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2012 Corton-Charlemagne: PYCM & BdM, 1979 Heitz Wine Cellar Martha’s Vineyard, Château Mouton Rothschild 1975, 1985, 1996 Château Haut-Brion 2001…

August 27, 2021

The usual suspects met again on 23 August 2021 after the second Prohibition of the year on dining-in (totally unnecessary and ineffective, in my opinion) had been lifted. Shang Palace at the Shangri-la is our usual venue of choice for such top-flight line-ups and it lived up to all expectations: the food was outstanding, the wine service exemplary. Most of the bottles were blinded while the trio of Mouton Rothschild was totally unexpected. Many thanks, everyone, for your generous contributions.

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2012 Champagne Roger Coulon Blanc de Noirs. Displaying a lovely luminosity, this wine proffers toasted oak, flint and intense citrus on the nose with a hint of sweet vanillin. Quite excellent in depth and definition with an open dry intensity, very well-balanced with a chiseled chalkiness laced with refreshing acidity.

2012 Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru, courtesy of LF. Lightly colored. Distinctly reductive on the nose, opening with a gentle earthiness amid diesel characters. Rather firm with a minerally fullness that imparted a certain austerity with some oily density, fleshing out with sleek white tones and nutmeg that exude lovely seamless detail, finishing with outstanding length and acidity.

2012 Domaine Bonneau du Martray Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru, courtesy of LF. Lightly colored. Effusive in cool tones, paraffin and icing with rounded floral characters, wonderfully luxuriant. Medium-full. Distinctly minerally, layered with lovely opulence and early complexity, displaying superb lift and agility throughout its length. This is the Bonneau du Martray that we know and love.

2004 Domaine Vincent Girardin Chevalier-Montrachet Grand Cru, courtesy of Kieron. Tasted blind. Deep golden hue. Rather restrained, dominated initially by a recessed mature chalkiness that suggested this wine may have past its prime though the Puligny signature remained intact. It finally did open up after ninety minutes with full chromatic tones of white fruits, apricots and ripe peaches underscored by fine acidity, distinctly brighter and fresher.

1979 Heitz Wine Cellar Martha’s Vineyard, courtesy of LF. Tasted blind. Clearly a well-aged wine by color but still fairly dark at its core, proffering a lifted fragrance of tangerines, red fruits, strawberries and haw.  Still fairly vibrant with supple intensity, laced with lively acidity that is beautifully integrated with understated ferrous elements at its core, yielding subtle detail. Half the table thought it to be a claret (I’d quietly harbored thoughts of a mature Cheval Blanc) until it turned sweeter over time, finally unfurling its New World roots with further notes of varnish and eucalyptus, seemingly more youthful as it gained greater intensity in the glass. Superb!

1975 Château Mouton Rothschild, courtesy of Kieron. Tasted blind. Clearly mature by color, a slightly faded opaque red. The slender medium-bodied palate is set with evolved red fruits, raspberries and currants amid shades of cinnamon, mocha and licorice, appropriately soft and velvety but still wonderfully fresh and engaging. Very beautifully balanced, appearing to have the legs to last for many more years. It doesn’t quite possess that Pauillac signature but who cares when it is so good?

1996 Château Mouton Rothschild, courtesy of Vic. Tasted blind. Deep mature crimson. Effusive in blackberries and dark currants. Generously endowed, structured with highly supple tannins underscored by a deeper vein of rich black fruits with a tinge of smoke. Wonderfully balanced, brimming with youthful exuberance though it turned more placid and laid back after some time, becoming seemingly nonchalant. Probably needs much more time in the glass to express itself fully. I’d thought it was the 1986. Caught at its peak.

1985 Château Mouton Rothschild, courtesy of Sir Bob. Tasted blind. Still impressively deep in color, proffering a lovely rounded floral fragrance amidst some hint of savoury tones. Still wonderfully fresh and fleshy, imbued with succulent dark fruits with a deep core of ferrous elements. Absolutely slick and seamless. It doesn’t quite hide its years, but this still has the legs to last many more years.

2001 Château Haut-Brion. Deep garnet. Good lift of black fruits and currants, darkly delicious. Rather full, packed with abundant ripe wild berries amid briar and brambly characters that imparted some degree of sternness. Distinctly sweeter after some time as it fleshed out with lithe acidity and intensity, revealing very fine subtle detail with a vibrant open tone. Lovely, but still far from peaking.

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