Josh Kurek's birthday bash

Corkbuzz, New York, NY
Tasted Thursday, September 27, 2012 by Seth Rosenberg with 477 views

Introduction

This was Josh's baby. He set it up and brought all the wines we didn't buy off the list. He used mags whenever he could. So any bottle that doesn't say where it is from, is from Josh. After some discussion we decided to do all the wines double blind, just for fun.

Flight 1 - Champagne (2 Notes)

We were told that one was mature and one was young - it wasn't hard to figure out which was which.

  • 1979 Lanson Champagne Red Label 93 Points

    France, Champagne

    Tasted double blind, from magnum. Light-medium yellow-gold, almost white gold. Clearly the mature wine of the pair (paired with another champagne - 04 Vilmart). Very creamy, vanilla, cocoa, roasted nuts (Matt), minerals, winey-cidery tones. Quite mature, flavor-wise, on the palate. Starts with creamy cocoa and malt, then the winey aspect, pear, lots of ginger. The mouthfeel is much younger: very tight bubbles and quite acidic. Moves into a tart finish: lemon and minerals. An excellent mature champagne in great condition. Nose - 5.5/6, Palate - 5/6, Finish - 4.5/6, Je Ne Sais Quoi - 1.5/2 = 16.5/20.

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  • 2004 Vilmart & Cie Champagne Grand Cellier d'Or 91 Points

    France, Champagne

    Double blind, from magnum. Light gold. Showed young fruit first tight lemon and green apple, but evolved to show lots of spice, nutmeg, gunpowder, mineral, some cool element like cucumber or scallions. Matt morphs this into Tzatziki, which sounds good to me. Young with sweet fruit on the palate: pear and lemon, yeasty. Quite tasty. Lots of acid, but only medium weight style. Toasty finish. This needs time, it's young with lots of structure an acid. Paul nailed it, year, producer and wine - right off the bat. Nose - 5/6, Palate - 5/6, Finish - 4.5/6, Je Ne Sais Quoi - 1/2 = 15.5/20.

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Flight 2 - Whites (2 Notes)

Josh brought the Burg, while Al called in earlier and order the Lopez off the list.

  • 1996 R. López de Heredia Rioja Blanco Reserva Viña Tondonia 94 Points

    Spain, La Rioja, La Rioja Alta, Rioja

    Off the list at Corkbuzz. Bought by Al, who ordered it early by phone and then showed up so late he missed it. Thanks Al! pretty nose. Oxidized, nutty, flowers, smoky and perfumed - almost like Viognier, but more savory. Some sweet honeysuckle. Light on entry, very nutty, minerals. Lovely and mature, but really solid. A touch of oak. Salty. This is just rocking. A great finish of nuts, lemon, acid, and saline. I put a few clues together to guess Lopez and Tondonia: I saw a bottle of Lopez being opened at the bar, and when someone else was guessing, I heard someone from Corkbuzz, Laura maybe saying that it was an oxidized style. Really great - one of my WOTNs. Nose - 5/6, Palate - 5/6, Finish - 5.5/6, Je Ne Sais Quoi - 1.5/2 = 17/20.

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  • 2009 Henri Boillot Meursault 1er Cru Charmes 88 Points

    France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Meursault 1er Cru

    Tasted double blind, from magnum. Funky nose at first - chemical with some nuts. Funk blew off and the nuts remained, so I guessed Meursault. Some lemon and a lot of oak. Sweet and oaky on the palate - not resolved at all: chewy, spicy and oaky. Lemon and nuts behind that. The finish is better and cleaner, showing young lemon fruit. This needs time. Not my style right now - way too much oak, but it may resolve pretty well - there is a good amount there. Nose - 5/6, Palate - 4/6, Finish - 4.5/6, Je Ne Sais Quoi - 0.5/2 = 14+/20.

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Flight 3 - Germans (2 Notes)

In our group, you can't have a wine night without Riesling. So we bought two off the list. We love the 2010s.

  • 2010 Fritz Haag Brauneberger Juffer-Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese 91 Points

    Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer

    Off the list at Corkbuzz. AP #7. Surprisingly sweet on the nose, almost late harvest. Red apple and pear, almost cidery with great spice. Pure and almost translucent. Almost sugary. Pretty on the palate. Young, apple, brown-baking spices, sweet and juicy. Good balance. A little plush for me - but it took me a while to get to it and it may have warmed up (small pour). The finish shapes up nicely: very winey and with apples. Probably needs time to resolve its sweetness. Nose - 5/6, Palate - 4.5/6, Finish - 5/6, Je Ne Sais Quoi - 1/2 = 15.5+/20.

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  • 2010 Schloss Lieser Brauneberger Juffer-Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese Goldkapsel 96 Points

    Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer

    Off the list at Corkbuzz. Again, it took me a while to get to this, so it had warmed up some. The nose reminds me so much of the 2010 SL BJ Kabinett I had a while back: juicy, racy with grapefruit, passion fruit, minerals, white flowers and white grapes. You can smell the acid and electricity buzzing above the glass. The palate starts with a wave of sweet fruit, sugar, honey and citrus - just huge. Then, the acid and giant structure close in like a beartrap to contain it - like some special effect out of Tron. Giant grapefruit acid burning into your consciousness. Everything comes together perfectly into a titanic and brutally long finish. Huge, but balanced like a barbell: with the sweetness on one end, and the acid on the other - just like the old school Muller Catoir wines I love so much. This is monumental Auslese - everyone was floored. One of the clear WOTNs. Nose - 5/6, Palate - 5.5/6, Finish - 6/6, Je Ne Sais Quoi - 1.5/2 = 18/20.

