Year three started with a bang. Dave spent upwards of a year sourcing wines from each of our birth years. The regions represented were diverse but the quality was high. Dave focused on producers that are favorites of the group and of him as well. Many wines were memorable and were great representations of their region and vintage.
For this entry we will post the combined notes for each wine from Andrew, Dave and Chris, as well as the food pairings and photos.
Paired with Brioche Crostini, Crème fraîche and Beluga Caviar
- 2004 Pol Roger Champagne Brut Vintage – France, Champagne
- Chris: This comes across as youthful and vibrant, slightly leaning to the rich side of things, though perhaps lacking a touch of complexity for today. The nose reveals peach, honeydew melon, caramel apple, honey, white flowers, light hints of toffee and mint. The palate has an inherent rich, roundness with linear acidic peach notes running across the medium plus finish. Hard to evaluate today because I think it’s best days are ahead of it, though I have heard other showings have been more open. I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt at 92 based on potential if perhaps not totally merited from this showing today. (92 points)
- Andrew: Popped and poured, followed approximately one hour. Light gold in colour, with persistent micro bubbles. On the nose, this is a touch tighter and less and less advanced than the example we had tried just a few weeks ago. With some coaxing, the nose provided aromas of fresh cut red apple, lemon zest, crushed rock, brioche, caramel and baking spice, with a light overlay of oak. On the palate, nice richness and concentration. Acidity is quite brisk providing freshness and the finish is medium plus, with lingering tastes of tart red apple, citrus zest, mineral, yeast, and spice. Definite room for improvement. Based on this bottle, I’d say hold, although there seems to be some variability. (91 points)
Paired with Halibut Ceviche, Avocado, Mango
- 1988 Nicolas Feuillatte Champagne Brut Cuvée Spéciale 1er Cru Millésime – France, Champagne
- Chris: Surprisingly still quite effervescent. This pours a fairly rich deep golden yellow. Nose is quite musty on the first pour, but that seemed to blow off somewhat. This comes across fairly advanced, even considering the age. The nose is of lightly sherried salted roasted nuts, herbs, pear, old furniture and a touch of caramel. I actually quite like this but it certainly is advanced. The palate is nicely acidic with not too much perceived dosage and a medium finish. Good, but certainly not as good as hoped. (90 points)
- Andrew: Popped and poured, followed approximately 30 minutes. Golden colour in the glass, with a fine bead that dissipates quickly. On the nose, this was advanced as expected; light cider, baked apple, burnt sugar, baking spice, toasted hazelnut, yeast, and crushed rock. With time in the glass, this gets quite sherried and takes on an earthy edge. On the palate, this is quite tart and lean, with medium plus acidity. Finishes moderate, but very dry, with tastes of bruised apple, baking spice, roast nuts, lemon zest and burnt sugar. Still a lot of interest here if you like very mature Champagne. For my tastes, however, if this example is correct, drink 5-8 years ago. (88 points)
- Dave: This is a bit sherried on the nose but still showing some lemon, salt, caramel, brûlée and nutty notes.
The palate is advanced as well with obvious bruised apple notes but augmented with minerals, nutmeg, clove, lemon and hazelnut.
Finish is medium and a somewhat singular. This was much more advanced that I would have expected and given that it came from a great cellar…I would say drink up as this is tiring. (88 points)
Paired with Roasted Quail Breast on Confited Quail Leg and Morel Mushrooms in a Madeira reduction
- 1988 Domaine de Montille Pommard 1er Cru Les Rugiens – France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Pommard 1er Cru
- Chris: I really love this style, beautiful, light, spiced, elegant. Some may find it too lean however. The nose is expansive with leather, animal fur, mint, wet soil, flint smoke, lemon, cumin and some bright, light, lively red fruit: pomegranate, cherry, raspberry. The palate is much leaner with green herbs, slightly austere tannin and good red fruited acid on the finish. Lovely. (93 points)
- Andrew: A pristine example, sourced ex-chateau, popped and poured, followed approximately two hours. Deep ruby in the glass, with a slight brick at the rim. A beautifully perfumed nose of cherry, baking spice, damp earth, coriander, dried herb, crushed rock, leather, beet root, florals, and a touch of horse stable. With further air time, this takes on a real meaty edge and adds notes of orange rind. On the palate, this falters a bit, with a leaner profile than one would expect from the glorious nose, with medium plus acidity and moderately drying finish, with lingering tastes of red fruit, baking spice, smoked beets, mineral and leather. Lovely wine. (92 points)
- Dave: Nose is very giving right off the bat and quite complex with aromas of leather, animal, sauvage, smoke and a bit of stank but also possessing some pure cherry and raspberry fruit that really makes this quite inviting. Obvious whole cluster fermentation which I am a huge fan of….incense and that stemmy goodness.One the palate, you can tell that this is a bit of a leaner year as it is dominated by the ample acidity. The tannins are also a touch austere. The wine is very clean and shows shows tart red fruit, spice, minerals, orange peel and a dominant lactic note but definitely leans to the more rustic side of Burgundy.
