Wine - Notes and Comments
~ indicates date is imprecise.
|July 17 1998
wines were served at a special dinner for the country managers at Platinum
technology's global meeting. Pete F and I entertained the group and I
hosted a special wine tasting featuring 16 different wines from their
respective countries from my cellar. Here are some of the highlights of
the tasting culminating with the 6 liter bottle the
label of which we all signed. Great fun and n Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de
Lalande Pauillac Bordeaux 1987 -
WS 87 WS Review Feb 15, 1990 "One of the better '87s we've
seen so far, with a sense of richness and depth. Offers pretty currant,
spice and cherry flavors, framed by gentle oak, but the flavors taper off
on the finish. For near-term drinking. Drink now." Tasted from a Magnum.
Chateau Pichon Longueville
Baron Paulliac Bordeaux 1987 - WS 88 WS Review Oct 15, 1990, "Elegant
and well balanced, with ripe currant, bell pepper, spice and vanilla
notes. Complex and well proportioned, with a touch of tobacco, this has
more flavor than most from this vintage. It needs time for tannins to
mellow. Drink now to 1996." Tasted from a Magnum.
Chateau Gruaud Larose St Julien Bordeaux 1988 -
WS 92 Review - "This tight and powerful red has lots of tannin and
fruit concentration. Full-bodied, with lovely violet and berry aromas and
flavors. Built for aging.--1988 Bordeaux horizontal. Best after 2002.
(JS)" Tasted from a
Guenoc Lake County Cabernet Sauvignon 1984 - RM 86 What do you
expect from a 14 year old Lake County Cab? What a pleasant surprise to
find this one full of berry, plum, cherry and an earthy mocha chocolate.
This was tasted from a
six liter bottle which no doubt held the fruit. I visited the
winery in the early 90's seeking a bottle of 1984 from their library. They
said they weren't for sale. When I told them I was holding this 6 liter
bottle in my cellar and I wanted that vintage to 'test' they kindly
obliged with a couple bottles. Large bottles are a key feature of my
Dec 31, 1992 ~ Tasting
of two WS 96 rated Cellar Selections on New Years eve. -
Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 1982 WS 96 Cellar Selection
$19RP/$40 paid in the early 80's - WS Review from Feb 15, 1987.
"Deep ruby colored, full-bodied and full of ripe, clean cassis and mint
flavors, of great depth, elegance and finesse, this is one of the greatest
Silver Oak wines we've ever tasted." WS/JL.
I obtained a half case of this wine and tasted it periodically during the
80's with underwhelming results. I also had a case of magnums and I opened
this one NY's eve with AJ & Liat and Laura (a Silver Oak fan) & Mike Woll
at Martparnasse in Naperville (now Raffi's). Wow - I recall it was a
blockbuster surpassing expectations. Being #1 son Ryan's birthyear
vintage, I have saved the rest of it and am holding it with much
anticipation. Time to pop another one? I also obtained a mixed case of the
Silver Oak 1989 Napa and Alexander and am still hold
several of these as well. Stay tuned. Sell Label.
Chateau Palmer Margaux Bordeaux 1988 - WS 96 Cellar Selection - We
also drank this Palmer which I vividly remember was perhaps the best
tasting wine from my cellar at that time and it was overshadowed by the
Silver Oak. Here is what WS in their Feb 28, 1991 review. "A definition of
finesse. So opulent and seductive that the smoothness and delicacy of the
texture come almost as a surprise. Explosive blackberry, currant, plum and
vanilla aromas are only the beginning, and the subtle echoes of fruit and
spice carry over on the featherlight finish. Tannins are beautifully
integrated. Should keep improving past 2000."
w/ Eric and Kathy in Palm Desert on the 25th anniversary of our HS
graduation. I brought these special bottles for our special celebration
dinner. Calling ahead to make the arrangements, the restaurant insisted
they would not accept BYOB. I brought them anyway and the manager once
again exclaimed that they would not accept our bottles; as he was pulling
them out of their enclosure to reveal the label, he said, "It will be our
pleasure to serve these wines, sir".
Mouton Rothschild Pauillac Bordeaux 1970 - WS 96 WS review from
May 15, 1993 "Deep garnet; fragrant tar and black truffle nose; extremely
concentrated; big and mouth-filling, with very dense cassis flavor;
enormous, generous fruit; a voluptuous claret".
