Charity Auction Dinner with Ancient French Rarities--1924 to 1979

RN 74, San Francisco
Tasted Tuesday, May 1, 2012 by drwine2001 with 358 views


Well, what can you possibly say about an evening where the AVERAGE age of the bottles poured was 55 years?!? Just a fantastic experience. To the best of my knowledge, all of these rarities were authentic, having been donated by one of the world's great collectors for an auction lot to benefit a San Francisco charity. Thank you, David, for your double dose of generosity to Meals on Wheels and to your friends that you invited to this extraordinary event.

Flight 1 - Fruits de Mer (1 Note)

  • 2006 Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey Bâtard-Montrachet

    France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru

    A young wine to kick off quite a line up. Medium yellow. Marvelous nose-lactic, herbal and floral. Medium weight and creamy with excellent acidity, bright citrus fruit, excellent length and judicious oak. True Grand Cru with time in hand-quite an accomplishment for the vintage in terms of its classic underlying structure.

    Post a Comment / Do you find this review helpful? Yes - No / Report Issue

Flight 2 - Halibut (1 Note)

  • 1958 Château Laville Haut-Brion Blanc

    France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan

    Deep amber. Strange mix of acetone and sherry. Its aggressive sharpness on the nose reminds me of old Tokaji or Madeira. Fairly lush with some vanilla Semillon notes remaining. Best thing about it is its texture, but still, not a pleasant or easy drink and difficult to get past the first whiff, which only gets more pronounced over time. As with many high volatility spirits, sniffing this gave me a headache. I would guess that from the right vintage, Laville of this age could be much better than this, but I can't vouch for it from personal experience since I've never had a white Graves even half as old as this.

    Post a Comment / Do you find this review helpful? Yes - No / Report Issue

Flight 3 - Duck (2 Notes)

  • 1953 Maison Leroy La Romanée

    France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, La Romanée Grand Cru

    Light ruby center-I might have guessed 20 years old. Oh my, the nose!! Ethereal composite of game, flowers, fraises des bois, smoke and earth. Amazing freshness, unbelievable delicacy, delicious clove spice, perfect acidity without tartness, great length. After initially seeming like all of this was going to be evanescent, it rallied and picked up life and weight in the glass, with the last drops possibly being the best of the bottle. The most moving, amazing wine of the night. Everything you could possibly want in a mature Burgundy (or a mature anything, for that matter). In its utter elegance and harmony, it reminded me of another '53 I had the pleasure of tasting about 25 years ago-Lafite.

    Post a Comment / Do you find this review helpful? Yes - No / Report Issue

  • 1957 Gros Frère et Sœur Grands-Echezeaux

    France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Grands-Echezeaux Grand Cru

    Unbelievably, quite a bit deeper and less evolved looking than the '53 Leroy. Assertive, pungent, stemmy, licorice nose-a foil to the gently wafting scents of the Leroy. Bigger and richer but less fine and detailed than that wine. Crackling black fruit, good acidity and a good bit of remaining tannin. Sappy at first, but then the fruit faded, and one was left with a soil filled finish. Make no mistake about it-this was still amazingly robust for a 55 year old wine, but it is nowhere near as ethereal as the Leroy La Romanee. I've never had a 1957 Burgundy before, and in all likelihood, never will again.

    Post a Comment / Do you find this review helpful? Yes - No / Report Issue

Flight 4 - Wagyu (2 Notes)

  • 1947 Château La Conseillante

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol

    Surprisingly dark for its age. Nose not completely clean-some VA and some brett as well. Big, round and lush but curiously, little complexity or flavor interest. Impressive for its mouth feel, but otherwise, little else and not terribly enjoyable right now. Projecting back in time, this must have been a huge, ripe, almost port-like wine in its day.

    Post a Comment / Do you find this review helpful? Yes - No / Report Issue

  • 1947 Château Beychevelle

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien

    Lighter than La Conseillante but still not fully mature looking. High toned nose with a hint of VA and lots of cedar. Elegant Cabernet based wine with a trace of the sweetness of its fruit but finishing lean and quite dry. Past its best by many years, but I greatly preferred its stylishness and "distillate of aged Bordeaux" character to the rather dull La Conseillante from the same vintage.

    Post a Comment / Do you find this review helpful? Yes - No / Report Issue

Flight 5 - Intermezzo (1 Note)

  • 1979 Trimbach Riesling Clos Ste. Hune

    France, Alsace

    Just a little something extra provided by our host to slake our thirst before dessert. Medium yellow. Little fusel but beautiful ripe peach on the nose. Big, broad and youthful. Perhaps a touch of residual sugar versus the deception of a glycerine feel. Having had the '79 Frederic Emile before, I was surprised at how much much riper, more alive with fruit and less acidic this was. Long, persistent finish. This drinks 15 years younger than it actually is and probably anticipates the development of vintages such as 1995 and 2000, which are richer and slightly less mineral expressions of Clos Ste. Hune. Fantastic shape for 33 year old Riesling.

    Post a Comment / Do you find this review helpful? Yes - No / Report Issue

Flight 6 - Creme Brulee (2 Notes)

  • 1924 Château Doisy-Daëne

    France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Sauternes

    Medium golden with some orange. Oh my goodness! The freshness and purity of this bottle are astounding. Medium weight, totally clean and botrytis-free, essence of creme brulee, moderately sweet, great acidity and it still has piquant citrus fruit. I do not love Sauternes, but this was exceptional at 88 years of age-a great, great dessert wine that outperformed the slightly younger wine from a more exalted vintage.

    Post a Comment / Do you find this review helpful? Yes - No / Report Issue

  • 1937 Château Doisy-Daëne

    France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Sauternes

    Essentially same color as the 1924. Very different nose with high toned perfume, honey and tropical fruit. Heavier, more viscous and relatively bitter compared to the older wine. Acidity not quite as enlivening. Not bad by any means, but not nearly as harmonious as the older, non-botrytised wine. While the botrytis adds aromatic complexity and lift, the trade off is that it also introduces some harshness. At the end of its life, in contrast to its older sibling that is still going strong as it approaches its tenth decade.

    Post a Comment / Do you find this review helpful? Yes - No / Report Issue