WTN: Wine from a Parker 100 dinner.

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WTN: Wine from a Parker 100 dinner.

Postby Bernard Roth » Sat Dec 23, 2006 7:26 pm

I’m catching up on posting tasting notes, as this had been a very busy travel year, together with changing jobs. So I might as well start at the top…

This primo event was a Parker 100 Dinner, organized by Mark Hubbard, on Nov. 4, 2006. Sommelier service was expertly provided by Jessie, a local wholesale distributor. Jessie expertly decanted every wine that needed aeration or had sediment, at a time suitable to each wine. Several wines were double decanted earlier that day.

The restaurant, Bellavino, adjoins their wine shop. This gave me the chance to fill a gap in the wine program for the evening by purchasing a Champagne to get things rolling.

89 Veuve Cliquot Trillenium Reserved Cuvee, magnum – A perfectly fine brut, delicate mousse, light yeastiness, and some nutty complexity. Poured twelve ways, there was enough remaining to refill for the soup course. I rate this in the low 90s.

The whites with the first course were not 100 point wines. These were selected to pair with the seafood starter. I had a delicious piece of seared barramundi in place of the crab.

First Course

Coos Bay Dungeness Crab Cake
Roasted Weiser Farms Beet Rubies
Micro Fennel and Huckleberry Beurre Rouge

2004 Dom. Wm Fevre Chablis Les Clos Grand Cru – Nose showed clarity of aromatic elements, lime zest, oyster shell. Very young palate, crisp, primary. Opened up as it warmed, but way too young. I rate it just under 90 for present drinking, with big upside potential to the mid-90 range in 10 years.
1995 Dom. La Roche. Chablis Blanchots Grand Cru – Nose showed TCA and slight sulfur. Very minerally, but not as crisp as the Fevre. N/R.

Second Course

Venison x2
Ethiopian Coffee Crusted Venison Loin w/ Juniper Demiglace
Hand-chopped Tartare of Venison with Mint and Fried Caper Berries

2002 Quilceda Creek Cabernet – Minty, rather primary. Shows really young, better balanced than the 03. Very impressive. I can see why this got a high score. Better structured than the typical Napa cherry-vanilla jam syrup that gets similar score. Will probably age like top Bordeaux. Revisit in 15 years. I rate 95-99.

2003 Quilceda Creek Cabernet – Way too young and tight, with gnarly tannins. Mulberry fruit flavor. Ditto the observations of the 2002. 95-99.

The venison course was excellent, the tartare stealing the show. I might have preferred Eritrean coffee to the Ethiopian, but that’s a minor issue.

Third Course

Curried Roasted Moroccan Pumpkin Potage
Maple Leaf Farms Duck Confit, White Truffle Oil Drizzle, Fried Leeks

This course showcases a problem I had with the planned menu, which the chef was unwilling to change. I knew that syrah could not pair with squash soup. The chef admitted privately, after the meal, that he doesn’t care for N. Rhone wines. I can’t understand why he had been insistent that the dish was appropriate. Big minus! So I asked Jessie to refill the Champagne glasses and most of held our N. Rhones for the Lamb course to follow. My notes below are based upon tasting either prior to the potage or with the lamb.

1991 Guigal Cote Rotie la Mouline – This took 1½ hours to open up. Then it displayed the classic roasted aroma of this terroir, with addition of anise. Leather-like flavor, mulberry. The acidity makes a statement. Some high tone aromatics that some identify with the viognier. I rate this in the mid-90s. Probably needs another decade.

1991 Chapoutier Hermitage la Pavillon – Great nose. Animally. Smooth in the mouth. Seamless, but with a bit truncated finish. Will not benefit from further aging. Rates about 93.

1991 Chapoutier Cote Rotie la Mordoree – Skunky nose took a while to clean up. Smooth, light on palate, with mineral finish. About 92.

Intermezzo

Altulfo Mango Sorbet

I do not know if this is bought or made in house, but this was superb mango sorbet.