Léoville Las Cases St. Julien Bordeaux 1970 WS 87/89 WS May 15,
1993 Review - "Deep garnet; concentrated cedar and tar nose, with hints of
volatile acidity; very concentrated, with chewy cassis and cedar flavors;
short of its peak; promising". This is one of the classiest and one
of my favorites of the 'classic' wine Labels.
- Tasted at Regency Park
Hotel in Thatcham, Berkshire, England. Working for a UK company I traveled
there regularly, over 100 times; this trip I was accompanied by the
Chateau Latour Pauillac
Bordeaux 1975 - WS 93 WS Aug 31, 2000 Review.
"Fascinating aromas of plums, minerals and mint, with a hint of peat.
Medium- to full-bodied, with firm tannins and a long finish. Plenty of
life left in it. This was rather controversial at the NY tasting, but I
loved it.--Latour vertical. Drink now through 2015." See label
from that bottle.
May 1993 - Dunn Howell Mountain Cabernet
Sauvignon 1991 - RM 94 WS 91 Cellar Selection $39 Dec 15,
1995 review said, "Dark, dense, tannic and earthy, but it works its
way into a rich and concentrated core of currant, mineral, cedar and
anise flavors. An outstanding California Cabernet that finishes with
thick, dry tannins, so it's best to age this into 2001." This was a
memorable bottle of wine that I can still taste! It had the richest most
intense currant flavor I had ever experienced. AJ and I were in PHL for
our international user conference and due to the archaic liquor laws in PA
drive across the river to Cherry Hill to pick up this bottle for our
room service steak dinner. It was worth it! This bottle
has that classic hand-dipped wax seal. See Label.
- Tasted in Raleigh, NC
during another sw co. acquisition, folks scoffed when I admonished the
wine steward for trying to pass a 1987 for a 1989, saying I was full of it
and couldn't tell the difference. I won a friendly wager and got the wine
comp'ed when I successfully identified three wines from a random blind
Gruaud Larose St Julien Bordeaux 1988 & 1989 - '89 WS 93
Review - "Exceedingly
well-made and classy, with very focused blackberry and cedar flavors and a
compact fruit and tannin structure. Best after 1997. (JS)"
'Chateau Gruaud Larose St Julien Bordeaux 1988 -
WS 92 Review - "This tight and powerful red has lots of tannin and
fruit concentration. Full-bodied, with lovely violet and berry aromas and
flavors. Built for aging.--1988 Bordeaux horizontal. Best after 2002.
Château du Domaine de L'Église Pomerol Bordeaux
1989 - WS93 RM92 $33 WS Mar 15, 1992 Review said, "Beautifully
perfumed, with blueberry and spice aromas and flavors. Full-bodied, with a
balance of full, silky tannins. Shows great harmony." Tasted in
Château Cos Labory St. Estèphe Bordeaux 1990
- WS 94 $25 Mar 31, 1993 review said, "A
textbook wine for the appellation, with spicy, meaty characteristics, full
tannins and a long, juicy finish. Don't touch this for a decade. Drink
after 2000." WS Aug 31, 2000 Rating 91, review said, "Slightly overdone
but seriously good. Dark ruby color. Impressive aromas of dark chocolate,
currants and mint. Full-bodied, with big yet polished tannins and a long,
mouth puckering finish. Very young indeed.--1990 Bordeaux retrospective.
Best after 2002." I agree with the later review - I drank this in the
early 90's upon release and it was hard and tight and needed much more
time. I chose not to buy more. Probably passed up a good investment given
enough time to mellow and soften. I paid $19.
One Napa Valley 1988 - WS 92 Oct 31, 1991 WS Review said, "Not a
long-term wine, but should be wonderful over the next few years. Ripe,
rich and focused, with a solid core of vanilla- and spice-tinged currant,
plum and blackberry flavors that reverberate on the long finish."
Good friend Dennis H had a case of this and generously shared a bottle
more than once at
our annual Christmas feast and wine tasting, at least three times that I
can remember. We compared this wine to my 1988 Chateau Palmer mentioned herein as
well as others. Opus is a magnificent property in Napa Valley and is a
must visit for a serious wine aficionado. We visited there during our
98 Napa Wine Experience.
Oct 15, 1992
Cellars Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Bella Oaks 1981 - From the
cellar and taken to Montparnasse restaurant in Naperville with L and AJ
and Liat. We know the bottle and date because we signed the label.
