Groundhog Day!

Tasted Tuesday, February 2, 2010 by Dave Dalluge with 729 views

Introduction

Brad England assembled a small group for a memorable celebration of Groundhog Day. Seven of us (including Siggy, Jeff Samuelson, Chris Palm, Mark Donahue, and Craig Vanderah) met at Heidi's for a feast of food, wine and conversation. Food and service were great as usual and the conversation flowed non-stop.

Flight 1 - Champagne (2 Notes)

Brad, Chris and Mark were sipping the Dom Perignon when we arrived. We voted to pour the first two champagnes and save the third for later in the dinner. These were both excellent.

  • 1995 Dom Pérignon Champagne Oenothèque 96 Points

    France, Champagne

    Disgorged in '06. In a break with tradition we started this tasting with a "bonus bottle." Not sure how long this had been open, but it was rocking! The color is a crystal clear pale yellow. The nose is spectacular with soaring aromas of lemon, bread dough and tropical fruit. Despite how good this smells, it tastes even better. The wine seems light on the palate, but has instant presence with intense flavors, spectacular expansiveness, bracing acidity and a long, lingering, satisfying finish. On the short list of best champagnes I've ever head.

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  • 1996 Pommery Champagne Cuvée Louise Brut 93 Points

    France, Champagne

    Popped and poured. Pale yellow color. The nose gives a delightful expression of fresh fruit and mineral with a slight note of oxidation. Tastes much more rustic than the DP Oeno. Flavors start slower, but build nicely throughout the taste and delivers a surprisingly good finish, ringing out longer even than the DP Oeno. This is excellent wine, but a pretty significant drop-off from the DP Oeno in terms of flavor intensity and elegance.

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Flight 2 - White Burgundy (3 Notes)

Despite losing a bottle due to prem-ox, we turned this around in a hurry as both other whites were amazing. The Boillot inspired the theme for our next wine dinner: Montrachet. (Anyone know where I can get some cheap?)

  • 2002 Domaine / Maison Vincent Girardin Bâtard-Montrachet Flawed

    France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru

    Aargh! Premox.

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  • 2001 Henri Boillot Montrachet 96 Points

    France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Montrachet Grand Cru

    Wow, one smell puts a smile on your face. Huge nose dominated by tropical fruit with some minerality. Each smell brings new nuance and another smile. On the palate this delivers rich, exuberant, buttery fruit but with perfect weight, awesome texture, perfect balance, great acidity and a knock-out finish. I'm a bit of a Montrachet newbie, but if this is any indication I need to be seeking these out more frequently.

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  • 2007 Bouchard Père et Fils Corton-Charlemagne 93 Points

    France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru

    Pale yellow color. The nose is big and wild with a pronounced spice (clove?) complimenting fresh fruit and mineral. On the palate this seemed larger scaled than the Montrachet, with tons of ripe fruit and just enough acidity to keep this from seeming fat. Nice finish. If you're willing to risk the prem-ox this should benefit from time in the cellar.

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Flight 3 - Red Burgundy (4 Notes)

The Rousseau Chambertin proved to be the class of the flight but each of the other wines were compelling in their own way.

  • 2001 Domaine Armand Rousseau Père et Fils Chambertin 95 Points

    France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Chambertin Grand Cru

    Not sure when this was opened, but it was thrilling from the first pour. Pure red color but considerably lighter than the Arnoux Suchots. The nose delivers charming aromas of red fruit with spice that are expressive and surprisingly clean/pure. In the mouth this delivers beautiful red fruit bordering on candied with little discernible oak. Great texture -- the epitome of elegance in a wine. The initial attack is a bit flat, but flavors build dramatically throughout the taste and lingers nicely on the finish. Drinking surprisingly well considering its youth.

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  • 2001 Domaine Robert Arnoux / Arnoux-Lachaux Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Les Suchots 93 Points

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

    Popped and poured. Deep red color. Expressive nose featuring dark fruit, mushrooms and earth. A bit reserved but enticing. Nice weight on the palate, with plenty of dark fruit and some oak(?). The texture is not quite as refined as the Chambertin, but the balance is nice and the finish is very nice. In summary, a dark and brooding antithesis of the light and happy Rousseau Chambertin.

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  • 1972 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti La Tâche 92 Points

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

    Dark red color. The nose offers red fruit with spice, mushrooms and a touch of espresso. Not quite the 'wow' I was expecting but nice nonetheless. On the palate this delivered an intriguing blend of dirty red cherry, blood oranges and mineral -- and maybe even a touch of brett. Great weight, pretty good balance (especially if you favor acidity in your Burgs) and a decent finish. While thrilling to taste, this bottle was nowhere near as good as the one Mitch Hirsch shared at our tasting at Brad's "cabin" in Colorado a few years ago.

