1978 Big Boys + friends

Riverpark, NYC

Tasted August 16, 2014 by cooberp with 354 views

Introduction

We also had a 1990 Krug and 2007 Chave Hermitage Blanc to start, and a fantastically delicious 1995 Schloss-Lieser Beerenauslese to wrap up, but I didn't record notes on them.

Flight 1 - Burgundy & Piedmont (2 notes)

Red
1978 Domaine Louis Remy Chambertin France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Chambertin Grand Cru
85 points
I sure hope Leroy is doing a better job with these vines than Louis Remy did. This is tired and anonymous--very musty, muddy, a lot of earthy character, funky. No power, no elegance, no fruit. Seems like it would take a heroic sabotage effort to make this wine out of 1978 Chambertin grapes.
Red
1978 Marchesi di Barolo Barolo Cannubi Muscatel Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
91 points
Winner of the (modest) first flight. I didn't have enough time with this, but it was quite nice, one of the first Piedmonts I've had that was neither too young nor too old. Florals, soy, acid, fresh-tasting fruit. Wish I could have studied it more.

Flight 2 - Cabernet (3 notes)

Red
1978 Diamond Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Red Rock Terrace USA, California, Napa Valley, Diamond Mountain
94 points
Firing on all cylinders. Leaps out of the glass with redcurrant, mint, honey, and a really distinctive Sierra Mist smell. Very fresh and lively with a light-framed body, refreshing acidity, an almost frizzante texture. Makes me envision a bumblebee buzzing around just-bloomed flowers in a spring meadow.
Red
1978 Château La Mission Haut-Brion France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan
91 points
This was served alongside a 1978 Diamond Creek that I loved so much I probably didn't pay the LMHB sufficient attention, so as a disclaimer I have low confidence in this note. Really distinctive in the combination of a very prominent green/bell pepper note while still offering a fleshy, generous texture. Dark fruit, a hint of chocolate, the Graves smoke comes out with air. This didn't pull at my heartstrings, so I may be underrating it--I was mainly impressed by how its combination of size and aromatic profile seemed to defy logic.
Red
1985 Diamond Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Gravelly Meadow USA, California, Napa Valley, Diamond Mountain
flawed
Served alongside a 1978 Diamond Creek and 1978 La Mission, it surprisingly bore more resemblance to the Bordeaux. Green, musty, and clunky, the table consensus was TCA--though I'm yet to meet a post-1980 Diamond Creek that's impressed me.

Flight 3 - Syrah (2 notes)

Red
1978 Paul Jaboulet Aîné Hermitage La Chapelle France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Hermitage
92 points
This was the consensus WOTN in a stacked lineup, and some people were saying it was a candidate for the best wine they'd ever had. We only got smallish pours, and for whatever reason I didn't feel the magic here. I did find this very elegant, complex, and distinctive. The nose had a tropical/passionfruit/melony fruit profile, which I've never detected in a red wine except for Paolo Bea's Sagrantinos. There's coconut and marzipan smells, though I imagine any oak treatment would have vanished into the wine long ago, and mature notes of barbecue sauce and leather. On the palate it was lightweight, soft, integrated, and very impressively long. Like the 1978 La Mission but to a greater degree, this fascinated me cerebrally but didn't move me.
Red
1991 E. Guigal Côte-Rôtie La Turque France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Côte-Rôtie
92 points
In your face. Very ripe and pure plum fruit, tasty vanilla oak, mouth-filling texture, grippy tannin. All power, not much finesse. Tastes far younger than its years. A little modern/internationalist, but just because I wouldn't know it was Northern Rhone blind doesn't mean it's not delicious. Simple and straightforward for now, but dense enough that I wouldn't be surprised if it revealed a lot more complexity in another decade. My score reflects this potential.
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