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Saturday, February 07, 2009

Birthday night number one- Dauvissat Les Clos & Lafite


Technically, my birthday didn't commence until today, yet any excuse is a good excuse to pop an interesting bottle or two. My wife and I get cozy w/ these guys during a quiet dinner together last night.

Vincent Dauvissat Chablis Les Clos, '03
With '03 you've always got to be leery, which I assume is what had kept this bottle on the shelves over the past few years, but its tough to go wrong w/ a Dauvissat Les Clos, even in a dog of a vintage. The color is a deeper golden hue than one would expect, w/ a generous, ostentatious nose of creme friache, mango, melted butter, white currants and an intriguing saline element. While the attack is relatively soft and a bit obvious, it fans out to a fat, beautifully sweet midpalate that stylistically is reminiscent of a young Aubert Chardonnay from Sonoma Coast (which perhaps would be interpreted as a very backhanded complement, yet not from me). Even though it thins out a bit on the back end, this '03 is absolutely delicious. The structure manages to stay knit together, thanks to a buried pocket of acidity; though the wine does lose a bit of steam on the finish, 91 points.

Off to my favorite of the firsts:

Lafite '99
I feel that the '99 and the '01 are in a very similar place qualitatively as well as stylistically. A classic presentation of textbook Lafite stems from the glass, with a nose of lead pencil shavings, black truffle, tapenade, cedar and dusty cassis. The purity in the aromas translates beautifully to the palate. In the mouth, the ’99 weighs in w/ a lighter than air profile, yet doesn’t sacrifice an ounce of flavor intensity, as an ethereal, supremely elegant wave of toasted nuts and black currant flavors pirouette their way to the fresh, yet deceptively firm finish. To me, this is the archetype for how singular a Bordeaux expression of Cabernet can be. When you take a thick skinned, burly grape and dress it up in a regal Lafite robe, some real dynamic poetry happens, 94 points.

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