Here was another opportunity to taste some wines which have bottle age.
Jasmin Côte Rôtie–I first visited this small, family owned domaine in 1991. Back then the domaine was run by Robert Jasmin with his son Patrick helping. Robert had a larger than life personality, was jovial & full of life. I could later see these kinds of qualities in his wine, as we tasted through several vintages with father & son. They were proud of their 4 hectares of vineyards, which were spread throughout the Côte Brune & the Côte Blonde. (Today the Domaine lists 5.5 hectares). They were champions of Petite Sérine, which was the only Syrah they used in their Côte Rôtie, (the one wine they produced, at least as far I knew). I was especially taken by the 1989 vintage on that visit because of its ripe black fruit & wild cherry, savory bay leaf, peppercorn, roasted nuances, its richness & surprising openness for such a young wine. I could also detect new oak qualities, eventhough there was only about 10% new oak used in that vintage. On this night, the 1989 Jasmin Côte Rôtie, was a completely different wine. It was earthy, smoky, feral, gamey with lots of burnt sandalwood nuances. It was ripe, round, well resolved. I used to think of Cote Rotie, especially in comparison to Hermitage, as the Queen of Syrah. Well, there was nothing Queen like or feminine or aristocratic about this wine! It was manly, blue collar & Old School to say the least, but without heaviness or being beefed up or testosterone driven. Fascinating! Kind of like a warrior tribal chieftain rather than a European king or queen of the old, grand days. The 2000 Patrick Jasmin Côte Rôtie, on the other hand, seemed to have changed stylistically–more forward fruit, more oak, more modernized, without being internationalized–a definite changing of the generations.
1986 Chateau Haut Brion–this wine had lots of gravel character both in the nose & in the taste. The wine has greatly resolved itself in many ways since the last time I was fortunate to taste it. There are no hard edges, & the oakiness I remembered the last time I tasted this wine is further in the background, as the gravel has really emerged to the forefront. This wine has class & deserves a second, third & fourth dive back into the glass to better appreciate all of the nuances that have evolved from the bottle age.
1986 Chateau Cheval Blanc–This wine was so compelling on first whiff. OMG. & I was quite taken initially. I loved its deepness, its earthiness, its grandeur, aristocratic/regal, qualities to its nose, despite the huge dollop of oak & still surprising, unresolved youthfulness, especially on the palate. Quite impressive to say the least. Thanks Mike for sharing!
2004 Maume Mazis Chambertin–Over the years I have been quite a fan of this domaine & many of their wines, especially their Grand Cru, Mazis Chambertin. I know many wine tasters, whose palate I greatly respect, who don’t really care for this old style Burgundy producer’s wines & I completely understand why. It is not perfect or any of the other qualities just mentioned, but is without a doubt Grand Cru quality. I am not looking for a perfect wine & I certainly do not always look for precise & correctly made wines, nor do I always get caught up in the newer snazzy, flamboyany styled wines from the media darlings. I seem to have a soft spot for wines which have something to say, gutterly & in their own voice & especially those over delivering quality for the dollar. I could say the Bandol wines from Domaine Tempier truly helped lead me down that path. Well, here is just another example. I love the musky, dark, provocative, mesmerizing pheromone scented character of this wine. The 2004 is really in the zone right now–with lots of bottle age development, character & Grand Cru pedigree, BUT still with a more rustic, virile, masculine, soulful core. I was sorry to hear this winery sold.
1990 Leroy Vosne Romanee Premier Cru “Les Beaux Monts”
1990 Henri Jayer Echezeaux Grand Cru
What can one really say about superstar status wines like this? Cherries? Sandalwood? Long finish? Hardly does the wine any real justice. What instead tends to happen, is tasters will instead start pointing out the wine’s flaws, even if they are really so minute, & therefore not really appeciating the 90%, 95%, 99% that is really good…..& enjoying/ celebrating having such a wine. Stop & think for a moment. How many people have the opportunity to even try wines of this caliber (& expense)? Plus, when one is looking on this quality level of site & this kind of winemaker, I find that the vintage variation shows a very different perspective on what the vineyard wants to say. (rather than clamouring whether it should be rated 89 or 100 points). I was astounded how profoundly ethereal & majestic each were. Yes, these wines showed incredible pedigree & it was clearly evident how special & unique each independently were. What a REALLY special opportunity, one I will certainly remember for a long time! Thank you Nunzio & Joanne for sharing! On that note, I would like to say, when I checked on line how much each were worth, I questioned my friends about in fact whether to even open these wines. Joanne’s answer was simple–“Who better to share them with?” It is true & when I think about all of the wines we have experienced together over the years, it really is mind boggling. So, I say, thank you VERY much again!