2015 Villa d’Este Wine Symposium - Kelly and Kevin's excellent adventure

Villa D’este, Lake Como
Tasted Tuesday, November 3, 2015 - Monday, November 9, 2015 by dcwino with 1,484 views

Introduction

For the past ten years, the wine symposium at Villa D'Este has been the most anticipated annual wine event for me. Due to various reasons, I was unable to attend last year's rendition. Though I was pretty determined, it came down to the wire, but I managed to attend. As usual for the last decade plus, I coordinated the trip with Kelly Walker. The travel itself to Milan was uneventful yet pleasant.

Flight 1 - Palazzo Parigi (1 Note)

After checking in at Excelsior Hotel Gallia, a beautiful property located near the central station, I walk to the salon at Palazzo Parigi to share a bottle of wine with Kelly and our mutual friend Marie Ahm. The hotel is recently renovated and the salon is a beautiful space. The service is exceptional and they offer so many delicious amuse bouche dishes that we could have easily made dinner out of them. If you are in Milan, I highly recommend a drink here for the great ambiance and impeccable, friendly service.

  • 2011 Le Macchiole Paleo Rosso 94 Points

    Italy, Tuscany, Toscana IGT

    (11/4/2015)

    Expressive nose displaying opulent black fruits, cassis, dark spices and opulent oak/vanilla. Excellent concentration, intense cassis driven palate impression, bright acidity and lovely long finish. Very modern big scale wine.

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Flight 2 - Visit to Orazio's cellar (2 Notes)

Orazio, one of our three Milanese friends whom we have shared some great wines and memories, invite us to his cellar for a quick drink. Orazio is incrediblly passionate and almost obsessive about wine, and as I expected, he built an impeccable cellar at the basement of his condo. It actually came with a nice tasting room, a beautiful site.

  • NV Henri Giraud Champagne Fût de Chêne 92 Points

    France, Champagne

    (11/4/2015)

    Mature oxidative style, chestnut, roasted almond, ripe yellow fruits and earth. Very good concentration, slightly coarse mousse, ripe yellow fruit driven palate impression, decent acidity and medium long oxidative finish. A bit heavier than Krug grand cuvee.

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  • 2002 Dom Pérignon Champagne 97 Points

    France, Champagne

    (11/4/2015)

    I have been saying how great the 02 Dom is since the release and my European friends also think this may be one of the greatest DPs. Expressive nose displaying incredible fresh white fruits, fresh lemon juice, granny smith, honey and spicy spices. Exceptional concentration, decadent sweet citrus fruit driven palate impression, fine mousse, bright acidity and lovely long clean finish. Simply delicious but it will improve for a couple decades. Dom ages incredible well and I highly recommend this great Dom.

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Flight 3 - La Bottega del Vino (13 Notes)

This is a bit of a hipster joint. It is one of the Orazio’s favorite go to spots at the moment and he actually has his own wine cabinet here. It is totally empty and Orazio comically mentions that he comes here way too much. The format is similar to a tapas bar, a lot of small plates. All the dishes are well executed and very flavorful. The wine list includes a lot of Rinaldi barolos. The 96 Krug is a nice way to end the evening.

  • 1973 Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Champagne Brut La Grande Dame 94 Points

    France, Champagne

    (11/4/2015)

    Lovely golden color with plenty of shy bubbles. The flavor profile is very similar to dry white Bordeaux of the period. Apricot, baked cinnamon apple, honey, smoke and mineral. Medium concentration, bright acidity and good length. A few thought madeirized but I felt just mature. Not showing a great deal of complexity and certainly further advanced than the other 73s I had. It would be interesting to try at home over a couple of days as the mature whites tend to get fresher and gain weight with a few hours of air.

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  • 1953 Antonin Rodet Montrachet 93 Points

    France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Montrachet Grand Cru

    (11/4/2015)

    Beautiful golden color with a hint of red. Classic mature white burgundy nose displaying shy yellow fruits, orange peel, a hint of petrol and mushroom. Medium concentration, polished, quite fat as the wine lacks acidity and sweet deeply toned finish. Really enjoyable as I like very old whites. Very polished but lacking concentration.

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  • 1999 François Raveneau Chablis Grand Cru Blanchot 94 Points

    France, Burgundy, Chablis, Chablis Grand Cru

    (11/4/2015)

    The initial impression is quite fat and cloying reflecting the vintage but with air, becomes very Raveneau. Ripe orchard fruits, peach, lemon, a hint of oyster shell, saline and mineral. Very good concentration, good mineral expression, medium acidity and lovely long clean finish. Quite youthful. Decanting is recommended. Really nice showing.

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  • 1999 Maison Leroy Meursault 1er Cru Les Perrières 90 Points

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

    (11/4/2015)

    Very fat and ripe nose, mango and a hint of citrus, light caramel and anise. Medium concentration, round yellow fruit driven palate impression, a hint of mineral, slightly lacking acidity and medium finish. It is enjoyable but not quite the level of the domaine whites. Perhaps it is the vintage.

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  • 1999 Domaine Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Pucelles 93 Points

    France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru

    (11/4/2015)

    Ripe pit fruits, sesame/toasted oak, a hint of burnt sugar and mineral. Medium concentration, good balance and freshness and lovely clean finish with a hint of toasted oak as the end note. Very nice showing.

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  • 1990 Trimbach Riesling Clos Ste. Hune 96 Points

    France, Alsace

    (11/4/2015)

    Incredibly energetic and fresh nose displaying white fruits, peach, grapefruit, fresh squeezed lemon, wet stone and mineral. Excellent concentration, sweet and tangy white fruits, strong presence of mineral, mouth puckering acidity and incredibly long finish that ends with mineral and sweet white fruits. Very precise, youthful and energetic. Very impressive.

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  • 1981 Domaine G. Roumier / Christophe Roumier Clos Vougeot 83 Points

    France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Clos Vougeot Grand Cru

    (11/4/2015)

    The label does not indicate the vintage but when the cork is pulled, it is the 81. The bottle is correct but hard to find much pinot. Masculine nose, mint, caramel and earth dominate. Don’t be tempted by the label. Avoid.

