Wine epiphanies: Chateau Montrose 1989

Chateau Montrose 1989 St Estephe Medoc 2eme cru classé


Certainly needs time to open in glass but this wine is glorious. It reminds me of the 1986, but with greater succulence and perhaps more depth. The nose expresses its splendid complexity, at once fresh and minty, even, then also truffle: fine chocolate truffle. Perhaps a vague hint of animal, but nothing obtrusive as one can experience with the 1990, and rather a compliment. The aroma is very deep and long, dare I say meaningful? While the brick red color reflects the wine’s age, there is such orange freshness that makes this wine very vivacious. Plenty of Cabernet Sauvignon cigar box/pencil shavings, but also some elements of bright fruit, including cassis and a bit of baked plum, coming from whatever Merlot was blended no doubt. Overall, this wine reminds me of a fine Cuban Romeo y Julietta cigar: not to intense and not too mild. Just right!   

Previous epiphanies …

Dow Vintage Port 1994: young but oh so promising

It was difficult to choose a wine of the week, having been to London to attend a two-day panel tasting of 2008 St Emilion, where some surprises are to be revealed, in a future issue of Decanter! I also took part in a Pomerol theme dinner at the lovely 28 50 restaurant. Then a lunch at the same venue and I must say that I love this port. Yes, too young, but there is so much flavor packed in, only slowly revealing itself. What most impresses is the strength and precision on the palate. This is a vintage that promises great things to come, but you could rather appreciate its potential in glass today.

Domaine de la Croix des Fûts AOC Régnié 2008: tasty, unpretentious Beaujolais

I love to drink great wines. There is the understandable feeling: ‘the more legendary, the better.’ I have yet to drink a Cheval Blanc 1947. Or a Palmer 1961. Or a Gruaud Larose 1928. Or any wines from Romanée Conti… but that will soon be resolved. So I hope. And dream.

But I am a mere mortal who likes wine. Take Beaujolais. A colleague brought this week’s wine of the week from the decent 2008 vintage to an office party. The appellation was the recently recognized AOC village, Régnié, which had graduated from a Beaujolais-Villages area to Cru Beaujolais in 1988. And Domaine de la Croix des Fûts lives up to the appellation’s reputation for rather full-bodied, red currant and peppered cherry flavours. Here, the Gamay grape goes a long way. I have to say that I asked for a second – and third – serving. It has good staying power: I write this text a few days later drinking the wine from the fridge. A bit too cold, perhaps, but delicious. It brings back memories from my visit to Beaujolais last year, described HERE. Has anyone heard of this wine? Probably not. But there is great, unpretentious pleasure in enjoying good Beaujolais. And this wine is a textbook example. Many thanks to Henriette Girard for the découvert!

The weeks before…

Dom Perignon 2002
A great Dom: crisp yet full bodied.

I enjoyed dinner with Michael and Valerie Lux in Alsace last week and we had so many good wines, that this week’s wine of the week (October 16) comes from that dinner as well. Dom Perignon 2002. Michael is a connoisseur’s connoisseur. Does that sound like a cliché? Well, here it is fully deserved. Michael has not only a superb wine cellar, but he is also a great chef. We enjoyed perfectly cooked roasted veal filet with morilles mushrooms. The next day, he made a palate – and system – cleansing vegetable soup with Alsatian style scones, prepared à la vapeur. But in the meantime, let’s talk about the wine. We poured the Dom Perignon 2002 in Burgundy glasses so that the youthful bubbles could relax. The wine exuded citrus energy but then became rich and pear like. Certainly full bodied, like a fine white Burgundy. After tasting it, I ordered six bottles without much after thought. The 2002 reminds me a bit like the 1996 when it was released: just as much energy and freshness but perhaps just a bit more richness? In any way, 2002 is certainly a great vintage in Champagne.

A dream with red mullet and coulis de tomate and red pepper...

Each week, a new wine. This week (11 October 2010), I tip my hat to Domaine Leflaive Batard Montrachet 1997. Not a great vintage, but my goodness what richness and body and length! Thank you to Micheal Lux for serving the wine – among others – and preparing a fantastic dinner to go with it. No signs of premox, just a healthy golden color that makes sense for a 13-year-old great white Burgundy from a decent but not great vintage. If you have this wine, drink up! And purr with pleasure…



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