What a night! 9 people, 8 bottles. The tasting theme: blind tasting of 80s/90s French wine. The lineup was very exciting and aggressive given the number of people actually drinking. But oh well, it was hard to resist when you encountered such a great list of wines.
We started off with the Champagne and White Burgundy. Billecart-Salmon Cuvee Elizabeth Salmon 1999 – a lovely rose displaying elegance and finesse and keeps on showing her inner beauty as the night goes on. Jean Dupont Bourgogne 1969 – it was hard to believe a white wine could last so long and came out fresh after so many decades. Ramonet Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Morgeot 1999 – a very pleasant surprise given its flesh, roundness and superb balance. All of us had mistaken this to be a mature Puligny-Montrachet or Meursault.
Moving on to the red Burgundies, we had a perfect contrast between two Vosne Romanee Premier Crus. Meo Camuzet Les Chaumes 1996 was elegant, with silky tannin and plenty of fruit. The acidity was bright, keeping the wine lively and fresh. This 1996 is in its great drinking window now. Bouchard Aux Reignots 1993 was more powerful and substantial. You would still feel good mouthful of tannin, but with plenty of fruit and structure. It would be exciting to see how this wine further evolves in the next few years.
An interesting contrast of how style differs across appellations, even between small plots of vineyards just within Vosne-Romanee. Both wines demonstrated a balanced depth and richness, while Les Chaumes was more elegant, Aux Reignots was more muscular.
Drouhin-Laroze Bonnes Mares 2001 was brought as a backup in case we wouldn’t have enough wine.The wine quality was no “backup” at all. It showed captivating seduction and harmony. The floral nose was very appealing once pouring into the glass. In fact, most of us at the dinner liked this wine the most as it was so welcoming and approachable. This wine is probably unlikely to further develop so it’s about time to drink up if you are lucky enough to still have some.
For the two Bordeaux wines,we had a classic comparison between Saint-Juline and Saint-Emilion. Leoville-Poyferre 1983 was a very solid wine with sweet nose of licorice and dark fruit. Excellent balance on the palate of fruit and acidity, with tannin already well integrated. Perfect time to enjoy now and no need to wait longer.
Ausone 1978 presented strong green herbaceous elements on the nose. The wine was medium-bodied and quite well structured. There was still evident tannin and good amount of fruit on the palate. It would be interesting to see how this wine evolves and if the fruit would hold up as the tannin softens. Of course, Ausone is known for its amazing ageing potential. Certainly would want to try this wine again if possible at all.
After 4.5 hours of workout for our senses, we finished them all and felt fully satisfied and indulged. Six people brought the wines without prior coordination but the outcome and comparison were simply spectacular.