Paul Lato Pinot Noir Solomon Hills Vineyard Santa Maria Valley 2015

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Paul Lato Pinot Noir Solomon Hills Vineyard Santa Maria Valley 2015
9.25 stars
2 Feb 2021

I have never had any Pinot Noir from California, thus I was curious enough to pop open this bottle given by my friend. I just had their Chardonnay a week ago, and was sufficiently impressed with the content. Thus I think Paul Lato quality is definitely on very receptive level. The bouquet was definitely some sweet red cherry nose, very seductive, feels like drinking the wines from the nose! Content did not disappoint, it was with a very seductive palate, very friendly style, almost a “girl next door” sweetness, with brightness that put red burgundies to shame. The wine has very decent depth, length and complexity. Frankly, my encountering with Pinot Noir from North America has better success rates than those from the Mecca (obviously I was referring to red burgundies).

Baron Thenard Montrachet 2007

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Baron Thenard Montrachet 2007
9.5 stars
26-Jan-21

I’ve had quite a few Montrachets from the 2007 vintage, and they almost possessed the same character – not ready, it’ll take years, perhaps decades, for the wine to be readied to drink! I once had Baron Thenard Montrachet 2000, it was really addictive and seductive, one of the best Montrachets I’ve ever had. So I had high expectations for the 2007, but perhaps I will have to defer my review till the future. For now, I’d give you a snapshot of the content; very steely and mineral was my first encounter, great acidity (which was supposed to be 2007 key characteristic), slightly lemony and a dash of lime. Bouquet was terribly muted with very light smokiness.

Cos d’Estournel St Estephe 1979

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Cos d’Estournel St Estephe 1979
8.75 stars
5 Feb 2021

I was facing some trouble deciphering this wine tonight, as it did not possess any Cos d’Estournel typical character of creamy latte, mocha and thick tea leaves. Admittedly, 1979 was a relatively poor vintage for Bordeaux, I’ve never had anything impressive except for Cheval Blanc. This Cos d’Estournel tasted with slightly thin and diluted fruits, a reflection of poor vintage. Another irritation was the unresolved tannins. Bok, are you nuts? After 42 years the tannins still not resolved?! Well, sorry if you don’t like facts, but palate don’t lie. The irritating grips were all over the place, of which the diluted fruits made the tannins more prominent.

Chateau d’Issan 3rd Growth Margaux 1962

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Chateau d’Issan 3rd Growth Margaux 1962
9.25 stars
26 Feb 2021

I always enjoyed the 1962 vintage, as it was over-shadowed by the famed 1961 vintage. d’Issan 1962 did not disappoint, and was well within my expectation. Drinking right next to the Mouton Rothschild 1973, it wasn’t shy nor inferior. Bouquet was of typical dry cupboard (but not TCA taint, as it’s one of the characteristics of aged Bordeaux), mingled with very ripe red fruit. Palate revealed this wine was structurally sound, with solid foundation. It tasted with good flavor and good depth. In fact, it tasted even younger than Mouton Rothschild 1973 despite being 11 years older, and the color was much deeper than Mouton Rothschild 1973 as well.

Ballot Millot Chevalier Montrachet Grand Cru 2018

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Ballot Millot Chevalier Montrachet Grand Cru 2018
9.25 stars
31 Jan 2021

I must confess I did not have any good experience with this bottle tonight. Thought highly of this winemaker after tasting their Les Narvaux as well as Perrieres from Meursault, but this Chevalier Montrachet was utter disappointment to me. There were no character of the feminine style of Chevalier Montrachet that I’ve ever had with so many Chevaliers I’ve ever had in my life, neither does it possess any evolution during my 2 hours dinner, which was totally unexpected for a Grand Cru. Instead, it was almost the same from start to end, with a slight tendency towards being syrupy. The tonality is heavily leaned towards ripe peach. I can only think of two reasons why this bottle could not impress me; Firstly, it maybe too young a Grand Cru to drink right now, and it needs a lengthy bottle aging. Secondly, this winemaker is poor at making wines not coming from Meursault.

Mouton Rothschild Pauillac 1973

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Mouton Rothschild Pauillac 1973
9.5 stars
26 Feb 2021

This was the year that Mouton Rothschild got promoted from 2nd growth to 1st growth, and thus the famous motto from Mouton Rothschild; “First I am. Second I used to be. Mouton does not change.” To celebrate their escalation to the top class, they invited Pablo Picasso to draw their yearly-changing label. Bear in mind 1973 was a relatively weak vintage, I never had anything impressive except for Cheval Blanc 73 which was easy to drink but with some green stalky notes. After more than 25 years of drinking, I finally fill the void of the missing vintage of Mouton Rothschild 1973. It did extremely well, did not feel like a wine with Cabernet Sauvignon denominated, and unlike Cheval Blanc, there wasn’t any green stalky note. Nose was so seductive, sexy and high class. Content was silky smooth, with totally resolved tannins and definitively the best window to drink right now. Wine was with relatively high acidity and not much complexity, however, it more than made up with it’s hedonistic and seductive taste.

Henri Boillot Clos de la Mouchere 1er Cru 2018 versus Jean Dauvissat Montmains 1er Cru 2018

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Henri Boillot Clos de la Mouchere 1er Cru 2018 versus Jean Dauvissat Montmains 1er Cru 2018
9.5 stars
30 Mar 2021

Henri Boillot Clos de la Mouchere is my go-to wine when it comes to 1er Cru level white burgundies, as I have full faith with it’s quality that year in, year out it has never failed me with very reliable quality.