Fifth Course

Braised Colorado Lamb Tagine
Toasted Black Quinoa, Purée of English Peas
Caramelized Figs and Apricots

2001 Domaine de la Mordoree CdP Cuvee de la Reine des Bois – Sweet nose. Drying tannins, balanced, dark fruit and minerals. Too young to fully assess. Will probably drink in the mid- to high-90s down the road, but not really open for business now.

2000 Domaine du Pegau CdP Cuvee da Capo – Bit bretty. Nice balance and restraint. Dry fruit and a tarry finish. This also needs time.



Sixth Course

Grilled Filet of Waygu Beef
Vanilla Bean- Nutmeg Mashed Potatoes
Roasted White Asparagus
Flame Scorched Heirloom Tomato Coulis

1982 Pichon-Longueville Comtesse de Lalande – Classic P-L. I’ve had this several times and it never fails. High 90s. This has not yet entered its tertiary phase and will keep going strong for years.

1990 Ch. Montrose – Nose is closed, then slight TCA. I’m the only one to detect TCA, or nobody else said anything. I kept it to myself because it was slight. Delicious flavor, but young. Better showing this time than at another Parker 100 in the late 90s. Still, as typical of St. Estephe in a great vintage, it needs decades. Try again in 2020.

1990 Ch. Margaux – Great nose, and then slight TCA. Again, I keep it to myself and no one else says anything. I know this wine from its earliest day and it is potentially great. This bottle was not so. N/R.

Cheese

1995 Ch. Tirecul Cuvee Madame – Big botrytis on the nose. Pretty hefty and sweet, but with enough spine to keep from being cloying. Impressive stuff, beyond where Sauternes and Monbazillac typically live. This wine seems to be one for the ages – it should live forever in a good cellar. 98-100.

2001 Chateau d’Yquem – Utter brilliance. Pristine clarity in the aromatics, titillating with bergamot and not really showing its botrytis. This is of the same brilliance that the 1995 Baumard Quarts de Chaume displayed in its infancy, but more so. Drinks like flower nectar (the kind I used to suck out of the little red flowers the grow in S. Florida, by pulling out the long stamen and licking the single drop off it), with an interesting clove spice component. 100 points. Another one for the ages.

I did not take notes on the cheese selection.

Dessert

Fresh berries with Shaved Chocolate

N.V. R L Buller Calliope Rare Tokay – Hot initially, then a liqueur of orange and caramel. To me, not in the same league as the Chambers Rare Tokay Liqueur. Mid-90s.

The dessert was the kind of last minute, throw-together dish that shows lack of imagination or a too-stressed kitchen. Nothing cooked, nothing baked. Just raw (maybe macerated) berries and shaved chocolate. Not the match to the tawny wine.

This kind of tasting, in which top scoring wines are experienced slowly, with food, demonstrates the foibles of rating wine in a vacuum. I wonder whether anyone, including Robert Parker, would reach the same rating conclusions if the wines were tasted and consumed at the table instead of quickly in a barrel room or lined up in a stand alone tasting format.

So... Big question for Bob, or anyone else... How often, when you sit down to a meal with a 100 point wine do you think the wine drinks at that level of perfection?

I have had many chances to try 95-100 point wines, as well as legendary wines that have not had published ratings on a 100 point scale, at dinner and in stand alone tastings. I find an unequivocal disconnect between the formats in terms of how wines show in their intended setting – which is with food, at the table. I suppose, perhaps, that the 100 point rating ought to be reserved for just those wines that hold up equally well in both formats.
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Re: WTN: Wine from a Parker 100 dinner.

Postby Robin Garr » Wed Jan 03, 2007 6:28 pm

Bernard Roth wrote:I’m catching up on posting tasting notes, as this had been a very busy travel year, together with changing jobs. So I might as well start at the top…


Great post, Bernie ... what a re-entry!

So... Big question for Bob, or anyone else... How often, when you sit down to a meal with a 100 point wine do you think the wine drinks at that level of perfection?


I'm bemused that this post has been read 144 times as I write this, yet no one has ventured a reply. A daunting question?

