WTN: 98 Lafon Rochet and 01 D'Armailhac

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WTN: 98 Lafon Rochet and 01 D'Armailhac

Postby Jenise » Mon Sep 25, 2006 1:59 pm

Had opened a series of boring/disappointing wines last week, so in frustration planned an all-Bordeaux weekend. Unfortunately I burned my tongue on some too hot food on Saturday so never advanced beyond the two opened Friday.

1998 Lafon Rochet, St. Estephe (80% cab, 20% merlot)
I believe this is the third bottle I've opened out of the case I bought four years ago. I remember thinking that the first was just about the blackest wine I'd ever tasted--black fruit, black licorice, tar. The second showed was all charred barrel and smoked tea, and I hated it. From that, I couldn't imagine that wine coming into a balance I would approve of. That's why I was so willing to sacrifice another bottle of it for science even though I'm not really into my 98's yet. And I'm glad I did, because though the wine will clearly reward further cellaring, it's actually relatively open and attractive right now. Some warm, redder fruits in the boysenberry and black cherry range are there, and so is some cigarishness and signs of the leathery stuff one lives for in a maturing Bordeaux. So though I've opened two bottles in the past, I feel like only now have I finally tasted the wine.

2001 D'Armailhac, Pauillac (70% cab, 17% mer, 13% CF)
Historically, D'Armailhac is a lighter, less vivid, early maturing Pauillac. The 01 is no exception, and therein lies it's appeal. Decanted two hours. Medium ruby color and body. On the palate, red fruit, soft tannins and a tiny bit of floral perfume from the merlot; as well, there's a sweet, almost cream-flavored oak presence plus a Graves-like minerality that suggest an earthier, lusher wine in the future though it's very approachable now. A wine to snuggle with.
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Re: WTN: 98 Lafon Rochet and 01 D'Armailhac

Postby James Dietz » Mon Sep 25, 2006 2:31 pm

Thanx for the notes, Jenise. Good news on both these wines. I think I will open the d'Armailhac before I touch the Lafon, which sounds like it will be better in a few more years.
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Re: WTN: 98 Lafon Rochet and 01 D'Armailhac

Postby Otto » Tue Sep 26, 2006 3:53 pm

Thanks for the notes Jenise! L-R is a tough sort of wine, but despite its darker toned fruit than usual with "traditional" Bordeaux, I tend to like it quite a bit. I've only got a single bottle of the 2001 and 1998 though. I'm almost tempted to open the 98 now that I've read this. Maybe I should go for Pontet-Canet '98 instead which tends to drink well - if young - at the moment....

Good to hear about the 01. Never tasted this Ch, I think. Maybe I should if I see it cheaply. I like the vintage very much - unpopular as it may be.

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Re: WTN: 98 Lafon Rochet and 01 D'Armailhac

Postby Otto » Tue Sep 26, 2006 5:09 pm

Now look what you've done. We had a bloody chunk of beef and risotto for dinner but thought we wouldn't open any wine. Ooops, who could not open a bottle with the most wine friendly food in the world? For comparison here's my note of the wine now that it has had a little less than an hour's air.

  • 1998 Château Lafon-Rochet - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe (9/26/2006)
    Darkish red. The nose is delightfully bretty: a touch of dung that doesn't hide all the other nuances. The fruit is red toned, much more so than in any other young L-R I've had, savoury, herbal and with a pronounced pencil/lead note. The palate is light, pleasantly vegetal and herbal, with much tannins and enough fruit to warrant a decade's more aging to be in the shape that I love my Bordeaux! Open now, but ideally requires age. I like it much!