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  • 1964 Maison Albert Bichot Volnay 92 Points

    France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Volnay

    (11/4/2015)

    Served blind. Expressive fully mature sweet tertiary nose, sweet slightly dry red fruits, cherry and raspberry, sous bois, mushroom, tree bark and earth. Very good concentration, dry earthly red fruit driven palate impression, good acidity and lovely mature Burgundy finish. Nice complexity coming from slow maturing. A great example of an ideally cellared mature village wine. Really enjoyable.

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  • 1978 Geoffrey Mazis-Chambertin Flawed

    France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Mazis-Chambertin Grand Cru

    (11/4/2015)

    Corked.

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  • 2004 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Grands-Echezeaux 93 Points

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

    (11/4/2015)

    According to Laurent, this is his favorite 04 DRC. Typical for the 04 DRCs, very mature nose, delicate raspberry, raspberry jelly, mocha, stem, light caramel, cola and sweet spices. Medium concentration, a hint of fizz, decadent red fruits, good acidity and medium long clean finish that ends with a hint of stem. Only a slight hint of the 04 taint but if tasted blind, I would not be able to guess as a 2004. Nice showing.

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  • 1980 Château Cheval Blanc Flawed

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru

    (11/4/2015)

    Damp dirty cellar smell that remains. Red fruits, cedar and leather. Medium concentration and fully integrated tannins. It is not corked but definitely some sort of taints.

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  • 2002 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti La Tâche 95 Points

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

    (11/4/2015)

    Kelly generously brought this. It is a bit murky due to travel shock. Nevertheless expressive nose displaying ripe sweet blackberry, a slight hint of stem, Vosne spices, soy and earth. Excellent concentration, a bit earthy not pure as it should due to shaken sediments, intense dark fruit driven palate impression, mineral, bright acidity, a hint of tannins and long finish. It could be purer but still really impressive and enjoyable.

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  • 1996 Krug Champagne Vintage Brut 97 Points

    France, Champagne

    (11/4/2015)

    Served at the end as the finisher. Another bottle that is fully open for business. Decadent yellow fruits with a hint of red, shy fresh orange juice and apple pie, honey, burnt sugar, sweet spices and mineral. Perfect harmony and precision. Drinking beautifully.

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Flight 4 - Terrace lunch at Villa Cima (5 Notes)

Kelly, Laurent, Marie and I ride a taxi from Milan to Villa D'Este. Laurent is staying at Villa Cima and since it is a beautiful day, he suggests that we have a picnic lunch on the terrace. We walk to a small but excellent charcuterie in town and grab a bunch of yummy stuff including parma ham, burrata and marinated baby porcinis which are incredibly delicious. We run into Bernard Antony, the master cheese guy who supplies to some of the best restaurants in the world. He joins us for a wonderful lunch overlooking Lake Como.

  • NV Bollinger Champagne 92 Points

    France, Champagne

    (11/5/2015)

    Just bought from a charcuterie. Expressive nose displaying ripe yellow fruits and mineral Very good concentration, abundant but slightly coarse mousse, bright acidity and good clean sweet finish. Although it is not the most complex champagne, it shows incredibly well. A great setting to enjoy this.

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  • 2005 Domaine Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Pucelles Flawed

    France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru

    (11/5/2015)

    Mildly corked. It is a shame as the wine shows great deal of freshness and mineral.

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  • 1989 Domaine Michel Lafarge Volnay Vendanges Sélectionnées 93 Points

    France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Volnay

    (11/5/2015)

    Perfectly mature nose displaying red fruits, slightly dry cherry and raspberry jelly, sweet spices, cinnamon, cola, tea and earth. Fully integrated palate, sweet slightly dry red cherry driven palate impression, quite earthy and mineral, bright acidity, fully integrated tannins and medium finish that ends with an earthy sweet red fruit note. Perhaps not the most complex and polished Burgundy but a great example of beautifully cellared Burgundy. Really delicious.

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  • 2005 Domaine Ponsot Griotte-Chambertin 94 Points

    France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Griotte-Chambertin Grand Cru

    (11/5/2015)

    Laurent doesn't like the Ponsot wine making style but I am a fan. Very Ponsot nose displaying very ripe sweet dark fruits, blackberry jam, black cherry, black spices, cola, caramel and earth. Excellent concentration, intense slightly dry black fruit driven palate impression, mineral,bright acidity and very long finish that ends with an earthy black fruit note. I am a fan but if you don't care for the ripe style of the domaine, you should avoid this. It is still quite primary and need at least ten years to reach the peak.

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  • 2004 Luciano Sandrone Barolo Le Vigne 95 Points

    Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo

    (11/5/2015)

    Expressive nose displaying pure red fruits, tar, dark flowers and mineral. Excellent concentration, very polished palate, red cherry fruit driven palate impression, good mineral presence, earth, bright acidity, nicely integrated tannins and seamless long finish. This is a really polished wine with very pure fruits. Really enjoyable and highly recommend.

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Flight 5 - Maison Trimbach - Clos Sainte Hune tasting (7 Notes)

Along with Egon Muller’s wine, Clos Sainte Hune, is my favorite Riesling in the world. Although the wines show very well, none are flirting with perfection. For my palate, CST is the wine to savor over a few hours just like red burgundy. I think the 10 will be one of the greatest CSHs.

  • 2010 Trimbach Riesling Clos Ste. Hune 96 Points

    France, Alsace

    (11/5/2015)

    Incredibly youthful mineral driven nose displaying tropical fruits, papaya, lychee, grapefruit, light caramel and mineral. Excellent concentration, very rich yellow tropical fruit with a hint of residual sugar yet perfectly precise over all impression due to mouth puckering acidity and strong presence of mineral. The finish is incredibly long. The biggest scale wine of the tasting. A great potential here.