Frankly, because of price, scarcity and a cynical assumption that my tastes are significantly different than RMP's, my experience of Parker 100s is almost vanishingly rare. But based on the few occasions I've had to try 100s - most notoriously a Zind-Humbrecht Clos Windsbuhl Gewurz served with a Thanksgiving goose a few years ago - my first take on it is that <i>many</i> of these wines are so intense, concentrated and blockbustery that they're not really good food wines. Since I almost never taste wine without food and consider inability to marry well with food a near-fatal flaw in wine, this is a philosophical problem for me.
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Re: WTN: Wine from a Parker 100 dinner.

Postby Hoke » Wed Jan 03, 2007 7:29 pm

Very interesting notes, indeed.

It's as much a physical problem as a philosophical problem for me.

Recently coming off a lovely NYE dinner at Lalime's, wherein 9 of us opened 12 bottles of wine, but I had to subtract four because two were spoiled and two were dessert wines which I did not drink, I couldn't help but notice that after about three hours dining (on good food in exceptional company, mind you) that I was more than sated, almost verging on uncomfortable.

Editing out the wines, we ended up with

Champagne Brut Rose NV
Prager Riesling 2001
Hanzell Pinot Noir
Grange Hermitage
Harlan Estate
Mazis-Chambertin

The others had another bottle of bubbly, a Niepoort Colheita oporto, and a 75 Ch. Rieussec Sauternes.

That abundance was wonderfully abundant for me; had I consumed more wines, I doubt I would have been able to properly appreciate them all---which means I wouldn't properly be able to appreciate any of them, I guess.

I suppose that's as much getting older as it is getting wiser; nonetheless, despite being delighted reading about this event, I'm not altogether sure that I'd enjoy participating in it. Don't get me wrong: I'd happily taste and consume any one of the delectable wines mentioned (and not because they are Parker 100s, but because they are, whatever you think, commanding wines). I just don't think I would be doing them justice by consuming so many en masse.

Give me three or four at at time though, and I'd be a happy camper.
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Re: WTN: Wine from a Parker 100 dinner.

Postby Jenise » Wed Jan 03, 2007 8:45 pm

How often, when you sit down to a meal with a 100 point wine do you think the wine drinks at that level of perfection?


Almost never, unless that wine is the only wine on the table. And conversely, wines not so annointed with 96+ points sometimes show at that level.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: WTN: Wine from a Parker 100 dinner.

Postby Brian K Miller » Wed Jan 03, 2007 9:27 pm

Wow.

I'm just daunted by the reality that I drink wines so YOUNG. I thought it was a big deal to drink a wine from 1996. :oops:
...(Humans) are unique in our capacity to construct realities at utter odds with reality. Dogs dream and dolphins imagine, but only humans are deluded. –Jacob Bacharach
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Re: WTN: Wine from a Parker 100 dinner.

Postby Jenise » Wed Jan 03, 2007 9:55 pm

Brian, it's so true that the more you learn, the more you realize you don't know. The gap growth eventually stabilizes, but thank god it never closes. Learning is so much fun.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: WTN: Wine from a Parker 100 dinner.

Postby Covert » Wed Jan 03, 2007 9:58 pm

Jenise wrote:
How often, when you sit down to a meal with a 100 point wine do you think the wine drinks at that level of perfection?


Almost never, unless that wine is the only wine on the table. And conversely, wines not so annointed with 96+ points sometimes show at that level.


One might accuse me of uxoriousness if we were married, but the fact is I almost always agree with you. It's either that great expectations limit one's delight of surprise, or these wines deemed perfect are not real enough to be appreciated. The only way I have ever really appreciated a 100-point wine was when I drank it alone with a hamburger or such - just like in Sideways. You have to have balance.

And, several all-time favorite surprises came in bottles rated '96 by some bloak, such as that 1990 Angelus, recently. (Maybe you already know, but I just read it in Parker's latest book about famous properties, that Angelus got its name because from its vineyard you can hear Angelus being rung from three different church towers.)
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'91 Chapoutier Le Pavillon

Postby Paul Winalski » Wed Jan 03, 2007 11:01 pm

Definitely a fine wine, but I have to mark it down because the excessive oak so much obliterates the Hermitage character. I'd never consider giving it a perfect score. Chave does it so much better, IMO.

