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    THE ROMANÉE CONTI TASTING

    There will be a lot of great Burgundy drunk this week at La Paulée events and auctions, and that had me thinking about a special day where I tasted some of one of its finest.  Eighteen vintages of Romanee-Conti is practically a lifetime worth of experience, but thankfully one Sunday this Fall, it was one spectacular tasting.  The 1990 was a head above the rest, but there was a lot of jockeying behind it.  A tasting this historic needs detailed notes, so I figured I better plant a flag to make me do it before this fades into the graveyard of never “posted” bottles.  It’s a big plot of virtual real estate lol.  All this dang work gets in the way a lot!  Big thanks to King Richard and Sir Michael for organizing an unforgettable afternoon.

    The Lineup

    The Lineup

    The table

    The Table

    Let’s Begin

    Let’s Begin

    The 2015 had a deep, dark nose with lots of stalky and rocky fruit and a whiff of good wood from the forest.  Red and purple flowers were abundant in this deep wine.  Its palate was rich and long, and while still young it didn’t feel too young.  There was lots of garden goodness to the palate in a royal way.  There was a great, tight, rusty edge and loads of acidity on its “luscious palate of extraordinary power,” noted one.  James Suckling noted “dried strawberry and baby fat - for a baby that goes to the gym” 😂 (98pts) 

    The 2014 didn’t thrill me as much as a bottle I had on its own recently, but it was still outstanding.  The (wine) company you keep can affect your experience!  This bottle had a more cedary edge this time, with much more acidity than I remembered.  It was another rich and hearty red, with a beefier side but still a delicate finish.  It got leaner in the glass as cedar and ‘tea’ came out along w ‘wild herbs and fennel.’ (95pts) 

    The 2010 was extremely tight and unyielding at first.  It, too, was on the cedary side but times two with lots of dry components like desert, rock and minerals.  Its terroir and acidity unfurled, and this really benefitted from air more so than any other - its finish flexed its superiority with time but it still needed it! (96+pts)

    The 2009 had a great nose of beef blood, rose, meat and iron.  It was more open and deep and ‘a stunner’ per Suckling.  The ‘09 had a great broth to it and was lush and round with hues of blue and black to go with the red and purple.  There was a tenderness here I don’t usually see in 2009.  It had the best balance of the quartet and was super stylish.  The finish on all four wines set them apart in general. ‘Harmony and seamless tannins’ noted JS.(97pts) 

    We Have Liftoff

    We Have Liftoff

    Flight Two

    Flight Two

    Oh That 1990

    Oh That 1990

    The 2008 immediately signaled the next step of maturity.  There was a lot of good herbaceousness to go with a cedary and lemony personality, and plenty of wild herbs in this rusty RC, along with a bit of sweaty pheromones…these are all compliments!  There was great richness to the palate with plenty of red fruits and a touch of tomato goodness.  Its finish was more mellow than I expected, but it still had some vim and skip.  I loved its emerging tomato flavors. There was a delicacy and spice with an Asian glaze to its flavors, and a nice oily edge.  Great spice and rust appeared again in my notes, as did leathery finish.  JS also noted a little greenness, and Hollywood Jef it’s ‘peppery finish.’ (96pts)

    The 2005 was deep, dark and brooding. It was wound up, but in a regal and reserved way.  There were aromas of cola, spice and cinnamon to go with its rich but very shy fruit.  The palate came across extremely wealthy, ‘towering’ above anything else so far.  The richness and flesh, and balance between the two, were extraordinary.  This was red velvet city, dripping with jewels of fruit.  It was still a bit shy, but everyone knew it was a star.  This was a va va voom wine, so pure!  Suckling summed it up succinctly as ‘stunning, emotional wine, perfect.’ (98+pts) 

    The 2001 had more exotic fruits on the apricot and peach side.  There were orange hues to this very musky RC.  There was lovely flavor and texture, but it wasn’t as long as the others.  It seemed ready to go and very open.  It was tender and friendly but light and advanced compared to everything else.  Similar observations of ‘a little lean’ and ‘drying out’ came from the crowd. (94pts) 

    The nose on the 2000 was singing like Christmas with its spice and aromatics.  There were red fruits and a bit of purple here, and a round and long nose intrigued.  The 2000 continues to resonate as a connoisseurs’ vintage, and this was a great example.  This was full-bodied with great minerality and spice - super special!  Everything was in the right place at the right time, and food brought its greatness out even more.  Hailed as ‘the surprise wine of the tasting,’ I already knew better 😉 (97pts) 