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  • 2005 Trimbach Riesling Clos Ste. Hune 94 Points

    France, Alsace

    (11/5/2015)

    Harmonious nose displaying lemon, pineapple, lemon oil, sprite, a hint of lanolin, mint, white pepper and mineral. Excellent concentration, softer and rounder than the 10, good mineral presence, good acidity and long finish. Drinking nicely. It is already quite enjoyable but needs another decade to reach the peak.

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  • 1995 Trimbach Riesling Clos Ste. Hune Flawed

    France, Alsace

    (11/5/2015)

    Medium expressive nose displaying ripe pit fruit, orange peel, cedar and lanoline. Medium concentration, good acidity and medium finish. The nose is a bit dirty with a damp cellar note.

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  • 1990 Trimbach Riesling Clos Ste. Hune 95 Points

    France, Alsace

    (11/5/2015)

    Very mineral driven nose displaying citrus and white fruit, white pepper, mint, cumin, spicy spices and mineral. Excellent concentration, unctuous yet quite precise and fresh palate due to strong presence of mineral and bright acidity and seamless long finish. Really impressive and perfectly delicious.

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  • 1983 Trimbach Riesling Clos Ste. Hune 92 Points

    France, Alsace

    (11/5/2015)

    Very youthful color. Contrast to the color, deeply toned yellow pit fruit, smoke, mint, coriander and mineral. Slightly lacking acidity, and medium finish. Slightly lighter style.

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  • 1971 Trimbach Riesling Clos Ste. Hune 95 Points

    France, Alsace

    (11/5/2015)

    Most meaty wine of the night. Quite precise and cool nose displaying lemon curd, smoke, smoked ham, mushroom and burn sugar. Nicely balanced palate, good precision, bright acidity and long meaty finish.

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  • 1966 Trimbach Riesling Clos Ste. Hune 96 Points

    France, Alsace

    (11/5/2015)

    Subtle but complex nose displaying dry apricot and peach, caramel, burnt sugar, sweet spices and tea. Incredibly harmonious and refined, beautifully layered, dry yellow peach driven palate impression, good acidity and seamless long finish. Showing a lot of finesse and perfect harmony. Really enjoyable.

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Flight 6 - Aperitif (1 Note)

Nice way to relax before the dinner.

  • NV Jacques Selosse Initial 95 Points

    France, Champagne, Champagne Grand Cru

    (11/5/2015)

    Decadent sweet yellow fruits, sweet spices, honey, burn sugar and limestone. Excellent concentration, succulent sweet yellow fruit drive palate impression, strong presence of mineral and acidity and lovely long sweet finish.

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Flight 7 - Opening Night dinner (12 Notes)

BYOB night. I was really impressed by the 89 Vogue BM and the 86 Giacosa Riserva. MCIII is a new luxury MV cuvee from Dom that apparently will sell for $400 plus but I much prefer Krug GC.

  • 2004 Coche-Dury Meursault 1er Cru Les Genevrières 95 Points

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

    (11/5/2015)

    Beautifully mature white burgundy/Coche nose displaying subtle citrus fruits, marzipan, only a hint of flint, saline and limestone. Medium concentration, beautiful interplay of subtle white fruits, minerals and acidity. Excellent balance and harmony without losing the excellent precision.

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  • 1985 Henri Jayer Vosne-Romanée Flawed

    France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Vosne-Romanée

    (11/5/2015)

    Ohhhhh nooooo, corked.

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  • 1991 Domaine des Chezeaux Griotte-Chambertin 95 Points

    France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Griotte-Chambertin Grand Cru

    (11/5/2015)

    Beautiful mature ripe black fruit driven nose, a hint of sous bois, light caramel, dark spices and tree bark. Excellent concentration, quite youth ripe black fruit driven palate impression, nicely layered fruits, just right amount of acidity and seamless long finish. Beautiful balance and complexity without losing generous fruits.

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  • 1989 Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé Bonnes Mares 95 Points

    France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Bonnes Mares Grand Cru

    (11/5/2015)

    Beautiful fully mature burgundy nose displaying candied red fruits mixed with decaying leaves, sous bois, women’s perfume and iron that I usually get in BM, tree bark cinnamon and earth. Beautiful harmonious palate, slightly dry red fruit driven palate impression, warm, round and earthy, good acidity and lovely sweet long finish. Lovely fully mature Burgundy that is decadent, mineral and earthy.

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  • 1992 Domaine Méo-Camuzet Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Cros Parantoux 94 Points

    France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru

    (11/5/2015)

    Beautiful youthful nose displaying crushed blackberry, mineral, black pepper and a hint of Vosne spices. It still doesn’t show any sous bois or truffle. Very polished palate, candied black fruit driven palate impression, strong presence of mineral, just right amount of acidity and minerals and lovely seamless finish. Certainly not a big scale wine but harmonious and really enjoyable. This is a very pure, precise and energetic wine that reached the first stage of peak drinking windows.

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  • 2006 Colgin IX Estate 97 Points

    USA, California, Napa Valley

    (11/5/2015)

    Opulent big inky black fruit driven nose with a hint of Colgin coconut/vanilla and luxurious caramel. Incredible concentration, very Colvin and very cult.

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  • 1992 Dunn Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain 94 Points

    USA, California, Napa Valley, Howell Mountain

    (11/5/2015)

    Expressive nose displaying inky black fruits, ink, tar, leather, lead pencil and perfumed dust. Excellent concentration, intense inky black fruit driven palate impression, bright acidity and very long finish that ends with ink. Very Dunn, very expressive, masculine and singular/slightly one dimensional. You like Dunn, you will enjoy it even more.

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  • 2010 Rhys Chardonnay Horseshoe Vineyard 93 Points

    USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains

    (11/5/2015)

    Very Californian for a Rhys. Ripe succulent orchard fruits, lemon oil, sweet spices, strong mineral presence and a hint of toasted oak. Very good concentration, sweet and sour yellow fruit driven palate impression, good acidity and minerals and long sweet finish. Very enjoyable.

