Last night our Bordeaux group met for a Gruaud Larose vertical at Fabio Piccolo Fiore in midtown. A couple of people couldn’t make it, but Jay Miller (the good one) pinchhit. I have a cold but a sudafed dried me up enough I could smell a bit.
A few starter wines
1999 Matrot Meursault-Perrieres
I seemed to like this more than table, thought it was in a very good place. Mature but not tired (I’ve had bad premOx luck with Matrot, so felt lucky), a little beeswax and hazelnut over a pear and mineral core. Thanks Nano. B+/A-
NV Pierre Peters Rose Champagne
I liked this more after it had a couple hours of air. Chalk, strawberries, a little citrus peel. Nice length, but not as elegant as the blanc. B+
2004 Trimbach “Cuvee Frederic Emile” Riesling
This hasn’t been my favorite CFE, but this one showed well, if a bit tightly coiled. Good acids, white fruits, some petrol and pine needle. B+
We had some assorted appetizers (I loved the carpaccio, liked the crabmeat, liked mozzarella and pepper but could live without January tomatoes, the giant calamari needed another 2 minutes in fryer). We went on the main event, with a seat of the pants order.
1970 Ch. Gruaud Larose
Old fashioned Cordier bottle, but unfortunately madeirzied.
1985 Ch. Gruaud Larose
Lots of 1985s are showing well now, and this is a prime example. Lovely dark fruits, forest floor, tobacco. Balanced and elegant. Wins WOTN in group voting by a healthy margin. A-
1988 Ch. Gruaud Larose
Showed like an ‘88, a bit sturdy and clunky next to the ‘85, but actually quite a nice St. Julien in need of a steak. Still a bit of tannin, cassis and earth, B+
A trio of pasta - neither the lobster ravioli or gnocchi with pesto great with reds, veal and mushroom did ok.
1989 Ch. Gruaud Larose
Corked (I had double-decanted this at home, but missed, which I blame on a cold)
1990 Ch. Gruaud Larose
I had low expectations of this as a bottle at a vertical 6-8 years ago showed roasted and pruney. This did show quite ripe, but pulled back before pruney for my tastes, a pleasant broad-shouldered wine. B/B+
1995 Ch. Gruaud Larose
This was a little weird, with folks arguing over brett vs. VA. I found it a bit lifted with a hint of merde, but not extreme. Medium bodied, a little short. Not sure if bottle or wine. B-
1996 Ch. Gruaud Larose
Nice nose of cassis with a little barnyard and a lot of cedar. But thought a bit soft on palate, despite some tannin. Others liked more and it finished in 2nd place. B
My main was a pretty good chicken florentine if you avoided the sea of marsala sauce, others mostly had veal or steak.
1982 Ch. Gruaud Larose
I really enjoyed this, though I thought I’ve had better bottles recently. Blackcherry and blackcurrant, some pleasant herby notes, a lot of leather. A-
1986 Ch. Gruaud Larose
My WOTN in close voting, group’s 3rd. Lots of Cordier funk (of which I’m quite tolerant), rich cassis fruit, cigarbox, excellent length. A-
2000 Ch. Gruaud Larose
A nice bottle of California merlot. Round, soft, plenty of fruit. B-/C+
2001 Ch. Gruaud Larose
Medium bodied, minty/herby notes, dark fruits. B
Good group of people, some nice wines, I had fun.
Grade disclaimer: I'm a very easy grader, basically A is an excellent
wine, B a good wine, C mediocre. Anything below C means I wouldn't drink at a
party where it was only choice. Furthermore, I offer no promises of
objectivity, accuracy, and certainly not of consistency.