ending the year with bordeaux

ward's apartment, chicago
Tasted Wednesday, December 31, 2008 by KeithAkers with 337 views


this is starting to turn into a tradition. This year was smaller than last year, but just as much fun was had and we weren't up til the wee hours like last year. While Shane and Amy weren't with us this year, claudio and azita joined up and this year we focused more on bordeaux and made sure to have a customary bubbly flight

Flight 1 - kick off intro/retrospective (2 Notes)

ward brought these out to give a bit of a look at two of Lagrange's bigger recent vintages

  • 1990 Château Lagrange (St. Julien) 93 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien

    nose: very deep and elegant nose filled with mature tones of saddle leather, cassis, bits of black tea, dark cherries, and bits of cranberries. Very well evolved and singing right now. What got me though was that there was a lack of the ripeness or fruitcake tones that I've gotten from the 90s that I've had

    taste: very smooth with a plush feel and silky texture providing tones of black cherries, saddle leather, cassis, slight bits of florals, and some black tea tones. Classic St Julien Polish and elegance that is very deep and pure.

    Overall: in a beautiful place right now. Perfectly evolved, this should hold like this for a long time. Great depth and balance that just reigns it all together with a very smooth texture. This is fully mature, but I am personally missing some of the fruitcake tones that have been a hallmark of the 90s that I've had, though I'm not missing it enough to really care too much

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  • 2000 Château Lagrange (St. Julien) 92 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien

    nose: very rich nose and is a great contrast to the 90. Obviously younger on the nose, but more of a creamy richness persists with black currants, black cherries, incense, spice tones, smoke, and cranberries. More complex than the 90, but the parts are still trying to work themselves out as opposed to being a melded, balanced, and cohesive unit that the 90 currently is

    taste: very youthful with rich tannins. there is a lushness that pervates on the palate without overdoing it. Rich tones of black currants, spice box tones, bits of cedar, smoke, cranberries, and a rich black cherry core. Medium bodied that has a demure quality to it that wants to come out

    overall: a wonderful lush and very young wine that needs another 5 years to really start to emerge. Good firm tannins, this wine has a lovely inner beauty that is present right now, but needs some coaxing to fully get what it wants to say. A great comparison between the 90 as I was able to see where it can go, and it has a bigger richness than the 90, so there is little doubt in my mind that it will end up being the better wine in time

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Flight 2 - bubblies (2 Notes)

Its new years, and new years means champagne, so we gladly dove into these to ring in the new year

  • 1995 Henriot Champagne Cuvée des Enchanteleurs Brut 94 Points

    France, Champagne

    nose: beautiful and succulent nose that is very pure and deep at the same time with lush tones of bread, brioche, vanilla mousse, fresh picked lemons, racy mineral tones, and nice round tones of roasted nuts. Much more complexity than the last tasting

    taste: lush and smooth across the palate as it just cleanses the palate in a silky way with beautiful tones of brioche, baking spices, bits of peaches and white florals, vanilla mousse tones, and a nice roasted nut aspect that pokes its head out towards the end. The feel is like having a liquid cloud across your tounge

    overall: very elegant and well balanced to the hilt. This bottle was just utterly singing and still posses ample acidity for further aging. The flavors and nose were very deep and they just worked in subtle harmony with a softer form of singing that was a real delight

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  • 2002 Pierre Gimonnet Champagne Brut Paradoxe 91 Points

    France, Champagne

    nose: great tropical citrus nose filled with oranges, mangoes, tart citrus tones, yeast, almonds, and nice round tones of cinammon. very deep and pure nose with great tones

    taste: excellent exuberant, medium feel with lush tones of oranges, mangoes, tart citrus tones, and bits of cinammon sticks. Excellent medium acidity for this quality grower bubbly

    overall: again, a winner with this wine. One of my personal favorites as I love the elegance that it seems to have while at the same time bringing some great and exuberant flavors. Very smooth medium feel that gives off a lengthy tart citrus finish