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  • NV Moët & Chandon Champagne MCIII Brut

    France, Champagne

    (11/7/2015)

    Really fancy bottle. It feels like krug mv with Dom perignon style, ie fresher, more white fruit and sharper. Not sure it is worth the price. Excellent concentration, succulent yellow fruits, mineral, bright acidity and long finish that ends with sweet and sour yellow fruits.

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  • NV Krug Champagne Brut Grande Cuvée 95 Points

    France, Champagne

    (11/6/2015)

    Beautiful vinous nose displaying sweet and sour yellow fruits, anise, caramel and mineral. Excellent concentration, quite dense, sweet yellow fruity, strong mineral presence and bright acidity. Excellent showing.

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  • 1988 Tenuta Greppo (Biondi-Santi) Brunello di Montalcino Flawed

    Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino

    (11/5/2015)

    Corked.

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  • 1986 Bruno Giacosa Barolo Riserva Falletto di Serralunga d'Alba 96 Points

    Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo

    (11/5/2015)

    Pop and pour, very expressive nose displaying slightly dry sweet red cherry, tar, leather, a hint of balsamico, roasted chestnut, grilled porcini and earth. Beautiful harmonious palate, decadent red cherry and tar driven palate impression, perfect amount of acidity, strong presence of mineral and earth and lovely long sweet finish. I didn’t know what to expect but what a great experience. Perfectly mature Giacosa.

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Flight 8 - Digestifs (1 Note)

Since we drank Initiale as an Aperitif, finishing with Initiale made good sense.

Flight 9 - Seminar - The aromas of the wines (1 Note)

I really wanted to attend this fascinating seminar, but I show up towards to the end due to a jet lag. Luckily for me, a glass of the 11 Chateau Guiraud was poured for me, and it is really delicious.

  • 2011 Château Guiraud 94 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Sauternes

    (11/6/2015)

    Sweet yellow fruits, pineapple, yellow peach, botrytis spice, saffron and spicy. Good concentration, silky and polished palate, bright acidity and lovely long clean finish. Lovely balance, freshness and precision. A minor complain would be that it is not terribly complex. Really tasty.

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Flight 10 - Lunch (1 Note)

Kelly Walker and I have an annual ritual to have lunch at Trattoria del Vapore. It is an unassuming restaurant located in a back alley. I always enjoy porcini with pappardelle which is really delicious once again. Really homey place with really simple delicious dishes. The wine list is quite solid.

  • 2005 Bersano Barolo Badarina 92 Points

    Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo

    (11/6/2015)

    Tar, rose, dry cherries, baking spices and earth. Good concentration, a bit rustic overall expression, dry cherry fruit driven palate impression, bright acidity and sweet tannins. Really enjoyable with pappardelle with porcini.

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Flight 11 - Digestifs at the Terrace (1 Note)

Another magnificent day so we decide to order a bottle of wine on the terrace.

  • 2004 Trimbach Riesling Clos Ste. Hune 93 Points

    France, Alsace

    (11/6/2015)

    The last bottle off the list. The bottle drank two years ago was showed mostly white fruits. Expressive nose displaying sweet yellow fruits, peach, pineapple, papaya, sweet spices, honey and mineral. Excellent concentration, noticeably sweeter than the other vintages, strong presence of mineral and minerals to counter balance the sweetness and long finish.

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Flight 12 - Producer Tasting (2 Notes)

What do you know! Mr. Noblet is pouring DRCs.

  • 2006 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Echezeaux 94 Points

    France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Echezeaux Grand Cru

    (11/6/2015)

    Bernard poured the same wine three years ago and what a difference three years make. Very expressive nose displaying decadent red and black fruits, blackberry, sweet dark spices, clove and tree bark. Very silky, pure and precise but more than anything else, incredibly delicious. Starting to drink beautifully.

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  • 2009 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Romanée St. Vivant 94 Points

    France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Romanée St. Vivant Grand Cru

    (11/6/2015)

    Surprisingly shutdown, black fruits, blackberry, strong note of stem, dust, a hint of vosne spices and shy flowers. Very good concentration, precise, pure, structured and Lon finish. I didn't think that the 09 will close hard but this is why wine is so fascinating.

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Flight 13 - Colgin Tasting (8 Notes)

Ann, Joe and Paul conduct the master tasting. I have the opportunity to talk to them and their passion for wine and respect for the land are quite obvious. I also find that Joe loves Burgundy and is the owner of Camille Giroud. All the wines show really well. It is interesting to have the 2005 horizontal.

  • 2005 Colgin Cabernet Sauvignon Tychson Hill Vineyard 96 Points

    USA, California, Napa Valley

    (11/6/2015)

    The nose is sweeter than the herb lamb. Blueberry jam, strong note of cassis, mocha, milk chocolate, Colgin coconut/vanilla, cedar and a hint of dust. Excellent concentration, cassis driven palate impression, cool and polished, bright acidity and noticeable but sweet tannins.

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  • 2005 Colgin Cabernet Sauvignon Herb Lamb 94 Points

    USA, California, Napa Valley

    (11/6/2015)

    Strong cab nose,slightly vegetal, cassis, slightly dry blueberry, ink, dust and flowers. Excellent concentration, cassis and green pepper driven palate impression, strong note of acidity, slightly dusty tannins and good finish. Quite fresh and surprisingly fresh.

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  • 2005 Colgin IX Estate 97 Points

    USA, California, Napa Valley

    (11/6/2015)

    Flamboyant, black fruits, cassis, a hint of cassis, exotic spices, cherry pie, blue flowers and incense. Excellent concentration, round and warm, beautifully polished, bright acidity and nicely integrated tannins. Lovely long finish.

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  • 2005 Colgin Cariad 98 Points

    USA, California, Napa Valley

    (11/6/2015)

    Round and warm, blackberry pie, beautiful perfumed, ink, dark spices and earth. Excellent concentration, beautifully polished, quite opulent, bright acidity and strong structure. Despite strong fruit concentration, very strong structure and the tannins are quite noticeable though not obtrusive.

