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On one fine weekend in a rare place somewhere between 25 and 75% finished, some of New York’s finest collectors gathered to celebrate the birthday of Jetski. While Jetski is not quite the veteran as other Vintage Tastings alumni such as Big Boy and The Mogul, he is definitely moving at the fastest speed at any collector I know, seemingly at every great wine event in New York City. It was only appropriate that his birthday celebration was the greatest wine weekend of the year.

We kicked things off with a rich, sweet and deep magnum of 1971 Krug Collection. The wine was open for business with delicious nutty flavors of caramel and white soda. It was outstanding stuff, definitely on its plateau, and a great way to kick off the weekend festivities (96M)..

The 1976 Krug was a touch ‘bitter’ per Lord Byron Jr. It was definitely acidic and dry with a long finish. While zippy, it was seriously lacking fruit. At this age, it could always be the bottle rather than the wine (93).

The 1982 Ramonet Batard Montrachet Magnum was wrapped in corn stalk and wheat in a good, grainy way. It was quite creamy and long, but LBJ found it ‘not perfect.’ He is in the Jetski camp of tough grading lol. The gang also added ‘gunpowder, bentonite and honey.’ Big Boy found it ’flat,’ but I thought it got better, but it never crossed the border to be outstanding. It got a little oakier in the glass, and a bit of Cheerios crept in (94M).

The 1992 Leflaive Batard Montrachet was a perfect bottle. It was in that ’92 sweet spot, literally. Fully mature while still fresh, with that extra kick of sugar, this outstanding bottle of ’92 Leflaive was in a perfect moment of maturity with so much honey and florality. It was ‘sensational’ honeysuckle city. It lifted in the glass and kept getting better (97).

A bit of a rarity, the 1962 Bouchard Corton Charlemange Magnum had a darker color but delivered an outstanding experience. It had rich caramel and waxy butterscotch aromas to it, and Jetski was digging it. This got more woodsy with time, and Big Boy loved its ‘salinity.’ It gained a coconutty edge, and we were all fans. At first I was in the 94 camp, but this rare magnum edged into outstanding territory in the end (95M).

And that was it for the whites. We had some Clos St. Jacques action next, starting with a rich and sweet 2009 Rousseau Gevrey Chambertin Clos St. Jacques. This was full of honey and sweet and ripe, showing the characteristic of the 2009 vintage in Burgundy very clearly. There was still tension to it despite its succulence. It was clearly a great Rousseau with rich, decadent, saucy red and purple fruit flavors (96+).

The 1996 Rousseau Gevrey Chambertin Clos St. Jacques was a little gassy and with a bit of a medicinal taste, like Robitussin. Was it me? No, this wine was medicinal city. There was nice concentration but…eh. I couldn’t drink it to be honest, was this just an off bottle/batch? It doesn’t correlate with other Rousseau ’96 experiences I have had (89?).

The 1986 Rousseau Gevrey Chambertin Clos St. Jacques had that classic ‘86 rusty, acid-y bite of the vintage. There were great red cherry flavors that smacked and flirted with me as the wine flirted with outstanding status. It almost made it (94).

We had an intruder in this Rousseau flight, but that was quite alright. Someone just came out and said that the 1971 Clair Dau Gevrey Chambertin Clos St. Jacques (Tastevin bottling) was a ‘nice 93 point wine,’ and he was right lol. It sounds like something Big Boy would say, my most likely candidate to whom to attribute this magnificent quote. It was beefy, a touch of barn-y and possessed rich and saucy brown sugar flavors (93).

The 1985 Dujac Clos St. Denis was soooooo good. It was full of perfect game in its nose, not too mature, not too wild, just that kiss of crisp autumn wild game, everything in the right place. It had a sexy apricot kink to its brambly purple fruit. That ‘85 goodness shined throughout the glass, a fleshy and playful delicacy. There was a stalky goodness to the Dujac greatness (96).

A great match for the Dujac was the 1985 Ponsot Clos St. Denis Vieilles Vignes. This was a deeper, darker and delicious wine, much more brooding and concentrated. Someone called it a ‘grand vin.’ It was rich, decadent and saucy, and very popular at the table. I have to admit, it won me over, too. Its richness reeked Swiss bank accounts, and its darkness excited me. Not sure there has been a Ponsot like 1985 ever since, unfortunately (97).