    Where were we RC?  Right there with the 1999 which had a deep nose full of t n’ a and spice.  Our host observed the relationship between ‘99 and ‘05.  This was rich, explosive and plush with the oil and the pop.  It had a darker, oilier palate than most and a touch of caramel in a rusty way.  Rich rich rich with endless acidity, it reminded me of a recent 1990 but not quite there.  BC found it ‘spectacular’ and King Richard ‘beautiful and powerful, worthy of its reputation.’  There was great length and spice on its finish. (98pts) 

    The 1995 had strawberry, cranberry and brighter red fruits.  ‘Extraordinary, sexy wine’ came from the crowd.  There was a gingerbread goodness to this elegant and well-bred wine.  It had a sexy, delicacy type style.  It was ‘peppery’ per the King and while outstanding, it was the least of this flight. (95pts) 

    The 1991 had such a deep nose with dark, Black Forest qualities and a touch of rust in between.  It was smoky like a great BBQ with great balance between its meat and fruit.  There was clarity to its style in its ‘supple and smooth’ ways.  Delicacy came up in my notes, but the tannins expressed themselves here more than the 1995, which was considered even more tannic for many years. (97pts)

    The 1990 was once again a rock star. Twice in one year, 2022 thank you 🙏 This will be the benchmark RC against which all others will be judged.  Wow again - so concentrated, this was another level of richness from everything else that preceded.  It almost had that signature 1947 Cheval motor oil.  Smoky, nutty, rich and decadent, the 1990 had a super strong finish with layers of whips and chains. ‘Wine of the tasting,’ ‘ethereal, weightless, floating in the clouds,’ ‘has everything’ all came from the giddy crowd.  Give it up for the 1990 RC!!!! (99+pts) 

    Crazy For the 80s

    Crazy For the 80s 

    Getting Older

    Getting Older 

    The One And Not Only

    The One And Not Only

    The 1985 DRC Romanee Conti had a tough act to follow.  This was a typical showing for many 1985 DRCs, showing that dirty birdie side, a bit of shit if you will.  It was earthy with tootsie pop flavors, and there was a meaty, horsey, animal quality to the palate.  The finish was still zippy and lifted with its leather, but it couldn’t shake the dirt or the tootsie (94).

    The 1980 DRC Romanee Conti was so good, much better than the 1985 and back to the Promised Land.  It had gorgeous spice, and this expressive, oily and musky personality.  Its length was impressive, and my lips were smacking with its musky greatness.  ‘Such great cola’ emerged in this leathery and spicy wine, and menthol joined the party.  ‘So 1980,’ I wrote.  It was up there near the top of the food chain (98).

    The 1979 DRC Romanee Conti was similar to the 1980 but with less menthol and cola.  It had a rocky edge to it, but it was round and sweet, also with a nice oily component.  This was a polished beauty, with a honeyed palate that was long and elegant with a flash of grip.  This was a tasty wine that mellowed more in the glass (95).

    Lastly, there was a 1966 DRC Romanee Conti.  There actually was a 1978 and a 1971, but they were both DQ’d.  That was a tough pill to swallow, but everyone was still giddy for all the other great bottles.  The ’66 was exotic and sweet, a bit of a candygram compared to the others, with some exotic apricot to it.  Acidity again unfurled on its finish, a trend for all the wines as they got older.  The wine ended on a tropical note, and the day ended on a high note thanks to this legendary tasting (95).

    Thanks again to King Richard and Sir Michael for organizing, and I hope to see many of you this week in New York so we can share more great Burgundy together at La Paulée, whether at our auctions Thursday or Friday or the Gala on Saturday!  I won’t have more RC, but I will have some DRC to share and lots more goodies all week long 😊 .  Come see us!

