Dinner at Home

It's rare to start a meal without Champagne, but two of my guests do not care for Champagne, so we began the evening with three California Chardonnays. The 2001 Kongsgaard is a beautiful minerally, buttery, still young and backward Chardonnay. A magnificent effort, the 2001 Marcassin Estate Chardonnay from their home vineyard on the Sonoma Coast exhibits lovely brioche notes intermixed with notions of marmalade, honeysuckle, and a steely minerality. This fabulous offering is a California version of a stunning Chevalier-Montrachet or Meursault-Perrières. Sadly, the 2001 Marcassin Chardonnay Three Sisters Vineyard was corked. We then moved into a flight of red Burgundies from two vintages I adore, 1985 and 1980. Jadot's 1985 Clos Vougeot is revealing considerable orange and amber at the edge, along with plenty of sweet strawberry and cherry fruit, dusty, loamy soil notes, and medium to full body. It is a fully mature, fleshy wine that requires consumption. A wine that is still improving in the bottle is the 1985 Ponsot Clos de la Roche Vieille Vignes. A monster in terms of richness, concentration, and extraordinary perfume and complexity, this is why Burgundy can be thought of as the greatest wine in the world. Sadly, bottles such as this are all too rare. This 1985 is capable of lasting another decade or more. My last bottle of the DRC 1985 La Tâche was badly corked. As disappointing/frustrating as that was, it was quickly forgotten with one whiff of the 1980 La Tâche. Although it may be slightly past its peak, the 1980 is still holding on to its extraordinary exotic perfume that gushes from the glass. However, the aromas quickly fade. In the mouth, the wine is teetering on collapse, but there is wonderful sweetness, that extraordinary, profound, wet forest floor/underbrush characteristic along with notes of flowers and berries. This was one of my favorite vintages of La Tâche. I only wish I had bought more of it since it was so inexpensive when it was released. I would love to access this wine in magnums, but unfortunately, I have never had any. Despite this beauty, the wine of the night was the Ponsot Clos de la Roche Vieilles Vignes 1985 ... an utterly profound bottle of red Burgundy.

More articles from this author