November 2004
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Day November 14, 2004

Superb wines in October and November

It’s been awhile since I posted about wine; recent events seemed more important to discuss. But I have had some great bottles of wine lately, particularly given an influx of out-of-town visitors and my own travels.

Trimbach 1989 Clos Ste Hune Hors Choix
Amazingly thick and lush, the Hors Choix had a tea and lemon mineral quality, with incredible concentration and length. Truly a phenomenal wine.
Trimbach 1990 Cuvee Frederic Emile
A decent bottle, but paled in comparison to the Hors Choix, which followed. Starting to enter maturity, and a bit awkward compared to 1989 or especially the wonderful 1983, but the austere minerality and lemony fruit in this wine is terrific.
Chapoutier 1990 Barbe Rac Chateauneuf-du-Pape
Delicious upon decanting, and even better an hour later, this is a massive Chateauneuf. Formerly giving a lot of beef aromas, this time it’s hugely leathery and is a dead ringer for a massive Beaucastel. Great floral high tones behind the leather, with some green olives in the palate and a long finish. Incredibly stinky but rich and complex. An incredible wine, even for people who don’t normally like the Chapoutier style.
Jamet 1990 Cote Rotie
Beautifully delicate Cote Rotie, with the dark berry core and a floral high-tone note which gives it great subtlety. The “roasty” element hangs in the background. Great bottle of wine.
Leoville-Las-Cases 1966 St. Julien
A birth-year wine for me, the L-L-C is a great example of mature, sweet, old Bordeaux. The wine is soft and spicy, with terrific aromas and no hard edges.
Vieux Telegraphe 1978 Chateauneuf-du-Pape
My last bottle of the 1978, this was a perfect wine in every way. Drunk at Chez Panisse for my birthday with my friend Bryan Loufbourrow, the wine was not even close to fragile — holding up for a couple of hours in the glass. It did, like its sibling, need time to blossom in the decanter, and was initially closed. Once it opened, the wine showed intensely meaty and spicy aromas with a sweet palate. Sadly, this was my last bottle of a legendary wine, but one can always hope to find it again…
Jamet 1988 Cote Rotie Cote Brune
Also drunk at Chez Panisse, this bottle was sweet and spicy, definitely fuller than the regular bottling, but displaying the same delicacy of floral nose. The roasty background was augmented by a hint of bacon.
Raveneau 1996 Vaillons Chablis
The starting wine to a cassoulet and lamb dinner this week at Cafe Campagne, this Raveneau was tight as a drum, but incredibly good after some time in the glass. Started out steely and with huge acidity, it gained body and depth as it warmed and opened. This wine will benefit from a lot more time in the cellar.
Domaine Tempier 1984 Tourtine Bandol
My last bottle of 1984 Tempier, and it needed to be drunk. Didn’t last all night in the glass, but for a glorious hour the lush, sweet fruit showed “old wine” spiciness, along with the “dusty tree bark” and leather this wine often displays. A coppery hint on the palate after awhile demonstrated that the 1984’s seem poised on a peak, ready to decline.