Well well, here we go again! Another staggering lineup put together by Leo Frokic and company left my head spinning, as usual. When I messaged him in the afternoon to find 4 wines decanting since 12 noon, I knew it would be a marathon- but oh what joy it is to run long distances w/ wines such as these!
I began (already behind apparently) w/ a glass of the lovely Pavillon Blanc 2000. While '01 was the vintage of the century for whites, the rouge-blessed 2000 was not unfair to the Pavillon in any way, shape or form. The aromatics cried mature white Burgundy! Spicy key lime custard and hints of sour candy and nutmeg laced the air. The palate presence was lovely, hinting at flint, clay stone and pear skins. Lip smacking and spot on mineral presence brought a lovely start to my evening. 90 points.
1997 Bienvenue Batard Montrachet, Jadot:
Much deeper golden color than the straw Pavillon. Scintillating scents, suggesting of mature hazelnut oil, and toffee. The palate revealed a wine that seemed MUCH more full of youth w/ vanilla cream, unsalted butter, and glazed pears. Laser sharp acids kept the weight lithe. Lovely depth, and plenty of room to mature. 92+ points
1990 Mont Redon Chateauneuf du Pape
Ruby, w/ some hints at bricking at the rim. Rustic, but beautifully delineated nose expressed leather, chili powder and dill in a pungently classic fashion. A mouth full of black pepper, ripe tobacco, dried figs and plums left a silky texture and some heat on the back end. Ambitious, but just so slightly over-done. Commendable effort...vintage wasn't too shabby either ;) 88 points
1980 Chateau Margaux
My birth year brought very little pleasure from the vine- but Leo's diligence in finding a stud left me handsomely rewarded (what did I do right in my previous life to receive such a wonderful friend whom takes care of me like this?!). A surprisingly young 1980 showed more vibrancy in color and saturation than the 1990 Mont Redon! One of the prettiest perfumes of the evening, and unmistakably classic Margaux. Sweet red peppers, kalamata olives, graphite and ever so slight senses of dried mushroom. Lovely fruit on the entry began w/ silky black currant and finished w/ a caress of milk chocolate. There's actually a bit of unresolved tannin to shed...what a surprise. Gorgeous. 93 points
1985 Chateau Gazin
Speaking of surprises! Leo and myself were swooning over this beauty. Scents of cigar smoke, roasted elements and a piercing tobacco leaf brought a wealth of intrigue to this wine. A mouth full of dark, rich black fruits and cinnamon stick were creamy and verged on decadent. The finish of this wine was pure and a straightforward tone of a freshly wrapped cigar. Long, long explosive finish lingered through the evening. What the wine lacked in suppleness, it made up for in length and concentration. 94 points, a champion!
While this was clearly the most jammy wine of the evening, it was not over the top at all. Flavors of fig paste, black currant, sage, roasted espresso and toasty oak are compelling and profound. Certainly youthful, but expressed wonderful symmetry, concentration and polish. Leo was kicking himself for popping this one (albeit w/ a 10 hour decant!), mister maturity...hey I adored it! Call me a fan of slutty, youthful crowd pleasers...I like 'em all, old, young and in-between. Certainly drinking well, but will continue to evolve for 15 plus years. 95 points.
While the 2000 was a huge hit during out last get together, the 2001 (a much more heralded vintage) was just silly. The buzz was on the 'banana flavor' which the table couldn't deny was more than evident. Hey I love bananas, but they are a tad strange when they come in the shape of a blackhole of a Syrah based Tuscan blend. There were certainly other notes that arose; namely nutmeg, cinnamon and a boatload of sweet spice shot from the glass. The palate was, again, ridiculous. Melted asphalt, fig spread and black licorice overwhelmed the mouth w/ monstrous loads of candied tannin and density. Another oddity was the citric undercurrent that was somewhat obvious and blatant in this 'entity' of a wine. I have no idea where this wine is going or what it's doing, but it dictates everything w/ monstrous muscle and an iron fist. I'll reserve judgment on this puppy for another 50 years...when, perhaps, it will settle into something more wine like.
Oh no you didn't Leo, oh yes he did! Vintage shmintage, who cares that 1993 was deplorable, this chateau doesn't need weather! A cornucopia of scents, that I'd never truly experienced in wine before, find their way from the glass to the nose like a lover spotting his soul mate in a crowded space. Notes of asian spice, root beer, smoke, plumbs, sweet tobacco and spice box present with such wonderful charm and grace. The wine has opulence in spades, even though this is a far from 'profound vintage of Lafleur' it still brings rich texture, fudge coated black cherries and cigar pipe flavors, carried over profound tannins. I suppose one could say that this wasn't effortless or perfect in harmony, but pedigree couldn't be any more obvious. 95 points
As my wife was trying to peel me away from the table, Leo managed to coax an additional 20 minutes outta her so we could jump into the 2003 Tenuta Sette Ponti Oreno. The roasted qualities of the vintage showed through this seriously endowed wine. Plenty of liquified black currant, spice, blueberry and vanilla extract rounded this full bodied Tuscan blend. Gorgeous. 95 points.
Of course the Ornellaia and Oreno are classic quality wines, and the Chateau Margaux and Lafleurs are historical legends...but the treasures in their blissful terroirs can still surprise you when you uncork a bottle of 1980 or 1993 & find something profound can be coaxed out of soils that Mother Nature didn't nurture well at all. Makes you wonder if there are pockets of vineyards that the sun always shines on, even when it's raining everywhere else.
Thank you Leo and Connie...I can't ever express enough gratitude for your generosity. Salud!