About this Blog

The blog focuses on the essence of wine and food, not how many points or stars it receives. The opinions are mine and should be taken only as that, an opinion not gospel.

Like many collectors, initially I was very much influenced by wine ratings. I purchased wines based on points, even if I had never tasted the wine. And it was much worse than that. I would drink a wine with a high rating, not like it, yet since it was highly rated I’d rationalize that I did not yet appreciate the wine, or that my palate was not sophisticated enough to understand the wine. How’s that for lunacy? As a result my cellar grew in all directions while my palate narrowed. By the time I realized the style of wine that I enjoyed, my cellar abounded with wines whose styles I did not enjoy. All of these wines were very highly rated, just not my cup of tea, or glass of wine to be more accurate. Fortunately I was able to sell many of these wines to those who either enjoyed them or wanted highly rated wines. Don’t misunderstand, I am not against wines with high ratings, in fact I own many. It is just that I now purchase wines based on the producer, the style and my palate, not the rating. Nor do I shun reading reviews. I very much respect Antonio Galloni, Alan Meadows, Eric Asimov and John Gilman and read their reviews routinely. I pay attention to what they write, not the points they award.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Another Evening of Aged Red Burgundy

Since December is a busy month for our local wine group, we decided to meet just one week after our last dinner.  Howard was in the wine queue, and selected 5 aged Burgundies for the evening. Since Emil was a bit under the weather and unable to attend we showed some restraint and drank only 4 of the 5.  Howard selected Scalini Fideli, Chatham, NJ as the venue for the tasting. Scalini Fideli is an upscale Italian restaurant with an inclination towards modern Italian cuisine. While the food is deftly prepared, for my palate I find the preparations to be on the rich side. Highlights of the evening included:

Chicken liver and pancetta ravioli in a boscaiola sauce with marsala wine

Butternut Agnolotti with a sage brown butter, amaretti and buffalo mozzarella

Pappardelle in a braised veal shank and marrow sauce with minced cherry pepper and a hint of Italian mascarpone

Veal chop with a porcini-dijon sauce served with braised vegetables

Jeff brought along a bottle of white, 2011 Francois Carillon Bourgogne, to kick off the evening. The Domaine has been located in Puligny-Montrachet since the sixteenth century and produces white wines racy, elegant, fruity while embodying perfectly the terroir of soil their Chardonnays come from.  Bourgogne is the entry-level wine in Burgundy.  The wines are made from the grapes that don’t qualify for Permier Cru or Grand Cru wines.  From producers like Carillon they represent great value and can be enjoyed in their youth as well as with age.  Tonight’s wine was crisp, round and delicious with a wonderful finish.  $25.  Wine-Searcher.

1996 Robert Arnoux/Arnoux-Lachaux Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Les Suchots.   One of the flagship wines of the estate, the wine is aged in 40 – 60% new oak for 16 months.  The wine drank very well, like a good aged Burgundy usually does.  The oak was seamlessly integrated.  A nicely balanced wine that was a bit too cold to appreciate the underlying fruit and pedigree of the wine.  I would love to drink this after about 3 hours of aeration.  $249.  Wine-Searcher.

1999 Comte Armand Pommard 1er Cru Clos des Epeneaux.  This famous Clos, a magnificent parcel of five hectares, is one of the 10 largest premier or grand cru monopolies of the Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuits.  The wine is made from 100% de-stemmed fruit, keeping most of the berries whole, not crushed.  Depending on the appellation and age of the vines, the wines age18 to 24 months in barrels, with a percentage of new oak ranging from 0% for the Village appellations to 30% for the old vines of Clos des Epeneaux.  I really liked this wine.  The purity and complexity of the wine was apparent with the first sip.  The wine had a beautifully elegant feminine palate and finished with considerable length.  It was my favorite of the evening.  $183.  Wine-Searcher.

1989 Domaine Maume Mazis-Chambertin Grand Cru.  Maume is a relatively tiny estate in Gevrey-Chambertin.  The vines average 50 years of age.   A nice bottle of wine, that was a bit more tired than a bottle I had 3 years back.  It lacked the purity and vibrancy of the Armand.  More recent vintages will cost in the neighborhood of $150 to $200.

1985 Louis Jadot Chambertin Clos De Beze Grand Cru.  Louis Jadot has been making superb red and white Burgundy wines since 1859.  The estate produces wines that are rich and sumptuous with terrific balance of power, elegance and finesse.  The wine sees 18 to 20 months in oak barrels before bottling.  I found this to be much better than the Maume with more vibrant fruit and balance on the palate, yet with much less complexity, finesse and depth than the Armand.  A wine that should be drunk sooner than later in my opinion.  This vintage is also no longer available. More recent vintages will set you back around $400.

Nicely done Howard.


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