    FIN 

    JK

     

     

    MY TOP 10 WINES OF THE 2016

    1. We crossed the bridge to the world of Pinot Noir, and we began with a world dominator, a magnum of 1988 Roumier Bonnes Mares Vieilles Vignes.  This wine was worth the trip to San Francisco.   Dapper Dave noted, ‘crazy velvet,’ and he wasn’t talking about Big Boy’s pants lol.  Actually, it was thanks to Big Boy that we had this incredibly rare wine.  This magnum left all the hens teethless, as only Big Boy could and still can do.  My notes started, ‘spectacular wine, out of control great.’  I am getting goosebumps just writing about it again.  Its nose had sappy, red cherry fruit with bright bing and traces of citrus.  Dave felt it was just entering its plateau.  Its palate was long and extraordinary, gritty and powerful.  This was a spicy hot mama that left me licking my lips after its last kiss good night.  It was so good that it left me concentrated all over (99M).

     

    2.The next wine was also from 1959, and ‘the best bottle I ever had,’ per Dr. Feelgood.  I think he meant the particular wine, but it could have been every bottle ever as this 1959 Lafite Rothschild was staggeringly good.  This was classic in every sense of the word.  The cedar, the wheat, the pencil…this was a rich and thick wine that was as good as Bordeaux gets.  Sebastien found it ‘deep,’ and there was super sweet fruit with a dry edge.  The Emperor found it ‘flawless’ (99).

      

    3.Big Boy and CB4 combined forces to officially detonate and dominate the evening with a spectacular jeroboam of 1971 DRC Romanee Conti.  This wine was thick as a brick in every which way, and its fireplace qualities made way for mucho menthol.  Its red and black fruit mélange was incroyable, and it was long and strong with great acid.  Olivier found it still ‘young,’ and its personality was both huge and fresh.  It doesn’t get any better than this.  This was a celestial bottle, all in the stars, like Tony LaRussa on how you play your Cards (99J).

     

    4.The 1971 DRC La Tache showed why this is one of the legendary La Taches of all time and in a peak performance zone right now.  Come to think of it, it’s been there about 10-15 years.  Its nose was beyond spectacular with crazy complexity.  The signature menthol, the red and purple fruits, and spices from seemingly every country on earth – Asian, Indian, Jamaican, insert your own country here.  Its finish was endless as its acidity continued to rock on past the witching hour (99).

     

    5.The 1990 Jacques Selosse that followed exceeded everything, and maybe its youth helped.  When it comes to all the assorted multi-vintage cuvees that Selosse makes, there can be varying degrees of quality; I sure wish he would make more vintage Champagne as they never cease to amaze me.  This was a spiny and super fresh Champagne, with hot sugar cube action and a long and flavorful personality.  This was a superb Champagne with spectacular length and cream and as good a bottle of Champagne as I can remember…ever (99).

     

    6.The 1961 Petrus, as usual, was the top of the pyramid.  This was a classic wine in every which way.  This was a lot of people’s wine of the night, including mine.  While my notes were waning, I did find it ‘rock solid with enough fine chalk and stone for a quarry,’ and its fruit was ‘absolutely perfect.’  It also got a ‘longggggggg’ (99pts).

     

    7.There were too many crazy wines being opened downstairs in the cellar to linger upstairs, so I headed back down to one of the wines of the night, and it was only fitting that Big Boy had something to do with it. Some wines are so good that words feel inadequate, and this magnum of 1971 Krug was one of them. Its nose sparkled and crackled, like a flawless diamond meeting the Macy’s 4th of July fireworks show. It had an addictive quality to its nose; once you started you did not want to stop. White, crystallized fruits along with an icily great character, the Krug exploded in my mouth, resulting in a bevy of inappropriate and immature jokes from the distinguished guests around me lol. This bubbly had enough liftoff for Nasa; in fact, that’s what it finish felt like, those jets burning under a rocketship heading to outerspace, ready for the endless. This was an unbelievable magnum of a legendary Champagne (99M).

     

    8.The Emperor kept himself and his other guests busy with a magnum of 1996 Krug Clos du Mesnil, which was a big, rich, buttery beast, all the more so since it was out of magnum.  It was razor sharp and mountainous in its character, long and strong.  ‘The longer the better,’ The Emperor sagely advised, and it was easy to see why Clos du Mesnil is the Romanee-Conti of Champagne.  This was a laser of Star Wars proportion (98+M).

     

    9.Of course, what would a great flight of 40s and 50s Bordeaux be without a 1959 Lafite Rothschild?  This has always been my favorite all-time Lafite and one of the greatest bottles of the 20th Century, and this bottle didn’t change either of those opinions.  The ’59 had a superb nose of sweet cassis and pencil with a great perfumed quality.  This was a rich, sumptuous and sensual claret.  Andy admired its ‘smooth’ character, and I did its thick finish(98+).  

