With due diligence and exceptional attention to detail, Matt & Bryan put together one hell of an event last night. From the fantastic selection of artisan cheeses to the laminated programs, these gentlemen went all out. A special thanks to Matt's parents for hosting, and another for their hospitality. On to the wines!
- 1958 Giacomo Conterno Barolo Riserva Monfortino
Burnt orange core, fading into a light amber rim. A fantastic nose that popped from the decanter, with notes of Bing Cherry, Chai, and a very nice, but delicate floral component.
Initially a bit shy on the palate, this really blossomed after a couple hours of air. Fruit perhaps slightly beyond full maturity revealed notes of allspice & dark berry. Wonderful expansion with resolved tannins lead to a 30+ second finish. An all-around amazing experience. My #6 of the night. (94)
- 1978 Bruno Giacosa Barbaresco Santo Stefano
Medium ruby core, with only slight signs of bricking at the rim. One of the most complex noses of the night, dominated by dark fruit, burnt rubber (perhaps "Tar," but in a good way), and sandalwood.
The palate on this one was fantastic, with mouth-coating tannins that could still see some resolution. Notes of Blood Orange, Spice Box, and menthol give way to a 45 second finish. Although there was no official vote, I believe the Giacosa was the unofficial WOTN for most of the group. It was my #5. (94+)
- 1947 Giacomo Borgogno & Figli Barolo Riserva Antichi Vigneti Propri
Burnt orange throughout. An absolute brilliant nose of Raspberry Preserves, aged leather, and wintergreen. Gorgeous on the palate, with fruit that is not only still alive and well, but fresh! Remarkable, considering that this was the oldest bottle in the lineup. Additional notes of Earl Grey Tea, Dark Cherry, and Cinnamon. Expansive mouthfeel gives way to a 45 second finish. My favorite of the Italians, #4 of the night, and perhaps the best Barolo I have ever tried. (97)
- 1961 Fontanafredda Barolo
A nice, but fragile offering that was but an echo of a drinking window that has come and gone. Delicate and faint notes of tea, herb, and rose petal lead to a hollow palate and finish. This was more of an educational experience. Not Scored
- 1988 Taittinger Champagne Brut Blanc de Blancs Comtes de Champagne
Deep straw & micro-beaded. Exceptional nose of Yeast, Baked Apple, and Black Walnut. Very rich with high acidity on the palate, with more notes of Mousse, Vanilla bean, and Green Apple. 45+ second finish. Absolutely delicious, and my favorite Champer of the evening. (96+)
- 1988 Krug Champagne Brut
Deep Gold in color & tiny bead. This one needed some time in the decanter, and was open for business after about (90) minutes. Tell-tale Krug nose of caramel, apple pie, and toast. Slightly oxidative on the palate, revealing additional notes of baked bread, almonds, and sherry. Glorious mouthfeel and expansion with a finish that approached 60 seconds. Though my preference was with the Comtes by a small margin, the group seemed to unofficially deem this as the Champer of the night. (96)
Hermitage Solo Flight
- 1988 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage
Deep, dark ruby, with no noticeable signs of bricking. Explosive nose of Game, Steak Blood, Smoke, Black Cherry, and Wild Flower was the most complex of the evening. On the palate, flavors of plum, smoked meat, leather, and anise coat every nook and cranny of the mouth. The finish didn't want to let go, lasting for almost (90) seconds. A mind-blowing wine, that will be a future addition to my cellar. My #2 for the night. (98)
- 1995 Moët & Chandon Champagne Cuvée Dom Pérignon
A nice addition to the lineup, the Dom was a light straw, with a slightly larger bead than the two '88's. A bright nose, with notes of Sourdough, Green Melon, Vanilla & Meyer Lemon. On the palate, sweet fruits, medium weight, with a lot of minerality, & long finish. A very nice Champer among a long list of heavy-hitters. (92)
- 1966 Château Haut-Brion
Added to the lineup, courtesy of Gkapoor. This wine was beyond words, but I'll give it a try. Dark, nearly opaque ruby core with only the slightest tinge of amber on the rim. On the nose, it is as if I have walked into a cigar shop. Notes of aged Maduro, Black Licorice, Saddle Leather, Blackberry, and Gravel make up a truly haunting nose. On the palate, seamless & integrated tannins accompany flavors of Black Truffles, Cedar, Tobacco, and rich Dark Fruit. (60) second finish. This wine is in a perfect place right now, but will provide drinking pleasure on this level for a least another decade. Majestic on every level, with no noticeable flaw. I cannot ask for any more in a wine. My #1, and WOTY so far. (99+)
- 1983 Château Margaux
(Flawed) This bottle appeared to have suffered heat damage at some point.
- 1983 Château d'Yquem
This one required the most amount of air in the lineup. Rather cloying and unctuous upon first taste, I didn't get much. However, once this reached room temperature after (2) hours in the decanter, it was an ethereal experience. Extremely complex on the nose, with notes of Creme Brulee, Roasted Marshmallow, Papaya, Orange Peel, & Apricot. Super rich and oily on the palate, with explosive flavors of Heavy Whipped Cream, French Vanilla, & Pineapple. Pure, delicious, liquid silk. This wine is drinking superb, and will probably outlive me. The best Sauternes I have had to date. My #3 for the night. (98+)
- 1989 Huët Vouvray Cuvée Constance
Last, but certainly not least in the company of these gems. A bit lighter in color than the d'Yquem, with a great nose of Honey, Caramel Apple, & Vanilla. On the palate, wonderfully smooth, and lightweight compared to the Sauternes. Rich flavors of Honeysuckle, Lemon, Pecan, and French Vanilla lead to a 30+ second finish. A brilliant wine in its own right, the group seemed to prefer this over the d'Yquem. For me, there was no comparison, and the Sauternes provided a much more complex experience. (92)
* My only regret for the night was leaving too early. Matt's father graciously invited us to stay for a steak dinner, but the wife and I had already arranged for transportation to Bouchon. They say hind sight's 20/20. We should have stayed! Bouchon ended up being a complete joke of an experience, not even in the same room as its Napa counterpart. "Cheesecake Factory stealing some food from Mc D's" just about sums up the quality of the dinner. Actually, I shouldn't knock Cheesecake Factory that bad!
At any rate, I'd like to offer another sincere thanks to Matt, Bryan, & Matt's parents for putting this event together. Great people, great wine, and we look forward to doing it all again soon.