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Flight 4 - Reds (4 Notes)

Technically two flights, but I tried them all together, so I lumped them into one.

  • 1990 Williams Selyem Pinot Noir Olivet Lane Vineyard 94 Points

    USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley

    Tasted double blind, from magnum. Lightest in color by far of the 4 wines poured. Elegant and mature. Sweet nose of spice, cola, with a little strawberry and dark cherry fruit. Elegant and perfumed. The nose had me guessing red Burgundy - first Vosne, and then Chambolle. The palate is much more austere and bony - maybe this is drying out a bit. Nice wine. Good spice and more secondary on the palate: sauvage and sous bois. Beautiful finish. Man those guys could make wine ... Nose - 5.5/6, Palate - 5/6, Finish - 5/6, Je Ne Sais Quoi - 1.5/2 = 17/20.

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  • 2009 Anthill Farms Pinot Noir Peters Vineyard 76 Points

    USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast

    Tasted double blind. Huge, over-extracted nose: sweet berry fruit, but also a vegetal/peppery thing going on. Candied fruit, blackberry and vegetables on the palate. Some balance, but the flavors are weird. Not good in my opinion. Too much extraction and oak - 14.3% alcohol. I'm not sure what Meadows and Tanzer saw in these wines. I've had a few good ones, but this is my second that was just too big a)nd hot. I'm done. Is it just too young? I say no. This is nothing like the young Rhys or Rivers Marie pinots: that are still primary and wound, but show nothing of the alcohol and over-the-top aspect of this wine. I can't see it turning into anything good. Nose - 2/6, Palate - 3/6, Finish - 3/6, Je Ne Sais Quoi - 0/2 = 8/20.

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  • 1995 La Rioja Alta Rioja Gran Reserva 904 92 Points

    Spain, La Rioja, La Rioja Alta, Rioja

    Tasted double blind, from magnum. Lots of plummy dark fruit, dark cassis with loads of new American oak. - Spanish? Creamy and rich. Pretty but young. Reminds me a little of 94 Unico - huge and over the top, but has the structure and balance to age. Spices. Very deep. Unlike the 09 Anthill Farms right before this - this will be good with time. Big, yet balanced. Dark fruit: blackberry and dark cherry. Vanilla and leather. Sweet and stones. Nose - 5/6, Palate - 5/6, Finish - 5/6, Je Ne Sais Quoi - 1/2 = 16/20.

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  • 2002 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon (Non Estate) Napa Valley 89 Points

    USA, California, Napa Valley

    Tasted double blind. Dark and young: black fruit, gunpowder and graphite, cocoa, with chewy tannins. Big and burly, lots of structure. Deep and bitter chocolate. If this isn't Napa Cab, then I don't know what it is. I guessed Dunn. Solid but not inspiring Napa Cabernet. Nose - 4.5/6, Palate - 4.5/6, Finish - 4.5/6, Je Ne Sais Quoi - 1/2 = 14.5/20.

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Flight 5 - Solo bottles. (1 Note)

After the main flights, we tried a couple of solo bottles.

  • 2007 Shaw Vineyard Pinot Noir Finger Lakes 94 Points

    USA, New York, Finger Lakes

    Tasted double blind. Cocoa powder, crushed stone and a touch of cherry. A very austere style of wine. Cherry and stony on the palate. Again austere - a little brutal. Tight cherry. I guessed old Brunello - because of the dustiness and the cocoa and stones - at least old Italian of some form or another - maybe Piedmont? This is bony and harsh, but in a good way. It has a clarity and purity that call out to me. Tight cherry and stones on the finish, with lots of acid. This is old school. The reveal was a real surprise. Cold climate pinot. Who knew? Maybe this is what Keith L saw in the Ravines Pinots? Nose - 5/6, Palate - 5.5/6, Finish - 5/6, Je Ne Sais Quoi - 1.5/2 = 17/20.

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Flight 6 (1 Note)

  • 2000 Oikonomou Winery Sitia 91 Points

    Greece, Crete, Sitia

    Off the list at Corkbuzz. Tasted double blind. Stinky and sauvage with burnt rubber. Dark cherry fruit. Rough and tough. High acid and burly on the palate. Tart cherry, stink. Great mid-palate feel: lively but not out of balance. Tar and minerals and dark cherry on the finish. Guessed south of France or something like that. Was surprised it was Greek. Really excellent. Amazing what happens when you don't age your wine in pine! The folks at Corkbuzz rock at finding off-the-beaten-path wines that are excellent values. Nose - 5/6, Palate - 5/6, Finish - 4.5/6, Je Ne Sais Quoi - 1/2 = 15.5/20

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Flight 7 (1 Note)

  • 2010 Domaine Abbatucci Ajaccio Faustine 91 Points

    France, Corsica, Ajaccio

    Again, tasted double blind. Off the list at Corkbuzz. Sweet and pure with almost candied fruit. Berries - strawberry and blackberry. Brambly and jammy. Very primary and pretty. Reminds Matt of Gamay (which he does not like). A touch of stems and structure in there. Nice purity. It was the end of a long night, so I didn't record my score breakdown, but I'd put it squarely in the 90-92 point range.

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