Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A night of wines at Victoria and Albert's: Guest post by Ron Siegel

Last Saturday I invited some of our wine friends to attend a dinner at the Chef's Table at Victoria and Alberts Restaurant. Each participant contributed bottles of wine to accompany the dinner.  I matched 18 of the wines into flights and banished the remainder into the wine bags for dispatch at a future time. 

This night would be about the reds so I limited the whites and Champagnes opened in order to ensure that our group of 7 could get through this amazing line up.

The Champagne was a Ruinart Blanc de Blancs NV that the restaurant had put on ice for us.  This was a decent Champagne with a nose of lemon and biscuit and with a lighter finish. A simple but refreshing aperitif. 90 pts.

The white was a 1997 Peter Michael Belle Cote Chardonnay.  Purchased on release, this wine had a nice golden yellow color, nose of tangerine and apple with some nice floral tones. It drank beautifully for it's 15 years of age. Nice acidity and long finish. 94 pts.

Flight One

This was a Burgundy flight which was led off by a 1937 Boisseaux-Estivant Bourgogne Réserve de la Chevre Noire .  This was one of the biggest surprises of the night. A bouquet of sour cherry, mushroom and orange peel with sweet and smokey barbecue tones.  I really enjoyed this wine as it seemed to hold its intensity for at least an hour. All you could ever expect from a Bourgogne! 95 pts.

The second wine in the flight was a 1947 Vandermeulen Chambertin.  Dark color with very sweet ripe fruit but not that interesting as it lacked enough acid to balance the fruit. Rather disappointing for the vintage and not as good as the 1937. 90 pts.

The 1959 Caves du Chateau F 'Troyes Clos Vougeot had a soaring nose of red fruit, asian spice, iron, soy, and beef broth.  Andres detected Umami. This wine had incredible length and richness on the palate and seemed to get better with time. I love Clos Vougeot and this was a good one. 97 pts. This was the group’s wine of the flight.

Flight Two

This was a Bordeaux-only flight and was led off by a 1966 La Mission Haut Brion. Wow! It has been a long time since we had a Bordeaux that beat the Burgundies and this was the Groups’ WOTN. I can not keep my hands off this wine. La Mish and Lafleur are my two favorite Bordeaux wines followed by the older vintages of Lynch Bages.  This wine presented a Kaleidoscope of flavors beginning with sweet blackcherry, smoke, tar, cigar box, soy, spice, and mineral. Bev and Paula asked if they could bottle this and put into a perfume spray. The finish is near perfect as it has reached it's peak and well stored bottles will keep for several more years. 99 pts.

The 1966 Haut Brion did not seem quite right. I detected some VA on the nose. and the fruit seemed stewed and somewhat maderized.  I have had better bottles of this wine. DQ’d

Flight Three

Flight three was a Bordeaux blend flight but with the inclusion of a Napa star.  The first wine was the 2001 Ausone.  A nose of red fruits, espresso, mocha, and graphite.  Great balance with elegant and silky tannins. Wonderful length with glycerin and good minerality. This was class in a glass and definitely 1st growth quality.  Just needs more time. 95 pts

The 1989 Lynch Bages had a huge nose of black fruits, cedar, lead pencil, tobacco, and earth. Large structure and great finish. This will turn out to be one of the great vintages of Lynch but still could use more time. 97 pts.

One of the great Dominus vintages and one of the true Napa greats, the 1991 Dominus 
should have been placed blind into this flight.  I know that no one tonight would have thought that this was anything but a great Bordeaux. This wine is fully mature and showing amazing complexity with black currants, cedar, leather, tobacco, and earth.  Long finish. Very Pauillac-like. The 1991 never disappoints! 98 pts The groups’ WOTF.

Flight Four

This flight was a mix of Rhones and Burgundy.  The 1999 Charmes Chambertin Roty was a very nice Burgundy which showed cherry, bacon fat,  iron and beef broth and floral notes. Creamy texture. This showed a masculine style and matched up well with the Rhones. 95 pts

The 2000 Rayas CdP showed cherry, kirsch liqueur and rose petal on the nose. Rayas to me is the most Burgundian of the CDP's and this vintage shows it's elegance and purity of fruit. The group seemed to really love this wine. They have almost become impossible to find. 97pts. Groups’ WOTF

The next wine in the flight was the 2000 Usseglio Deux Freres CdP.  Next to the Rayas this has always been one of my favorite CdPs.  This wine kept getting better in the glass. Nose of garrigue, earth, kirsch, licorice, and flowers. Saucy texture with a beautiful finish. 97 pts.

Flight Five

The solitary wine in this flight was the 1968 BV Georges de Latour Pivate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.  This has always been the best vintage of BVPR and usually drinks like a 10-year-old Cab. This bottle was a bit more mature than others we had in the past showing red berry and plum fruits with graphite and cedar and a slight tawny-port-like note. This had a classic BV nose that I could have guessed blind as we have done a number of verticals of this wine in the past. Not the best 1968 BV that I have tried. 92 pts.

Flight Six ( Cheese Course) 

2009 B Cellars. This wine was purchased at the Premier Napa Valley Barrel Auction.
Big California style of a wine with rich red fruits and chocolate-covered cherries on the palate. If you like big, rich, and fat, this would fit the bill nicely. 

2005 Numanthia Termanthia.  A bouquet of blackberries and currants with spice box, chocolate, and flowers.  I loved the balance and finish of this wine. This is a big and expressive wine that just needs some more time in the cellar. 95 pts.

Flight Seven ( Dessert Course)

The first wine in this flight was the 1985 Raymond Lafon.  This wine accompanied the first dessert course which was Banana creme. Apricot and honey. A lighter and elegant style of Sauternes. 91 pts

Nick suggested that we substitute the chocolate dessert for the Creme Brûlée as it would be a better match for the 1996 Yquem. This again registered apricot and honey along with a creme brûlée.  Loved the nose.  I liked the weight of this as it was not too heavy and had great acidity that went well with the dessert. A mouthful of citrus and honey with a creamy texture. 95 pts.

This was a fabulous night of great food and wine. I had so much fun that the 7 hrs seemed to have flown by. I can't wait to do it again!

©Wine -- Mise en abyme

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