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Flight 3 - blind wines (4 Notes)

I knew two of the wines going in, and I knew they weren't going to be any ringers. I didn't know the order and it was fun to try to put myself to a small test while drinking these wonderful bordeauxs

  • 1994 Château La Mission Haut-Brion 92 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan

    nose: very silky and feminine tones of dark red cherries, mixed berries, earthen tones, leather, floral tones, and all sorts of various perfumes. This was coming across to me more as a right bank wine as I wasn't getting any charcol or scorched earth aspects on this. A very lovely and beautiful nose nontheless that just draws you in with its beauty

    taste: good medium tannins still persist with silky tones of dark red cherries, earth, leather, florals, and perfume tones. Very smooth with lush medium weight on the palate and very silky texture that flows like a river across the palate

    overall: I had this blind, and it really fooled me. It was screaming a very high merlot content, but I wasn't getting any of the normal graves characteristics, but couldn't really place it in st emilion either as I knew it was an all bordeaux line-up. With all of that said, this is a very lovely wine that has a lot of life and verve left in it. A outstanding wine that is just a beauty to behold and while not a blow away LaMish, its a really damn good one that is still available at a good price for LaMish

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  • 1996 Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande 94 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

    nose: very rich and elegant nose filled with cassis, cranberries, cedar box, spice box, red cherries, and a good bit of cigar wrapper lying underneath. Lots of depth that melds together with beauty and class

    taste: great earth tones strike right off the bat with polished tones of cassis, cranberries, red and black cherries, cedar, and bits of spice box tones flow well across the palate with a deft medium touch. A lot of class and polish on the palate with still very good tannins that are just starting to ever so slightly shed. Still very much in a primary stage as there is a youthful quality to this wine

    overall: classy, beautiful, and elegant. I thought this for LaLande or Calon Segur when it was blind. This bottle didn't seem to scream like the bottle back in feb. More polished and round this time with the ever present LaLande feminine touch that I love. Very round on the palate, this still needs some time to fully come together to reveal the inner beauty that this wine definitely has

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  • 1983 Château Cheval Blanc 96 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru

    nose: intoxicatingly deep and layered nose filled with garden herbs, all sorts of various spice tones, layers upon layers of wild flowers, cloves, dark red cherries, and sweet tones of perfumes that slowly emit from the glass. As it spends time in the glass, it grows and grows and seems to add extra layers that just waft and become mind blowing

    taste: Extremely layered on the palate and while mature, medium/light tannins still exist with some nice medium/low acidty that provides unctuous tones of cedar box, garden herbs, a field of wild flowers, dark red cherries, bits of licorice, perfumes, and bits of spice tones. The layers just peel away on the palate that give way to new flavors that are mature and lithe at teh same time

    overall: fully mature, but can go a long time. When this was first smelled and tasted earlier in the evening, it seemed a bit past its prime, but as it was slow ox'd it just grew and grew until the final apex of the night. This wine has a long way to go and should be able to stay at this level for a good time to come

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  • 1982 Clos du Marquis 90 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien

    nose: lively nose with rich tones of cedar box, cranberries, dark red cherries, spice box, and bits of mushrooms and slight floral hints. Very lovely nose that belies its age and is so well balanced with nice layering and depth behind it too

    taste: beautiful and elegant with a lovely medium body and fully resolved tannins giving way to balanced tones of cedar box, spices, bits of florals, and round tones of dark red cherries. far from tired on the palate, this just flows so well and seamless like a true aged bordeaux should

    overall: a great experience. When this was revealed I was shocked at it being an 82 second label(of which I would figure that a Las Cases 2nd label would be great from this vintage, I just wouldn't expect it like this). Very beautiful right now and at its peak. I don't know how long it can hold, but this is just great right now

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While the highs of last year weren't neccessarily hit, it was still a great way to end the year. Ward and Pat outdid themselves this year with their hosting and it was a great time as I expected. needless to say, I look forward to doing it again next year