The finish is medium with good complexity. Overall, this is a touch disappointing as the nose showed such promise… (92 points)
- 1985 Tertre Rôteboeuf – France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru
- Chris: initially this featured very strong metallic notes on the nose, fortunately that lessened with air time. Over time the nose evolved to show raw beef, black and red licroice, tar, old wood, blackberry and black currants. The tannins are actually still quite firm with good moderate acid and a medium finish of lightly beefy and dark fruit notes. (91 points)
- Andrew: Popped and poured, followed approximately two hours. Deep garnet in colour, with a mild amber brick at the rim. Initially, the nose had a metallic overlay, however, with time in the glass, this seemed to blow off for the most part. On the nose, black cherry, stewed plum, licorice, blood, dried herb, spice, dried flowers, graphite and earth. This was a bit of a roller coaster in the glass. With further time, it takes on some brown sugar notes that weren’t particularly appealing, but then a bit later, some mushroom stock and beet notes emerged that were rather appealing. On the palate, red currant, licorice, plum, iron, herbs and mineral. Acidity is medium plus and finishes with moderate length. (91 points)
- Dave: Nose was dominated by blood, beef, salt, iron….this is a really difficult as the saline aspects of the wine really take over. Not a good bottle in my mind so not rated. Very disappointing.
- 1970 Château Palmer – France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux
- Chris: Very difficult showing here from the ’70 Palmer. Quite advanced with heavy bricking. The nose is entirely tertiary of soil, old furniture and an odd noxious gas aroma. While this was recently sourced from a reputable retailer I suspect there are better bottles of this out there. (NR/flawed)
- Andrew: Popped and poured. Light translucent ruby in the glass, with significant bricking at the rim. On the nose, again there is a metallic overlay that is distracting, with long distant memories of fruit; dried, decaying; still some pyrazine and earthy elements there, but overall, this is past it. On the palate, quite simple and tired. Lean and dry, with the acid totally taking over. Really unfortunate. (NR/flawed)
- Dave: I have had some very majestic vintages of Palmer over the years…..1961, 1978, 1983, 1989, 2000 etc. so have very high hopes when we had a new person joining our tasting group that was born in 1970…. Needless to say…the 1970 Palmer did not show up to the party. Nose showed some traces of fruit but this was really over the hill with a dominant metallic note. The palate was thin, metallic and boring….what a waste. DOA (NR/flawed)
- 2006 Château des Tours Vacqueyras – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Vacqueyras
- Chris: Rayas makes such unusually wild wines and this is no exception. It takes the usual house style and is nearly entirely citrus driven and lacking in spice. I’ll admit that if this was placed in a black, opaque glass I could easily blind this as a Sauternes on the nose. The nose is of marmalade, clove, orange zest, apricot and grapefruit. The palate shows low tannin and high citrusy acid on a moderate finish. What a weird wine. Not sure I can score it.
- Andrew: Popped and poured as a substitute for the flawed 1970 Palmer. Ruby red in the glass, with no bricking. On the nose, this was very strange; orange marmalade, peach schnapps, apricot, fresh picked herbs and strawberry. The nose was really quite explosive. On the palate, this is a touch more reserved than the nose, with a reasonable balance. Finish is moderate, with tastes of light red fruit, citrus peel, mineral and a lingering tequila and pine sol note. A very strange wine, and not one that I am particularly keen on having again. The quality is definitely there, but there are some elements to it that remind me of being 13 and smashed off the ends of miscellaneous liquor sourced from the liquor cabinet of a friend’s parents.
Dave: I am a unabashed Rayas fan….so when I can find bottles made by the Rayas winemaker I jump.