     

    10 There was one more truly spectacular bottle on this night for me, before it all went sideways. The 1978 Roumier Bonnes Mares was decadent and rich, a mouthfilling wine that intellectually stimulated me, well, what little intellect that I had left at the time ;). But seriously, this was a ‘wow’ wine, as intense and virile an older Red Burgundy can be. There were deep red, black and purple fruits happening, lots of dirt and minerals, and a spiciness to it like hot sauce without the too hot. Its acidity was truly noteworthy, and it lingered like a great orgasm. As Bad Boy would say, “awesome juice” (98+).

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    My Today

    All of the tasting notes of the wine critic mentioned above in tastingbook, comes from press releases from wine importers and vineyards, or directly from the critic and can also be found on the critic’s own website, which can be easily accessed by clicking on the link above.

     

     

    DRC La Tache 1934-2002

     

    La Tache 1934  94 points

    While 1934 is a great vintage, this particular bottle seemed a little watered down, though that is the wrong word. There were some spiny edges underneath and nice earth, musk, vitamin and stalk aromas. Flavors of band-aid and earth were on its sturdy palate, but it had that reconditioned feeling, though the finish really came through. Someone said, 'if it weren't sitting next to the 1962, you'd like it better. The '62 shows its flaws.' Allen agreed by saying, 'I like it, but it ran into a buzzsaw. '34, '59, '90, '99 - all very high quality and big volume, which is rare.

     

    La Tache 1942 93p

    Someone uttered 'amazing' right away. The nose was so deep . big, rich and long. Rob summed it up as 'ridiculous,' which is another high compliment in Big Boy's world. Musk oil, leather and deep, dark rich fruit oozed out of its nose. The palate was enormous, expanding like a tidal wave in the mouth at first, and Allen also found it 'incredibly vibrant.' Long and spiny, the wine was a bit massive but smoothed out sooner rather than later, costing it a point or two in the grand scheme of things, but for those first twenty minutes or so, it was even more extraordinary

     

    La Tache 1943  95p

    The 1943 was more wound and subtle, nutty with more cola and dark, plummy fruit. Possessing even bigger acidity and alcohol than the 1942, the 1943 seemed a bit out of balance at first and squarer, but while the 1942 lost a step or two, the 1943 improved and got more delicious and more balanced with time. The acidity was long and strong, and it was also an outstanding wine, equivalent to the 1942 in quality but stylistically different. Allen, on the other hand, said that he has tasted these two side by side three or four times and has always preferred the 1942.

     

    La Tache 1947  93p

    1947 had a musty nose, but beneath that was some incredibly sweet and decadent fruit, along with some leather, Worcestershire and band-aid. Smooth and with long acidity, the palate had nice citric tension. Wilf said how 'neither of these two have ever been great La Taches,' and he would know. Paul and Allen concurred that the 1947 could never have been a great wine. If you could get past the fact that it was slightly corked, the 1947 was still a beautiful wine with some nice citric kisses and light meat flavors.

     

    La Tache 1952  98 p

    I recently acquired from one of our auctions. The '52 mag had an unreal nose screaming with terroir; when I say unreal it is a compliment like 'out of this world,' not that it was fake, etc. There were incredible, absolutely incredible aromas of slate, earth and minerals on one side, and the rose garden, leather and amazing spice box on the other. Eric called it 'immortal' and Allen echoed my sentiment of 'unreal.' Pinches of caraway and smokehouse rounded out the nose. The palate was super tasty, veritable catnip for the feline wine lover in us all. Long and sensuous with sexy strawberry fruit and great earth, the palate had amazing length. It was one of the all-time great bottles of wine that I have had, definitely 'Top 100' worthy.

     

    La Tache 1957  93 points

    1957 had a sexy nose that was very musky with rose, sweet red cherry, sweet leather, earth, band-aid and meat aromas. It was delicious up front with a touch of brown sugared fruit and that pinch of Worcestershire. There were nice earth flavors, and while the finish was short, its acidity was integrated, and the wine was gorgeous. Wilf commented how the '57 'always had a slight burnt quality, as in wood or charcoal.

     

    La Tache 1961  97p

    There is no doubt in my mind that that will be the greatest example of 1961 La Tache I will ever have. It was so fresh, meaty with such great spine and flavors. It left me with a distinct 2001 impression.

