It was a pleasure to spend a nice and relaxing long four day weekend with my brother and get to see so many people from the area ... many of whom I've had the opportunity to meet on several occasions over the years.
Kudos to Pete Dykstra, for his great preparations of the fabulous food on Friday and Saturday (2 of 3 consecutive night's events) and for all of my brother's friends on Saturday and Sunday who brought such compelling wines.
Sunday was the Super Bowl, and I was focused on the game every bit as much as the wine and food and it was a blast watching on my brother's enormous set with all the guys hanging out and a plethora of Mags and other bottles to make their way around and around. The food that day was pretty great too. The Pesquera, '89 La Nerthe (thanks Jeb!) and so many others stood out. I was glad that my '70 Fonseca magnum showed so perfectly too. I only took notes on Saturday night and a few from Friday, but will just put my basic impressions and scores from Sat. here:
1985 Dom Perignon - Crisp, straw colored, great mousse, exc. acidity, evolved but on a long plateau, maybe at its best now, creamy texture. 95 points
Paired with Sabo, extract of raisins along with quince and plum jam and apricot chutney.
Next came one of the truly great bowls of onion soup, I've ever encountered, served with ... 1999 Bouchard Chevalier-Montrachet "La Cabotte." This was riper on the nose than on the palate, with green apple and pear notes and a ton of minerality. Mouthfilling, seamless, no signs of oak on the palate, the mid-section was crammed with flavor and held the intensity and beauty. Sumptuously textured and with a lemon zest/butterscotch lingering aftertaste. 94+ points
Our 3rd course served was a Semolina Ravioli - with soft poached egg and potato stuffing, adorned with brown butter/toasted hazelnut/truffle oil. OMG! 99 pts.
Served with the ... 1955 DRC Richebourg - Fully mature and imo, past prime by a half decade. Light garnet color with a wide bricking edge. Notes of black tea, strawberrry and glove leather and later some earthy horse sweat and dark roasted espresso. I loved the aromatics which to me were the best part of the experience. Soft, fully integrated, texturally awesome but lacking some acidity. The finish was middling. A wonderful experience for sure. 91 points. Drink up!
1990 Emmanuel Rouget Vosne-Romanee, Cros Parantoux - Mitch's friend Mike believed about 100 cases of this were produced (or there abouts). Fabulous fragrance of floral scents, overtones of red fruit and that sous bois Burg stank that I love. Vibrant ruby belies the age of this seemingly young Burg. Sexy in the mouth with power and feminine elegance, near perfect brilliant strawberry flavors and great purity. Acidity stands out, especially after the '55 Riche, but overall the hedonism of this wine shows in spades, with a tremendously long finish. A brilliant wine with great long term potential and my first Cros P. Thanks Mike, this was my favorite bottle of wine of all four wine days/nights. 97+ points.
1990 DRC La Tache - As much as I enjoyed the aromatics and flavors, the textural pleasure may just be the significant strength ... from this bottle. I've only had this once before and it was a fine bottle, as this seemed to lack some of the verve and intensity of a perfect bottle. Some thought possibly flawed, others that it was closed/austere. Still ... insanely good, with truffles, herbs and autumnal fragrants. About an hour and a half in, this seemed to be showing its best and improved rather significantly. Fine length and only more oxidation would have improved this imo. 95+ points
Muscovy duck confit with a raspberry gastrique was the perfect dish and then came a fine version of beef bourguignon with bacon lardonnes, cremini mushrooms, gaufrettes of potato, pearl onions and red fingerling potatoes. The latter dish went with the following wines:
1982 Chateau Latour - Reticent early on, this is classic Pauillac. Some felt it was not a perfect bottle, I loved it and beyond some initial issue on the nose (bottle stink, not TCA or Brett) this emerged a winner. Cassis, smoke, leather, cedar, tar and an expansive and provocative elixir. The palate was even better with dark and brooding flavors of blackberry, some licorice, lead pencil and spice. Full-bodied, immensely structured and powerfully tannic, with a long persistent finish. 96+
1989 Haut Brion - Maybe not as profound as best bottles I've had before, but this is still one of the all time greats. Nose of cigar box, ripe cherry, dried herbs and blackcurrants, although not as focused as other 89HB bottlings which knocked my nose off. The palate had far more vibrancy and was a profound beauty that improved in the glass ... immensely. Unctuous and flamboyant, with plum, graphite and black cherries I truly enjoyed this wine. The upside here is absolutely sick and the finish was as well. 97+ points.
Next came a fine creme brulee which I left until after I had written notes for both of the following dessert wines:
1960 Chateau Yquem - purchased many years in advance for Mitch's 50th (heck, I already have his birth year wines for his 60th lined up!) along with a Barbeito 1960 Bual we had the night before. This bottle showed a low neck fill and a bright medium amber-orange color, but the cork capsule were in pristine condition given its age. Loved the nose right from the bottle during the early decanting. By the time of consumption it had put on a modest body weight. The nose was crazy good with coconut, lemon peel and apricot in spades, powerful and evocative. When we had this early in the night I was not that thrilled, and was in the 92 point camp, but four hours later and returning to the bottle this was a very different wine. It had really opened up, was now a full medium-bodied wine, although elegant and was a velvety texture, nothing like the viscous almost syrupy versions such as 1975/1983/1989. Peach compote and dried apricots prevailed but even on the palate I found that coconut present too. There was plenty of acidity and what kept this from being a remarkable showing from a fairly lack luster vintage ... a medium-long finish, rather than a profound aftertaste that is typical of great Yquem. 94 points
1908 D'Oliveiras Bual Vintage Madeira - Decanted two days in advance, the only fault of this bottle is that it did not have another half century in wood. Dark chocolate color and exhibiting a nose of mocha, toffee, lots of gorgeous VA and roasted espresso bean. The intensity of this wine overwhelms the non- Madeira freak as the VA on the nose and acidity in the mouth, is at levels not for the faint of heart. Later notes of mahogany and antique store scents came to play. Golden raisins, butterscotch and orange marmalade make for a memorable mouthfilling melange. Medium bodied, razor sharp acidity and smoothly textured, this is a gorgeous example of how well this wine can tantalize the palate and the finish was endless. A great last wine for a brilliant evening. 97+ points
A remarkable celebration with food, wine and friends perfectly befitting the occasion of my brother Mitch's big night.