Assaf kindly organized a cost sharing dinner to drink the 90 Bordeaux. It was an extremely interesting and educational dinner. For me, the dinner demonstrated the validity of the 100 point scale to clearly and simply represent my preferences of the bottles at least in Bordeaux yet it also demonstrated the absurdity as there are no great wines only great bottles and although I may have liked the 06 Bourchard Corton Charlie, I rated the Aubert Ritche higher to somehow being objective. The power of suggestion was also live and kicking as I was making an attempt to guess the wines and as soon as I thought I found them, I started to notice a couple unique characters that are associated with the wine. Although I only got three our of nine reds, I was happy to clearly recognize the 90 Latour which is not a big monster like the 90 Margaux but a true grand vin that is perfectly balanced and seamless.
The 02 Dom was the most open example I have ever had.
- 2007 Kistler Chardonnay Durell Vineyard - USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast
Ripe yellow fruits, lemon curd, butter, vanilla, a hint of limestone and oak. Warm ripe fruits, a hint of mineral expression, lacking acidity and slightly bitter finish. It is slightly advanced and a bit cloying. Excellent provenance. (90 pts.)
- 2008 Aubert Chardonnay Ritchie Vineyard - USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast
This is a typical Aubert chardonnay, a lot of everything. Starting note is seashell and saline, than very ripe yellow fruits, a hint of sweet and sour sauce and smoke. Unctuous palate, sweet ripe yellow fruits, noticeable mineral expression and bright acidity. Although all components are there to counterbalance each other, it is a bit too much. A good contract to the 06 Bouchard CC served next. It is ready to go but will improve for a couple more years and will last ten. (94 pts.)
- 2009 Lur-Saluces "Y" - France, Bordeaux, Bordeaux Supérieur
This is definitely riper and the nose is not as expressive as the 08. White fruits, lanoline, lilacs, mountain streams and saline. Chewy palate, good acidity, a hint of residual sugar, strong mineral expression and long finish. For me, I prefer the 08 version for the nose and the precision. (94 pts.)
- 2006 Bouchard Père et Fils Corton-Charlemagne - France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru
The last bottle drank two years ago was not showing much. This has opened up nicely. Pear, white fruits, lemon, mineral and saline. Fat oily palate, noticeable mineral expression and good acidity. I still find the wine a bit fat and ripe but having the typical CC minerality and the lean fruit expression makes the wine very enjoyable without being cloying. Assaf like the wine more than me, although his rating maybe lower due to his conservative 100 point scale. (93 pts.)
- 2002 Moët & Chandon Champagne Cuvée Dom Pérignon - France, Champagne
This is the most opened example, honey, yellow fruits, lemon curd, apple tart, brioche and seashell. Round and sweet palate, excellent concentration and good acidity. Very enjoyable but definitely more advanced. (95 pts.)
- 2010 Sine Qua Non The Monkey - USA, California
This is the second time having this wine and it just is not my cup of tea. This bottle seems a bit darker than the first and the nose reflects that. The first note once again is lychee then orange peel, tropical fruits and tea. Quite chewy, a hint of sugar and noticeable heat as the end note. I have no clue whether this will improve with time. (89 pts.)
Bordeaux Flight 1
- 1990 Château La Conseillante - France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol
Wine no 1 - This is the most delicate and lightest red of the night, red fruits, chocolate, mint, sweet spices and anise. Seamless silky palate, very cool impression and a nice clean finish. First guessed Lynch Bages but after tasting all nine, this has to be La Conseillant. (95 pts.)
- 1990 Château Beausejour (Duffau Lagarrosse) - France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru
Wine no 2 - Ripe, sexy, blue fruits, lactic and chocolate. Big scale merlot based wine. With air, a hint of pencil and noticeable tannins. Initially thinking La Conseillante then ended up Léoville-Las Cases.
I mentioned to Assaf that this should not be decanted as at this stage, pop and pour is the way to show the opulent exotic sexy fruit. Assaf agree that with a couple hours of air, the wine lost the magic. I highly recommend pop and pour on this and the 90 La Conseillante. (95 pts.)
- 1990 Château Troplong Mondot - France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru
Wine no 3 - Once again no great wines only great bottles. The last bottle had less than a year ago was very port like. This on the other hand showed beautifully. Explosive sexy nose, silky, big, ripe, caramel, cool fruit and earth. Big scale wine with excellent concentration, silky palate and long finish. The caramel note and sweet palate lead me to think Leoville Poyferre. (97 pts.)
Bordeaux Flight 2
- 1990 Château Léoville Las Cases - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien
Wine no 4 – earth, lead pencil, mint, plume and eucalyptus. Lean fruit expression, polished silky palate and nicely integrated tannins. Lynch Bages. (95 pts.)
- 1990 Château Léoville Poyferré - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien
Another big scale ripe wine with a caramel note, also cedar, lactic and cassis. Excellent concentration, chewy and silky palate and long finish. (97 pts.)
- 1990 Château Lynch-Bages - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
Wine no 6 - Lead pencil, ash, cassis, cedar and earth. A hint of brett I thought and the power of suggestion kicked in. Thought Montrose and never look back. Assaf thought just way to young. (90 pts.)
Bordeaux Flight 3
- 1990 Château Latour Grand Vin - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
Medium expressive yet very youthful nose displaying dark fruits, lead pencil, cassis and earth. The palate is noble, not big, impressive and expressive like the 90 Margaux or Cheval Blan, but seamless, airy and posses the perfect balance. Reminds me a great Musigny, not big, not sweet but cool and suave. Latour. (98 pts.)
- 1990 Château Pichon-Longueville Baron - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
Wine no 8 - Intense cassis, a hint of scorched earth, lead pencil, menthol and eucalyptus. Cool palate impression, sweet fruit, excellent concentration and silky palate. Pichon Baron. (96 pts.)
- 1990 Château Montrose - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe
This is the most intense, expressive and concentrated wine of the night. Cassis, dark fruits, caramel and bitter chocolate. Intensely sweet and chewy palate, excellent concentration, no noticeable tannins and long finish. Flirting with perfection. Beausejour Duffau. (99 pts.)
- 1990 Château d'Yquem - France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Sauternes
From the same batch as the last bottle which I really didn’t care for. This showed brilliantly. For me, D’Yquem is all about the texture, ie so incredibly concentrated yet so airy, decadent yet delicate. This just evaporated in the mouth, Sauternes cotton candy. Apricot and peach, clove, ginger, a hint of banana and right caramel. Display of perfect balance and harmony. A very youthful example with long life ahead. (98 pts.)
This must have been the right phase of the lunar cycle as the wines showed exceptionally well. I felt confident that I would be able to recognize the 90 Beausejour Duffau but clearly failed. I highly recommend not to decant the 90 BDL and the 90 La Conseillante if you want to experience the opulent fruits. Once again, a big thanks goes to Assaf for organizing this memorable diner. Another thanks goes to seven friends who shared this wonderful occasion.
P.S. The 90 Montrose don't suck!