David organized another lost Friday lunch. He proposed to taste all wines blind except the Champagnes. The first two flights were quite obvious. The double blind was challenging but fun. As usual, the dishes were very well executed.
The 06 Comtes de Champagne was reaching the youthful pick. The 03 Krug clearly expressed the ripe vintage character and slightly coiled, needing more time.
- 2003 Krug Champagne Vintage Brut - France, Champagne
Slightly coiled nose displaying ripe concentrated yellow fruit, apricot, lemon curd, caramel apple, cinnamon and other sweet spices, and limestone. Very good concentration, subdued concentrated yellow fruit, fine medium abundant mousse, ripe and deeply toned, bright acidity, good mineral and a medium long concentrated yellow fruit and caramel driven finish with cinnamon at the end. There is a hint of bitterness. It is not too expressive. Perhaps additional ten years of cellaring will help, i.e. more tertiary expression and less ripeness. (93 pts.)
- 2006 Taittinger Champagne Brut Blanc de Blancs Comtes de Champagne - France, Champagne
Expressive nose displaying decadent yellow fruit with a hint of white, lemon candy, a hint of pear, candied lemon peel, smoke, oyster jus, brioche and limestone. Excellent concentration, layers upon layers of decadent yet pure yellow citrus fruit, rich yet energetic, fine abundant mousse, perfect amount of acidity and mineral and a long sweet yellow fruit driven finish with oyster jus and brioche at the end. This particular bottle is showing the next stage of development with oyster jus and smoke. Excellent showing. (97 pts.)
Served single blind but the color gave it away. The Mondavi To Kalon was surprisingly restrained. The Silex was a bit too mature or shutdown.
- 2007 Didier Dagueneau Pouilly-Fumé Silex - France, Loire Valley, Upper Loire, Pouilly-Fumé
It is easy to guess as this is clearly darker, reflecting the age. Medium expressive nose displaying mature ripe yellow fruit, passion fruit, kiwi, lemon curd, cat pee, jalapeno, burnt sugar, spice spices and earth. Excellent concentration, very ripe yellow fruit, rich oily, dense and deeply toned, good acidity, medium mineral and a medium long ripe yellow fruit driven finish with burnt sugar and jalapeno at the end. Although it remains interesting and enjoyable, it would have been better a few years back, YMMV. (91 pts.)
- 2014 Robert Mondavi Winery Fumé Blanc To-Kalon I Block - USA, California, Napa Valley
Medium expressive nose displaying fresh ripe white fruit with a hint of yellow, pear, kiwi, grapefruit, pina colada, oak and limestone. Excellent concentration, finely layered ripe yet pure white fruit, oily yet cool and pure, good acidity and mineral, and a medium to long sweet white fruit driven finish with a hint of oak at the end. Although ripe, it is retrained and shows nice balance. It is not showing much cat pee at the moment, but I suspect it will develop in a few years. Nice showing and very enjoyable. (94 pts.)
Served single blind but another easy one.
- 2010 Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru En Remilly - France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru
RJ initially mentions TCA. It is really cold and I don’t detect. As warms up, more pronounced TCA. This is deeper, more mature and concentrated than the second wine which makes it easy to guess. NR (flawed)
- 2015 Paul Pillot Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Grandes Ruchottes - France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru
Expressive refreshing nose displaying pure sweet white fruit, pear, white peach, lemon curd, honeysuckle, sap, cool mountain stream and limestone. Excellent concentration, very finely layered succulent white fruit, excellent focus, precision and energy, perfect amount of acidity and mineral, and a long clean white fruit driven finish with sap and limestone at the end. With air flint/matchstick emerges strong closely resembling PYCM even Coche. Excellent showing. (94 pts.)
I highly recommend the La Pialade. This clearly demonstrated the limitation of tasting double blind.
- 2010 Château Rayas Côtes du Rhône La Pialade - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Côtes du Rhône
Exotic nose displaying cherry liqueur, white pepper, spicy spices, cannabis and earth. Cannabis and white pepper make to guess Cayuse bionic frog initially. It is very Burgundian so I change my mind and am very certain it is Rayas. Really exotic nose displaying cherry liqueur, cherry compote, incense, cannabis, white pepper, tobacco, spicy spices and crushed rocks. Excellent concentration, very finely layers slightly dry cherry fruit, silky, airy and sensual, perfect amount of acidity and strong limestone mineral and a seamless long cherry fruit driven finish with incense and white pepper at the end. This is a good example of the limitation of double blind tasting. The profile is clearly Rayas. In hindsight, this is slightly thinner and not as concentrated. Between Jedi mind trick and imprecise human palate, it would be impossible to call it correctly. Nevertheless, this is an excellent wine, poor man’s or baby Rayas. If tasted knowing what it is, my rating might be around 93. (96 pts.)
