In this round of Vintage Pairs Blind Tasting, we served:
The Maximin Grünhaus is one the most impressive (and important) Riesling slopes in the world, with viticultural records going back almost a millennium. The von Schuberts acquired the estate in the late 19th century during the beginning of fruity-styled Riesling’s peak in the market. This estate is back in the ascendency, and 2015 is a bit of a watershed year – in my view the most outstanding vintage since 2001, and also the year Carl rejoined the Mosel VDP, then almost immediately becoming its president. It was also the year we began importing their wines! ;-) The 1986, from a tricky vintage, has come to us this year directly from their cellar. At 30 the 2015 will be grander and richer, but at least this pair gives some sense for the transformation of a spätlese in the cellar.
[A.] 2015 – 100% Riesling
[B.] 1986 – 100% Riesling
This small family run Gevrey-Chambertin estate is a specialist of Mazis-Chambertin – their only grand cru. Father Gérard made the 1999 and son Philippe made the 2014. My guess here is that tasting them blind, a combination of vintage and style may squeeze the perceptible gap in age between the two wines – 1999 is a year with a long ageing trajectory and a firmness that belies age, and Gérard’s style was in any case made more with cellaring in mind. Old school, high quality, but uncompromising. 2014, on the other hand, has impressed with its expressive fruitiness – perhaps the next successor to the 2007, 2011 style? In any case Philippe’s wines feel more tender and openly fruity.
[C.] 2014 – 100% Pinot Noir
[D.] 1999 – 100% Pinot Noir
Adjacent to Château Margaux yet with a famously different vineyard composition incorporating much more Merlot. For as long as I can remember, their 1983 has been regarded as “their 1982” – along with Margaux itself, one of the two wines of the vintage. I’ve always preferred their 1989 for its complexity and spiciness, but I’m usually in the minority. It’s been a while since I tried these two together and I’m curious to see how they show. I’d love to know which you prefer.
[E.] 1989 – 53% CS, 41% Me, 4% CF, 2% PV
[F.] 1983 – 52% CS, 41% Me, 1% CF, 6% PV
If you turn off the Silverado Trail in Napa, and head up Deer Park Rd, when you reach around 500 metres elevation you will arrive at the pretty little – but somewhat Stephen Kingesque – village of Angwin. Here is the wilder, more rustic-rural Howell Mountain AVA, home to father Randy and son Mike Dunn’s estate. Both of this evening’s wines are Randy’s, built on formidable tannins and requiring long cellaring. Have they come around? For me there is something special about Dunn’s wines. Did you like them?
[G.] 1993 – 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
[H.] 1990 – 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
This is the top cuvée from this estate. It debuted with the 1989 – 100 years after their first vines were planted, hence ‘Centenaire’. It is a blend from their oldest Grenache vines (60%) – about 100 years old, then 10% Syrah and 10% Mourvèdre which give a deeper colour, structure and complexity around the Grenache heart. Hearty stuff it is too.
[I.] 2005 – 60% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre
[J.] 1998 – 60% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre
|2015||Carl von Schubert Maximin Grünhaus Abstberg Spätlese||750ml||--|
|1986||Carl von Schubert Maximin Grünhaus Abstberg Spätlese||750ml||--|
|2014||Domaine Harmand Geoffroy Mazis-Chambertin Grand Cru||750ml||BH 93|
|1999||Domaine Harmand Geoffroy Mazis-Chambertin Grand Cru||750ml||--|
|1989||Château Palmer||750ml||WA 96|
|1993||Dunn Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon||750ml||--|
|1990||Dunn Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon||750ml||WA 96|
|2005||Lucien et André Brunel Les Cailloux Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Centenaire||750ml||WA 95|
|1998||Lucien et André Brunel Les Cailloux Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Centenaire||750ml||WA 97|