A Fall Magnum Dinner in Toronto

Posted on October 18th, 2015 by Chris

In early October a group of about 20 people from the Toronto crew got together to meet up with Jeff (g-man) to welcome him to Toronto and drink a few nice bottles. Each wine was either served from magnum or 2×750, except for the Vintage Ports. We had a few very memorable bottles and the food was stunning.

  • 1995 Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Champagne Brut La Grande Dame – France, Champagne
    (from magnum) Quite a nice La Grande Dame. I usually associate this house with a lean, light reductive style and that held true here but it was just a little further down the maturity curve than I expected, given a mag of ’90 I had last year. In my books that’s a good thing. It pours a moderate straw yellow. The nose is of biscuit, lemon, vanilla, dough, just the slightest hint of sherry and light flecks of toffee. The light, airy palate has present but relatively low dosage that feels like 6-7 g/l and a solid streak of acid running along the medium finish. Just a nice, straight up, light crisp champagne. (91 points)
  • 1995 Charles Heidsieck Champagne Blanc des Millénaires – France, Champagne
    (from 750, the older while, gold and blue label) Oh baby. This was stunning, especially if you like rich, big, oxidative leaning champagne like me. The nose is very big and complex of toasted marshmallow, espresso, honey, brown sugar, caramel, red apple and brown spice. The palate is a bit elevated on the dosage feeling like it’s around 10-12 g/l, but for me the elevated acid keeps things balanced. The finish is long and replays the rich caramelized sugar notes. Just lovely stuff and an amazing pairing with the chicken and waffles. (94 points)
  • 2010 J.L. Chave Sélection Hermitage Blanche – France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Hermitage
    (from 750) This actually quite impressed me. Very nice exotic nose. Not really a whole lot like the Chave Blanc served with it. Much more fresh and youthful. The nose is of beeswax, mango, pineapple, pear, white flowers and dry soil. The palate enters a touch perceptibly sweet with elevated acid and a medium plus finish. Perhaps just a tad modern, but enjoyable nonetheless. (91 points)
  • 2005 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage Blanc – France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Hermitage
    (from 750) I thought this was stunning. The nose is oxidative leaning and wildly complex. Constantly changing in the glass. It pours a fairly deep, rich golden yellow. The nose is of hay, herbs, red apple, pear, lacquered wood, saline, honey, toasted hazelnut, butter and candied lemon peel. The palate is fat, but at the same time weightless with a good core of acid and the mildly oxidative notes are replayed on the long finish. Awesome. (95 points)
  • 1978 Château Léoville Las Cases – France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien
    (from 750) This pours light and quite transparent for bordeaux with moderate bricking, though I expected more orange at the rim. Initially I found this overwhelmingly green with aromas of celery, green pepper and cut grass. This mellowed over time and the fruit came out to balance with aromas of dark chocolate, dark soil, charcoal, brown sugar, dark cherry and red plum. The palate is quite lean and somewhat drying with red fruited notes, some green elements and a finish that is moderate in length. By the end I was quite enjoying this and it almost hit 91 for me. (90 points)
  • 1983 Robert Mondavi Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve – USA, California, Napa Valley
    (from magnum) I quite like older Mondavis and this one followed the house style nicely. The complex and mature nose wafts dried orange peel, almond, mint/menthol, new leather, shoe polish, tea, coriander seed and some background cassis. The palate is drying and light, showing that this is fully mature. The nose is certainly better than palate on this enjoyable, mature cab. The finish is medium minus in length revealing an amaro liquer finish that I often associate with these older style napa cabs. (91 points)
  • 1994 Dunn Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain – USA, California, Napa Valley, Howell Mountain
    (from magnum) Similar showing to last time. This was rustic but with quite a lot of fruit. It pours remarkably dark with just a touch of bricking. The nose shows saline, animal fur, lots of cedar, licorice, a very large scaled core of fruit via dark cherry, plum, and jujubes. The palate still has a fair bit of tannin, some slightly elevated alcohol, and moderate acid. An enjoyable wine, but to my palate another 5 – 10 years would benefit it. (92 points)
  • 1997 Château Cos d’Estournel – France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe
    (from magnum) A solid and better than expected showing. Obviously quite green, but also leather, tobacco, toast, spice box, tar, asphalt, dark cherry and red plum. The palate has lush fruit, fairly low tannin and good elevated acid. The finish is medium with touches of green, secondary tobacco and some moderately intense fruit. Solid aged Bordeaux. (90 points)
  • 2000 Château Montviel – France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol
    (from 750) Pours inky dark purple. Quite a lot of fruit showing! The nose is of purple grapes, plum, purple hard candy, grilled meat, toast, tar, oak sawdust and mixed florals. The palate has moderate acid, low tannin and a moderate finish replaying the abundant fruit and mostly, but not fully integrated oak. This wine seems to be on a nice trajectory, but for me needs just a bit more time. Still loads of primary fruit, some secondary nuance, but really not a lot of tertiary development. No score today, but I think this should land in the low 90′s.
  • 1998 Tenuta San Guido Bolgheri Sassicaia Sassicaia – Italy, Tuscany, Bolgheri, Bolgheri Sassicaia
    (from 750) Very similar showing to the last bottle tasted. It pours fairly dark in colour with light bricking. The nose is of plum, raisins, notible alcohol, rum cake and mixed oak derived spice. The palate is integrated with medium softening tannin and moderate acid. A solid wine, but I still fail to find anything terribly interesting in it. (90 points)
  • 1986 Château La Conseillante – France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol
    (from 750) Another wine which is showing very youthful. You could have fooled me and said this was a ’98. Loads of the requitie (merlot) plummy notes followed by hints of spice box, dark cherry, tobacco and gravel. The palate has low tannin, low acid, and a medium finish built heavily on the lush plummy notes. Very enjoyable though I must admit I prefer a more mature, rustic bordeaux. (92 points)
  • 1998 Louis Jadot Echezeaux – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Echezeaux Grand Cru
    (from 750) I really quite enjoyed this but couldn’t help but think about how much better it will be in 10 years. The nose is toasty with some oak that isn’t totally integrated. Not offensive but just not quite part of the package yet. it kind of reminds me of sanded unfinished pine furniture. Also on the nose: mixed red fruit (red cherry, fresh strawberry, cranberry), spice, wet soil, saline and thyme. The palate reinforces the thought that the oak isn’t fully integrated with elevated oak tannin. A touch of red fruited acid and a moderate finish round out the palate on this enjoyable Grand Cru from Jadot. Not rated simply because I’m not sure it’s all there yet, but I could see this landing in the low to mid 90′s. Still very enjoyable.
  • 1970 Fonseca Porto Vintage – Portugal, Douro, Porto
    (From 750) Great nose right off the bat. Fantastic, classic maturing vintage port notes of mixed baking spices, rasins, dates, dark chocolate, brandy, pine needles, and toasted walnuts. The palate repeats notes of brandy, chocolate, baking spice and pine needles. the medium plus finish carries this nicely and lingers delicately. Lovely! (95 points)
  • 1977 Delaforce Porto Vintage – Portugal, Douro, Porto
    (from 750) Very solid, thoroughly enjoyable VP from delaforce but was certainly overshadowed on this night. The nose is quite high toned and floral with even a touch of VA noted. Also: rose petals, light brown spice, plums and rasins. The palate comes across to me as a touch hot but also well spiced, with a medium finish. (91 points)

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