Graduation wines

Columbus, OH

Tasted April 20, 2007 by psmith with 843 views


So, after eight long years I finally defended my dissertation. For around a week leading up to the event, my mind was actually focused more on what I'd drink after the defense than the event itself. Fortunately, I passed, and had some good wines to go with it.

Flight 1 (1 note)

Thinking that driving would be a bad idea, Jen rented a car for the night. On the drive to our first stop, with my brother and a friend, we opened our first bottle, a stunning young champagne that's one of the most obvious candidates for aging that I've come across.

White - Sparkling
1996 Pol Roger Champagne Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill France, Champagne
Bready and really tense sharp citrus notes. Full with big-time acidity and a very raw feel. Lemon zest and an oyster-shell like minerality. Stunningly good young wine that should, in typical Pol Roger fashon, last just about forever.

Flight 2 (1 note)

Our first stop was at a wine shop we frequent. We had a few bottles of there including an NV Henriot and some young Burgundy, along with a bottle I'd brought along.

1991 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Echezeaux France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Echezeaux Grand Cru
Very nice nose of anise and decaying leaves with a red fruit undercurrent. All acid and tannins on the palate. Mildly off putting caramel finish - probably not the most properly stored bottle. Feels like it needs time, but also like the fruit may just crash. Enjoyable for the nose alone.

Flight 3 (5 notes)

From there we went out to eat where we met my parents and a few more friends. Some more champagne and some nice wines followed.

White - Sparkling
1995 Salon Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut France, Champagne
A very approachable young Salon. Clean and crisp with characteristic Blanc de Blancs mustiness. Less acidic than typical for young Salon, meaning that I still have an esophagus. Really good wine, if not a particularly long ager.
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White - Sparkling
1981 Louis Roederer Champagne Cristal Brut France, Champagne
Apple and almond on the nose. Lots of mousse left but some real sherried notes. Good acidity to keep things from being heavy. Most would find this over-the-hill, I thought it interesting but not a great Cristal.
2002 Château Rayas Châteauneuf-du-Pape Reserve France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Some characteristic Rayas notes but really strange. Deisel fumes and a more Cotes du Rhone type feel. Simple and light bodied, Kool-aid type fruit. Shouldn't have been released.
2001 Harlan Estate The Maiden USA, California, Napa Valley
Juicy, well-spiced blackberry notes and alcohol on the nose. A minty Cab Franc green streak. Fine tannins. Bigger than this wine usually is, and very Harlan in style.
2001 Harlan Estate USA, California, Napa Valley
Super-ripe and porty. Dense and really weighty feel. Cherry liqueur notes like in the 2002. Flashy, voluptuous, monster wine with ultra-fine tannins. Exactly what everyone in Napa is trying to make right now. Enjoyable.

Flight 4 (7 notes)

After dinner we went to a friend's house - one of the most generous couples that I know, they have a very "pick whatever you want" approach towards their very large cellar.

1982 Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
Much better than the last example of this I had. Forward, heavily Merlot-influenced nose of plum and tobacco. Lush and really well balanced. Well-integrated tannins could still soften some. Great stuff.
White - Off-dry
1983 Trimbach Riesling Clos Ste. Hune Vendanges Tardives France, Alsace
Just beautifully complex, heady nose of petrol and white truffle. Rich, ripe palate with an intense mineral backbone and lemon notes. Great acidity and backbone - will still last a long time. Wonderful CsH.
2000 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Richebourg France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Richebourg Grand Cru
Deep red fruit, floral, and earthy notes. High-pitched nose with typical Richebourg power. Really tight palate not giving much up. Obviously needs time, but a promising and enjoyable bottle.
1990 Château Montrose France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe
My first time with this wine and, yes, it is totally full of brett. Really big for Montrose, with full-bodied ripe red fruits and graphite...once one gets by the sweat and manure. Young wine. A bit unclean for me, like a Bordeaux/Beaucastel blend. OK.
1990 Château Lafite Rothschild France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
More elegant, classic Lafite style. Red fruit and graphite. Medium-bodied and really well balanced throughout. Delicious with a great future.
2003 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage Blanc France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Hermitage
Intense tropical fruits - pineapple, papaya, and the like. Oily and viscous with a tangy finish. Lots of alcohol showing. Really good young Chave Blanc - more open than the last bottle I had.
1995 Diamond Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Gravelly Meadow USA, California, Napa Valley, Diamond Mountain
Unfortunately mildly corked. Some classic Diamond Creek notes, but sort of ignored once the TCA became obvious.


Great night, good to be done!

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