1978 Mouton Rothschild

The bottle was in good condition, top-shoulder. Brick core with a golden russet rim.  Aromas are all tertiary, smoky, earthy. I find the palate to be one-dimensional and frankly, a bit tired.  The tannins are smooth but dominant in the experience, the fruit is faded. This bottle sparked a bit of disagreement between the “Lovers of Very Old Bordeaux No Matter What” and the rest of us.  The absence of bell pepper was a positive point in its corner.  I wish I’d had it 10 years ago.  To me the wine had very little energy and the lack of dimension on the palate didn’t score any helpful points either.  Perhaps it was this bottle?

2007 Joguet Chinon Cuvee de la Cure

Vibrant purple/black core, bright red rim. Great color led me on….however, this was a puzzle and as such, this is less of a tasting note than a report on where this wine is in its life-cycle.  Very difficult to pick up clear aromatics outside of hints of dark cherry & deep plumminess and this gets more difficult as it sits in the glass.  Lacking in expression.  The palate confirms this and my desire to capture the nuances of the flavor profile beyond “medium+ bodied with dark fruits” is foiled by the abrupt tasting experience.  Short length, and tough to get much out this.  In fact, The Wine Spectator just closed the door on this one with their “drink through 2011” recommendation!  Clearly was at it’s best at release, the first time I tasted this wine was a couple of years back, with a far more favorable impression.

1943 Grivelet Chambolle-Musigny

Coming to us from an old Burgundy cellar, this 1943 finally got to get out and stretch its legs yesterday. The wine emerged from the bottle looking impressively alive, with healthy color, wrapped in a medicinal, earthy funk. The medicinal nature was the confluence of subtle notes of menthol, clove, petrol and more noisy aromas gauze and band-aid. Almost 100% of the time these “Dr. Office notes” are off-putting and ruin a wine, somehow here it was more pleasant. While the miracle of a drinkable 69 year old village wine may have had something to do with our ability to look past those less desirable aromas, the palate certainly helped and was the most impressive thing about this wine. The weight and texture were remarkable as the wine moved across the palate with lingering sweetness and lively acid. It was silky, luscious and a truly delightful mouthful.

Adding to it’s appeal was how the Chambolle behaved with time in the glass. Where the 1990 G.D. Chassagne Rouge (from earlier yesterday) started to fall apart after some time in glass, this ’43 actually broke the other way and grew into its medicinal funk, reigning it in, making it it’s own and incorporating it into a more rounded Burgundian perfume. This little village wine was lovely, but more than that it was fun and special to be drinking something bottled during the last World War!

1990 Gagnard-Delagrange Chassagne-Montrachet Rouge 1er

This bottle exhibits a youthfulness that complicates blind tasting. The color and clarity are vibrant, the tannin is slightly gritty and the acidity is bright; the wine is 22 years old. Does this have anything to do with the tricky path that many 1990 Burgundies are traveling? This is sturdy and rustic with pronounced earthiness and red fruit. Food helps tremendously to enjoy what is in the glass. With something else on the palate the sweetness of the fruit emerges. Will time in the bottle improve the wine? I think not. Instead of growing to fill in the gaps in structure time in the glass seems to be detrimental, things begin to fall apart rather quickly. Good fun to analyze this 1er Chassagne as a blind.