     

    La Tache 1962  97p

    1962 was the wine of the flight, as practice followed theory in this example. Its nose was richer, thicker and broader than the previous two, and its nose was a symphony of meat, rose garden and Worcestershire. Its palate was meaty and oily, and its acidity really stood out after some food. It was a real crowd pleaser

     

    La Tache 1964  95p

    Yhis was 'classic 1964 - big, rich' and 'ripe' Allen interjected and took over for Wilf. The 1964 was heady, rich and meaty with nice t 'n a, minerals and molasses. On the palate it was also rich and meaty with great animal flavors, both sweet and vigorous with nice earth supplements. Wilf summed it up nicely: 'This is how I remember 1964; the texture and richness - only Vogue Musigny is close'

     

    La Tache 1966  96 points

    It was an outstanding one and many people's favorite wine of the session. Sweet, musky and similar to the 1985 except even fresher and more precise, the 1966 was beefy and meaty with additional aromas of cedar, spice box, iron and minerals. Its palate was full of fresh, red fruits wrapped by some drier, autumnal flavors. Rich, long and fleshy, it was balanced with acidity that was far from its decline. Wilf cooed that it was a 'good bottle' on more than one occasion. Dalia keenly observed some 'green apple and nutmeg,' and a bit more wood came out with time in a cedar and mahogany direction. Saucy and long with a nice touch of autumnal flavors, I found some similar qualities in this '66 to the '85, and Wilf concurred aromatically but found more zip in the '66. Me, too!

     

    La Tache 1971  98p

    I have had this wine six times over the last two years, and every time it has been incredible. It remains one of the great all-time La Taches, and this bottle was no different. My notes began, .Incredible again&hubba hubba.. That should be enough. The wine had a youthful .I.ve just been opened. wave of t .n a and menthol with gorgeous red fruits behind it, strawberry and cranberry to be precise. There was a touch of divine mushroom and truffle as well as a bouquet of wet, long-stemmed roses. Dr. B chipped in that the .71 LT .embodies all I like in old Burgundy, and it.s still fresh.. Pinches of animal, vitamin and game rounded out the nose for this stallion of a Burgundy, with a great earthy edge underneath and a pinch of herbs. The palate was amazing . huge t .n a, make that enormous by Burgundy standards. There was great length and leathery flavors, with tremendous tension to the palate with a citric centerpoint to that tension. The wine was ridiculous, and the kind of wine that if no one were looking you would suck the last drops directly from the bottle.

     

    La Tache 1985  95p

    You know it's a good night when you go over to the magnum of 1985 La Tache and are like, 'that's nice,' which is exactly what happened when the Burghound found out! It was a great bottle of 1985 La Tache, pure, long and classic with lots of iron, minerals, smoke, citric tang and red fruits that only La Tache could have. Its musk was beautiful, its rust tasty, and its finish long

     

    La Tache 1991 97p

    Rob came out with a 'spectacular' right away, and I must admit that the wine was (is) in a great spot. Rich and meaty, its bouquet was filled with iron, vitamin, spice and leather. Intense, long, balanced and gorgeous, this was some serious Burgundy. It was a step up from the Clos de la Roche, possessing more intensity, spice and tannin than any of the prior wines. The palate was similarly rich and long with a touch of cola flavors.

     

    La Tache 1999  98p

    1999 was arguably the wine of the weekend. Bruce was in awe of its 'jammy' quality, especially since it was so young. Intense, super thick, full of t 'n a, the 1999 was so dark and deep, spilling out of the glass with its midnight-like black fruits. There was also menthol, musk, tree bark and minerals in this intense, rich, long and deep wine. 'Wow,' I wrote; I could see why Wilf chose this for the grand finale. There was great acidity. It was so juicy and tasty that 'you could nibble at it,' someone said. Allen called it 'impressive'

     

    La Tache 2000  92p

    The nose was rich in fruit, yet soft and approachable at the same time, although Mark found it .very tight yet gorgeous.. There were loads of spices of stems, cinnamon, iron, alcohol and earth. There was also beautiful rose and plum fruit, green beans and exotic spice. There was the intensity of La Tache with the approachability of 2000. The wine was young on the palate but still drinkable, with very long acids, a touch of rust and a light earthiness to its finish. It was caressing my palate and soft on the front and mid-zones and certainly a very good, potentially excellent La Tache. It held well and the acids were there, but the weight was not that of a great one texturally

