Dinner at Fearrington with Dick & Amy. Medium yellow in the glass, this was probably the best bottle ( so far ) from the case I bought several years back. Intense minerality. Complexity of age but still mixed with youthful tasting fruit. Ethereal. Elegant. A long finish beyond belief. A truly spectacular wine. 50+15+14.5+9.5+9.5=98.5
Loire Odyssey, Part V - I did it my Huët (Absinthe, Boat Quay): The oldest wine on the night. Not quite as good as some of its younger siblings on show, but still a really nice drop. It had a ridiculously good nose, full of freshly laundered sheets and wet wool aromas, a bit of caramel and spice, honeyed pears and red apples, with hints of tropical lychee, some lovely floral scents and just that strange suggestion of roasted green pepper at the very edges of bouquet. Wow. The palate was a bit reductive even after some time in the decanter, with a struck match note that came to the fore. However, it opened up nicely with a fresh burst of bright, citrus acidity and really pure flavours of lemons and Granny Smith apples. The acidity was so bright that the wine seemed a bit light at first as it rode upon a streal of citrussy notes, but that was an illusion - there was certainly a nice sense of depth and presence to the to this, with an undercurrant of fleshier white fruit wed to lanolin and earthy mineral notes stretching into a deliciously fresh finish. Lovely stuff. Still completely alive, if just perhaps lacking a bit of complexity and strength of conviction. I must say that it was a fantastic pairing with a veal dish in an Oloroso sauce though, which brought out a complementary savoury, white meat echo in the wine. However, in this case, it was the dish that propelled the wine to a higher level rather than the other way around. It is almost impossible to say with a wine of this age, but on this showing as compared to a bottle we had three years back, I would say that it has deproved rather than improved. It could well be bottle variation rather than it being past its prime however. Whatever the case, this was still very nice indeed.
Dinner at Stingaree, San Diego, CA. A great showing for this '57. While not noted as a great vintage for Vouvray in general or Huet in particular, this has always shown extremely well over the past 5 years showing that great vintages can not always be noted early in life. Dark gold in color, this is a medium bodied wine that starts off very delicate and then builds to a much more powerful wine on the back palate. Minerals, white peaches, beeswax, lemon drops and petrol all make an appearance here. Long on the finish where the lemon drop acidity is strongest. A beautiful bottle! 50+14+13+9+9 = 95
Medium gold in color, this wine showed great balance. Ready to drink, it had a fleshy consistency and a wonderful purity to it. Medium bodied and ethereal in nature it showed notes of lemon, lime and hay along with a nice spiciness and minerality. Long on the finish. 50+13+12+8.5+8.5 = 92
Dinner for a visiting Jonathan Loesberg. (Il Corso): From a release after the sale of the estate and topped off. Wow! This is showing beautifully and better than a bottle at the Huet Fete Part III. Developed, but it has that timeless Chenin freshness and vibrancy that seems to keep these wines immortal. It also is showing more youthfully than the '64 Moelleux that followed. Rich and complex with just a hint of sweetness, it shows mineral, shoe polish, quince and apricot flavors with a touch of oxidation. It actually wasn't that expressive on the nose, but if there's one lesson to be learned it's that don't be afraid to give old Huet lots of air. These wines will only get better as the hours go by. Solid A-.
Light gold in colour showing no sign of its 52 years of age. Very complex with flavours of honey, wool, youthful quince and melon fruit, herbal elements and softer savoury mushroom-like notes, but what's really amazing is how everything here seamlessly merges into a polished, glossy whole that almost seems to float in the mouth with an elegance and gentleness that's hard to describe. Incredible wine.
1996 left-bank Bordeaux tasting with lots more (Richfield, Lam Soon Building, Singapore): A big thank you to Hsien Min for sharing this bottle with us. A beautiful yellow, orangey gold colour, deeper, but not all that different from the 1996 Molleaux. Coupled with the youth and life on the palate, most of us guessed somewhere in the 1980s - just off by about 30 years! These Vouvrays must be practically indestructible. Even on the day, it took some time to open up, but when it did, it just got stronger and stronger to the last sip. Intriguing nose, very deep and lovely, with mushroom, dried fruits, musky dried flowers and apricots along with a little layering of butterscotch. Palate did not show its age at all. Plenty of body, still very nicely balanced, with dry, lemony acidity holding up flavours of sweet granny smith apples, lingering white fruit notes, honey tones and a nice minerally backbone that weaved its way through the wine into an finish that was really alive and kicking. Again, fresh, dry acidity, almost mouth-sapping, with orange notes, prunes and more minerality. A lovely wine.
Dinner at St. Jacques with Fred & Ronnie. Medium gold in color, this bottle opened somewhat musty and then improved continuously throughout the evening. More sweetness on the palate than previous bottles. While still very good, this was not nearly as impressive as those earlier bottles. This seems to be related to the mustiness. 50+12+13+8+8 = 91
Light gold in the glass, this remains a classic. A developed wine, but not at all tired, with a very complex palate and a refined nature. Medium bodied with aromas and flavors of citrus, clove, hay, minerals and a slight bit of petrol. Nicely balanced and with a long finish. Really enjoyable as always. 50+13+12+8.5+8.5 = 92
Cocktail party at home with Joe & Alison. Medium gold in color, the trick learned with previous bottles to decant for a short time was good advice once again. A slight mustiness on opening that easily blew off with the 30 minutes in the decanter. Very delicate and very complex wine. Lots of resin, beeswax and associated aromas. Beautifully balanced. Another great showing, even on this night when I was more focused on talking than on studying the wines. 50+13+13+8.5+8.5 = 93.
Huet fete part III: Schildknecht comes to town. (Dougherty's.): Starts off with slightly stinky cheese aromas, though in a good way and not terribly atypical for aged Chenin. With air it reveals floral notes with a touch of pine. It's a lighter and more delicate wine than any of the other demi-secs, with razor sharp acidity made more pronounced by the relative lack of sweetness and fruit. Still, there's quite enjoyable honeycomb and mineral flavors backed up by somewhat tart apricot. I think this and the '46 Sec were Keith's favorite wines of the night as they had the highest acidity and least amount of fruit and sugar. It paired very nicely with the goose rillettes as the fat helped tame the acidity and the acidity the goose fat. Low A-.
Schildknizzle in the House (SFJoe's): Mealy in aroma and the driest of the demi-secs tonight, with a darker fruit profile and wheaty, grainy elements that provide a nice austerity to counter the sweetness. The attack is more of a chord, different elements in unison but each on its own plane.
Dinner at Steve & Barb's house with Bob C. Medium gold in color, this certainly lived up to ( and maybe exceeded ) expectations. A rich, sweet nose followed by a dry, but in no way austere, palate and finish. Loads of wax and resin aromas and a complexity that is tough to put into words. Beautiful with the cheeses and meats on the deck, every bit the equal of a bottle a few months back. 50 year old demi-sec from a vintage that is not heralded as one fo the great ones in Vouvray but tons of life left on this one. As Steve said " I'd love to try this when it hits age 75". So would I, something to aspire to! 50+14+13+9+9 = 95.
Dinner at St Jacques. Recorked bottle with excellent fill level and very clean cork. After a slight mustiness that blew off in a few minutes this wine was a real treat. Medium to dark gold in color, it was a very delicate wine, very aromatic and almost floating on the palate. Light to medium bodied with beautiful integration and balance. Long finish. Clearly has a good level of acidity and there is still a very slight sweetness to the wine. Mature but still full of life. Perfect with seared scallops. 50+13+13+8.5+8.5 = 93