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  • 2007 Colgin Cabernet Sauvignon Tychson Hill Vineyard 98 Points

    USA, California, Napa Valley

    (11/6/2015)

    Subtle blackberry, blacks cherry, cassis, baked fruits, exotic incense, latte and ink. Excellent concentration, incredibly sensual, incredibly sweet black fruit, lessor acidity and incredibly long finish.

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  • 2001 Colgin Cabernet Sauvignon Tychson Hill Vineyard 95 Points

    USA, California, Napa Valley

    (11/6/2015)

    Perfectly harmonious nose displaying first stage of maturity, starting to show a hint of cab vegetal, lead pencil and mineral. Exceptional concentration, quite silky and polished, starting to show some maturity, bright acidity and still noticeable sweet tannins. Very good showing.

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  • 1997 Colgin Cabernet Sauvignon Herb Lamb 95 Points

    USA, California, Napa Valley

    (11/6/2015)

    Animal, musk, blue fruits, lead pencil, a hint of cab vegetal and mineral. Starting to reach the peak, quite silly and polished, good acidity and lovely long finish. A hint of cab vegetal. Very enjoyable and quite Classic at this stage.

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  • 1995 Colgin Cabernet Sauvignon Herb Lamb 95 Points

    USA, California, Napa Valley

    (11/6/2015)

    Like the 97, at the first stage of peak displaying, crushed blueberry, lead pencil, lactic and mineral. Lovely silky palate, good acidity, blue fruits, round and warm palate impression and sweet tannins that are still noticeable. Excellentl showing.

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Flight 14 - Friday night dinner (6 Notes)

The Rinaldi and Ausone are great. The Cayuse and Dujac are also very nice.

  • 2008 Giuseppe Rinaldi Barolo Brunate Le Coste 97 Points

    Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo

    (11/6/2015)

    Antonio generously brought it once again in magnum format. This has developed a lot in two years starting to show a bit more balsamico/VA. Decadent dark fruits, licorice, balsamico, dark spices and dry flowers. Excellent concentration, warm and rich palate, intense black fruit driven palate impression, bright acidity, masked tannins due to generous fruits and very long finish that ends with a balsamic note. Not as pure but significantly richer. A couple tasters dislike the VA/balsamico note but I thought it added complexity.

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  • 1995 Domaine Méo-Camuzet Richebourg Flawed

    France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Richebourg Grand Cru

    (11/7/2015)

    Terribly corked. Ouch!

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  • 2005 Dujac Fils et Père Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Aux Malconsorts 95 Points

    France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru

    (11/7/2015)

    Reaching the first stage of drinking peak. Beautiful nose of bright red fruits, strawberry and raspberry, a hint of vosne spices, red flowers and mineral. Very fresh and precise palate, fresh pure red fruit driven palate impression, bright acidity and strong presence of mineral, sweet tannins and seamless clean finish with candied red fruit as the end note. Quite youthful but starting to be really enjoyable.

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  • 2009 Cayuse God Only Knows 95 Points

    USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Walla Walla Valley

    (11/7/2015)

    It smells a little bit like CDP or St Joseph but not quite. Expressive kinky nose displaying raspberry, blackberry, garrigue, leather, nutmeg, animal and earth. Really sensual mouthfeel, decadent red fruits, nicely integrated tannins and lovely long finish. It is a unique wine that seems to not shutdown. Despite high alcohol, it is very food friendly wine. Really enjoyable.

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  • 2003 Château Ausone 97 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru

    (11/7/2015)

    Only a small pour. I can imagine brother Jeff describing as liquid sex. Explosive nose of cassis, Chambord, licorice, blackberry jam, exotic incense, smoke and mineral. Incredible concentration, unctuous and warm, intense cassis and licorice driven palate impression, bright acidity, completely masked tannins due to incredibly generous opulent fruits and seamless very long finish. Still very youthful but really hedonistic in very fruit driven way.

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  • 1949 Château Climens 96 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Barsac

    (11/7/2015)

    Served blind by Ivanhoe Johnston whose family owned Nath Johnston & Sons since 1734. Very mineral and clean tells me a Barsac and seems pretty old but quite well cellared so my guess is Climens. I am guessing may be the 20s so I am off by a couple decades. Very tertiary nose displaying only a hint of yellow fruits, fresh apricot, a hint of red tea, light caramel, vanilla and mineral. Incredibly polished, delineated and precise palate, beautifully layered fruits, almost weightless and seamless long finish that resonates. Perfect balance and incredible harmony. Really enjoyable. It was bottled by Ivanhoe’s father as they bought the barrels.

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Flight 15 - After Dinner Soiree (5 Notes)

We walk to Villa Cima for a few night caps. Orazio and Renzo Cotarella, CEO of Antinori, cook tajarin with almost two pounds of butter. We have over 2 kilos of white truffle so we shave very generously.

  • 2004 Dom Pérignon Champagne 94 Points

    France, Champagne

    (11/5/2015)

    Very fresh yet sweet and mineral nose. Mostly white fruits, strong presence of mineral and spicy spices. Good concentration, fresh and pure white fruit driven palate impression, bright acidity and strong presence of mineral and lovely long clean finish. Really enjoyable.

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  • 1989 Krug Champagne Vintage Brut Collection 93 Points

    France, Champagne

    (11/5/2015)

    Medium expressive nose displaying slightly dry sweet yellow fruits, tarte tatin, dry orange peel, sweet spices, bacon, smoke and a hint of oxidative note. Medium concentration, slightly dry sweet yellow fruit driven palate impression, bright acidity and medium long finish that ends with a hint of sherry. Not as good as the bottle drunk in May. I had a brief discussion with Laurent V and he seems to think that there is a major bottle variation with the 89 Collection so Caveat Emptor.