Meanwhile, Jean Dauvissat Montmains 1er Cru is a new found love from Chablis, and I recently rated it 9.5 stars, thus I want to put two of them together for a showdown. It’s like Floyd Mayweather vs Conor McGregor, the biggest money fight. A whiff of both and one can tell Clos de la Mouchere has the winning poise, with loads of expression, while the Montmains was shy and muted.

A sip and it’s already a KO punch thrown by Clos de la Mouchere, as the acidity was so prominent, and the fruits were so jammed packed with solid elements, not for the faint-hearted. Montmains was able to match the acidity but the fruits could not be on par with Clos de la Mouchere. However, not all were lost for Montmains, it still put up a strong fight as the content difference wasn’t so big. The counter punch from Montmains came when the wines warmed up slightly. Somehow the Clos de la Mouchere “disintegrated” with it’s flavor and style, while Montmains maintained a very good composure, still able to throw good punches.

I couldn’t pick a winner, as both are solid fighters in their own way. A well deserving truce to end the showdown.

Batard Montrachet Tasting

  Bok's Rating:

Batard Montrachet Tasting
6-Feb-2021
9.5 stars

I have called for a Batard Montrachet tasting about a year ago, but due to the pandemic, we deferred it till a year later to have it. Thank goodness all of us still can participate in this tasting. Everyone happily contributed a bottle or more to make today’s tasting a truly eventful tasting. These are the lineups of the bottles featured, of which I organized them in relevant flights at my own discretion:

Flight 1
Lucien Le Moine 2010
Bachelet Monnot 2016
Paul Pernot 2016

Lucien Le Moine was a bit cheezy on the bouquet, along with pleasant approach and relatively high acidity, carried a bit of lime and bitterness. My favorite was the Bachelet Monnot on this flight, surprisingly didn’t really reveal the youthfulness of this wine, very mellow, matured and relatively complex, sharp and focused. Paul Pernot was a disappointment with very dense fruits and low acidity. Overall, the Bachelet Monnot was the favorite for this flight. The Connoisseurs summarized this flight aptly; the quality wasn’t quite Batard Montrachet, but rather a good premier cru standard.

Flight 2
Leflaive 2009
Leflaive 2008
Leflaive 2007

It was with luck and like-mindedness that we get a sequential flight of Leflaive to compose this flight, without duplication of vintages! It was truly stunning flight. When I nosed the 2009, I swear it was at Montrachet level, with ultra elegance. Palate was even nicer, so beautiful and elegant, definitely a Montrachet standard with very high quality represented. However, the 2008 took the lime light with everything that 2009 possessed, with more. Very expressive. Overwhelming attendees voted this as the flight’s favorite. The 2007 wasn’t disappointing with good acidity, but somehow lacked elegance of 2009 and depth of 2008, a bit stony.

Flight 3
Leflaive 1997
Ramonet 1999
Ramonet 2013

Color of Leflaive 1997 was overly yellowish, but it wasn’t a pre-mox bottle, just too ripe and advanced for it’s age. It still possessed very good acidity, however, character was quite different from the previous flight of Leflaive, somehow lacked elegance, though with rich mellowness. Ramonet 1999 was surprisingly possessing low acidity, but it more than made up by it’s rich and matured style, with heavy density of fruits in the body. Ramonet 2013 was very characteristics of Ramonet, one can tell on the bouquet of the unique spearmint, with ocean freshness. Body was fresh, perky, energetic, and one can associate the 2013 with the 1999 as it was almost similar style, except 1999 was with age. Ramonet 2013 took the lime light in this flight with majority voted for it. However, my favorite was the 1999.

Flight 4

(double blind contributed by two connoisseurs, each contribute two bottles)
Vincent Girardin 2006
Louis Latour 1989
Jean Noel Gagnard 2004
Nicholas Potel Les Combettes 1990 (slightly out of theme but the point is proven)

Our friend placed a ringer into this flight without telling us, obviously violating the theme, but given his status, we can forgive him for his blatant violation. The outcome was great, majority voted for this Nicholas Potel’s Les Combettes 1990 as the best wine of the flight. Obviously possessing age, with bouquet of straw. It expressed itself as a deep, rich and old-fashioned white burgundy, sink deep into the palate, very enjoyable. Vincent Girardin’s 2006 was a bit of a trouble maker, slightly sour, clean and sharp, youthful. Louis Latour’s 1989 was ripe, mellow and elegant, with a coating of caramel and pop-corn, another old fashion classic winemaking style. Jean Noel Gagnard’s 2004 was filled with loads of elegance, mellow, never overpowering, pristine and pure taste, deserved the best runner up of the flight.

Summary


Let me put the Master of Wine’s words into perspective when I asked whether there’s a unique characteristic for Batard Montrachet? Our MW’s firm answer is – there is no definitive characteristics, they are all dependent upon winemaker’s style.

And this statement summarizes this tasting that I concur with his opinion that there is no definitive character for Batard Montrachet, each and every winemaker’s style is different, and the outcome of the content is also different. Thus, don’t bother trying to second guess a bottle of Batard Montrachet, I think it’s almost impossible to do that. Although one maybe able to tell the solid content from Leflaive’s Batard Montrachet that it possesses very solid content, and very classic winemaking style, that one is able to tell it’s a high-quality wine.

Enjoy! Article Written by Wine by Bok

 

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