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DINNER IN NYC - North End Grill - New York, NY (4/20/2013)

After balking on dinner a couple of months ago, I finally made it into the city. A small group assembled at the North End Grill for a mostly Bordeaux night. Lots of incredible wines this night; the best champagne I've ever had and probably the best riesling I've ever had. Hard to ask for much more!

Thanks to Faryan, Salil, Ross, Michael and David for doing the leg work on the venue and reservation.
  • 1981 Krug Champagne Clos du Mesnil - France, Champagne, Le Mesnil Sur Oger, Champagne
    A really special bottle of wine. Had all the power and complexity of Krug, but with lovely tertiary truffle and earth tones that are just incredible. The palate went from one minute being rich and sweet with briochei and hazelnut notes to mineral, floral, and cool fruit notes the next. It kept us on our toes surprised many of us with its stunning freshness. One of those rare bottles of wine where everything is nearly perfect. (99 pts.)
  • 1990 Peter Lauer Saar Riesling Sekt - Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer
    A strange nose of root beer (good call Michael) I thought the palate was quite decent. A couple people at the table had already tried more sound bottles so they were adamant that this was flawed. NR (flawed)

1990 Wachau
  • 1990 Franz Hirtzberger Riesling Smaragd Singerriedel - Austria, Niederösterreich, Wachau
    Jeez this was great. This was the oldest Singerriedel I've ever had and it was nearly flawless. Incredibly exotic nose of lanolin, lychee, white peaches, and crushed stone. Lovely palate with all the richness and purity of a young Singerriedel mixed with the regal, more elegant personality that comes with age. Nice petrol notes blended flawlessly with tangerine, peach and pears. Tingly acidity was the icing on top...still so fresh. (97 pts.)
  • 1990 Prager Riesling Auslese Weissenkirchen Ried Klaus - Austria, Niederösterreich, Wachau
    Lots of peach and mango on the nose. Elegant, floral, but still zippy this was great. If I'm being honest, this was a lovely Riesling...the oldest Prager I've had, but I was distracted by the 1990 Hirtzberger Singerriedel that was served next to it. (93 pts.)

Younger Bordeaux Varietals
  • 1996 Domaine Bernard Baudry Chinon Les Grézeaux - France, Loire Valley, Touraine, Chinon
    Killer stuff. Kinda reminded me of a 1995 Cheval Blanc I had in mid-2012...maybe not as rich, but close. What this didn't have in richness, it made up for in elegance and earth. Lovely forestal, green pea, fresh cherry and dirt notes are perfectly Chinon. Many of us asked each other, "why we don't own more of these?" after finishing it. Remarkable. (95 pts.)
  • 1998 Château Trotanoy - France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol
    This was a great experience. Lovely rich dark fruits, smokey notes, cedar, and some tobacco. The palate was sweet, floral and precise. Didn't have that second gear that one would hope for, but I think it's just hopelessly young at this point. On its own, I can see this being quite attractive and sexy - but in this company it seemed a bit big and burly. (90 pts.)
  • 1998 Valandraud - France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru
    Served blind.

    I really like this! Seemed to have a cool fruit profile, nice earth, tobacco and currant notes. The palate certainly had som heft to it, but was nicely balanced and fresh. I was surprised the bottle was this young when Faryan revealed it. 15 going on 20. (93 pts.)

Older Bordeaux
  • 1978 Château Haut-Brion - France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan
    This is what I love about Bordeaux, Graves, & Haut Brion. It has all the earthy, dark fruited, smokey notes that makes Haut Brion my favorite first growth. Parts of this wine had a more animalistic, meaty edge to it...not all that different from an aged Cornas. Intensely elegant, I thought this was drinking in a perfect spot. Another fine example of beautiful 1978 Graves! (96 pts.)
  • 1975 Château Figeac - France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru
    God damn this smells like Barolo! Tar, dark fruits, violets...if I tasted this blind, no doubt I would have said Barolo. The palate was more suggestive of a Bordeaux with some green notes, reddish fruits, and a soft floral note. A bit tart and acidic, this is certainly NOT a 100pt Parker wine...thank god. (91 pts.)
  • 1981 Château Gruaud Larose - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien
    At times, this wine just really hits me the right way. Old skool claret. I doubt know about everyone else at the table, but damn, I thought this was fresh. Luckily, it did have those secondary and tertiary - smoke, earth, dark fruits and cedar. Great acidity on the finish this is a sentimental favorite as it's a birth year wine of mine! (94 pts.)

  • 1983 Egon Müller Scharzhofberger Riesling Auslese Auction - Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer
    This was a let down. Certainly a nice Auslese, but I was hoping for more. It was clear that this was missing the freshness that can make older Auslese some of the finest wines in the world. The tropical fruit and petrol were there in spades, but the acidity was about 3-4 levels too low. (89 pts.)

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