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TN: A Sunday Afternoon

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Spent a Sunday afternoon at a friend's place with a couple of other wine-obsessed folks. Generous host, great spread of assorted hors d'oeuvre/light lunch kind of food, interesting wines. I could do this every Sunday.

(More than) a token white

  • 1986 Francois Jobard Meursault Les Poruzots 1er Cru - France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Meursault
    Rich gold that shows significant but not worrying age. Nose is initially mute, showing a bit of disconcertingly nutty and potentially sherried character. Palate also seems a bit flat, with ripe apple and some mineral. Give it some time and an old lesson is learned once again: older wines often need time to recover their legs and begin to move about. This one never quite dances with youthful vigor, but it picks up enough good acidic nervosity on the palate to keep one interested in the emerging mineral and apple/peach fruit. Originally worrying nose moves into nuts and honey and even a little citrus, with a pleasingly soft finish that perhaps displays a bit of that ’86 botrytis one sometimes finds. Just gets better and better with time. Fully mature but with plenty of life left if its in-the-glass evolution is any indication. Perhaps my favorite Meursault producer, even without regard to Jobard’s very reasonable pricing.

And now for something different...

  • 2005 Kosta Browne Pinot Noir Rosé - USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley
    Pinkish rosé with a bit of orange to it. Slightly sweet but fresh nose of strawberry and a touch of cinnamon, showing hints of other bright red fruit from time to time. To start, the palate seems neither hot nor sweet, despite the high alcohol levels. You know, I could add this to the summer rosé list. Only notice the alcohol on the finish and then only if I’m actively looking for it. Good effort and a shame it’s too high alcohol to quaff for an afternoon.

Hot fun in the summertime or ... the spirit(y) of '76

  • 1976 Louis Remy Clos de la Roche - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Morey St. Denis
    Advanced but not decayed red that is tending toward orange, almost like an older nebbiolo. Nose immediately shows the ripeness of the vintage in a still appealing ripe plum character with a bit of hot earth. Palate is a bit more tired, with no freshness and fruit that long ago lost its crunch. Rapidly moves more and more into a roasted character, with only the earth to hint at its origin. Wilting and slightly spirity finish confirms that – whatever it might once have been – it is now no more than a confirmation that 1976 was damn hot.
  • 1976 Hubert de Montille Volnay Taillepieds 1er Cru - France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Volnay
    Color has lightened significantly from what I imagine the ‘76s originally looked like, but still carries a bit of cherry brightness. Nose is initially closed and palate seems a bit thin. But soon, lesson learned again (see Jobard above). Nose picks up a bit of warm but fresh earth, just ripe cherry and black fruit, and a good degree of decaying leaf. Palate begins to show a bit more of the vintage character, with a level of ripeness and warmth that is uncharacteristic of Montille. There’s even a little gently roasted plum in here, but there’s still that signature acid that makes even a vintage like this live forever. Never as fresh or bright or piercing as leaner vintages can be, but still gaining detail throughout the afternoon. This is the wine I keep coming back to.

Not quite summer wines (but I'll drink them any day)

  • 1989 M. Chapoutier Hermitage Le Pavillon - France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Hermitage
    Still deep and dark and looking pretty young. Nose immediately screams northern Rhone, with bacon fat and a dose of barnyard along with an undercurrent of dense dark fruit. Palate seems blocked somehow, with a little meatiness and some chocalatey dark fruit but not much more. Give it time… Even with time, this never really develops, though it is still pleasant to drink. Shows the hulking size and some of the deep rich elements one looks for from a Chapoutier Hermitage, but never really opens up and just seems blunted. No noticeable TCA and problems seem more barnyard oriented, but something is keeping this from showing its stuff. Awkward phase? Maybe, but I’m guessing somehow flawed.
  • 1990 Paul Jaboulet Aîné Hermitage La Chapelle - France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Hermitage
    Lighter in color than the Chapoutier, with a dark red showing hints of lighter ruby. Nose is initially restrained in size but complex in character with bits of meat and leather and cherry and black fruit. Palate has that combination of elegance and hidden size that promises a lot, but it doesn’t initially deliver much. With time (a good bit of it), the volume on the nose gets higher and that same meatiness comes out amidst the darkish fruit on the palate, followed by a kick of spice on the finish. It’s opening ever so slowly but steadily. Despite considerable ripe tannin, it still shows a balance and purity that promises much to come. Opened ten years too early if my guess is any good; I’d love to have tasted this the next day.

And a drop of claret to finish

  • 1989 Château L'Evangile - France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol
    Maturing, but not fading appearance. Nose shows a bit of rich cassis and blackberry fruit with an additional whiff of licorice for richness. Palate is round and smooth with a bit of residual tannin that stays nicely out of the way, but is never seductive or lush. A bit of the expected ripe plum comes out toward the back of the palate. Good, solid, balanced, but perhaps lacking a bit of concentration. Nose promises a little more than the palate delivers.

A clear lesson that older wines often need to be given time. How much greatness do we miss when we blow through them quickly at an offline?

Posted from CellarTracker

Jim Jones

London, England

Never teach a pig to sing. It only wastes your time and frustrates the pig.

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