Wine of the 2001 Vintage at Matt B's House

New Canaan, CT
Tasted Friday, April 19, 2013 by overhill with 266 views

Introduction

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Matt B hosted at his house in New Canaan and it was quite an event. Great food, great wine, and great company. The theme was "2001" and we all brought a bottle from our cellars from that vintage. All tasting was blind and it led to a lively discussion about each of the wines. Before arriving I did a little homework and saw that 2001 was a blockbuster vintage in California, Piedmont, and the Chateauneuf and pretty meager elsewhere. So I was ready to peg everything into one of these regions. Well, it turns out that great producers make great wine regardless of year and we were treated to a wonderful variety. Although my favorite was the Montrose, I couldn't help but notice the uniform superb quality from California in this vintage. Each of the California wines was the best or among the best I have had from each producer.

We were joined by Matt's friends Tom K and David N.

After the initial tasting round, each person voted for their first, second, and third place wines. The dispersion was among the lowest of any of our tastings with each bottle scoring highly and no outliers either down or up. We were splitting hairs to pick favorites.

Thanks again, Matt. it was a wonderful evening.

Flight 1 - Arrival (2 Notes)

Assorted cheese and Italian meats. Brie, cranberry, rosemerry & toasted almond puff pastry cups

  • 2005 Joh. Jos. Prüm Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Spätlese 90 Points

    Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer

    Slight petrol, apricot, and crushed slate. Good concentration, solid mid palette, and medium finish. JJ Prum seem to consistently deliver balanced, impeccably crafted yet interesting wines and this was no exception.

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  • 2009 Donelan Vénus 86 Points

    USA, California, Sonoma County

    90% Roussanne, 10% Viognier. White Rhone varietals walk a fine line between uniquely interesting on one hand and weird on the other. This bottle tended more on the weird and blousy side. Maybe the ripeness brought out some of the sweeter and floral aspects of the grapes. Stone fruit, strawberry bubblegum, turnip, sweet floral, and tropical floral were all present. The fruit didn't carry past the mid palette. Short finish.

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Flight 2 - Dinner (7 Notes)

Wild Mushroom and Pappardelle pasta. Grilled rack of lamb with a tarragon, cognac, dijon mustard sauce. Sauteed spinach, with garlic and Parisian cheese. Roasted finerling potatos

  • 2001 Seavey Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 92 Points

    USA, California, Napa Valley

    This was my contribution to the tasting. Very similar to previous notes except it was approachable after five hours decanting rather than seven or eight. Deep, earthy cut hay and dark fruit aromatics. Also got yeast and tanned leather. As before it was like thick velvet in the mouth and coated all the corners for a long finish. Superb.

    Just entering the drinking window (with ample decanting) and should improve over the next five-plus years.

    This got third place with one first place vote and two second place votes.

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  • 2001 Château Montrose 93 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe

    Super dark all the way to the rim. On the nose was bretty with tons of tight black fruit, black licorice, and a strange but enjoyable burnt eraser aroma. Silky and elegant across the palette but also immensely powerful, complex, and long. Balanced.

    This was my favorite of the night. Tied for first place in the group vote (2 x 1st and 2 x 3rd) with the 2001 Serpico.

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  • 2001 Feudi di San Gregorio Irpinia Serpico 91 Points

    Italy, Campania, Irpinia

    My previous tasting of this wine two years ago found it to be tight and monolithic. Tonight it was much more open, probably thanks to the multi-hour decant. Densely packed with earthy fruit, fresh blackberries and spice, this held an extraordinary intensity from start to finish. Probably the biggest wine of the night, it still drinks young. Should be singing in five years.

    This tied the Montrose for first place with two first place and one second place vote.

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  • 2001 Opus One 92 Points

    USA, California, Napa Valley

    Everyone was fooled into thinking this was an old world wine. We were so certain that it was a CdP that some (yes, I'm guilty) went as far as to try to guess the producer. Boy were we wrong! Green and black olives. Slightly earthy and slightly musty surrounding a core of stewed blackberries. Wave of acidity gave it a nice pop on the finish. Ready to drink now but still clearly on the upslope.

    Very well liked with three second place and two third place votes.

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  • 2001 Château Léoville Las Cases 91 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien

    This was the tightest and youngest wine tonight and frankly too young for us to fully enjoy. Peter thought it needed extreme aeration so we took a page from Myhrvold's book and blendered it for sixty seconds, which helped somewhat.

    Underneath the wall of fine tannins there was some nice gravel-like minerality, a bit of barnyard funk, lilac floral, and loads of slightly underripe dark berries. A big wine that needs at least five years for its charms to be revealed.

    This received one third place vote.

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  • 2001 Anderson's Conn Valley Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Reserve 91 Points

    USA, California, Napa Valley

    Cherries, dried papaya, slight barnyard, saddle leather, juicy black and blueberries, and creme de cassis. Medium intensity and depth. Dried cherries and lots of lift on the medium finish.

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  • 2001 Fairview (Charles Back) Shiraz Solitude 92 Points

    South Africa, Coastal Region, Paarl

    Mineral and espresso nose jumped out of the glass. Dark roasted fruit, menthol, root vegetable. Very complex wine with superb depth and richness. Finish seemed to go on for minutes.

    Drinking wonderfully now but after an hour it started to degrade. Drink up.

    This received one second place vote.

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Flight 3 - Dessert (1 Note)

Matt B's wife's cheese cake with macerated strawberries. Excellent.

Closing

Thanks again, Matt!

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