Dinner at Jeff and Marya Samuelson's

Tasted Friday, July 7, 2006 by Dave Dalluge with 908 views

Introduction

Seven of us gathered and Jeff and Marya Samuelson's house for a great dinner and some nice wines. In attendance were Jeff and Marya Samuelson, Brad and Diane England, Dave and Desiree Dalluge, and Scott Manlin. The Samuelson's were world-class hosts, and really outdid themselves on the food. The lobster dish is the single best lobster dish I have ever had, and the truffled potatoes and fillet were a great complement to all the Bordeaux.

I didn't post a note in CellarTracker on the 1959 Trapet Chambertin Clos de Beze. This bottle was hand-carried from France last weekend by Jeff. It was obviously reconditioned recently, as the label, foil, and cork looked brand new. You would never guess this wine was almost 50 years old. The color was a medium red with no obvious signs of bricking. The nose showed soft black fruit. The wine was medium bodied and mouth coating on the palate. It is balanced and pleasant, but a bit simple. Thanks for sharing this Jeff. It was both educational and a pleasure to taste.

Flight 1 (13 Notes)

  • 1990 Salon Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut

    France, Champagne, Le Mesnil Sur Oger, Champagne

    The color is an enticing pale yellow. On the palate I get a burnt/acidic taste that is probably what Scott describes as "marzipan from age." This is similar to the taste I experienced with a NV Jacques Selosse Blanc de Blanc at Ma Cuisine in June. In both cases others seemed to tolerate this aspect of the wine more than I did. Looking past this, the Salon is a beautiful wine. It is a good medium weight. The bubbles are very small and there are lots of them, and they create a very lively sense in the mouth with good length. Very nice.

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  • 1993 Domaine des Comtes Lafon Meursault Clos de la Barre

    France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Meursault

    This wine proved to be a great match for the roasted lobster with root vegetables and fava beans. Deep yellow in color. The expressive nose includes notes of lemon and earthy minerality. On the palate this is full-bodied and mouth coating. The mid-palate and the finish give honey and hazelnut. Similar to the 2002 tasted during my recent trip to Burgundy, except that the 1993 shows much more nuance and earthiness.

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  • 1990 Domaine Méo-Camuzet Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Aux Brulees

    France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru

    A special wine. It was a real treat to taste this alongside the Leroy from the same vineyard. Dark red color (darker than the Leroy). The nose shows mainly dark fruit with some earthy elements. This is medium weight and shows great fruit presence from start to finish. All the elements are composed and understated -- with just enough personality -- leading to an overall effect of extreme elegance. A very, very nice wine.

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  • 1990 Maison Leroy Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Aux Brulees

    France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru

    Youthful opaque red color. Much redder than the Meo. Great nose of mushroom, tar, earth, and red fruit. In the mouth this tastes very youthful. The fruit is almost primary. Medium weight, balanced but plenty of acidity. A great wine, but not as nuanced and elegant as the Meo. Has many years ahead of it, and may compete with the Meo after say another 10 years of development. I would never guess that these wines came from the same vineyard and the same vintage!

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  • 1985 Château Lafleur

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol

    My first Lafleur, and was this special. Very dark color. An expressive nose of dark fruit with a slight floral note. On the palate this is extremly elegant, yet powerful with concentrated dark fruit, espresso/cocoa, and a slight smokiness. This reminded me a little of the 1985 Cheval Blanc tasted recently. An exceptional wine and a real treat to taste.

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  • 1988 Château Lafleur

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol

    It was great to taste this alongside the 1985. The two wines were very similar. On a normal night the 88 would be the star of the show, but served next to the 85 it was a small step down in intensity and concentration. The flavor profiles were very similar with dark fruit, espresso/cocoa, and a slight smokiness. An elegant and thoroughly enjoyable wine.

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  • 1982 Château Lynch-Bages

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

    Another great wine. This is extremely focused and stern. The nose is a fairly simple but intense mix of dark fruit and lead pencil. In the mouth this is structured but showing ripe fruit with tobacco notes. This very well balanced and still extremely tannic. The finish lingers. An extremely nice wine that still has many years of life ahead of it.

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  • 1985 Château Lynch-Bages

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

    Tasted alongside the 82 and 88. The nose is very similar to the 82 with dark fruit and lead pencil. Slightly more expressive, but also with a slight green note. In the mouth this too shows dark fruit with tobacco notes, but is rounder and less tannic that the 82. Good balance and a nice finish. Excellent wine. This wine seemed much more approachable than the 82, but is probably still in the early stages of maturity.

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  • 1988 Château Lynch-Bages

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

    Tasted beside the 1982 and 1985. The nose shows dark fruit and lead pencil similar to the 82, except that fruit is a little more dominate and is almost overripe. In the mouth this is very similar to the other two -- if anything, slightly less intense. A very nice wine, but my least favorite of these three vintages.

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  • 1985 Château Haut-Brion

    France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan

    Wow, is this a beautiful wine. The nose is extremely expressive with black fruit, earth, tobacco, and a defining smokiness. This is pure pleasure to smell. Great presence on the palate from start to finish. Soft and elegant in the mouth, but concentrated with layers of tastes. This is pure pleasure to taste. A complete wine that complemented the fillet and truffled potatoes perfectly. Wow.

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  • 1996 Château Haut-Brion

    France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan

    Tasted beside the 1985. You could taste the similarity between the two wines. However, the 1996 was much more reserved aromatically. The flavors were the same (black fruit, earth, tobacco and smoke), but simpler and less expressive. In the mouth this is dominated by the fruit at this moment, and is much simpler and much more tannic. The other flavors are there and will emerge in time. Still, a very nice wine. It was educational to taste this beside 1985, but additional time in the bottle is needed before this will be a stunner.

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  • 1989 Château Pichon-Longueville Baron

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

    A big, structured, powerful wine. Quite a contrast to the two Haut Brion. The nose is dominated by stern black fruit, beef, and cigar box. Less one-dimensional on the nose than the Lynch Bages, but somewhat reserved. Pure structure in the mouth. You can detect some fruit, and know it is present, but the taste is really dominated by the structure at this point in its development. This was great to taste now, but should be something spectacular with additional time in the bottle.

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  • 2000 Château Pavie

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru

    Popped, vigorously decanted, and served. My palate was pretty well shot by this time. This was great in the mouth. The fruit is much more opulent here than the previous wines. The tannins are present, but weren't distracting and the rich fruit really dominates the taste. I'm sure this will develop more nuance with time, but it was a great way to finish the evening.

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Closing

All of the wines showed very well. One interesting observation is how well all of the 1985s are drinking right now. Brad is a big promoter of the 85s, and this (and previous tastings) confirms that he is right on with this assessment. My vote for wine of the night comes down to three wines: 1990 Meo-Camuzet, 1985 Lafleur, and 1985 Haut Brion. If forced to choose I would say the 1985 Haut Brion was the most complete and thrilling wine

Thanks to all in attendance for making this such a wonderful evening.

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