I've had other Parker 100s that were all one could ever ask for from a wine. Pichon-Lalande '82, for example. Or some vintages of La Mouline. I've had a couple of astounding Parker-100 La Turques, too. World class wines. My only quibble is that it says "Cote-Rotie" on the label, but they don't taste like one. But as international-style Syrahs, they're at the very top.

-Paul W.
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Re: '91 Chapoutier Le Pavillon

Postby Bernard Roth » Wed Jan 03, 2007 11:22 pm

I have to agree with the general sentiments here, and Paul's observations about certain high rated C-Rs.

I actually think the idea of scoring wines fuzzes too much to really differentiate a 98 pointer from a 100 pointer. For example, the 95 Baumard QdC got a 98 point rating, which I concur about. Yet I consider it to be a perfect QdC. The 2001 Yquem is a more magnificent wine than the QdC, so even though both are perfect for their genres, I think it still makes sense to allocate extra points for magnificence beyond what is earned for mere perfection.

I agree wholeheartedly with Robin - a wine's first duty is to be a good parnter to food. Except for the certain fortified wines - like Sherry, Madeira and Port - and Champagne, I do not drink wines on their own. And each of the aforementioned also pairs with food! No matter how impressive a wine is, I could not give it a perfect rating if it is too much to pair with food. There needs to be balance and enough restraint to not overwhelm the palate.
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Re: WTN: Wine from a Parker 100 dinner.

Postby Jenise » Wed Jan 03, 2007 11:40 pm

Expectations definitely enter the picture, Covert. When I know I'm drinking something like a 100 pt wine, I take a more critical eye than I normally would since, after all, my purpose is to simply enjoy good wine.

Plus, as Bernie points out, there's the food thing and the crowd thing and the fact that most of these critical ratings are simply snapshots in time. Was digging up TN's a few weeks ago with my wine-tasting-planning buddy up here and he found a guarded 83 Spectator score for a traditionally styled Italian wine that I had found a 91 pt score and glowing description of. I pulled the 91 pointer off of Cellar Tracker where it had been posted by a traveller to New York who bought it off a restaurant wine list. My friend claimed the Spectator score was more "accurate" because it was "professional", where I claimed the traveller's description was more likely to predict our experience because that guy bought and drank the whole bottle. He clearly appreciated this style of wine and loved it for what it was rather than damning it for what it was not. It's why I don't rate wines myself, my palate preferences don't conform to the standards on which which the 100 pt system is based.
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Re: '91 Chapoutier Le Pavillon

Postby Paul Winalski » Thu Jan 04, 2007 12:13 am

Bernard Roth wrote:I agree wholeheartedly with Robin - a wine's first duty is to be a good parnter to food. Except for the certain fortified wines - like Sherry, Madeira and Port - and Champagne, I do not drink wines on their own. And each of the aforementioned also pairs with food! No matter how impressive a wine is, I could not give it a perfect rating if it is too much to pair with food. There needs to be balance and enough restraint to not overwhelm the palate.


Hear, hear! Again, except for some apartif and dessert wines such as those you mention. I'd add German BA and TBA, and Tokaji Azsu to that list. And Jurancon vendange tardive.

The last Pichon-Lalande '82 that I had sticks in my mind as my ideal for the perfect wine with a meal. Seamlessness and integration are the watchwords. Everything, from the color to the aroma to the taste to the finish, gives complex pleasure, and you linger at each phase of the tasting experience, not wanting it to end. Only to slide into the next phase and be pleased all over again. Nothing intrudes or sticks out. There is no harshness, no edges. The wine only makes whatever food you've paired it with taste better. And when the seemingly immortal finish finally does end, it only leaves you with a desire to take another sip and go through the experience all over again. THAT'S my idea of a perfect wine. Somehow, words such as "oodles" or "gobs" or even "hedonistic" never intrude on the experience. Etherial, majestic, and Olympian and Dionysian do occur to me, though. So do nectar and ambrosia.

Or, by itself, something like the 1970 Quinta do Noval Nacional. Pure liquid pleasure. Or the 1971 Adam Albert Hattenheimer Wisselbrunnen Beerenauslese, which was pure liquid gold in the glass.