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  • 1999 Château La Mission Haut-Brion 94 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan

    (11/5/2015)

    Surprisingly open and expressive nose displaying mostly black fruits with a hint of red, cassis, a hint of red cherry, tobacco ash, cedar, green pepper that adds nice complexity and freshness, leather and earth. Very precise and balanced palate, cassis driven palate impression, strong presence of mineral and bright acidity, nicely integrated tannins and nice long finish. Still quite youthful but very enjoyable in youthful way.

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  • 2005 Trimbach Riesling Clos Ste. Hune 95 Points

    France, Alsace

    (11/5/2015)

    Consistent with the bottle tasted at the CSH tasting a bit earlier. Lovely nose displaying citrus and tropical yellow fruits, lemon oil, a hint of lanoline and wet stone. Lovely harmonious palate, soft and round yet quite pure and precise due to bright acidity and strong presence of mineral, and lovely long finish. It is still youthful but already drinking beautifully.

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  • 2006 Château Rayas Châteauneuf-du-Pape Reserve 95 Points

    France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape

    (11/5/2015)

    Complex very ripe nose displaying dry cherry and cherry liqueur, wet tobacco, medium caramel, leather, baking spices, cola and earth. Very good concentration, dry cherry and tobacco driven palate impression, warm and round, bright acidity and strong presence of mineral and earth and lovely slightly dry red fruit driven finish. Really enjoyable in very Rayas way.

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Flight 16 - Producer Tasting (6 Notes)

I notice Paul pouring Colgin wines as I walk in. Kelly and I can't say no to tasting them. Then we proceed to taste DRCs and CSHs again.

  • 2006 Colgin IX Estate 96 Points

    USA, California, Napa Valley

    (11/7/2015)

    Served slightly cooler showing a bit more cab/vegetal and oak, cassis, ink, blueberry jam, dark spices and mineral. Excellent concentration, intense inky black fruits, bright acidity and mineral and very long finish.

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  • 1994 Colgin Cabernet Sauvignon Herb Lamb 97 Points

    USA, California, Napa Valley

    (11/7/2015)

    Beautifully mature, eucalyptus, cedar, chocolate, a hint of vegetal and mineral. Fully mature, silky and polished, bright acidity and nicely integrated tannins. Excellent showing.

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  • 2006 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Echezeaux 95 Points

    France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Echezeaux Grand Cru

    (11/7/2015)

    Bernard poured the wine two nights in a row and I tried once again in the name of science. Almost identical to the last night's bottle. Already reaching the peak, very expressive nose displaying perfectly ripe sweet blackberry, sweet dark spices, a hint of tea and clove. Very seamless and delicious palate, exceptional balance and freshness and lovely long finish. Really enjoyable and drink at the peak.

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  • 2009 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Romanée St. Vivant 94 Points

    France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Romanée St. Vivant Grand Cru

    (11/7/2015)

    Consistent note as the night before. No longer showing opulent black fruits, very stemmy, a hint of vosne spices and lavender. Excellent concentration, pure, stem and long finish. It looks like we need at least another decade. Oh well!

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  • 2005 Trimbach Riesling Clos Ste. Hune 94 Points

    France, Alsace

    (11/7/2015)

    Consistent note as two nights ago. Very harmonious integrated note displaying lemon curd, grapefruit, pineapple, spicy spices and limestone. Nicely balance palate, quite round, bright acidity and strong presence of mineral and long finish. It is at the first stage of peak.

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  • 2010 Trimbach Riesling Clos Ste. Hune 96 Points

    France, Alsace

    (11/7/2015)

    Very pure mineral driven nose, white and yellow fruits, grapefruit, white peach, honey and mineral. Excellent concentration, strong presence of mineral, mouth puckering tannins and incredibly long finish. A big scale wine with very promising future.

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Flight 17 - Rousseau Tasting (9 Notes)

It is a great opportunity to experience four vintages of Chambertin and Chambertin Clos de Beze side by side. Eric Rousseau leads the tasting. I definitely prefer the Chambertin to Clos de Beze. The wine of the tasting for me is the 91 Chambertin, essence of Pinot that flirts with perfection. I think both '00 Chambertin and Clos de Beze show noticeable oxidation. Based on the CT notes, they may have been off bottles but there are no obvious flaws.

  • 2005 Domaine Armand Rousseau Père et Fils Gevrey-Chambertin 91 Points

    France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin

    (11/7/2015)

    Quite youthful nose displaying candied cherry fruit, sweet spices, beautifully perfumed, a hint of licorice and earth. Clean and polished palate, good concentration, bright candied red fruit driven palate impression and clean finish. Really delicious.

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  • 2011 Domaine Armand Rousseau Père et Fils Chambertin-Clos de Bèze 92 Points

    France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Chambertin-Clos de Bèze Grand Cru

    (11/7/2015)

    A hint of 11 taint and green, delicate black fruits, limestone and black pepper. Medium concentration, nicely layered, polished, decadent shy blackberry fruit, mineral, bright acidity and medium finish that ends with a hint of green.

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  • 2011 Domaine Armand Rousseau Père et Fils Chambertin 94 Points

    France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Chambertin Grand Cru

    (11/7/2015)

    Only a slight hint of the 04 like taint and much less so than the CDB. Decadent pure red and black fruits, blackberry, black cherry, strawberry, caramel, sap, mineral and earth. Very good concentration, harmonious and polished palate, good acidity, a hint of sweet tannins and medium finish. It is already quite delicious. A step up from the 11 CDB.

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  • 2000 Domaine Armand Rousseau Père et Fils Chambertin-Clos de Bèze 89 Points

    France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Chambertin-Clos de Bèze Grand Cru

    (11/7/2015)

    This obviously comes from the domaine. Not sure what happened but the nose is slightly oxidized. Slightly overripe red fruits, dry cherry, fruit cake, leather, baking spices, tree bark and earthy. Medium concentration, a bit angular and austere as it slightly lacks the fruit, good acidity and relative short finish that ends with a hint of oxidative note. I am rating the wine since there is no obvious flaws. Disappointing.