Posted from CellarTracker
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Re: WTN: 98 Lafon Rochet and 01 D'Armailhac

Postby Dave Moritz » Tue Sep 26, 2006 5:56 pm

Jenise:
Thanks for the notes on the two Bordeaux. Especially appreciated is your analysis the d'Armailhac style. I've got a half dozen in the 2002 version sleeping (but not snoring) in my cellar.
I opened a bottle of Bordeaux this past weekend in hopes of providing a nice tasting note to complement your notes. The circumstance did not lend itself to a lot of reflection and analysis, but I offer the following:

WTN: 1999 Chateau Monbousquet, St. Emilion Grand Cru.
Only one hour of in-bottle air time (no decanter available). Practically no aroma upon opening with vanilla oak showing on the bouquet after an hour or so. Very dark red in color. Surprising focus on the mid-palate with loads of coffee and moccha and just a hint of dark fruit. Some ripe tannin showing on the finish. Decent, if not memorable length. No doubt this could have used more cellar time; I can't help but think that with a good decanting, it would have ruled the day. Not a lot of Bordeaux typicity in any case. BTW, this was an Arpy favorite.

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Re: WTN: 98 Lafon Rochet and 01 D'Armailhac

Postby Jenise » Wed Sep 27, 2006 12:21 pm

Otto, you made me laugh, blaming your lack of will power on the risotto! But how lovely that half way around the planet, there were you were drinking the same wine and finding exactly the same things in it I did, in particular its openness and the arrival of red fruit flavors.

Dave, for all that Monbousquet is big and juicy and in the modern style of St. Emilion, it became a personal favorite of mine because of the 99 vintage. I've got three more bottles, and in fact I bought a number of other 99 St. Emilions because I liked the Monbousquet so much--wines that languished in the marketplace because nobody but me seemed enamored (where the big buzz had been on that AOC's 98's). Anyway, your bottle sounds like it was a bit grumpy about having been awakened, and we should let the rest of our 99's sleep a bit longer for indeed, when that wine's on, it does "rule the day". Thanks for the note.
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Re: WTN: 98 Lafon Rochet and 01 D'Armailhac

Postby James Dietz » Wed Sep 27, 2006 2:33 pm

Oh, I get Otto's point.. for me mushroom risotto screams Bordeaux. Can you hear it too???
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Re: WTN: 98 Lafon Rochet and 01 D'Armailhac

Postby Jenise » Wed Sep 27, 2006 2:59 pm

Jimbo dear, lighten up. I get his point, too. But I doubt if he really needed an excuse to get talked into opening the wine. :)
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Re: WTN: 98 Lafon Rochet and 01 D'Armailhac

Postby James Dietz » Wed Sep 27, 2006 3:02 pm

Jenise wrote:Jimbo dear, lighten up. I get his point, too. But I doubt if he really needed an excuse to get talked into opening the wine. :)


I just peeked at Otto's cellar over in Cellar Tracker.. damn does he drink a lot of interesting wines.. you two could talk forever.. but.. no US wines in his collection!!!
Last edited by James Dietz on Wed Sep 27, 2006 6:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: WTN: 98 Lafon Rochet and 01 D'Armailhac

Postby Jenise » Wed Sep 27, 2006 6:14 pm

No surprise about Otto not having any American wines. I don't get the impression that many show up there, and those that do aren't the interesting ones. When I was in Australia a few years ago and asked to be shown the American wines available in one of Melbourne's best shops? It was EMBARRASSING. Mondavi Woodbridge, some really cheap zins...yuck.
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Re: WTN: 98 Lafon Rochet and 01 D'Armailhac

Postby Otto » Thu Sep 28, 2006 11:39 am

Jenise wrote:Otto, you made me laugh, blaming your lack of will power on the risotto! But how lovely that half way around the planet, there were you were drinking the same wine and finding exactly the same things in it I did, in particular its openness and the arrival of red fruit flavors.


Ha! I have will power a-plenty! I just choose to ignore it often.

James and Jenice, we did get the one American Pinot: Drouhin's Oregon 2001 which I enjoyed and will get a couple bottles of. So we do on occasion see a decent wine from over the pond.
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Re: WTN: 98 Lafon Rochet and 01 D'Armailhac

Postby Jenise » Thu Sep 28, 2006 12:40 pm

Ha! I have will power a-plenty! I just choose to ignore it often.


