Wine distributor and importer David Bowler held his annual barbeque Saturday and I brought along my brand new camera to document the gallons of great wine that was to be consumed. I clicked away as one rare bottle after another was brought up from the cellar. Excited to get this post up as soon as possible, I popped out of bed the next morning to transfer the photos to my computer. One picture did not turn out well and I decided to erase it before commencing with the download. That is when it happened. I accidently selected ‘delete all’ and every image on the photo card vanished. No more great shots– just an empty, black screen. Oh well, I will try to piece together the line-up of wines from memory and provide some thoughts on each:

Philippe Foreau, Vouvray, sec, 2002 – Very tight and mineral. Too young to really taste right now, but I would bet that this will be great.

Edmond Vatan, Sancerre, blanc, 2002 – Great wine, but tight and hard to read at the moment.

Vincent Dauvissat, Chablis, 1er Cru, Forets, 2002 – Very nice wine. Good density and balance. Dauvissat always makes really solid wines, but I think Raveneau and Fevre better.

Francois Raveneau, Chablis, 1er Cru, Beauteaux, 2001 – I always love the wines made by Raveneau, but it is really hard to appreciate these subtle, dry wines in a large tasting. Of the three wines from Raveneau that we tasted at the party, this cuvee seemed to be the most reserved.

Francois Raveneau, Chablis, 1er Cru, Forrets, 2002 – Very good, but I had trouble really getting to know this wine (a touch antisocial)

Francois Raveneau, Chablis, 1er Cru, Montee de Tonnerre, 2002- Probably the richest and best of the trio, but hard to really judge.

Domaine Lambrays, Puligny-Montrachet, 1er Cru, Folaitieres, 2004 – I love the two Pulignys produced at this domaine, but this wine was showing a lot of oak. Probably needs a couple years to settle down.

Chandon de Briailles, Corton Le Charlemagne, Grand Cru, 2000 1.5 ml- This was the second time I had this wine from a magnum in 3 days and I did not enjoy it as much on this occasion. I am sure that it had nothing to do with the wine, rather it was my stressed out palate.

F.X. Pichler, Gruner Veltliner, Smaragd, Kellerberg, 2005 - This wine showed really well. The more intense wines always seem to taste better when one’s palate is assaulted by a millon bottles at the same time. Pichler is a master of balancing rich flavors and elegance. Really good.

Domaine Lambrays, Clos des Lambrays, Grand Cru, 2001 – A beautifully fragrant wine that is elegant and pure in the mouth. Still young, but already very charming. Excellent.

Noel Verset, Cornas, 1998 – The nose and palate are dominated by pure black olive. I love this style of syrah, but I have not tasted another Cornas that has this wines black olive quality. I find the flavors in other producers Cornas to be darker and the wines to be more brooding. Verset’s wines are all about elegance and the wonderful black olive flavor I always find in them. I could down a couple magnums of this.Terry Allemand, Cornas, 1998 – Darker color then the Verset. Great texture and body. This is a really good wine, but it lacked the finesse of the Verset.

Charvin, Chateauneuf du Pape, 1998 – Slightly corked. Otherwise, the wine appeared to be beautiful. Too bad the wine was flawed, because I have a feeling that this would have been my #1 of the flight.

Rayas, Chateauneuf du Pape, 1998 – Very light in color, almost brown. The nose and palate revealed some sweet fruit, but the wine lacked the intensity and depth that the old Rayas’s used to possess. Really disappointing.

Mont Olivet, Chateauneuf du Pape, Cuvee de Papet, 1998 – Maybe the best wine in the flight. The palate was full of beautifully ripe fruit. This is what I expect a ‘98 to taste like.

Vieux Donjon, Chateauneud du Pape, 1998 – Good showing for this wine, which I bought a case of on release. That said, this wine is not proving to be as great as I had hoped.

Beaucastel, Chateauneuf du Pape, 1998 – Really good, but still young and not showing the sweet fruit that it revealed in its youth. Needs another 5-10 years.

Marcoux, Chateauneuf du Pape, Vieilles Vignes, 1998 – Robert Parker scored this wine 100 points. Dark color, but the nose revealed a hint of alcohol. The wine was full-bodied, but did not show alot beyond the alochol. Very disappointing.I was let down by the Chateaumeuf flight. After tasting the wines from barrel, Parker hailed the ‘98 vintage as the best since 1978. I tasted several of these wines on release and loved their dense, rich, sweet textures. The wines now appear to be falling apart and are showing too much alcohol. Bummer.

Lopez de Heredia, Rijoa, Tondonia Gran Reserva, 1970 – Very light color. Older wines from this producer can be very interesting. While I appreciate their traditional style, I do not really enjoy drinking them. I would describe this style of wine as being ‘tea-like.’

David always throws a great party. I would have commented on the Weil TBA, but ‘Little Bobette’ beat me to it. Savoy (restaurant in NYC) cooked some really delicious food, including some huge whole fish. I wish I knew what type it was, but I am allergic to fish and could really care less. Actually, I almost missed eating all together. Where does wine fall on the food pyramid?



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