Longueville Comtesse de Lalande 1989 - RP 93 WS 95 RM 89 - Full bodied,
intense blackberry, spicy earthy pepper. I have more than a case of this
wine and tasted it several times in the early '90's to find it
consistently closed and 'flat', presumably needing time to settle and open
up. Château Lynch Bages Pauillac
Bordeaux 1989 - WS 98 $48 From
the WS Mar 15, 1992 review, "A wine with great mass; this is a
complete fruit bomb, showing blueberry, cassis and mint flavors and tons
of silky tannins. Truly amazing; better than the superb '85. Best after
1998. 35,000 cases made. (JS)."
Bordeaux 1988 - WS 97 WS Mar 31, 1991 Review said, "Elegant,
complex, seductive and beautifully balanced, with gorgeous plum,
raspberry, currant and cedar aromas that hint at all sorts of exotic
spices and chocolate on the exceedingly long, smoky finish. A classic,
smoothly integrated wine that has the balance to develop well past 2000."
This wine sells for several hundred dollars today. I remember paying $48
for this upon release - unbelievable value in retrospect. Another one I
wish I'd bought much more of and held on to - I drank this one too early
Dominus Estate Napa Valley 1988 - WS87 $45, Dec 15, 1992 WS review, " Earthy, gamy aromas and flavors dominate
this medium-weight, silky-textured wine that hints at leather and tobacco
on the finish. Has character, but needs time for the currant flavor to
emerge. Drink from 1996." Dominus Estate Napa
Valley 1986 - WS88 $44, Dec 15, 1996 WS review,
"Starts out earthy and leathery, in a rugged style, but works its way into
more complex mineral, currant and cedar flavors and finishes with a cedary,
earthy note and a good dose of currant flavor. Ready now.--1986 California
Cabernet horizontal. (JL)" These are bordeaux style wines from
Christian Moueix of Chateau Petrus fame that need to be treated like a
bordeaux in terms of aging rather than the Napa style wines that provide
instant or earlier gratification. I tasted this wine from my case several
times over the years waiting for it to open and be approachable. It was
finally ready in 2002 at our
Chicago Napa Wine
Night - 02.
- One of my more
memorable wine experiences was actually a surprise. We had just hosted our
software company's user conference for 1200 people for a week. We planned
a get-away weekend with several friends down in Carmel Valley (it was also
my deca-birthday). For a gala dinner at Anton & Michel, our dear friend
and wine partner AJ secretly brought in several wines from his cellar
without telling anyone. We all ordered seafood spoiling AJ's surprise of a
feast of Bordeaux. He told the waiter to bring out the wine selection and
tell us they had been returned by another patron and they were offering
them to us to get rid of them. We all immediately changed our orders to
wine friendly food as AJ revealed the truth. We enjoyed a fabulous
memorable dinner that several of our friends in attendance either can't
remember or would like to forget (the after effects). Chateau Mouton
Rothschild 1984, Chateau d'Issan, 1984, Chateau Batailley
1986, Chateau Lynch Bages 1985, Chateau Lafite Rothschild
1984, Haut Bailly 1984, were just a few that I
Chateau Palmer Margaux Bordeaux 1987 - WS 84 $35 WS
May 15, 1990 Review said, "Shows an intensity of currant
and red cherry aromas and flavors, with firm texture and decent length,
but not quite the complexity or richness found in better vintages. Smells
great and tastes fine at first, but slips a bit on the finish."
Château Montrose St. Estèphe Bordeaux 1986 -
WS96 Spectator Selection RM 88 $36 May 15, 1989 WS Review said,
"Concentrated and distinctive, with deep cassis, chocolate and berry
aromas and flavors and a lasting finish. All that taste is molded around a
gentle core of soft but ample tannins. Almost drinkable now". I bought a
case of this highly rated wine and tried several bottles over several
years finding it tight and closed each time. Apparently, I didn't wait
long enough for this wine to finally reveal its possibilities.
Longueville Comtesse de Lalande 1978 - WS 91 ('85) 88 ('97) RP
93 RM 89 Floral aromas, medium bodied tasting of currant and
at Regency Park Hotel in Thatcham, Berkshire, England,
with Bruce Z celebrating the $16mm acquisition of his software company.
This may be one of the best wines, I've ever had.
Château Léoville Las Cases St. Julien Bordeaux 1982 - WS95 RP100
WS Review from Nov 30, 1998, "A racy, classy, silky wine. Inky-ruby color.
