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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Main Event

D’Angerville Clos des Ducs Volnay, 2001
Starting off the evening w/ our ‘white’ wine, this red Burgundy’s best sip was its last, but the ride to the finish was a lovely jaunt all the way. A transparent, shy ruby color foreshadowed a lifted, primary nose of rose petals, bing cherry and freshly tilled loam. The palate was all about presence and purity, as crunchy acidity pumped along the beam of red-fruited flavors to a finish of understated elegance, firming up w/ a cackle of white strawberry fruit, 88 points.

Chave Hermitage Blanc, 1994
To me, the fine white Hermitage is the pinnacle experience in dry white wine, but how often does one get to taste an older bottle? Well, the golden gods shined upon us, and sticking our noses into this classy nugget revealed a wondrous cornucopia of honeysuckle, marzipan, citrus oil, golden flowers, walnuts and nearly over-ripe figs. The second this beauty hit my mouth I swore that my tongue was drenched in a riverbed of blue stones, only to be enveloped completely by a huge, mouth-filling array of intense fruit that just wouldn’t quit. How can a wine be impaling in its stoniness, yet hedonistic in its ripeness? Here’s the answer, 98 points.

Marcarini La Serra Barolo, 1996
Asher’s hefty 7 plus hour decant demonstrated that no airtime is sufficient for a young Barolo, yet we enjoyed the hell out of this one anyway. The nose was a slow seduction, with subtle black truffle shavings, sandalwood and dark cherry fruit filling the room upon vigorous swirling. While the aromas where a slow dance, the palate was a tour de force of razor sharp definition that cut its spicy, primary fruit w/ a blade so sharp that Rambo himself would be honored to use it. The tannins are still monstrous, yet there is extraordinary purity that keeps the fruit blissfully focused atop the structure & makes it deceptively approachable for current drinking, 92 points.

Dunn Napa Cabernet, 1996
Another pleasant surprise came from the phantom Randy Dunn table, sporting a nose that evoked imagery of ripe Cabernet Franc, w/ floral lilac, clove and milk chocolate notes coating the deep, rich core of cassis fruit in the palate. While taut and structured, the tannins were by no means intrusive & should help shepherd this beauty into another couple decades of fresh, delicious drinking, 91 points.

Clos du Mont Olivet Cuvee du Papet, 1989
Can you guess which wine I ordered? J Well, this was as flirty and exotic as I had hoped it would be, w/ a set of aromatics and intensity of color that couldn’t possibly be 19 years old (what a vintage!). The drop dead gorgeous nose of violet, black tea, raspberry ganache, black forest cake and molten chocolate was nothing short of mesmerizing. The palate reveals layers of spicy, savory fruit that incrementally build, fanning out to an expansive climax. As the finish unfolds, tiers of garrigue flood the senses for well over a minute. This is as explosive & primal as any Chateauneuf du Pape and is perhaps one of the finest inaugural performances for any special cuvee in the region, 98 points.

Raveneau Montee de Tonnerre, 2002
Yet another unexpected surprise that turned out to be so phenomenally good that we bought Chablis for dessert! A spicy, flinty nose of salted nuts paved the way for an exotic, painfully precise mouthful of melon, crème fraiche, ginger and quince jam that beamed along an incising, persistent core of minerality that echoed for over a minute after swallowing this elixir. What impressed me most w/ the Raveneau was how it cut through the monstrous Chateauneuf we just pummeled down & almost gave it a run for its money from a structure perspective, 95 points.

J. Moreau Clos des Hospices, Les Clos 1997
Perhaps the steal of the menu at Tribeca (well, in non-Rhone segments of the list) was this eleven year old Les Clos bottling from Moreau, presenting a flirty, tropical bouquet of shaved vanilla bean, hazelnut oil, mango and coconut that I’d never expected to experience from a Chablis. The palate turned a touch more firm, reeling in a flint kissed touch to the liquid stone and salted butter notes which hinted at opulence, yet maintained beautiful finesse from A to B, 93 points.

As we stumbled away to Asher’s, a forgetful bottle of Turley ’06 from Alexander Valley was sipped (which I’ll let him trash) and a ‘make no apologies’ rose from Clos Roche Blance was downed. It was an ’07 & had a earthy, rustic streak that reminded me of Cinsault, yet really charmed me with its pure watermelon fruit & grace on the finish. Do they make any sub-par wines at that domaine?

Thanks again gentlemen…off to the Naproxen bottle & and another pot of coffee.

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