Tuesday, August 25, 2009
USA "1" - FRANCE "1" - ME :-)
2 Absolute perfect bottles of well aged and ready to drink wines. 1994 Chateau Latour - 1994 Mondavi Reserve.
I don't really know how people like Robert Parker do it. Perhaps I should of asked him myself. Now that I think about it, he was probably just mooching some of my wine is all and this is how I really see the process of distinguishing one wine from another. On memory alone. I don't have any sommelier skills. I do have a good ability to retain information from bottles tasted before. Sight and aromas come first while flavors on my palate are last. Throw 3 different varietals of grapes in a glass in front of me and I loose my ability of sight instantly. I would be guessing the varietal. Stick my big Cuban nose into the glass and some memories would come racing back. Taste those 3 varietals and the memories of those thousands of bottles that I have tasted in the past would be in my head to assist me.
Tonight tasting these 2 beautiful bottles was a very special treat. Thank you again Jon for allowing us to make some great wine memories together. I must agree that on sight alone this was the most difficult of the 3 senses to choose. Both wines are blended with Cabernet, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Each wine had that rust characteristic in the glass. I seem to catch it the most as the wine is being poured into the glass. The Mondavi was the first wine that I poured out followed my the Latour. The rust factor is most recognizable as you are pouring the wine and along the edges in the glass. On looks alone Latour carried a bit more of the crimson, rust colors. On the nose again was Mondavi's wine first, and I instantly knew that I was smelling a familiar friend. To me California wines have more intensity of fruit. As they age, the wines loose some of that intensity. I don't believe that I have ever tasted 1994 Mondavi before today. I have had several other vintages and still own one bottle of 1996 30th anniversary and 2 bottles of 2001 vintages. This is a perfect example of a California Mondavi wine. There are no similarities to Opus one here. I also recognized an old friend in the Latour. Cedar, smoke, hints of wood and leather. They are what makes a Bordeaux. The 1994 vintage I have tasted in the past. I am happy that on the nose first I picked correctly because on the palate I was 100% sure.
I said in an earlier post what an honor it is to taste a first growth Bordeaux. It is also a great honor when opening a well aged California Cabernet. The old saying "Patience is a Virtue" is what makes for great wine memory like today.
Both of these fine examples of wine would of benefited from food. I do wonder what a few hours in the decanters might of done to them. They only would of gotten better and possibly harder to pick out.
Oh and as you see there were 2 other wines poured on this day. They were Rhone blends from California and France that I "brown bagged" to see if my friends could pick them out. All 3 of my friends were correct in picking out the California example which was the Morgan's "Cotes du Crow's. I must agree these were 2 completely different wines on the palate. Morgan which is a go to drinking wine for me is very fruit forward while the 2007 Cotes du Ventoux carried the heavier earth notes found in french wine examples. If I were to have tasted these 2 wines blind. On sight they were identical. I would of been guessing. On the nose some similar characteristics come forward on both wines. This is probably because of the similar blends that both wines have which is 55/45 Grenache and Syrah. The only difference being that the French wine has more Grenache while the California example is the other way around. Tasting these wines would of been the key. As all 3 of my friends picked correctly and if I were to have tasted them blind. I too would of picked correctly. Both wines are good examples of drinkable Rhone blends.
So remember to always retain those memories of wines that you have tasted in the past. They will serve you well in future tastings to come as you see in this photo.
Sorry Jon!! I had an advantage!
Posted by jFLASHj at 11:23 PM