     

    La Tache 2002 96p

    2002 was such a baby by comparison to anything that we had so far, but one could still appreciate its fresh, red cherry fruit. It was not fat and seepy but rather reserved with its mineral and stalk supporting beams. There was that hint of green that Aubert affectionately referred to before, which means that this should have a long, bright future ahead of it. There were stems, 'roses and almonds,' Dalia observed. The 2002's structure was excellent, a little '93-ish but with redder fruit. All of its component parts were there in a drier style. Wilf was quick to point out that the 2002 was 'showing surprisingly good, scary good.' An exotic, mandarin orange edge developed in the nose

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    My Yesterday

    Château Latour 1881-2006

     

    Château Latour 1961  99 p

    Château Latour 1982  98 p

    The 1982 Latour quickly rose to the top of the charts and took wine of the night honors. It was much more wound than the 1990, also with more minerals in its long, classic nose. Dust, cedar and more minerals kept surging out of the nose. The palate had so much length and strength, noticeably more so than any other wine on this starry night. While the 1990 was sexy, the 1982 was serious, and a wine that still stood out even four hours after being opened and decanted. Engerer commented how the ’82 was ‘sure of itself and surfed across your palate.’ He went on to comment how ‘all Latours gently age’

     

    Château Latour 1928  98 p

    Château Latour 1929  98 p

    Château Latour 2000  98 p

    The 2000 Latour, however, was appropriately served last in this superlative flight. ‘Is that a powerful wine or what?’ Someone rhetorically asked. It was a penetrating beast, sinus-clearing with its t ‘n a, along with aromas of cement, cedar and a touch of milkshake. Rich, concentrated and dense, the Latour was the biggest wine of the evening and also the thickest and the longest. Game emerged in this behemoth of a wine. It reminded me of that Kayne West song where the chorus goes, ‘bigger, longer, faster, stronger.’ While I am hesitant to give young wines scores in the 98 and 99 point territory because my convictions are that those scores are for wines that stand the test of time, the 2000 Latour left me no choice

     

    Château Latour 2005  97 p

    Château Latour 1955  97 p

    Château Latour 1996  97 p

    Château Latour 1996  96 p

    Château Latour 1945  96 p

    Château Latour 1990  96 p

    The 1990 Latour was fabulous. This was the second knockout bottle of this wine I had had within the month. Its sweet nose was inviting and open, more showy than any other wine. Its trio of musk, cedar and cassis was pure nose candy, and fresh, honey-roasted walnuts rounded out its sexy aromatics. It was so delicious, classic and the freshest palate of them all, showing lots of tasty pencil flavors. There was also great cedar to the palate, which was less ripe than the nose led me to expect, and the 1990 Latour was the best balanced of the four wines, providing an equal ratio of fruit and finish.

     

    Château Latour 2003  96 p

    Château Latour 1899  94 p

    The next wine was one of the more discussion-worthy wines of the night, a double magnum or jeroboam of 1899 Latour. We couldn’t tell. At first, questions of authenticity were in the air, and even Big Boy thought it might be fake, despite the fact that was acquired five or six years ago and supposedly was one step removed from Latour itself. It was indubitably reconditioned, clearly showing darker and more youthful fruit, but it still had mature nuances and old qualities. The distinguished Sir Robert Bohr started making some positive observations at first. Olof noted ‘500 flavors at once.’ There was mint and eucalyptus at first. The texture was fleshy, rich and long. The wine remained controversial. Candle wax, earth and cobwebs all emerged, as did some signature sea salt and walnut. I was convinced it was Latour, but it was quixotic in its ‘am I young or am I old’ way. No one could say it wasn’t a reconditioned 1899, and by the end of the night there seemed to be mostly believers. The next day the wine was even better, so soft and supple, and even more decidedly Latour in its flavor profile, still with a purple core. It reminded me more of 1955 than 1899, and I guess reconditioning helps if you want to have an old wine 24 hours later.

