Epic Wine Dinner at Bourbon Steak

Washington DC

Tasted April 18, 2012 by davidwhitedc with 1,136 views

Introduction

Several DC wine geeks got together -- and we decided to go big. While a disappointing number of wines were flawed, everything else was singing. I didn't take notes on the whites, unfortunately, as they were consumed while socializing.

Flight 1 (2 notes)

Red
1949 Château Cantemerle France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Haut-Médoc
90 points
The color on this wine is striking -- despite 63 years of age, it looks like a young Burgundy. The nose opens with herbaceousness, and is followed with tart cherries, tomato, rust, and iron. The palate is impressively bright, with mouth-watering acid.
Red
1961 Château Ausone France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru
97 points
Wow. The nose is shockingly young -- full of fresh plum, dark cherry, and licorice. Underneath the fruit is raw meat, cedar box, cigar, and a hint of perfume. On the palate, the wine offers beautiful acidity on the front end and soft-but-present tannins on the back. A delightful wine.

Flight 2 (3 notes)

Red
1982 Château Cos d'Estournel France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe
91 points
The wine opens very sweet. Notes of crème de cassis, dark plums and liquor, overripe blackberries, and licorice, followed by a hint of tomato paste and crème brûlée. Several comment that the wine is "Napa-like," and I can see why -- while delicious, it's a fairly monolithic, without tremendous complexity.
Red
1989 Château Lafite Rothschild France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
98 points
Lively, bright, and amazingly concentrated. The wine is packed full of rasberries, red currants, and red cherries. Underneath the fruit is graphite, leather, and cedar. On the palate, the wine is perfectly structured and balanced -- and the finish just won't quit. A killer wine.
Red
1989 Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
94 points
The wine opens with dark, sweet cherry, followed by tobacco and graphite. On the palate, the gray minerality is bracing -- and the fruit remains ripe -- but unfortunately, the wine is a bit thin.

Flight 3 (3 notes)

Red
1986 Château Cheval Blanc France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru
96 points
Elegant and plush. The wine opens with asian spices and nutmeg, followed by bright red cherries, red twizzlers, sandalwood , and boatloads of graphite. On the palate, this is a red, acid-driven Bordeaux with exceptional balance. A lovely wine.
Red
1986 Château Mouton Rothschild France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
flawed
Corked!
Red
1986 Château Léoville Las Cases France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien
96 points
A fascinating nose of bottom-of-the-mug expresso combined with brininess and savory soy sauce. The fruit is ripe -- sweet blueberries, licorice, and tart currents. The palate is equally fascinating, with soft tannins, mouth-watering acidity, and great balance. Delightful.

Flight 4 - Champagne palate cleanser (2 notes)

White - Sparkling
2002 Pierre Gimonnet & Fils Champagne Special Club Millesimé de Collection France, Champagne
93 points
The Champagne opens with fresh-from-the-oven biscuits, followed by tart apple, ripe pears, and orange rind. The palate is laser focused, with a disappointing metallic note at the very finish. Very gulpable.
White - Sparkling
1985 Salon Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut France, Champagne
95 points
Even though the Champagne smells older than I would have expected, it's extraordinary -- sweet apples, apple cider, and graham cracker at the outset, with yeast and doughy bread, and some oxidized notes underneath. A very serious (and delicious) Champagne.

Flight 5 (2 notes)

Red
1994 Dominus Estate Napanook Vineyard USA, California, Napa Valley
93 points
An old-school Napa cab that could easily pass for Bordeaux. Stuffed with blackberry, black currant, sweet tobacco, and pencil lead underneath, the wine shows a hint of antiseptic brett and alcohol -- but very few notice. Mouth-watering acid on the palate. This would be an exceptional food wine.
Red
1995 Joseph Phelps Insignia USA, California, Napa Valley
95 points
The wine is a baby. It's a beautiful example of young Napa Cab -- and I'm shocked to learn its 17 years old. The wine opens with fresh blackberry, huge dark fruits, and eucalyptus, with some earth, pencil lead, and wild mountain herbs playing a supporting role. The wine has great structure, soft-but-mouth-coating tannins, and delightful front-of-mouth acidity. Truly exceptional.