Black cherry, mineral and wet earth aromas. Medium-bodied, with very silky
tannins and a long, superfine finish. Has always been excellent.--1982
Bordeaux horizontal. Best after 2000". (JS) This is one
of the classiest and one of my favorites of the 'classic' wine Labels.
|Tasted at Hawkridge
House, Hermitage, England, the Berkshire country estate of BR, our
Chairman and Founder. As a regular and frequent guest, and the most
serious wine aficionado in the group, I was the designated wine steward of
Brian's substantial wine cellar. The house-man, Mr. P would hand me
the large iron cellar key when there was to be a dinner. The cellar was at
the bottom of a wide stone winding staircase, behind iron gates. I
avoided the vast selection of top vintage first growth Bordeaux, and
focused on the 'lesser' properties and vintages that were ready to drink.
Château Latour Pauillac Bordeaux 1981- WS 89 WS Reviews - "Elegant
and refined for Latour with cassis, tar, mint and tobacco character. It
has a medium body and a fine silky finish. Drink now.--The Bordeaux 50.
(JS)" From WS Dec 15, 1997, "Firm and harmonious, this is a sleek
package of firm tannins, black cherry, cedar and mint flavors and a
polished but not showy character. Drink now through 2005.--Latour
Margaux Bordeaux 1983 - WS 90 Cellar Selection WS Review - "An outstanding Palmer, firm and
solid, with great dark color and fresh plum aromas and flavors with a hint
of new wood. Drinkable now, but better after 1996.--The Bordeaux 50.
Chateau Mouton Rothschild Pauillac Bordeaux 1984 -
WS 92 RP 85 RM 87 $40 for a Mouton Rothschild? Yes, if its an off vintage
like the '84. Picked this up at Sam's in the late '80's. Parker said this
would be one of the longest lasting of the vintage, full bodied and
concentrated, rich in extract. Perhaps we should have waited.
Chateau Mouton Rothschild Pauillac Bordeaux 1981 -
WS 91 ('94) RP 84 RM 87 - WS 1994
Review - "Wonderfully rich and still holding back. Beautiful plum, toasted
oak, berry and tobacco character. Firm with a full body". RP says, "good
but uninspiring, preferable to the 78, 79,and 76; resembles the 71, dark
ruby color, good firm tannins, bouquet of leather and blackcurrants, lean
stern toughness with astringent finish." Being Erin's birthyear, I had to
put aside some '81 Mouton which I have tried on several occasions. I find it
isn't as bad or as good as the other reviews.. Lacking depth and
complexity of a Mouton, it has nice aroma and subtle berry and earthy
fruit. Holding about half of the case - we'll see how it stands the test
Château La Mission Haut Brion Graves Bordeaux 1983 -
WS 93 RP 89 $83 WS Oct 15, 1994 review said, "Concentrated
and polished, this wine shows a deep color and intense aromas and flavors
of cherry, mint, plum and lead pencil. Full-bodied and reserved with
excellent tannins. Better after 1998". Robert Parker said, "Dark
colored spicy, with predominate scents of vanilla and minerals, this
medium bodied wine has evolved quickly. It is a very good, potentially
excellent La Mission. Anticipated maturity: 1993-2007."
I drank all of mine in the mid-80's and not only didn't fully appreciate
this wine, but probably didn't give it enough time to fully develop. I
also recall buying this wine in Brooklyn for a fraction of its value along
with the La Conseillante below.
Chateau Canon St Emilion Bordeaux 1983 - RM 91 WS 88 I remember
this wine being aromatic, smooth and polished with pleasant earthy berry
and currant and classic Bordeaux perfume. WS says; "Muscular for the
normally elegant Canon. It shows very ripe, raisiny, coffee
aromas and flavors. Full-bodied and rather hard; perhaps better after
1997.-The Bordeaux 50."
Château La Conseillante Pomerol Bordeaux 1983
- WS 84 RP 88 $40 Nov 15, 1986 WS Review
said, "Aromas of eucalyptus, mint and leather. The complex cherry, earth
and plum flavors are supported by a full-bodied, fairly tannic structure
that turns dry on the finish. Drink now through 1998". Robert Parker
said, "Excellent ripeness and big creamy velvety concentrated flavors
nicely complemented by a toasty oakiness. There is moderate tannin
present, but the overall impression created by this wine is one of
voluptuousness and decadently ripe fruit. The big smoky raspberry
nose is a knockout. Anticipated maturity Now - 2000." Just like the
La Mission HB above, I didn't fully appreciate this wine when I had it and
probably drank it too soon. I remember taking these two wines to a group
tasting in town where all the other wines were much less expensive and I
intimidated and somewhat alienated myself from much of the group. I didn't
have the wine maturity I do today to calibrate the wines or my palate.