     

    Château Latour 1995  94 p

    The 1995 Latour was rounder and more honeyed in its nose, with touches of cola and a hint of syrupy sweetness. It was perfumed in an angel food cake way. The palate was sturdy and rugged, also leathery and big overall. There were stewed flavors of black cherry and cola, and its stewed qualities were those of beefy goodness. However, the 1995 did lose a step in the glass compared to the 1996 (94)

     

    Château Latour 1971  94 p

    Château Latour 1994  94 p

    Château Latour 1975  94 p

    Château Latour 2006  94 p

    Château Latour 1964  93 p

    Château Latour 1947  92 p

    Château Latour 2004 92 p

    Château Latour 2001  91 p

    Château Latour 1985  90 p

    Next up was a wine that was very wound in the nose with more alcohol and anise, although it was subtle and refined as well. The nose left a delicate and fine impression overall. There was a .tingle. quality to its spiny nature as some fruit tried to escape, but the palate put the wine right back into the jails of its tannic and alcoholic systems. Although neither its .t. nor .a. was overtly dominating, those were its standout characteristics on its palate. The balanced and refined qualities were very good despite that fact

    Château Latour 1962  90 p

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    Me

    John Kapon, the 40-year-old CEO of Acker Merrall & Condit, is the man who smiled when wheeled luggage was invented; his suitcases have rolled as many miles as some cars. Recently, we sat down in a conference room one early evening in the townhouse of his family business. Half a dozen or more people buzz around behind us, making preparations for an upcoming auction in Hong Kong. In a couple of days, John will fly to China for this sale, the first of several he has planned for Hong Kong this year.

    John proudly proclaims that Acker Merrall & Condit currently holds “the triple crown” – or in other words, the leading auction house sales for the U.S., Asia and the world. In 1997, Acker partnered with another company to hold its first auction. John’s father, Michael, ran the business then, a period when the New York auction scene had only a few players aside from Acker. After a few auctions, held with small, independent houses were fraught with problems, John decided Acker would hold auctions on its own. John explains: “I never thought the auction business would grow to become anything like this. It has taken many years and a huge effort to build this business. It is great to see the wine world support the energy that we’ve put out.” 


     

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    Pro Me

    Acker Merrall’s auction business is a smash success

    The figures are impressive. In 2010, Acker Merrall & Condit grossed around $99 million in auction business from NY, Hong Kong and the Internet, and another $15-20 million from its retail business. In 2011, Acker grossed about $110 million in auction business from 16 live auctions held in NY, Hong Kong and Chicago, and the retail business is expected to be up 10 per cent on 2011. In 2011, Acker chose Chicago as a new U.S. auction market in 2011 because the city was viewed as “one of the few markets that has proven it can sustain a wine auction.” In 2011, Acker Merrall held six auctions in Hong Kong, where the company has an office and full-time staff. Hong Kong auctions grossed around $69 million, just under two-thirds of Acker’s total auction business for 2011. New York and Hong Kong are therefore the core markets, while Chicago and the Internet are areas of future growth. 

    John compares the enormous preparation and anticipation of an auction to what American football players experience on game day. “It’s always very intense and exciting; the auction is like Sunday to a pro football player.” Over 250 000 bottles were sold at auction in 2011 and any single auction has about 1000 lots. Far from being threatened by the presence of other wine retailers and brokers that have asserted themselves in retail markets lately, John is encouraged that the wine trade constitutes 25 per cent of Acker’s auction business. Overall, this indicates an active wine business that is healthy and growing. 

    “The fine wine market is dominated by French wines. Bordeaux continues to be the most important segment and there’s also Burgundy. Other important segments are Champagne, the Rhone, Italy, Spain, California, Australia, Port and Madeira. I look forward to when we are selling Chinese wine at auction. In fifty years, it may be a whole new market. Something tells me the guys who have been doing it since the 1800s are still going to be on top: France has special geography and terroir,” John opines.

    Close

Wine Moments

Here you can see wine moments from tastingbook users. or to see wine moments from your world.

John Kapon / CEO / Ackerr Merrall & Condit, Pro (United States)  had a tasting of  23 Wines  from  9 Producers 

The 1966 Heitz Vineyard Martha's Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon was an epic bottle, a testament to the heights that Napa can achieve, pun intended!  There was a minty and sexy nose that seeped caramel and eucalyptus.  There was this great herbal complexity that was so expressive.  Insane expression!  ‘So good’ was written over and over in my notes.  The palate was creamy, long and smooth with tasty and fresh caramel flavors.  Divine stuff (98).

