley:

God I loved being a summer associate… I’m surprised firms are still pouring Chave…

If it is in your budget, I am there. Although Houston in the summer is not so appealing…

Probably because their lap dancer girlfriends weren’t present. [boredom.gif]

At my old law firm, I led a wine seminar every summer for the summer associates. It was one of the few events every summer that other partners attended (it meant even if I did not attend other events I was still seen as a team player – and I got to drink wine that I picked out).

I got a number of people over the years to start liking German wines. But, a number never did. I remember one year where two female associates just absolutely fell in love with a Moscato. They grabbed what was left of a bottle and kept drinking it, even after we had gone onto other wines.

We used to have a split group. I found that people who knew little liked the German wines, people who thought they knew about wines looked down on the German wines and were always upset because I got too much French wine and not enough California wine and the people who knew a lot of course loved the German wines.

To be fair, people were pretty open. One of the best themes I ever came up with for a tasting was wines you were taught you were not supposed to like. I had:

a German wine (aren’t they all like Blue Nun)
a Chablis (obviously just a jug wine)
a Rose (shocked them because it was French and dry)
a Zin (who knew that they could be red)
a Beaujolais (you mean they don’t all taste like Dubouf)
a Burgundy (I used the excuse that I was doing it to show color (this was Truchot) does not demonstrate intensity of flavor, but really I just wanted a Burgundy)
a sweet wine (of course sweet equals Boone’s Farm)

People really enjoyed and got into this one.

Another year, I did pairs of wines to show differences:

a German riesling vs. a riesling from Alsace
a Bourgogne vs. a Premier Cru
a younger Bordeaux vs. one with some age.

Great theme. I love showing the other side that people do not know. Chablis is still an easy one that people misassociate.

Last year, for a charity wine thing in the summer, it was 95 degrees and I opted to pour a Gascogne white from Southern France and a Rhone Rose. Some people were flipping out. But many enjoyed it and were open minded.

Nice note on the 98 Billecart BdB. That wine is money. Better than just about everything they did in 96 and so good right now, but will age too.

Definitely a long life ahead of it.


Do you knowwhat % of the grapes comes from Le Mesnil?

When I read the title “Wine with Lawyers”, I was hoping to read how the lawyers were prepared! [rofl.gif]

Really good ones are rare.


If you are a lawyer turned wine critic, then roasted…on a spit!

hAHHAAH !!! Good one!