A Brief Review of DRC Richebourg, Leroy Musigny and Some Other Wines

I will provide a brief review of the wines that I drank between 8 and 25 April 2010:

1974 DRC Richebourg: Its finesse and elegance has to be tasted to be believed. While it may not be as structured and dense as 1971, but so what? One gets a better feeling of this great terroir in a lesser year. 19/20

1974 Haut Brion: It is interesting from an historical point of view to examine this unique terroir in an off year. The wine is quite complex with intriguing minerality, but it is a tad too austere. 16.5./20

1974 Lynch Bages: If you endure the off-putting cough syrup aroma, there is good silky fruit. But it is a bit monolithic. 15/20

1976 Comtesse Lalande: This is very elegant and nicely balanced. The tannins have completely melted away, but the fruit is holding. It is a little thin in the finish. 16.5/20

1971 Giroud Chambertin: It has a dark color and spicy nose; it’s dense and structured, but somehow not as sensual or pleasurable as a grand cru from 1971 should be. The long finish is noteworthy. 17/20

1999 Hirtzberger Grüner Veltiner, Singerreidel: This is one of the best Grüners that I have tried, if not the best. The nice smoky nose is redolent of soft spices and exotic fruits like lychee and papaya. It has melted minerals on the palette. It should age well and develop more complexity. 18.5/20

1997 Williams Selyem Pinot Noir, Olivet Lane: Wow! This is the epitome of what is best in a Russian River Pinot. It is extremely sexy. The ripe fruits are not jammy, and it has the telltale haystack bouquet. It is dense and silky on the palette. The rich and dense fruit helps to tame the high alcohol, approaching 15%. Pair it with grilled squab and squab liver crostini. 18/20

1998 Mordoree Chateauneuf du Pape, Cuvee Reine des Boiş: This wine is more elegant than I would have expected from its alcohol content. It actually got more and more elegant during the three hour meal. The telltale hot stone bouquet is followed by a silky mouth feel of crushed black berries buffered by a mineral richness. It should age and develop effortlessly for another 10 years. 18.5/20

2004 Coche Dury Meursault Caillerets: Take the best of Meursault character and multiply it by two. It is intense, leesy, concentrated and complex. There is a truth in the claim that Cailleret is more typical of Meursault than Perrieres, which is a cross between Meursault and Puligny given its location and terroir. This wine is also a perfect match with hard rind cheeses, such as an aged gruyere, comte, or cantal. 19/20

1982 J.J. Prum, Auslese:  Despite its age this wine has hardly evolved. It is extremely balanced due to its beautiful acidity which keeps the wine fresh. It has great material, but it is hard to match with food given its sweetness. This was a great match with Michael Tusk’s (Quince Restaurant) risotto with passion fruit and sea urchin. If there was a contest for the best original wine-food matching of the year I would nominate this! 18.5/20

1987 Leroy Musigny: It is at its optimum drinking point or very near it. It has incredible balance and elegance. The nose is redolent of fine herbs: rosemary, chervil, mint... Layers and layers of candied raspberry and red fruits are buffered by beautifully integrated acidity. In mid-palette one senses a leathery-earthy component and a touch of smoked and bloody red meat. Then it turns luscious and fruity again. The finish is soft but persistent and it lasts well over a minute. It still has some tannins which should help it age. 19.5/20

1988 Caymus Special Select Pinor Noir: It does not show its age and has dark color and soft structure. The black fruit is on the ripe side, even slightly roasted. It developed a pleasant earthy-leathery-wild mushroom component on the palette. The mid-palette is a bit thin, but the finish is medium-long. It is a nice, if non-complex, Californian Pinot from a well kept bottle, but a tad monolithic. 16.5/20

1993 Jayer-Gilles Echezaux: It has very dark color. The nose is spicy and tarry. It is very dense and structured. If I were to drink this wine blind I would have guessed it is a Southern Rhone, given its ripe, even roasted black fruit component. It is certainly a-typical for a 1993 Bourgogne.  Yet its underlying core of acidity prevents this wine from becoming dull and boring. The finish is quite long and displays a cornucopia of exotic spices. In the beginning I thought the wine was not complex, but over a three hour dinner the wine developed more nuance. It will be interesting to see how it develops. 18/20

1974 Mayacamas Cabernet Sauvignon: Had I not known what I was uncorking, I would first have guessed that this is a right bank Bordeaux. It is a vibrant wine which grips you with its intensity and harmony, and has only 13% alcohol and perfect acidity. The lively cassis and blueberry fruit is quite full and is nicely balanced by mineral and earthy components. The mid-palette is noteworthy. Over time it developed (Californian) bell pepper and eucalyptus aromas alongside hot brick, chalk and lead. The intensity did not decline in the glass over a three hour meal and the finish became more peppery. It is hardly brown at the edges at 36 years of age, and is certainly not one dimensional or boring. Bravo! 18.5/20

2006 Marisa Cuomo Furore Fiorduva: This Amalfi Coast wine, which is a blend of four indigenous grapes, is one of the few Italian whites that I seek out. I have tried almost every millesime since 2001, and the wine is quite consistent year in and year out. Ideally it should age for 8-10 years, as it develops a smooth texture after a few years in the bottle. The 2006 is still closed on the nose, but it has the distinct ‘salinity’ of this wine on the palette. It is lean but not thin. Multi-layered pineapple and other tropical fruit lingers on the palette and is nicely balanced by racy acidity. The finish is elegant. This wine has character and is quite versatile with food. 17.5/2