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  • 2000 Domaine Armand Rousseau Père et Fils Chambertin 93 Points

    France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Chambertin Grand Cru

    (11/7/2015)

    Very earth nose displaying spicy red fruits, strawberry and cherry, sweet and spicy spices, earth and a slight hint of oxidative note. Medium concentration, nice balance, bright acidity, nicely integrated tannins and medium finish. A step up from the 00 CDB still considering the current price, not worth it for my palate but YMMV>

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  • 1991 Domaine Armand Rousseau Père et Fils Chambertin-Clos de Bèze 97 Points

    France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Chambertin-Clos de Bèze Grand Cru

    (11/7/2015)

    Subtle yet incredibly complex nose displaying essence of strawberry and raspberry, Asian medicine, mocha, cedar, mint, caramel, sesame and white truffle. Perfect harmonious palate, silky, pure, energetic and weightless, subtle red fruit driven palate impression, bright acidity and incredibly long seamless finish. Perfect harmony and balance. Absolutely delicious.

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  • 1991 Domaine Armand Rousseau Père et Fils Chambertin 99 Points

    France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Chambertin Grand Cru

    (11/7/2015)

    The nose is even more complex and hedonistic than the 91 CDB. Incredibly complex nose displaying decadent yet pure red fruits, candied cherry, candied raspberry, sous bois, sautéed porcini, cappuccino and mineral. Incredibly harmonious and perfectly balanced palate, pure, energetic and weightless, bright acidity and incredible long finish that ends with a decadent red fruit note. Essence of pinot, magical wine.

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  • 1988 Domaine Armand Rousseau Père et Fils Chambertin-Clos de Bèze 95 Points

    France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Chambertin-Clos de Bèze Grand Cru

    (11/7/2015)

    Subtle nose displaying delicate red fruits, cherry and raspberry, also a hint of stewed tomato, coffee, musk/animal, dark spices, autumn leaves and sous bois. Fully mature palate impression, quite silky and energetic, bright acidity and lovely long finish that ends with an earthy note. Seems a bit earthier than the 91 version.

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  • 1988 Domaine Armand Rousseau Père et Fils Chambertin 95 Points

    France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Chambertin Grand Cru

    (11/7/2015)

    Another fully mature nose displaying delicate red fruits, essence of raspberry, rose, perfume, sweet spices, cedar, autumn leaves and sous bois. This show most strong perfume nose. Fully integrated palate impression, delicate red fruit and spicy spice driven palate impression, bright acidity and lovely long sweet finish. Really enjoyable.

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Flight 18 - Drink with Dominik (2 Notes)

Before the dinner, Marie introduces Dominik Huber to us. I am new to his wines but he is making some spectacular wines.

Flight 19 - Gala Dinner (14 Notes)

Oh well, more La Taches! Antonio brings a unicorn wine, '71 Brigante Luigi & Figli Barolo Barolo.

  • 1992 Caves Albert Duhr (Château Pauqué) Auxerrois Blanc Clos du Paradis 93 Points

    Luxembourg, Moselle, Moselle Luxembourgeoise

    (11/6/2015)

    Smoke, anise and mineral. Quite dense, /slightly lacking acidity but wonderful showing.

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  • 1974 E. Pira & Figli (Chiara Boschis) Barolo 91 Points

    Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo

    (11/7/2015)

    Mostly tertiary and shy nose displaying fading dry red cherry, mint, iron, light caramel, decaying leaves and mineral. Almost like cherry flavored water, shy and delicate with medium finish that ends with a hint of oxidative note. Very shy and not for everyone.

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  • 1971 Brigante Luigi & Figli Barolo Falletto di Serralunga d'Alba 96 Points

    Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo

    (11/7/2015)

    A unicorn wine. According to Antonio, the vineyard was sold to Giacosa. Beautiful mature Barolo nose not unlike Giacosa nose, decadent red fruits, dry cherry, raisin, sous bois, wet autumn forest floor, a hint of balsamico, leather and tar. Perfectly integrated palate, decadent yet precise, sweet red fruit driven palate impression, bright acidity and lovely long finish. Like drinking a great old Burgundy from an unfamiliar producer, incredible experience.

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  • 1978 Giuseppe E Figlio Mascarello Barolo Villero 93 Points

    Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo

    (11/7/2015)

    A bit rustic but incredibly youthful nose displaying dry red fruits, dry red cherry, anise, roasted chestnut, tar, decaying wet leaves, rusted metal and earth. Really structured wine, still shows mouth puckering acidity and tannins. A bit rustic but incredibly youthful.

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  • 1966 Bouchard Père et Fils Beaune 1er Cru Grèves Vigne de L'Enfant Jesus 96 Points

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

    (11/7/2015)

    Laurent brought a magnum. Expressive nose displaying sweetest raspberry and blackberry, strong note of soy, only a hint of sous bois and sweet spices. Beautiful youthful and energetic palate, sweet red fruit driven palate impression, perfect amount of acidity, no noticeable tannins and lovely clean medium finish. Not the most complex but shows so incredible well in magnum format. This can last for another few decades. It has not quite reach the secondary peak as the tertiary notes are mostly in background.

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  • 2002 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti La Tâche 97 Points

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

    (11/7/2015)

    Much better showing than the Wednesday bottle. Expressive nose displaying perfectly ripe black fruits intertwine with Vosne spices, dark flowers, mocha, musk and a hint of stems. Very polished palate, incredibly layered, mouth puckering tannins and lovely long finish. Definitely expressing the typical vintage character of ripe fruits with formidable structure, especially acidity. This needs at least another ten years. Perhaps most backward La Tache of the night. One day when acidity gets fully integrated, this will be perfect as the fruit is very pure. I recommend not to open it for another five years even if you have a case or more.