I pulled this to fill in for the previous off bottle assuming that it would provide that classic Rayas profile….this was….interesting.
If you closed your eyes when smelling the wine…you would have assumed you were smelling an ontario Riesling Icewine…..notes of orange peel fresh cut strawberries, flowers, ripe citrus flavours…this was so aromatically intense.
The palate showed similar flavours of incense, saffron, orange peel, strawberry and minerals.
Finish was long and quite complex. (92 points)
Paired with Beef Tenderloin in a red wine reduction
- 1985 Paul Jaboulet Aîné Hermitage La Chapelle – France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Hermitage
- Chris: I think I may have liked this even better than the rest of the group. It pours a lovely translucent ruby with medium plus bricking. Just a gorgeous and classic intense nose of green olive, creosote, blackberry, dark roast coffee, sweet wet soil, dark cherry, corned beef and hair spray. The palate is sweet and round, still very much alive showing abundant dark cherry and smoke the the medium plus finish. Fantastic! (95 points)
- Andrew: Popped and poured, followed approximately 2 hours. In the glass, garnet in colour, with a very slight brick. On the nose, blackberry, spent coffee grinds, damp earth, olive brine, leather, campfire and a touch of creosote. On the palate, good concentration, with deep black fruit, pepper, olive brine, smoke and coffee. Acidity is as expected; brisk and fresh; tannins, almost fully resolved, but grip ever so slightly on the moderate length finish. Served next the the ’88, this seemed a touch lighter on its feet. Fully mature; drink now. (93 points)
- Dave: ….this was dirty….but still showing some character that I so associate with Hermitage like blue fruit, olive, and fat…but in addition there was pickle juice, coffee bean and you guessed it…more dirt.The palate showed a leaner blue fruit profile augmented by classic notes of olive, fat and earth.
Finish was medium with moderate complexity. (92 points)
- 1988 Paul Jaboulet Aîné Hermitage La Chapelle – France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Hermitage
- Chris: This pours a touch darker than the 85 la chapelle with medium plus bricking. The nose is neck and neck, showing a bit younger and darker. The nose is of black olive, leather, a slight metallic edge, saline, amaro liquor, cola, root beer, dark cherry and black currants. I do get some elevated alcohol on the finish along with all the dark fruit and spice of the nose. Lovely wine. (94 points)
- Andrew: Popped and poured, followed approximately 2 hours. Garnet in the glass, with a very slight brick. On the nose, this takes on a slightly darker and more animal profile than the ’85; a melange of black fruit; blackcurrant, blackberry, black cherry; black olive brine, wet dog fur, espresso roast coffee, leather, bacon fat and camp fire. On the palate, this shows a touch more depth and concentration than the ’85, as well as a bit more structure present. There is still some unresolved tannin that ever so slightly dries the moderate plus finish. Fully mature; drink now. (94 points)
- Dave: This was rocking from first pour….olive brine, blue fruit, roasted meat, fat and smoke.
The palate was quite complex showing similar characteristic notes of brine, olives, smoked meat and campfire.
Finish was medium+ and quite complex. Pretty wine. (94 points)
- 1984 Beaulieu Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Georges de Latour Private Reserve – USA, California, Napa Valley
- Chris: I really don’t like this style. Very candied and medicinal on the nose. Cherry cough syrup on the palate. (85 points)
- Andrew: Popped and poured, followed approximately 30 minutes. Garnet in the glass, with bricking throughout. On the nose, this is generally what comes to mind when I think of when Napa; ripe black cherries, plum, vanilla, coconut, spice, pyrazine, caramel and a touch of graphite. On the palate, rich and round, with ripe red and black fruit, medium minus acidity, tannin mostly integrated, and actually finishes quite long, but lingers with sweet ripe fruit, vanilla and oak. Not my style and a bit disappointing for this legendary producer. (86 points)
- Dave: This was quite strange….tonnes of powdered sugar, vanilla, coconut and pina colada on the nose. The palate gave the impression that there was still some residual sugar…but the fruit also showed some tart aspects… Finish was simple (87 points)
- 1984 Robert Mondavi Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve – USA, California, Napa Valley