- 2018 Dirty and Rowdy "The Legends" Rosewood Vineyards - USA, California, North Coast, Redwood Valley
Really grapy and someone calls two buck chuck. Grapy leads me to Barbera. Fresh Welch’s grape juice. Natural wine, perhaps neutral oak or stainless. My next guess is Jura red. If you love natural wine, you will find this to your liking. Interesting wine. (91 pts.)
- 2015 Maison Leroy Bourgogne - France, Burgundy, Bourgogne
Medium expressive nose displaying really concentrated red fruit, Chambord, strawberry jam, strong animal, dark spices and earth. Excellent concentration, intense very ripe concentrated red fruit, dense and deeply toned, medium acidity an mineral, strong slightly dry tannins and a medium long ripe red fruit driven finish with animal at the end. My guess is Marcel Lapierre Morgon XX whatever cuvee. This is really concentrated and structured. Not sure how this will develop. (92 pts.)
It was easy to identify the Bordeauxs. The Mouton was clearly the Mouton. The 91 and 95 Monte Bello were similar which made correctly guessing much easier.
- 1994 Dominus Estate Napanook Vineyard - USA, California, Napa Valley
Very Bordeaux like but quite. Expressive youthful nose displaying perfectly ripe black fruit, crème de cassis, blackberry, tobacco, a hint of ash, cedar and crushed rocks. Beautifully balanced palate, layers upon layers of perfectly ripe black fruit, exceptional weight yet silky and polished, perfect amount of acidity and mineral, noticeable very fine tannins and a long sweet cassis fruit driven finish. Although domestic for certain, it is the most restrained and claret like wine. This remains extremely youthful and can easily improve for another decade or two. My favorite domestic red and the second favorite after the 82 Mouton. (96 pts.)
- 1991 Ridge Monte Bello - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
The first note is strong American oak. Expressive nose displaying intense ripe black fruit, crème de cassis, blackberry jam, licorice, molasses, baking spices, bell pepper, leather, tobacco and earth. The American oak note is very noticeable. Excellent concentration, layers upon layers of intense black fruit, dense, rich and oily yet silky, bright acidity and strong mineral, and a long intense black fruit driven finish. For my palate, I am not a big for American oak in cabernet or merlot based wines. I am a bit perplexed that people who detest cult cab love this wine. This is a really well made wine but with noticeable American oak. My guess is either the cask 23 or one of the Monte Bellos. Tasting the six wine makes it easy to identify this as the 91 Ridge. (95 pts.)
- 1982 Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
The cork which was moldy falls in. Smells corked. The question is, was the wine corked or the dropped cork tainted the wine? Either way, this is a great shame.
- 1991 Stag's Leap Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Cask 23 - USA, California, Napa Valley, Stags Leap District
Perfectly mature nose displaying ripe blue fruit with a hint of red, crème de cassis, plum, caramel, cappuccino, oak, smoked meat and earth. Beautifully integrated palate, nicely layered ripe black fruit, warm, round and silky, perfect amount of acidity and mineral and a long ripe black fruit driven finish with caramel and smoked meat at the end. Warm ripe fruit and a hint of ok are telltale signs of the high end early 90s cab. After tasting the last two wines, it is clear that this is the cask 23. (94 pts.)
- 1982 Château Mouton Rothschild - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
Expressive perfectly mature nose displaying crème de cassis, plum, a hint of lead pencil, tobacco, strong cedar, caramel and earth. Beautifully integrated palate, very finely layered concentrated cassis and plum fruit, silky and polished, perfect amount of acidity and mineral, and a seamless long black fruit driven finish with strong cedar at the end. Although it has reached the youthful peak, it can easily improve for another decade or two. The nose screams Bordeaux, impeccable balance and finesse. Easy to identify as the 82 Mouton. (98 pts.)
- 1995 Ridge Monte Bello - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
The nose is very similar to wine 2, noticeable American oak and ripe black fruit. However, it is less evolved. Expressive nose displaying ripe black fruit with a hint of red, cremes de cassis, blackberry jam, plum, bell pepper, ash, lead pencil, leather and earth. Very good concentration, layers upon layers of ripe black fruit, bright acidity, limestone mineral, slight coarse tannins and a medium to long ripe black fruit driven finish with ash and oak at the end. This remains very youthful and can improve for another decade. (94 pts.)
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