A small impromptu dinner at Greg O’s

Maryland
Tasted Wednesday, July 20, 2011 by dcwino with 308 views

Introduction

Greg O’s lovely wife Amy and the kids were out of town at the beach. Greg kindly invited a few of us for an impromptu gathering. For me, it was a really fun evening that was also very educational.

We started with a semi sweet Vouvray from the 89 vintage. Starting to show a hint of wet stone/socks. Remarkably young but straightforward. A good summer quaffer

Flight 1 - Greg O’s famous hanger steak (5 Notes)

It was masterfully grilled by Greg but according to Greg, the worst quality of Balducci’s hanger he got.

  • 2002 Domaine des Lambrays Clos des Lambrays 94 Points

    France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Clos des Lambrays Grand Cru

    Shy but assertive nose, red fruit, raspberry, limestone, sandalwood, mushroom and earth. Deceptively light but shows nice concentration via sappy fruit in the palate. A pretty wine with excellent core energy and balance. It is mostly secondary at the moment. Perhaps cellaring another five years will bring more tertiary flavors. Excellent showing!

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  • 1998 Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande 94 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

    Pop and pour, a delightful and delicious claret that is drinking beautifully as in thirst quenching. Compare to the 98 Troplong Mondot, lighter in weight and not as expressive but after a sip this wine uplifts the palate where the TP brings the palate down with a heavy impression. Decent amount of crushed blueberries and cassis, cedar and wet cigar wrapper. Silky palate and well integrated tannins. Very fresh expression but no hint of green. Drinking beautifully but based on my experience with the 81, this will age and become more complex.

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  • 1998 Château Troplong Mondot 93 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru

    Initially tight, dark caramel and bitter chocolate. It opens up nicely, very sweet black fruit, chocolate, mocha and crème caramel. This is a massive wine with very deep/base tone. It reminded me a Perse era Pavie. Very impressive.

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  • 1959 Château Rauzan-Gassies 95 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux

    This is my third bottle with extremely impressive and consistent notes. Impressively youthful and sweet, cedar, iron, caramel, a hint of spearmint, beautifully perfumed that is Margaux. Extremely sweet palate with sappy finish. Elliot joking said it must be a fake as the cork is still in perfect shape and the wine so youthful. In turn, I responded by saying who’s gonna fake a Rauzan Gassies? A beautiful, fully matured Margaux that displays sweet balsamic fruit that one only gets from a 40 to 50+ year old wine.

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  • 2003 Taylor (Fladgate) Porto Vintage 99 Points

    Portugal, Douro, Porto

    In early 2008, I rated this wine 99 pts, 3 points above the rest, at the GJE 2003 porto session held in Duoro. Since then I had it at least a half dozen times with always close to perfect showing. Incredibly approachable and delicious, still primary, chocolate, cassis, blueberry liquor, quite mineral, beautifully balanced and not heavy. I am not a big port drinker and very sensitive to alcohol but this wine really carries the alcohol extremely well. IMO, the 03 Bordeauxs and Ports are surprisingly open as the tannins are very well integrated and soft. This is not unlike the 88 Dal Forno recioto at its youth at 1/5 of the price, literally an elixir.

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Closing

The mini horizontal was extremely education. There is a big discussion over the validity of EP tasting. IMHO, there is very little variation in quality from EP to bottling hence the EP assessment is quite accurate.

However this mini vertical reminded me that the impressive concentration, lush texture and sweet fruit at EP are not the true indicators of how the wine will age/show with 10+ years of cellaring. It is clear to me that the 98 Troplong Mondot would have been more impressive wine deserving higher rating during the EP. However at 10+ years, the 98 Pichon Lalande is a classic delightful claret that uplifts the palate where the 98 Troplong Mondot although impressive seems heavy in comparison, especially with food. This is clearly based my personal preference.

The 59 Rauzan Gassies show me the importance of perfect provenance.

We often complain about the absurdity of the 10 EP pricing but there are some delicious affordable clarets still out there. Also, IMO Port, Piedmont and Tuscan wines represent the best QPR if one is looking for the high quality old world wines. If you have not tried the 03 Taylor, you owe to yourself to get a 375.

I thank Greg for his hospitality. It was a fun relaxing evening!

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