On a less grand scale are wines such as '85 Lynch-Bages and '89 Adam Albert Hattenheimer Wisselbrunnen Spaetlese. Nobody would ever rate them as 100 points, and all the critics said enjoy them young, but I put them in their own class of greatness because they always gave pleasure over a far longer than expected lifespan. These wines were excellent young, they never went into a shell, and they continued to give pleasure for 15 or more years. And they were enjoyable either by themselves or with food. What more can one ask for?

-Paul W.
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Re: '91 Chapoutier Le Pavillon

Postby Clint Hall » Thu Jan 04, 2007 3:34 am

Bernie, I wonder if one reason you were less than ecstatic about most of the wines might have been that many were taking mid-life naps, while the 2001 d'Yquem, which you awarded 100 points, had not yet gone to sleep.

Then again the 2003 Quilceda and a few others shouldn't be snoozing. But I empathize with you. I find "great wine dinners" sometimes overwhelming and therefore disappointing, too much of a good thing (like going out on a date with a dozen beautiful women on the same night?).
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Re: '91 Chapoutier Le Pavillon

Postby Hoke » Thu Jan 04, 2007 1:55 pm

(like going out on a date with a dozen beautiful women on the same night?).


And when did you do that, Clint. Tell us: we'd all like to know the details, I'm sure.
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Re: '91 Chapoutier Le Pavillon

Postby Manuel Camblor » Thu Jan 04, 2007 2:48 pm

I have tow words for you Hoke: "Plato's Retreat".
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Re: '91 Chapoutier Le Pavillon

Postby Clint Hall » Thu Jan 04, 2007 4:08 pm

Hoke wrote:
(like going out on a date with a dozen beautiful women on the same night?).


And when did you do that, Clint. Tell us: we'd all like to know the details, I'm sure.


Hate to disppoint you, Hoke, but at my age there wouldn't be much to write about.
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Re: WTN: Wine from a Parker 100 dinner.

Postby Ian Sutton » Thu Jan 04, 2007 5:43 pm

I've no idea if I have) or have ever tasted a Parker 100 point wine. I don't know what he thinks about any of the wines I have.

However taking the general issue - all great labels together? If your means are limited, it feels like hedonism gone bad. By comparison some will suffer and that seems to be a waste.

Better perhaps to go with a couple of great labels and a decent supporting cast. Maybe make the top names the centre of the meal, but get others to support around it (perhaps as aperitif and starter, maybe for dessert or cheeses).

I'd rather have a great wine every two months than 10 in an evening once a year.

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Re: '91 Chapoutier Le Pavillon

Postby Bernard Roth » Fri Jan 05, 2007 3:37 am

Clint Hall wrote:Bernie, I wonder if one reason you were less than ecstatic about most of the wines might have been that many were taking mid-life naps, while the 2001 d'Yquem, which you awarded 100 points, had not yet gone to sleep.


Clint, how many of my TNs did I conclude with a statement about needing more time?
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Re: WTN: Wine from a Parker 100 dinner.

Postby Manuel Camblor » Fri Jan 05, 2007 9:44 am

Bernard Roth wrote:
This primo event was a Parker 100 Dinner, organized by Mark Hubbard, on Nov. 4, 2006. Sommelier service was expertly provided by Jessie, a local wholesale distributor. Jessie expertly decanted every wine that needed aeration or had sediment, at a time suitable to each wine. Several wines were double decanted earlier that day.

The restaurant, Bellavino, adjoins their wine shop. This gave me the chance to fill a gap in the wine program for the evening by purchasing a Champagne to get things rolling.

89 Veuve Cliquot Trillenium Reserved Cuvee, magnum – A perfectly fine brut, delicate mousse, light yeastiness, and some nutty complexity. Poured twelve ways, there was enough remaining to refill for the soup course. I rate this in the low 90s.

The whites with the first course were not 100 point wines. These were selected to pair with the seafood starter. I had a delicious piece of seared barramundi in place of the crab.