- Chris: I thought this was a gorgeous wine and was totally the Mondavi house style. The nose was of sweet cedar, dried orange peel, leather, toasted cedar shavings, dark chocolate, cumin seed, dark cherry and cassis. The palate replays a lovely dark cherry, leather, sweet cedar and orange peel notes with integrated tannin, medium acid and a medium plus finish. I really liked this wine, up there with the best Mondavi’s I’ve had. (94 points)
- Andrew: Popped and poured, followed approximately 1 hour. Deep garnet in the glass, with a light brick. On the nose, this is the polar opposite of the BV; very classic nose, with notes of black currant, leafy foliage, undergrowth, fresh mushroom, mint leaves, pyrazine and lead pencil. On the palate, medium acidity, some unresolved fine grain tannin and a medium finish, with tastes of red/black currant, bell pepper, mint, spice and earth. Excellent showing for this bottle, and right in my wheelhouse for what I seek in a Bordeaux styled blend. This was the star of the mid 80s Napa Cabernet served this evening. (93 points)
Very pretty….nose of earth, mushroom, sweet spice, leather, cedar, blackcurrant and cassis. Palate was very lithe….very pure and so integrated. Black and red fruits mix with secondary and tertiary flavours of leather, cedar, earth and forrest floor. Finish is medium+. Pretty wine. (92 points)
- 1984 Beringer Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reserve – USA, California, Napa Valley
- Chris: This has a nicely mature profile that gives off an elevated, but not offensive level of ripeness with aromas of root beer, sassafras, brown spice, spice box, tobacco, cassis, blackberry and black currants. The palate shows the ripe round fruit, some dusty medium tannin remaining and a medium minus finish. Very good, but not a standout tonight. (92 points)
- Andrew: Popped and poured, followed approximately 30 minutes. Garnet in the glass, with a slight brick. On the nose, this also has quite a ripe fruit profile, but a bit more restrained than the BV; ripe black fruit, plum, brown sugar, bell pepper, licorice, eucalyptus and earth. On the palate, this shows a reasonable balance, perhaps slightly less acidity than I would have hoped with the ripeness in fruit present. At this point, the tannin is fully resolved. Finishes moderate. No upside here. Drink up. (89 points)
- 1985 Beringer Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reserve – USA, California, Napa Valley
- Chris: There was a touch of VA on this bottle but not enough to really bother me. The nose is fairly straightforward but is nicely mature of blackberry, black currant, wet earth, plum, moss and hints of tobacco. The palate is simple but also plush and round with plummy dark fruit. The volatile acid and noted alcohol show up on the finish with moderate tannin and elevated acid in reserve. Feels a bit simple, but it’s a nice style that I really do appreciate. (91 points)
- Andrew: Popped and poured, followed approximately 30 minutes. Garnet in the glass, with a slight brick. On the nose, this is similar to the ’84, but takes on a slightly cooler tone; blackcurrant, black cherry, cedar, spice, bell pepper, mint and damp earth. On the palate, this is a bit fresher than the ’84, with a slight uptick in acids, but showing a similar roundness and overall ripeness to the profile of the fruit. This finishes moderate with some light drying tannin. Fully mature; drink up. (90 points)
- 1977 Taylor (Fladgate) Porto Vintage – Portugal, Douro, Porto
- Chris: This was flat-out killer Vintage Port. The nose is complex, classy andquite open after a 5-6 hour decant: cinnamon, plum, walnuts, rye bread, dark cherry, almond, marzipan, nutmeg, walnut, spice cake, figs, lacquered oak and sweet mahogany. The finish is monumentally long (5 minutes +) replaying the dark stone fruit, sweet old wood, marzipan and baking spice. Absolutely stunning. (96 points)
- Andrew: Decanted approximately 5 hours in advance. Followed approximately 1 hour in the glass. On the nose, this is a touch spirity, but has a lovely nose of pure cherry, dark fruit, baking spice, earth, brown sugar, dried fig and toasted nuts. On the palate, this really shines, showing impeccable balance. There is a real elegance to this Port, and tremendous depth of flavour on the palate. Finish is quite long and lingers in the mouth for ages. I could drink this and eat Stilton for hours. (96 points)
- Dave: Decanted for 5 hours ahead.
This was gorgeous…and by far the best 1977 port I have ever had.
Nose was a kaleidoscope of flowers, spice, dark rich fruit, nuts, minerals, figs, spice cake.
Palate was viscous but at the same time very light and elegant….such precision, focus and integration. Myriads of different dark and red fruits mix with a bouquet of flowers and spicy nutty notes.
Finish is long, layered and lush. WOW. Pretty. (96 points)