1978s + others at Riverpark

Tasted August 4, 2014 by coremill with 420 views

Flight 1 (2 notes)

White - Sparkling
1990 Krug Champagne Vintage Brut France, Champagne
92 points
Toasty baked yellow apple, some supporting touches of caramel and baking spice, touch oxidative but not over done. Shows good richness but still has nice citrusy acidity underneath and while not a super mineral champagne there's a kiss of chalk on the back end and excellent length. Certainly very good if not OMG level.
White
2007 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage Blanc France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Hermitage
88 points
Kind of an odd ball. Quite volatile/shoe polishy, a bit oxidative and almondy, ripe tree fruits. With air the oxidation blows off a bit and it picks up a nice minty quality. Oily texture with good acidity but not especially concentrated. Underwhelming. Given the pedigree here my hunch would have been that there was something not quite right about this bottle but I was assured by those at the table with more experience with Chave blanc that this bottle was representative.

Flight 2 (2 notes)

Red
1978 Domaine Louis Remy Chambertin France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Chambertin Grand Cru
86 points
Ripe fleshy dark fruit, earthy and mushroomy, relatively anonymous old burg with only a hint of iron to suggest even Gevrey, let alone Chambertin. The tannins are bit rustic and the wine is short and tart. Drinkable but nothing special, a disappointment considering the vineyard and vintage.
Red
1978 Marchesi di Barolo Barolo Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
87 points
Kind of get lost in the shuffle. Not actually all that different from the Chambertin, but a little more interesting. Dark fruit, truffly and earthy, some tannins that are mostly relaxed, lots of acid, elegant.

Flight 3 (3 notes)

Red
1978 Diamond Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Red Rock Terrace USA, California, Napa Valley, Diamond Mountain
92 points
Explosive, sweet ripe black fruit on the nose, blackberries and plums. The fruit is sweet and fresh and leaps from the glass, and in the mouth the fruit is rich and lush and concentrated. But for a wine of this caliber, it's a bit one-note -- there's nothing like the complexity of the LMHB next to it -- and the tannins are just a touch rough around the edges and unrefined. I preferred the LMHB.
Red
1985 Diamond Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Gravelly Meadow USA, California, Napa Valley, Diamond Mountain
87 points
Others thought this was corked. There certainly was something to that, as there's a dirty/funky edge here. But the funk always stayed in the background and didn't get any worse with air, which is unlike TCA in my experience. There's some still very primary cassis fruit framed by nice herbal/olivey/cedary notes, although the green here is nowhere near as prominent as the LMHB. But the structure is still out in force, as the tannins are drying and the acidity is extremely high, so high that as this is otherwise phenolically ripe I wonder if it was acidified. Better with steak, which cuts the structure some. I would say this still needs more time to resolve the structure, but does it have enough concentration to last long enough for that? Compared to, say the 85 Dunn HM (also a tannic, mountain cab), which also needs years and years more time, this is a lightweight.
Red
1978 Château La Mission Haut-Brion France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan
93 points
There's plenty of red fruit in there somewhere, but what you notice right away is all the other stuff: green peppercorn, scorched earth, smoke, cigar, BBQ, a hint of caramel and walnut. Not a big wine, on a smaller frame than the Diamond Creek, but there's still plenty of smokey red fruit in the midpalate and the comparison with the Diamond Creek makes it seem lighter than it actually is. Really excellent with beef, which cuts the acid and allows the fruit to show more. Lovely.

Flight 4 (2 notes)

Red
1978 Paul Jaboulet Aîné Hermitage La Chapelle France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Hermitage
96 points
Ok, now this is the real deal. Thse nose is lovely, with wonderfully fresh meaty red and black fruit and lots of pepper and earth, but does nothing to prepare you for the palate. Incredibly concentrated and intense meaty fruit, somehow it's both rich and dense and lush while being airy and light at the same time. Completely different flavor profile, but the only one I've had that resembles this texturally is 1982 Pichon Lalande, which is similarly a knockout. True vinous magic here.
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Red
1991 E. Guigal Côte-Rôtie La Turque France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Côte-Rôtie
90 points
First experience with a Guigal La La. Plenty of ripe, concentrated black fruit with a distinctly glossy texture but not much complexity. Noticeable if unobtrusive oak on the nose but this is still carrying unintegrated oak tannin 23 years out that clenches down and dries out the midpalate. The haterz say Guigal's wines are overoaked; sometimes the haterz are right. This no doubt suffered being poured next to the 78 La Chapelle but I wasn't especially impressed.

Flight 5 (1 note)

White - Sweet/Dessert
1995 Schloss Lieser Niederberg Helden Riesling Beerenauslese Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer
90 points
Superripe apricots, spice, honey, lots of sugar, lots of acid, significant botrytis. It's dense and sweet but well-balanced, but it's a bit tannic and there's a touch of bitterness from the botrytis, and it's not especially complex by Mosel riesling standards. Delicious no doubt, but I liked it less than others did.
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