You have a lot in common with about 642 of us. :)

Yeah, that's right about the DDO. If only our wines were represented that well all over the planet. It pains me to think of somebody buying a Woodbridge wine thinking they were buying a premium level American wine.
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Re: WTN: 98 Lafon Rochet and 01 D'Armailhac

Postby Covert » Thu Sep 28, 2006 7:12 pm

Tried the ’01 d’Armailhac, too, as you know. What stood out to me was the freshness. I sniffed it still for a couple of minutes. Got wonderful new oak and some kind of berries that I smell in the forest, then deeper fruit, like maybe figs. Then some herbs. I thought the nose was unusually complex for such a young wine. Upon swirling, I was even more impressed. A classic Bordeaux aroma that I will never know how to describe. I call it Bordeaux. Then spicebox, tobacco, cocoa. Then after a while cherry, earth, cedar wood and black currents. Anything but closed. Dense on the palate, a feeling of darkness. Unfortunately the backend was still mostly tannins, as if the wine was evolving from the front.

I have already received my replacement from Sherry-Lehmann, and an extra bottle for atonement. Ordered a couple of 2003 Glorias, too, apparently, as I noticed upon opening the package. Got another case of ’98 Cantemerle with the shipment. That’s a great, inexpensive wine for drinking now; even though it scored a little lowish with the experts. That’s partly why it’s inexpensive.
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Re: WTN: 98 Lafon Rochet and 01 D'Armailhac

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Thu Sep 28, 2006 7:17 pm

Is Gloria still a fair price Covert?? Used to be up here in lumberjack country.
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Re: WTN: 98 Lafon Rochet and 01 D'Armailhac

Postby Jenise » Thu Sep 28, 2006 7:36 pm

Covert,

I only got an initial pour of this wine. We had company who enjoyed it quite a bit, and Bob liked it best of the two and so got that last of the bottle for a second glass. I had one sip of that second glass and wondered if it had actually put on weight since my first glass an hour or so before, or if it was just that I'd had more distance from the Lafon at that point. I couldn't tell. Very much in agreement about how complex the nose was for so young a wine, but that's what I meant by mentioning that it's an "early-maturing" Paulliac and this was no exception. It showed more than I would have expected for an 01. Didn't find any black currant, but then by comparison to the Lafon it didn't seem to have any black fruit at all (which I liked about it.) Yes on the cedar and tobacco. Delicious wine--would definitely buy more.
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Re: WTN: 98 Lafon Rochet and 01 D'Armailhac

Postby Covert » Thu Sep 28, 2006 7:37 pm

Bob Parsons Alberta. wrote:Is Gloria still a fair price Covert?? Used to be up here in lumberjack country.


I paid about $26 for it. There are probably better deals, but it is a pretty good price in my opinion. I buy into its legacy of all classed growth vineyards. The 2003 is supposed to be pretty special. I probably should just leave it alone for a few years instead of trying to find out soon. Drank a '59 Gloria recently which was glorious.
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Re: WTN: 98 Lafon Rochet and 01 D'Armailhac

Postby James Dietz » Thu Sep 28, 2006 7:58 pm

I paid but $20 for the d'Armailhac... wish I had more now..
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Re: WTN: 98 Lafon Rochet and 01 D'Armailhac

Postby Covert » Thu Sep 28, 2006 8:27 pm

Jenise wrote: Didn't find any black currant


Yes, I almost recoiled from the seeming contradiction of suggesting red and black fruit almost simultaneously in my note. It wasn't simultaneous, though. I think the wine was going through a chameleon act, and sometimes something will come out of the blue and I quickly jot it down. It might have come and gone quickly, and I was probably looking for it.

It's interesting to me how many Pauillacs are showing red fruit. Amazingly so with that 2001 G-P-Ducasse that I posted recently.
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