Epic dinner with epic wines incl. Dom Ruinart, PYCM Batard, DRC, Gros, Dujac, Gaja, VCC, Sassacai, Dal Forno. d`Yquem ++

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Blake Brown
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Epic dinner with epic wines incl. Dom Ruinart, PYCM Batard, DRC, Gros, Dujac, Gaja, VCC, Sassacai, Dal Forno. d`Yquem ++

Post by Blake Brown » Wed Dec 11, 2019 10:40 am

Our dinner group culminated the year with our 21st Millennium dinner typically held in the Cork Room of the fine bouchon restaurant.

This group is renown for drinking quite well and each and every dinner includes some amazing wines. On this night, there are 15-25 such wines. We had great champagnes, white GC Burgs, red GC Burgs, top Italians and dessert wines and more.

Owner and good guy, Mitchell Sjerven, orchestrated another spectacular dinner for us. He coordinated with Chef, Greg Murphy, to prepare an outstanding menu and even did a separate one for me unsolicited with my preference for vegetarian fare {see attached}.

So we ate and drank extremely well and often and avoided calling for an ambulance in favor of an Uber. Since I live nearby, it’s my duty to avoid being arrested for drunk walking.

We stared with 4 spectacular champagnes.

2004 GASTON-CHIQUET GRAND CRU BLANC de BLANC BRUT d`AY in magnum- delicious peach, pear, kumquat and lemon custard notes prevail throughout; its got a nice frothy mousse, good acidity and richness.

2004 DOM RUINART BLANC de BLANC BRUT in magnum- this was a wowzer from the nose through the tail with serious intentions and inviting aromas of mild and spicy citrus followed by more distinct lemon, lime, kiwi and apple fruit; it was super rich and creamy which gave it fantastic mouthfeel; in perfect balance, it had elegance and charm along with bright acidity; very impressive.

2007 DOM RUINART BLANC de BLANC BRUT- 750 ml; with a comparison between this and the 04`; I heard some going back and forth amongst the troops as to which was their fav; other than the bottle size, there were distinct differences; this one had a little more fruit with a honeyed overtone, a bit more body, less elegance and balance; conclusion: their both really good and on any occasion each would be well appreciated solo.

2002 PIPER-HEIDSIECK CUVEE RARE- 70% Chardonnay and 30% Pinot Noir, with just under 10 grams of dosage; I seem to get a common thread when I have most wines from this house and that is a streak of pepper intertwined in the taste profile which was definitely the case for this bottle; it had a lush and creamy feel good mousse that carried the toasty, peppery citrus, peach and apple fruit all the way through; the bottle presentation is pretty classy too with a gold leaf design.

Next came 4 white Burgundy poured in pairs with the natural tendency to compare one against the other:

2009 FAIVELEY CORTON CHARLEMAGNE GRAND CRU- this had a super fine nose of fresh citrus which on the palate translated into lemon and lime along with a streak of minerals and an accent of ginger; this was clean and crisp and just kept on giving to the delight of all.

2004 PIERRE-YVES COLIN-MOREY BATARD-MONTRACHET GRAND CRU- just one hit on the nose was all it took to realize this is extra special and now I’m already judging it against the Faiveley; minerals, flint and massive citrus fruit prevailed in the aromatics and then in the taste profile with lemon zest, green apple and pear; it was full bodied, rich and round and exuded royalty; it’s impeccable balance may be its hallmark; stunning wine as was the 09`.

I think the vote for the best may have been 50/50.

2015 HENRI BOILLOT CLOS de la MOUCHERE PULIGNY-MONTRACHET 1er Cru- thanks to the one who brought this, I’ve had the 09` and 16` in the last few months and all shined magnificently; so, it was with high expectations that I ventured into this one and much to my delight, it was as superlative as the others; it was savory, bright and brilliant with generous spice and mineral infused citrus fruit; it had optimal balance, feel and length; a great wine, vintage after vintage.

2013 PHILLIPE COLIN CHEVALIER-MONTRACHET GRAND CRU- the nose was so good with honeyed citrus and stone fruit that became lemon, orange peel, peach and apple with a touch of butterscotch in the taste, all accentuated by the streak of honey; even the texture was honey like being smooth, viscous and creamy.

Both were fabulous and once again, close to a 50/50 vote.

Of the 4, I have to go with the PYCM as the star among stars.

Intermingled between the white and red Burgs came this outstanding

2014 WEINGUT KELLER ABTS E {WESTHOFEN BRUNNENHAUSCHEN} RIESLING TROKEN in magnum- the lengthy narrow tall bottle shape was fun enough, but what was inside was more fun and extremely rewarding; the nose had expected mineral and petrol notes, but the taste had marvelous flavors of honeyed tropical fruit with passion fruit most prominent; it was served up in an oily, viscous texture; this was really a treasure that just kept on unfolding and giving. Thank you.

We’re quite ready for the exquisite red Burgs in waiting, so here they come in pairs:

2001 DUJAC CLOS SAINT-DENIS GRAND CRU- the nose was amazing with cinnamon and spicy fruit; the taste had mild earthy and leathery ripe black cherry; it was full bodied and seamless with a smooth mouthfeel; this just exuded class and sophistication.

1993 DOMAINE CORTOCHOT CHARMESCHAMBERTIN GRAND CRU- aromas of toast and smoke are joined by burnt cherry which are also present on the palate along with a hit of clove that comes in late; it was full bodied with lots of depth and length.

2009 DOMAINE de la ROMANEE-CONTI ECHEZEAU GRAND CRU- of course just seeing the label upgrades any of the content subjectively and I had the thought of how would I grade this if tasted blind?; regardless, it was superlative, subjective or otherwise, with a perfect invitational aroma of fresh rose petals and all spice accented red and dark fruit, in fact, the color was a really dark ruby red; it had rich and bright red cherry flavors and the smooth texture served to glide all of the goodness to the back end where everything just hung out for a grand finish.

