A relative late-comer (1910), and producer of a range of mid-market Champagne, its outstanding crown jewel is its monopole ‘Clos de Goisses’ vineyard, 5.5ha on a south-sloping hillside in Mareuil-sur-Aÿ. Planted to 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay, it is famed, in part, for being able to produce healthy ripe grapes in ‘off’ vintages. Born 1980, or 1951 for example? There is a ‘Clos des Goisses’.
My hope in this pair is that we have a fine example of throwing away the idea that age and maturity are equated – 2003 (hot) and 1996 (cool) being such opposites in vintage style. I’m guessing the 2003 will feel more ready to drink, but let’s see. Both 13% abv
Serial entrepreneur Phil Sexton moved to Yarra Valley in Victoria from his native Western Australia (as far as Los Angeles is from New York) to pursue fine, cool climate single vineyard chardonnay and pinot noir. The pinots can be good, but the chardonnays clearly excel. The Sexton Vineyard is a high elevation, exposed north-facing (remember, this is the Southern Hemisphere) slope. The style here is about preserving fresh fruit and minerality. Biodynamic viticulture. Hand harvesting. Indigenous yeast, and large (500 litre) oak of which only 20% is new. Smart wine. Both 13% abv
As we learned in Allen Meadows’ Morey-St-Denis masterclass a couple of weeks ago, the major feature in the village is a combe (vale) that funnels in cool air. This especially affects (longer ripening, and often more mineral less rich expression) both Clos-St-Denis and Clos des Lambrays grands crus. Clos de la Roche and Clos de Tart retain their richness due to not being exposed to this colling effect. The soil at Clos de Tart is also deeper, giving more natural richness to the wine. ’72 was a high acid high tannin vintage well suited to the extra oomph Clos de Tart naturally brings. ’09 should display this vineyard’s, it being the culmination of an especially sunny year and Sylvain Pitiot’s later-picked bolder winemaking style. 2009 – 14% abv, 1972 – 12.5% abv?
In March this year I attended the Nicolas family’s celebration of 145 years at Chateau La Conseillante. I look forward to a similar celebration at The Fine Wine Experience in 2148. It’s an awesome property, in prime Pomerol peak plateau position. 2000 and 1975 were superb years here. 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc is the vineyard blend. 2000 – 13.5% abv, 1975 – 12.5% abv??
Robert Mondavi is often eulogized as an evangelist for civilized living (i.e. wine + food + the arts) at home, and the quality of Napa wines abroad. Both are fair and true. But it was probably the Mondavi’s contribution to large volume ordinary wine (think ‘Woodbridge’ label), and the high profile 1.3 billion dollar+ sale to Constellation that led to Robert Mondavi’s own contribution to quality Napa wine to be glossed over. My own assessment is that the Robert Mondavi Reserve (or as they were named in the beginning ‘unfined’ or ‘unfiltered’) Cabernets were in the very front rank, and they have aged gracefully. The 1978 here is a personal favourite. I hope this particular bottle lives up to it’s full potential. Second best vintage of the ‘70s in Napa, it is more naturally elegant than the richly demonstrative ’74. ’79 saw the start of the Opus One programme, and I feel the Mondavi Reserve label lost its way for a little while – decent, but no longer as great as it was, until we get to ’91-. The ’04 says as much for how much the Napa style changed as it does for Mondavi. Stylistically a world apart.
2004 – 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot, 15% abv.
1978 – (similar to 2004, but with a c4% Merlot component and no Petit Verdot), 13% abv.
|2003||Philipponnat ‘Clos des Goisses’ Champagne||750ml||--|
|1996||Philipponnat ‘Clos des Goisses’ Champagne||750ml||--|
|2012||Giant Steps ‘Sexton Vineyard’ Chardonnay||750ml||WA 92+|
|2010||Giant Steps ‘Sexton Vineyard’ Chardonnay||750ml||WA 92|
|2009||Clos de Tart Grand Cru, Domaine du Clos de Tart||750ml||BH 93-97|
|1972||Clos de Tart Grand Cru, Domaine Mommessin||750ml||--|
|2000||Chateau La Conseillante, Pomerol||750ml||WA 96|
|1975||Chateau La Conseillante, Pomerol||750ml||WA89|
|2004||Robert Mondavi Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon||750ml||WA 92|
|1978||Robert Mondavi Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon||750ml||WA 90|