Practice, practice, practice!
Château Talbot St. Julien Bordeaux 1986
- WS 91 RP96 $32 May 31, 1989 WS
Review said, "Big, rich, muscular style with St. Julien grace; a spicy,
oaky and red currant wine with concentrated, powerful flavors flanked by
firm tannins that will benefit from cellaring."
Chateau Beaucastel Chateauneuf du Pape 1989 - WS 97
Cellar Selection $47 WS Oct 15, 1991 Review - "Perhaps the greatest
Beaucastel ever produced. Has the class and structure of a great vintage
of Mouton-Rothschild. Deep, inky in color, with intense herb, plum, game
and spice aromas, this full-bodied wine has an explosion of fruit and an
iron backbone. Try the beginning of next century."
Feature. Chateau Beaucastel Chateauneuf du Pape 1978
Château La Lagune Haut Médoc Bordeaux 1981 - WS 91
RM 87 $25WS Oct 15, 1994 said, "Superfine, with tobacco, chocolate,
vanilla and fruit aromas and flavors. Full-bodied yet reserved, followed
by a long silky finish." Château La Lagune Haut Médoc Bordeaux
1982 - WS 94 RM 89 $51 WS Aug 31, 1992 said, "Tasting this is like
waltzing with a sumo wrestler. Big and tannic, with super concentration of
fruit. Would be better with more age; try from 1996 to '98."
Château Lagrange St. Julien Bordeaux 1989 - WS95
RM92 WS Mar 31, 1993 review said, "A youthful and tannic St. Julien.
Medium-dark ruby color. Fresh berry and cherry aromas, very perfumed.
Full-bodied, with chewy tannins and a medium berry, chocolate and roasted
coffee aftertaste. Needs more time to develop." Label.
Château Lagrange St. Julien Bordeaux 1981 - WS 85 RM 85 WS Oct 15,
1994 Said, "From the old days at this estate. Still, a pretty,
old-fashioned Bordeaux with medium body, firm texture and fruity, chestnut
character." This wine has the old style
Chateau Haut Brion Graves Bordeaux 1970- WS 94
WS review from Nov 15, 1991, "A superb, classy wine, with a rich
balance of enticing fruit flavors and complex aromas. Medium red-ruby
color, with rich tobacco, cedar and truffle aromas; full-bodied, with full
tannins and a silky flavorful mouthfeel. Drink in 1994 to '98.--Haut-Brion
vertical. (JS)" Tasted with AJ in Dallas at the home of
my original wine mentor Sonny M. at his
magnificent home with his equally
magnificent cellar of first growth Bordeaux from all the top vintages, and
more. I remember having this shortly after our tasting of some other 1970
Bordeaux and finding it moreso at the end of its life than some of the
others (see above).
||Chateau Figeac St.
Emilion 1982 - This is on of the signature wines of my vertical
commemorating #1 son Ryan's birthyear - I tasted them occasionally during
the 80's and early 90's but tucked the rest away. See
in the WS Feature. WS
said, "A blockbuster of a wine.
Has lovely, ripe raspberry and black olive aromas, full body and tons of
tannins, but an abundance of fleshy ripe fruit flavor balances it out.
Drink in 1993 to '95.--Figeac vertical. (JS) Rating 93".
I bought several of these at
the TCWC holiday
auction one year for more than I intended when I zealously left my paddle
up too long. I still have a case awaiting a special family event to
celebrate. Ryan graduates this year from University.. drink up!
Léoville Las Cases St. Julien Bordeaux
1964 - WS 88 Feb
15, 1992 WS Review said, " Soft and supple,
not as generous as one might expect from a highly regarded vintage for
Las Cases, but showing nice cigar-box, cedar and truffle overtones to
the modest currant and berry flavors.--Léoville Las Cases vertical.
Drink now. (HS)" This was one of the first serious
bottles of wine I ever had that enlightened or awakened me to something
extraordinary, more than just grapejuice! Drank this with Sonny M. my
earliest 'wine mentor'. This is one of the classiest and one of my
favorites of the 'classic' wine Labels.