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  • 2003 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti La Tâche 95 Points

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

    (11/7/2015)

    If you are a Burgundy purest, ie belongs to AFWE, this will be a challenging wine. The nose clearly displays the 03 extreme ripeness, blackberry jam, cherry liqueur, Chambord, licorice, exotic black spices and dark flowers. Excellent concentration, ripe opulent black fruit driven palate impression, almost chewy, a hint of spritz that does not go away, good acidity and decadent sweet finish. This is a big ripe La Tache. It is pretty expressive but will need at least another decade to gain tertiary notes and lose Chambord like ripeness.

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  • 2008 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti La Tâche 98 Points

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

    (11/7/2015)

    It is amazing that how some wines can show so consistently. I just read my last note and I am quite surprised that my first descriptor was “exotic”. Expressive bright red fruit driven nose, essence of raspberry, exotic Asian spices, Vosne spice, mocha, truffle, a hint of stem that keeps the wine fresh and adds complexity, anise and fine floral dust. Perfect harmony, pure and decadent red fruit driven palate impression, perfect amount of acidity and seamless finish that resonates. Very young but drinking incredibly well. The 07 and 08 DRCs are really enjoyable already showing great mature Burgundy notes without losing the freshness and youthful fruits.

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  • 1996 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti La Tâche 98 Points

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

    (11/7/2015)

    Incredibly expressive youthful nose displaying cool but perfectly ripe red and black fruits, strawberry and rhubarb tart, spicy spices, black tea, Vosne spices, a hint of stem and raw porcini. Beautiful balance, freshness and purity, formidable structure, bright acidity and sweet tannins and incredibly long finish. Very similar to the 02 but more expressive and a bit more ready. Another great La Tache that needs another ten years to reach the first stage of peak.

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  • 2006 Azienda Agricola Montevertine Le Pergole Torte Toscana IGT 95 Points

    Italy, Tuscany, Toscana IGT

    (11/7/2015)

    Intense black fruit driven nose, blackberry and black cherry, strong tobacco note, red flowers and ash. Excellent concentration, cool and precise palate impression despite of intense black fruits, strong presence of mineral and acidity and long finish. Still youthful but really enjoyable already.

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  • 2005 Giacomo Conterno Barolo Riserva Monfortino 96 Points

    Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo

    (11/7/2015)

    Joe W. served this blind to us. Slightly dry sweet cherry fruits, rose and strong presence of mineral. I am actually thinking Chateau Musar! Very iron and mineral driven wine, quite precise and structured. I wonder when Balsamic note will show. It will always have plenty of iron/mineral.

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  • 1988 Soldera (Az. Agr. Case Basse) Intistieti Vino da Tavola 95 Points

    Italy, Tuscany, Vino da Tavola

    (11/7/2015)

    Incredibly youthful nose, dry black cherry, strong note of tobacco, leather and tar. Excellent concentration and precision, still noticeable dry tannins. An impressive big scale wine.

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  • 1966 Château Talbot 94 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien

    (11/7/2015)

    Laurent generously brought the magnum. Incredibly youthful but classic claret nose, cassis, tobacco, a hint of green pepper, eucalyptus, mint, ash and earth. Very harmonious palate, very fresh and energetic, good acidity, noticeable but nicely integrated tannins and long finish. Definitely benefited by ideal cellar condition, the format and early picking. Really enjoyable.

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  • 1971 Gustave Gros Richebourg Flawed

    France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Richebourg Grand Cru

    (11/7/2015)

    Corked.

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Flight 20 - Il Barbaresco (1 Note)

I get dropped off at the Sheraton airport hotel. I am excited to find a one star Michelin restaurant near the airport. Kelly and I take a quick ride to town. Unfortunately I forget that it's Sunday. We're extremely hungry and after walking for a while, find a coffee shop serving food. The wine is serviceable but the pastas are not. We're so hungry and not knowing when our next meal will come, we clean up our plates. Since we are full, we ask the barista if he knows of a wine bar and he does. As we arrive, the bar opens. They have tignanello for 80 euros but I want to try something new so Kelly orders a Montefalco. A couple hours later, as we finish our bottle of wine, we ask the bar manager to recommend a restaurant with a good wine list. He recommends a couple places and we decide on Ristorante Postporta.

  • 2010 Romanelli Sagrantino di Montefalco 91 Points

    Italy, Umbria, Montefalco, Sagrantino di Montefalco

    (11/8/2015)

    Impenetrably black color and the nose to match. It reminds me the black wine of cahor or Californian petit Syrah. Inky black fruit, strong note of oak, ink and black spices. Excellent concentration, intense inky black fruit driven palate impression, noticeable acidity and mouth puckering tannins. It is so tannic that it numbed my tongue.

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Flight 21 - Ristorante Postporta (2 Notes)

Antonio often mentions that his dream is to see a bottle of wine at every table. Kelly takes a picture and sends it to Antonio. The restaurant's wine list is incredibly affordable as there are a lot of interesting wines in the 10-20 euro range.

  • 2011 Azienda Agricola Valentini Trebbiano d'Abruzzo 95 Points

    Italy, Abruzzi, Trebbiano d'Abruzzo

    (11/8/2015)

    Expressive nose displaying pineapple, grapefruit, marzipan, oyster brine and mineral. Excellent concentration, quite ripe yet precise due to bright acidity and strong mineral presence and lovely long finish. Very unique expression. Really delicious.

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  • 2011 Braida (Giacomo Bologna) Barbera d'Asti Ai Suma 96 Points

    Italy, Piedmont, Asti, Barbera d'Asti

    (11/8/2015)

    Unbelievably intense nose displaying packed black fruits, blackberry, black cherry, tar, licorice, dark spices and earth. Excellent concentration, incredibly concentrated black cherry driven palate impression, very earthy and mineral, bright acidity and very long finish. Intense fruit completely masks tannins. Despite over 16% alcohol, it shows very good balance. According to Kelly, the 97 is drinking wonderfully. Quite intense. Very enjoyable in very youthful way.

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Closing

This is another incredible trip. It is such a pleasure to reacquaint with old friends and meet new ones. I am already looking forward to the 16 rendition.

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