As good as the Ponsot was, the 1985 Dujac Clos de la Roche took back the crown of Morey St. Denis where it rightfully belongs. This was better than each of the previous two wines. Is Clos de la Roche always better than Clos St. Denis? It was kaleidoscopic and almost psychedelic with its sweet fruits. Its spice cabinet was full, and the wine stimulated my senses while it played with my palate. I would do whatever it wanted lol. It had perfect balance and was in a perfect place, and so were we (98).

It was Bordeaux’s turn to tango, although that was a tough flight to follow. Enter 1961 Chateau Latour. This was a banging bottle of this wine, clearly 99 points I immediately pronounced. Big Boy thought it was at least 98+ territory, lol. This was a deep, dark and chocolaty claret. Its cassis oozed on out to the dance floor otherwise known as my palate. It was crazy good, and this Burgundy crowd was back in love with Bordeaux (99).

The 1959 Chateau Latour was next. It was more chocolaty and sweeter, also with more minty notes. It drank more like a bottle of ‘74 Heitz or Mouton than the usual Latour profile. It was a great wine but not the winner tonight. Big Boy thought it ‘flattened out’ a little. He would soon follow lol (97).

The 1952 Chateau Latour was a beautiful and classy wine. While ’52 was initially known as a hard, tannic vintage, it has been a nice spot for the last decade or two. Therein lies the greatness of Bordeaux. While Latour is known as a brooding, deep wine, this vintage showed us the elegant, softer side of this revered Chateau. Its fruit was fleshy with kisses of signature walnut (95).

The food was finished, or at least the dinner portion of it, and it was officially becoming party time. Jetski had disappeared for a bit, but he was forgiven as he re-emerged with a special bottle. It was the bottle of all bottles, and the 1971 DRC La Tache quickly put Burgundy back at the center of the conversation. This bottle was the real deal in every sense of the phrase. Spicy, saucy and sexy, it smelled and tasted like wine heaven. The red fruits, roses, menthol, tomato, spices…everything was right there and then some. I have been adoring this wine for over two decades, and I am pleased to report that everything is still as it was. It just doesn’t get any better (99).

We finished this incredible evening on an extremely high note, even if I rated a couple wines higher. It is not often that I get to have a wine that is 100 years old, and to have it when it is exactly 100 years old is even rarer. The centennial anniversary of the 1919 Jaboulet Hermitage was a magical experience. It had me running to Instagram to tell the world about it the next day lol. Its color was almost orange, certainly amber, and it had us expecting very little. After a minute in the glass, there was no doubting the greatness of this wine. It still had its signature Hermitage bacon and was full of garrigue. This fleshy, lip-smacking Hermitage showed why Hermitage is one of the great terroirs of the world. It was a real thrill. There is nothing more exciting than a great bottle of really old wine (98).

And that was night one. There was a bit of a barbecue/pool party the next day, and a bunch of wines were served and casually enjoyed as the kids frolicked around the property, which was now between 35 and 85% finished lol. But the afternoon was all about the meat, and Big Boy was holding court. I am a big fan of grilling, but I am just a casual griller. I like to use the grill, but I haven’t gotten serious about it. Too many kids and too many auctions. I have to confirm what you might have heard him saying about himself, that Big Boy is possibly the greatest griller of meat in the world. Like holy shit great. He loves grilling so much that he bought a meat company lol. It’s called Fleisher’s by the way, and per Big Boy, it’s the greatest meat in the world as well. I can’t disagree with him after that afternoon, and now you know.

The afternoon led into the evening, and before we knew it, our second official birthday celebration had begun.

We began with a fresh and perfect magnum of 1976 Dom Perignon. It was zippy and still so young, just starting to show some mature flavors. It was clean with a touch of vanilla soda to it (95M).

A 1992 Raveneau Chablis Les Clos popped out and had a sweet rainwater nose with lots of citrusy fruit and sweet corn kisses. Its palate was long, round and tender. It was in that perfect, mature spot with nice sunny hues and a touch of pineapple goodness. Banana crept in, and I was loving the exoticness of this Clos (96).

There was a 1969 Krug to send us off to the dinner table, and it was full of sweet, yellow cream with a splash of caramel. It was buttery and toasty. While full-bodied and brawny in that signature Krug way, it wasn’t quite outstanding (94).

We sat down to a powerful pair of mature White Burgundy at its finest. The 1986 Leflaive Batard Montrachet had that honeyed, buttery nose and oozed sexy with its mesquite kisses. Its palate was round and flavorful with lots of cedar hints and a rich and creamy finish. This was a great bottle of mature Chardonnay (96).