2012 GROS FRERE et SOEUR CLOS VOUGEOT MUSIGNI GRAND CRU- having a few bottles and not knowing where they are in this early stage, I decided to pull one and decant it 3+ hours in advance to give it chance to be older than 7 years; it showed real well with outstanding elegance from the nose through the tail; spicy raspberry and strawberry aromas were followed by more of the same plus red cherry and black raspberry while being delivered in a soft and smooth textured medium; it exuded a stately, regal aura and now I can just allow the others to age gracefully with full confidence of a stellar experience.

Next came 2 gems from Gaja, one of this group`s favorite producers, in fact, one of our future dinners will feature a theme of just Gaja wines:

1997 GAJA COSTA RUSSI LANGHE- 100% Nebbiolo; this is the epitome of elegance, grace and charm from the nose to the back end; it’s just easy all the way through with soft and gentle expressions, yet significant and fulfilling nuances; there’s noticeable oak influence but it’s nicelt integrated and the plum and blackberry fruit is simply delicious; loved this.

A bit about Costa Russi

A single vineyard acquired by the Gaja family in 1967. The name comes from the term "costa", the side of a hill facing the sun, and "Russi" is a nickname of the previous owner.
Its grape variety distribution from vintage 1996 to 2011 was c. 95% Nebbiolo and 5% Barbera, with 12 months in barriques and then 12 months in large oak casks. From 1996 to 2011 it was classified Langhe Nebbiolo DOC. Starting with the 2013 vintage the Costa Russi along with the other two single vineyard Barbaresco wines saw the removal of the 5% Barbera and a return to being classified as Barbaresco DOCG.

2008 GAJA CONTEISA LANGHE- we took quite a jump up in vintage and maintained the same level of class and elegance; the nose was so good with wild red cherry/ berry notes and then in the taste profile came flavorful red plum and red cherry with some tobacco and mocha accents; it was super smooth and easy and reeked of, here’s that word again, elegance.

A bit about Conteisa (Conteisa Cerequio)

The name is Piedmontese for "quarrel", referring to a historic dispute between the communes La Morra and Barolo, both claiming the Cerequio land.
Its grape variety distribution is 100% Nebbiolo, with 12 months in barriques followed by 12 months in large oak casks. It is classified Langhe Nebbiolo DOC.

We now get 3 individual bottles of super fine wines:

1990 VIEUX CHATEAU CERTAN POMEROL- 60%  Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc; 10% Cabernet Sauvignon; I love blueberry pie and this is so mindful of it, blueberries, blueberries and more blueberries; yes there’s more to it as indicated by the nice spicy, clove accents and dried red cherry/ berry notes; this was in nice balance, had great feel and a welcomed long finish.

1985 TENUTA SAN GUIDO SASSACAIA BOLGHERI- I`ve hestiated to ever single out the one greatest wine I’ve ever had, but if I did {and I did on this occasion}, it is this wine; so, one can imagine I was in 7th heaven when I saw it coming around; after this drum roll intro, I can say it was a really good bottle; the color was a still very youthful dark purple; the aromas were intense with wild red cherry and cranberry and the taste included some chocolate laced ripe black cherry and black currant; it was super concentrated with serious depth and complexity and yet had finesse and charm; damn close to the best one I’ve ever had.

2009 DAL FORNO ROMANO MONTE LODOLETTA AMARONE della VALPOLICELLA- 16.5% abc; made from Corvina, Rodinella, Oseleta and Croatina; the inky black, teeth staining color was expected as I’ve had to go to the dentist for teeth whitening after drinking this in the past {sort of kidding}; I got my fix of blueberries again really soon with this splendid wine which gave a lot more; it was thick and syrupy and had mint chocolate, eucalyptus, sweetened blackberry and black cherry blending in with the aforementioned blueberry; with it’s mild degree of sweetness, it’s a perfect segue into the really sugary ones coming up next.

Our grand finale, 4 dessert wines, all of high pedigree:

2009 RIEUSSEC SAUTERNES- 750 ml; blend of 84.5% Semillon, 11.5% Sauvignon Blanc and 4% Muscadelle, 160 g/l residual sugar, 13.8% abv; it was loaded with honeyed lemon, apricot and peach with butterscotch and ginger joining in; this just glided down the pipe aided by its honey like texture.

2001 CHATEAU LAFAURIE- PEYRAGUEY SAUTERNES- 375 ML; reddish copper color; this is really intense with a super syrupy texture carrying highly extracted and honey coated apricot, pineapple and caramel notes with some nutmeg in the background.

2001 CHATEAU `d`YQUEM SAUTERNES- 750 ml; 80% Semillon, 20% Sauvignon Blanc; I’ve had many a bottle of this wondrous sweetie and all have been spectacular with this one now added to the list; showing consistently with past impressions, it had a light yellow gold hue and very inviting aromatics of floral and tropical notes along with a touch of honeyed stone fruit; true to the nose, the taste profile is loaded and layered with pleasurable vanilla and honeyed pineapple, lemon zest, peach and apricot; a hallmark is its bright acidity and creamy rich full bodied texture. Wow!

2001 ZIND-HUMBRECHT PINOT GRIS CLOS JEBSAL SELECTION de GRANS NOBLE- honeyed and super sweet, it had chocolate, pineapple, orange mandarin, apricot and more; a yummy treat.

There have been times when tasting 22 wines would have been a palate frying experience and fortunately, this was not one of them. Also, it’s quite remarkable that we did not have one flawed wine. What’s even more remarkable is the quality of brings from the members of our group who stepped up as usual for this event. What’s the date of our next Millennium dinner next December? I can hardly wait.


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