8d 14h ago

John Kapon / CEO / Ackerr Merrall & Condit, Pro (United States)  had a tasting of  17 Wines  from  8 Producers 

The 1966 Guigal La Mouline seemed like a great place to finish.  The acidity on this bottle was impressive, and the violet and white pepper were dancing with the stars together.  It was another ‘so good’ wine, and at this point I was officially done (98+).

8m 21d ago

 Van der Meulen  has updated producer and wine information

11m 1d ago

Vintage  1970  has new information

1y 24d ago

John Kapon / CEO / Ackerr Merrall & Condit, Pro (United States)  had a tasting of  16 Wines  from  8 Producers 

Magnum of 1961 Dom Perignon Charles and Diana Wedding Cuvee.  This was a come to Jesus wine, and I’m not sure how anyone who attended that wedding didn’t have a religious experience or a baby.  Either or.  This was one of the, if not the, greatest bottle of Champagne I ever had.  It was electric on the palate, bringing the zippedy, doo dah and beautiful day all in one.  It was so young but had such maturity and wisdom to its flavors.  Bready, meaty, oily and long, this was rich, decadent and full of itself, as in its finish and length.  So good as in so great (99M).

1y 24d ago

John Kapon / CEO / Ackerr Merrall & Condit, Pro (United States)  had a tasting of  16 Wines  from  1 Producers 

DRC Romanée-Conti 2015 had a deep, dark nose with lots of stalky and rocky fruit and a whiff of good wood from the forest.  Red and purple flowers were abundant in this deep wine.  Its palate was rich and long, and while still young it didn’t feel too young.  There was lots of garden goodness to the palate in a royal way.  There was a great, tight, rusty edge and loads of acidity on its “luscious palate of extraordinary power,” noted one.  James Suckling noted “dried strawberry and baby fat - for a baby that goes to the gym” 😂 (98pts)

1y 2m ago

John Kapon / CEO / Ackerr Merrall & Condit, Pro (United States)  had a tasting of  11 Wines  from  9 Producers 

We inched into the reds with a 1937 Haut Brion. While the 1930s is generally considered a lost decade when it comes to Bordeaux, this HB showed admirably. It had a complex nose with aromas of caramel, bookshelf, mocha and some forest. Its palate was creamy and lush, fresh yet mature. There were candle wax kisses to its palate and nice leather on its finish, along with a touch of signature gravel. Secondary flavors of celery soda and molasses rounded out this toasty Haut Brion (94).

1y 3m ago

John Kapon / CEO / Ackerr Merrall & Condit, Pro (United States)  had a tasting of  14 Wines  from  8 Producers 

Happy New Year!  May 2023 be one of your best and brightest years ever.  I couldn’t think of a better way to ring in a new year than an article about arguably the greatest wine day I have ever had.  I will let you be the judge.  Part I.

1y 4m ago

John Kapon / CEO / Ackerr Merrall & Condit, Pro (United States)  had a tasting of  19 Wines  from  6 Producers 

The 1964 Dom Perignon was a touch pinchy and weedy at first, but the bread, butter and honey came and joined the party shortly. No bubbles but great White Burgundy, Bernard insisted. There were citrus, dust and straw edges and a touch of the cat’s meow (pee) that crept out in the glass. It was still excellent, but definitely better a decade prior when it blew me away after being re-released, or perhaps that was just this bottle (94).

1y 5m ago

John Kapon / CEO / Ackerr Merrall & Condit, Pro (United States)  had a tasting of  12 Wines  from  7 Producers 

The 1990 Romanée Conti sent off a signal that there was trouble in Gotham, but the Batman came to the rescue for DRC and the 1990 vintage with a spectacular bottle of 1990 DRC Romanee Conti!  Now this was the alpha 1990 DRC that I remembered, but never quite like this.  It is not often I get to taste “RC RC,” and this bottle delivered everything I could possibly ask for.  It was deeper and darker than anything day or night.  It had this leathery intensity in its nose, a nose that unfurled in spectacular fashion.  Its finish was also long and intense, such a strong finish, practically endless!  This was clearly a special wine, a mouthful like no other in Burgundy.  It was a black hole of greatness, leaving me mesmerized with its rich and honeyed palate.  There was a bunch of illegible notes at the end, but one note clearly stood out: ‘ENERGY!!!’ (99).

1y 6m ago

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