Big Boy hailed the 1986 Ramonet Montrachet as ‘absurd,’ as in great, and The Inspector thought it was ‘on fire.’ There was so much complexity with its mint, matchstick, corn, and caramel…wow. The Inspector continued that it was the ‘best white he’d had in a while.’ The potential score of the wine came up for discussion, and Jetski, in his usual fashion, thought it was ‘a little rich and ripe for 99 points, that would be a heavy hammer.’ I was only at 98 points already, of course, and we were on to the next lot (98).

An odd bottle of 1971 Drouhin Chambolle Musigny Les Amoureuses snuck in. It had an orange edge to its oily, black cherry fruit. It was rich and savory with a touch of tomato and a thick finish. There were nice, round straw and purple flavors (95).

Next up was a ‘solid’ 1971 Rousseau Chambertin Clos de Beze. It was rich and round, but the palate was softer and easier than expected. It was still outstanding but not spectacular. There were nice forest and spice flavors and a touch of red tootsie pop. The acidity was solid, and so was the wine (96).

The 1971 Rousseau Chambertin didn’t measure up to the previous bottle of Beze, and the group collectively groaned. The Inspector questioned whether it was flawed or just ‘medicinal.’ In the end, he decided flawed. It was round and soft but not much more (92A).

There was supposed to be an entire flight of Vogue Musigny, including ’61, ’62, ’64, ’66 and ’71, but only the 1966 Comte de Vogue Musigny Vielles Vignes survived. Yikes. At least this bottle delivered some delicious dark yet still fresh fruit. It was nutty with nice spice, earth and wheat flavors as well. It was deep and heavy in a good way (94).

The magnum of 1985 DRC Richebourg had an intriguingly complex nose. It was exceptionally deep but tight out of magnum compared to a normal 750ml. It was rich and saucy on the palate with oily dark fruit and leather flavors. This was a rather full-bodied ’85, indubitably due to the magnum format (96M).

Big Boy hailed the 1978 DRC Richebourg as ‘exceptional,’ and it was hard to argue. There was insane acidity and menthol aromas in its nose. It was so aromatic, bursting with red fruits living in eucalyptus city. There were great tea elements on the minty finish of this superb wine (98).

The 1978 DRC La Tache was served thanks to Diamonds. It was a little cold, but it was still great. This beautiful La Tache slowly unfurled in the glass. Its signature menthol crept out to complement its zippy freshness. It might have been a point higher if it wasn’t served so cold (97).

It was time for some Bordeaux, and a good bottle of 1961 Petrus complied. It was chocolaty, chunky and ‘smoky.’ It was beautifully round and pretty with great aromatics, and its chocolaty flavors kept getting richer in the glass. While an outstanding bottle, it didn’t hit the highest notes this wine can reach (96).

The 1959 Petrus was quite stony and not as good as the ’61. It was all about the chocolate, Petrus plums and more stone. A recent bottle performed better; at this age, it all comes down to the bottle (94).

Jetski called an audible, and we went back to Burgundy and a particularly special duo, beginning with the 1988 Roumier Bonnes Mares. This was one of the standouts at our 35 vintage retrospective in early 2019, second only to the 1978 in my opinion. This bottle didn’t disappoint, either. It was smoky, velvety, smooth and satiny. It had the backside of the vintage and the impeccable style of Roumier, just entering that plateau of drinkability (97).

A rarity of rarities was next, the 1988 Roumier Bonnes Mares Vieilles Vignes. It was similar to the “regular” except it was deeper and more concentrated. Someone bickered about that ‘1988 dryness,’ but I was completely smitten. I was lost in the depths of this wine’s soul. So deep and so concentrated kept appearing in my notes. This was an epic, WOW wine (99).

We closed out the evening with another audible, a spectacular trio of La Mission that I greatly enjoyed, even though I proved incapable of note-taking at this point. Let’s just recap the three La Misses as hits, and the fact that La Mission might arguably be the most consistent, great Chateau of the 20th Century. Jetski pulled out another 1971 La Tache, see previous night’s note lol. It was another epic bottle and a definite ‘Happy Birthday to me’ moment, and the rest of us for that matter.

1955 La Mission Haut Brion (97)
1953 La Mission Haut Brion (95)
1952 La Mission Haut Brion (96)
1971 DRC La Tache (99)

Happy Birthday and thank you Jetski. You have set a high bar, but I know you will be up for attempting to surpass it!

In Vino Veritas,

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