Flight 6 (5 notes)

Red
1993 Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select USA, California, Napa Valley, Stags Leap District
Possible flaw. While some caught TCA, I smelled nothing but burnt oak and burnt molasses. Not sure what was going on with this wine.
Red
1997 Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select USA, California, Napa Valley, Stags Leap District
94 points
A dense Napa Cab -- full of tart blackberries, blackcurrant jam, plums, blueberry pie, dark chocolate, and lead, with sweet herbs, and loam underneath. Quite nice.
Red
1999 Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select USA, California, Napa Valley, Stags Leap District
94 points
Big, plush, ripe black fruits, followed by sweet licorice, brown sugar, and lavender. An exceptional Napa Cab, showcasing all that ripe California wine has to offer. Very gulpable.
Red
2000 Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select USA, California, Napa Valley, Stags Leap District
90 points
In a Shafer HSS flight (of 4), the most disappointing. While deliciously hedonistic, the fruit borders on overripe. It's marked by notes of baked blackberries, purple powerade, and maple syrup -- with a hint of loam and seawater to make things interesting.
1 person found this helpful Comments (1)
Red
2001 Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select USA, California, Napa Valley, Stags Leap District
95 points
Wow -- the nose is explosive. Sweet blackberry pie and ripe, dark fruits, followed by vanilla ice cream, pencil lead, and spiced oak. The texture on this wine is unbelievable. Lovely.

Flight 7 (6 notes)

Red
1996 Araujo Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Eisele Vineyard USA, California, Napa Valley
flawed
Flawed. Terrible VA.
Red
1997 Araujo Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Eisele Vineyard USA, California, Napa Valley
flawed
Flawed. Terrible VA.
Red
2001 Araujo Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Eisele Vineyard USA, California, Napa Valley
92 points
The wine opens with sweet black currant and licorice, followed by riverbed and loam. On the palate, the wine isn't nearly as concentrated as it smells, and seems a bit closed down.
Red
2002 Araujo Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Eisele Vineyard USA, California, Napa Valley
93 points
Opens with sweet blackberries and other dark fruits, chocolate, dust, and seductive salinity. On the palate, the wine is beautiful -- ripe fruits, a lush mouthfeel, and great balance.
Red
2003 Araujo Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Eisele Vineyard USA, California, Napa Valley
91 points
Sweet, ripe cherries and rasberries, cool-climate blueberries, white pepper, and a strong note of pencil lead. There are also some reductive notes, with a hint of burnt rubber that won't blow off. All that said, the wine is quite nice -- but considering it's Araujo, I expected much more.
Red
2004 Araujo Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Eisele Vineyard USA, California, Napa Valley
91 points
While the wine opens with deliciously fresh, ripe blackberry pie, black currant, and vanilla, the oak monster is strong. And there are some notes of green pepper that detract from the ripe fruits. Very good, but I hoped for more from Araujo.

Flight 8 (3 notes)

White - Sweet/Dessert
1975 Château d'Yquem France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Sauternes
95 points
A superb, mature Sauternes. It opens with sweet petrol (which dissipates), followed by white flowers, canned pineapple, tart mangos, orange rind, coconut, and crème brûlée. The palate is exceptionally lush, dense, and sweet -- and the finish goes on and on -- but it somehow seems weightless. An awesome finisher to the evening.
White - Sweet/Dessert
1986 Château d'Yquem France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Sauternes
95 points
A huge, smile-inducing nose of bright flowers, apricot, orange rind, and honey. The palate is astounding -- lush, sweet fruits, but somehow weightless.
White - Sweet/Dessert
1998 Château d'Yquem France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Sauternes
97 points
The nose is explosive -- bright, sharp flowers jump out of the glass, and they're followed by sweet apricot, peach jam, honey, and caramel, with beautiful almonds and peanuts playing a supporting role. Wow.
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