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  • 1999 Domaine Méo-Camuzet Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Les Chaumes

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

    First let me say: worst pairing ever. Jumping between this and the '72 La Tache proved to be impossible. The nose delivers a big blast of dark fruit, spice, maple syrup, oak and popcorn(?). The taste is monolithic with dark fruit and oak drowning out any other flavors that might be present. Larger scaled than the other Burgs (the oak?) but pretty well balanced. On its own with the right food I'm sure this is an impressive wine, but I'd recommend waiting at least five years before opening another bottle.

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Flight 4 - Intermezzo (2 Notes)

For some reason we hit a long lull in the food service when the Cheval was poured which didn't do it any good as it proved to be much better when paired with the pulled pork lasagna. The spices in the food really resonated with the Cheval. We followed the Cheval with some Champagne to refresh our palates before making the final assault on the remaining Bordeaux.

  • 1970 Château Cheval Blanc 91 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru

    Double decanted about two hours before serving. Deep red color. The nose gives a fairly straightforward blend of red fruit, brown sugar and mint. Pleasant flavors of candied red fruit dominate the taste. The texture is rough and rustic. Surprisingly tannic (to me anyway) given the age. repeated tastes really dried out my mouth. Gained complexity and nuance once the food arrived (the obnoxious tannin made it hard to enjoy on it own). Didn't seem to drop off as the night progressed. In the end a bit of a disappointment relative to my lofty expectations.

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  • 1996 Billecart-Salmon Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut Millésimé 92 Points

    France, Champagne

    Beautiful nose dominated by fresh fruit, bread dough and hint of oxidation. Great flavors on the palate, but fades a bit at mid-palate before finishing strongly with long, zingy acidity. Very youthful. Should benefit greatly from additional time in the cellar.

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Flight 5 - Red Bordeaux (5 Notes)

We poured the two '85s, but after realizing the LLC was corked decided to pair the mystery wine with the Cos. I'll let the other guys fill in their wild, misguided guesses (I will note however that it took us about five minutes to figure this out even after Brad informed us it was from Spain). The two '96s were both rocking and paired really well with the lamb.

  • 1985 Château Léoville Las Cases Flawed

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien

    Badly corked. Too bad.

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  • 1985 Château Cos d'Estournel 92 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe

    Dark red color. Awesome nose featuring red fruit, oak/cedar, coffee and earth. Thrilling. Unfortunately, not quite as good in the mouth; plenty of fruit, nice weight, good balance -- nothing really wrong, just no wow.

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  • 1994 Bodegas Alejandro Fernández Ribera del Duero Janus Gran Reserva Pesquera 92 Points

    Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero

    Served blind. Pardon my notes, but I spent my time trying to figure out what this could possibly be. Eliminated New World, was thinking ripe Syrah and settled on '03 Northern Rhone. Dark smokey fruit on the nose. Lots of ripe fruit and oak in the mouth with minimal acidity. Slightly below average finish. Thanks to Mark for this worthy mystery wine.

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  • 1996 Château Latour Grand Vin 95 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

    Deep, dark red color. The nose is spectacular with dark fruit and coffee/espresso most notable. On the palate this delivers smoky dark fruit in a powerful yet controlled style. Great from the attack through the long satisfying finish. Still young and tannic but drinking surprisingly well.

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  • 1996 Château Haut-Brion 93 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan

    Another beauty. The nose gives a subtle but thrilling blend of red fruit, smoke and tobacco that opened up as the night wore on. On the palate this delivers flavors of dark fruit and smoke in a subtle/elegant style. I really, really enjoyed this but it's definitely a step down in overall quality relative to the '96 Latour.

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Flight 6 - Coda! (1 Note)

Chris got an itchy trigger finger despite the abundance of wine already open and we all grudgingly acquiesced and helped finish this off.

  • 2000 Domaine Leroy Clos Vougeot 94 Points

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

    Popped and poured for no particular reason. Wow, this is much better than last time I had it. The nose delivers a knock-out blend of of elegant red fruit and spice. The taste is also excellent with fresh red fruit and just enough earthiness. Medium weight. Expansive in the mouth with good balance. Best Clos Vougeot I've ever had (although I don't count myself among the fans of this vineyard).

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Closing

Another awesome night. Hard to pick a wine of the night among this set of wines, but after reflecting on it today I'll say the Dom Perignon and the Boillot Montrachet in a dead heat with the Rousseau Chambertin and Latour close behind.

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