WTN: Lanson, Clerc Milon, Rieussec, Palmer, 1976 BA

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WTN: Lanson, Clerc Milon, Rieussec, Palmer, 1976 BA

Postby Bill Spohn » Tue Sep 24, 2013 11:02 pm

Notes from a wine dinner:

Small group (6) dinner where we get together a few times a year to drink mature interesting wines. This one was my turn. I entitled it “Guilty Pleasures’ and featured the foods we most love to eat but might feel a tad guilty about later.

Started out with some sesame parmesan twists (puff pastry with some added cayenne) and some endive, chive and lemon verbena tarts.

Lanson Black Label Brut – an NV Champagne released about 14 years ago and now showing some colour and lots of development. Decent complexity and balance.

Next up was a bed of sautéed apples on a toasted brioche half, topped with a slab of seared foie gras.

1998 Ch. Rieussec – a full bottle. Now becoming golden, with a nose of honey and saffron. Smooth, luscious and long – a perfect match with the foie gras.

The next course was another favourite – steak tartare. The recipe I used was from Les Halles. Classic bistro fare.

1981 Domaine de Chevalier – waxy slightly smoky nose with hints of tobacco. No tannin left, balanced by now getting fragile. It did fade over 15 minutes or so but gave a decent showing before it started to fade.

1981 Ch. Palmer – this wine suffers from a bad Parker review. He tasted it once in 1998 and gave it an 81 score, which pretty much condemned it to obscurity. Hint – if you can find any at auction, fill up on it – it ain’t dead and never was. An elegant bright Bordeaux with very good fruit, balance and medium length. It is on plateau or headed slightly downhill, but drinks well and should continue to do so for a few more years. 1981s are good value if you can find the good ones, but a good wine whose reputation was ruined by a single drive-by review is even better value. I have no doubt RP tasted a poor bottle. Too bad he didn’t retaste and revise.

The next course was a lamb loin a la Tour d’Argent, although I added my own variations by introducing a cinnamon dusting on the outside of the loin and a pile of sautéed fresh chanterelles mushrooms on a bed of spinach dusted with ground nutmeg.

1996 Ch. Clerc Milon – a very good fruit based nose with cassis and cedar notes, full body and good length.

1998 Ch. Clerc Milon – earth, mushroom and some pencil lead – not as pretty a nose but a sweet friendly wine, mellow and with good depth of fruit.

2000 Ch. Clerc Milon – reticent nose that finally came out to play and showed some more red fruit than the others had, rich in the mouth with sweet fruit and good length, but I think it will benefit from a few more years. Perhaps my favourite.

I then went against my normal habit (which involves vintage Port and blue cheese) and offered a dessert – a crème Catalane, made with citrus peel, ground toasted fennel seeds and no sugar at all – the sugar (for those that wanted it) came as a broiled brown sugar glaze on top, while others (myself included) opted to go unsugared – a more subtle experience but one that I felt would interfere less with the wine.

1976 Richter Boltendahl Eltviller Sonnenberg Riesling Beerenauslese – I found this half bottle in my cellar, and it had survived mosr probably because I had somehow omitted it from my computerized cellar list. A fantastic vintage and a wine of some distinction. Golden dark amber in colour, the only off note was a waxy resinous nose with nuts and dried fruit underneath, atypical, but the wine sang on palate, still surprisingly sweet but balanced with a very long finish.

A great way to drink wines like these.
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Re: WTN: Lanson, Clerc Milon, Rieussec, Palmer, 1976 BA

Postby Rahsaan » Tue Sep 24, 2013 11:20 pm

Bill Spohn wrote:dessert – a crème Catalane, made with citrus peel, ground toasted fennel seeds and no sugar at all – the sugar (for those that wanted it) came as a broiled brown sugar glaze on top, while others (myself included) opted to go unsugared – a more subtle experience but one that I felt would interfere less with the wine...


Nice. Savory custards to end the meal! I love making custards and often use very little sugar. But I love the taste of eggs and dairy. Depending on who else is around it can be tough for people who don't share that preference. But nice of you to offer both options.
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Re: WTN: Lanson, Clerc Milon, Rieussec, Palmer, 1976 BA

Postby David M. Bueker » Wed Sep 25, 2013 3:12 pm

Appreciate the 1996 and 1998 Clerc Milon notes, as I own both. Sounds like they are both fairly approachable.
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Re: WTN: Lanson, Clerc Milon, Rieussec, Palmer, 1976 BA

Postby Bill Spohn » Wed Sep 25, 2013 3:20 pm

Yeah, both are drinking very well now, but obviously no rush. The 2000 is the one that I think will really continue to improve.

I have a bit of 1988 and 1989 that I need to taste side by side soon.
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Re: WTN: Lanson, Clerc Milon, Rieussec, Palmer, 1976 BA

Postby Michael Malinoski » Wed Sep 25, 2013 6:06 pm

Thanks for the heads-up on '81 Palmer, Bill. I haven't had many bottles from that vintage (a rather nice Gruaud Larose, a decent Margaux and a very appealing La Conseillante) and have been wondering if there were any diamonds in the rough out there. I'll be on the look-out...

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Re: WTN: Lanson, Clerc Milon, Rieussec, Palmer, 1976 BA

Postby Bill Spohn » Wed Sep 25, 2013 6:21 pm

1981 was eclipsed by 1982 and all the Parker fuss, but it had it's gems. Both the chap that brought t Palmer and I are now out of 81s, but if you want to keep an eye out for the Palmer you wouldn't be disappointed.

Some others that have been very good over the last few years are: Las Cases, Montrose, Pichon Lalande and of course Margaux, but no bargains with that one no matter how horrid the wine is (e.g. the defunct 1970). Ditto for the Latour - good but never a bargain.
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Re: WTN: Lanson, Clerc Milon, Rieussec, Palmer, 1976 BA

Postby Andrew Bair » Wed Sep 25, 2013 8:06 pm

Thank you for the notes, Bill. I've never had a 1981 Bordeaux - sounds like the Palmer was quite good, though, and that there are some other hidden gems to be found out there (if they have not been consumed already.)

Glad to hear about the 1976 BA, considering how some 76s seem to be fading due to a lack of acidity. Don't see much from Eltville, either.
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