Vito's Cafe

A casual, delicious meal at Vito’s was complemented by my last bottle of 1985 Niellon Bâtard-Montrachet. This bottle alone would be a reason why people get addicted to and spend a fortune on white Burgundy. Made long before the oxidation issues of more recent vintages have created a scandalous situation, where few have any confidence in white Burgundy any more, this wine, at age 25 years, was just remarkable. Honeysuckle, orange marmalade, white currants, quince, and crushed rocks are all there in a fresh, full-bodied, super-concentrated wine that can certainly last a lot longer. I had some mixed reactions to the 1990 Bollinger R.D. I bought a few bottles early on that I loved, but it has now taken on a more oxidative, earthy style. It was greeted by mixed reactions, with some people loving it and others, like me, finding it just a little tiring.

We then moved into a flight of Bordeaux that had been bought on release and cellared pristinely ever since. Moving from young to old, the 1985 Léoville-Barton has that vintage’s openness, nice, cedary, slightly herbaceous red and black currant notes with some earth and spice, medium to full-bodied flavors, silky tannins, yet still, by 1985 standards, it is on the younger side of this vintage, which is largely close to full maturity across the vintage. This is an impressive wine and one of the younger wines I have tasted recently from 1985. The 1985 Le Pin is all exotic mulberry and boysenberry fruit with hints of caramel, herbs, and spice. It is fleshy, succulent, and a real head-turning, exotic style of wine to drink over the next decade. Fully mature and not likely to get any better, showing some orange amber at the edge, the cedary, spice box, slightly herbal 1983 Pichon-Lalande is medium-bodied, very elegant, and needs to be drunk up. Two wines that can be drunk or cellared for more time are the 1982 Grand-Puy-Lacoste and the 1982 Calon-Ségur. Both were double-decanted into the bottle prior to leaving home, and that seemed to be very beneficial. The 1982 Grand-Puy-Lacoste is pure crème de cassis, has full-bodied power, wonderful sweet fruit, lots of glycerin, ripe, velvety tannins, and a beautiful finish with just a trace of tannin still there. It has certainly reached its plateau of maturity, but it is in no danger of falling off the table for at least another 10-15 years. Just coming out of its shell and beginning to really strut its stuff is the 1982 Calon-Ségur. Notes of licorice, seaweed, black currants, cherries, and earth jump from the glass of this dark ruby/garnet-colored wine, which has powerful flavors, an opulent texture, but moderate tannin in the finish. This is still not at its peak of maturity and could easily last a full 50 years from its birth.

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