First Course

Coos Bay Dungeness Crab Cake
Roasted Weiser Farms Beet Rubies
Micro Fennel and Huckleberry Beurre Rouge

2004 Dom. Wm Fevre Chablis Les Clos Grand Cru – Nose showed clarity of aromatic elements, lime zest, oyster shell. Very young palate, crisp, primary. Opened up as it warmed, but way too young. I rate it just under 90 for present drinking, with big upside potential to the mid-90 range in 10 years.
1995 Dom. La Roche. Chablis Blanchots Grand Cru – Nose showed TCA and slight sulfur. Very minerally, but not as crisp as the Fevre. N/R.
.


Set aside the facts that when someone emntions a "Oarker-100 Dinner" in the context of inviting me (not this case, thankfully), I tend to run the other way, or that that kind of event usually costs a heap'o'money which I could spend on better things, I have a little somehting that bothers me here...

The 1995 La Roche Blachots, according to you, "showed TCA". If "Jessie", the acting "sommelier" was so "expert", how come this made it to your table? And didn't you protest? Being entirely without fear of seeming a pain in the ass, I would have politely pointed out this and requested a pour from another bottle, or a replacement wine. If a seat at this event cost what I imagine it cost, it's a basic right.

Of course, the choice of a '95 CHablis to present next to a 2004 puts the '95 (from a weird, hot, clumsy sort of Chablis vintage, slightly better than the horrible 2003, but not by much at most addresses...) at a distinct disadvantage, even if there had been no suspicion of TCA.

Just thoughts...
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Re: WTN: Wine from a Parker 100 dinner.

Postby Rahsaan » Fri Jan 05, 2007 1:52 pm

Bernard Roth wrote:2004 Dom. Wm Fevre Chablis Les Clos Grand Cru


100 points for this not-terribly-ripe vintage of Chablis? Huh. Who wouldn've thunk it. I guess I learn something new about Parker every day.
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Re: WTN: Wine from a Parker 100 dinner.

Postby Manuel Camblor » Fri Jan 05, 2007 2:00 pm

Er, Rahsaan, I think Bernie stated clearly that those Chablis were "not 100-point wines", but had been added in the interest of good food-matching.

Still, it would have been pretty funny to see a 100-point score from Mr. Parker for a 2004 Chablis.
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Re: WTN: Wine from a Parker 100 dinner.

Postby Rahsaan » Fri Jan 05, 2007 2:02 pm

Manuel Camblor wrote:Er, Rahsaan, I think Bernie stated clearly that those Chablis were "not 100-point wines", but had been added in the interest of good food-matching.

Still, it would have been pretty funny to see a 100-point score from Mr. Parker for a 2004 Chablis.


Thanks, I guess I skimmed too quickly.

So, now the planets can realign where they belong.
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Re: WTN: Wine from a Parker 100 dinner.

Postby Manuel Camblor » Fri Jan 05, 2007 2:07 pm

"Planets"? Don't you think that's being a bit unkind to the point-givers and their girth?
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Re: WTN: Wine from a Parker 100 dinner.

Postby Clint Hall » Fri Jan 05, 2007 2:39 pm

Manuel Camblor wrote:Er, Rahsaan, I think Bernie stated clearly that those Chablis were "not 100-point wines", but had been added in the interest of good food-matching.

Still, it would have been pretty funny to see a 100-point score from Mr. Parker for a 2004 Chablis.


Thanks to oak and hot weather, Chablis are getting more like white Burgs every year, so maybe some day Chablis will get 100-point scores from Parker. As you say, Manuel, it will be funny. Ironic funny, not ha-ha funny.
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Re: WTN: Wine from a Parker 100 dinner.

Postby Manuel Camblor » Fri Jan 05, 2007 2:45 pm

Oh, it will be ha-ha funny, too, Clint, believe me... These days irony goes that way easily.

But this talk of wooded Chablis makes me think you're having the wrong ones. Even in the cases of wines that do see wood, there are beautiful examples. These days, and particularly from both the 2004 and 2005 vintages, I am enjoying very much the basic and premier cruwines of Laurent Tribut, Alice and Olivier De Moor, Domaine de Chantemerle, Gilbert Picq and Droin. Louis Michel, a producer I used to praise a lot before has become dicier, with some very sulfury and somewhat hollow examples in '04. But the one '05 I tried was quite nice.
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