Oldies But Goodies 04-06-16


Jacques Selosse–his avant garde bubblies are getting harder & harder to come by AND the prices keep getting higher & higher.  Still, the wines are unique, though probably not BB1 SelosseBB13 Selossefor everyone.  For me, for instance, they can be real hit or miss.  We recently were fortunate to try 2 different bottlings, 3 nights apart.  The first was the Extra Dry “Premier Cru” which was shared by a VINO guest from Japan.  While this wine has a very solid core, it displayed too many oxidative qualities for my taste.  I am all for what used to be called “English style” (aged & developed), but this was just too much.  It took away from my appreciating the wine itself.  I found the same to be true with the Exquise Sec, we were fortunate to taste a few nights later.  I don’t mind little flaws in a wine (even some brett or volatile acidity), but when it excessive & really takes away from focus of the wine, then I believe it is too much.  I haven’t had enough of Selosse wines to say if the overt oxidative qualities were intentional or not., but in these 2 cases, they were just not my cup of tea.

BB4 831983 Von Simmern Auslese “Hattenheimer Nussbrunnen”–Back in the day, Von Simmern was making some stellar Riesling from his holdings–Erbacher Macrobrunn, Hattenheimers– Mannberg & Nussbrunnen.  In fact, his 1983 Eisweins from Mannberg & Nussbrunnen  were real standouts & very memorable.  I have since had some of his 89, 90, 92 & 94 wines (Spatlese & Auselse quality) & was quite frankly underwhelmed.  I therefore did not know what to expect from this wine as it was being opened.  Wow…..what a real surprise it proved to be!   This 1983 really was drinking wonderfully with a very intriguing combination of complexities & breed.  It was also quite remarkably youthful still in its core given the 33 years of bottle age & had superb structure & balance with a much more gentle, graceful flow on the palate.  Thank you to Ryan & Sarah for sharing.  BB5 90

1990 JJ Prum Auslese “Wehlener Sonnenuhr”–Manfred Prum sure has a masterful touch with his Rieslings, especially those from his iconic Wehlener Sonnenuhr parcels.  I was astounded at the great purity, filigree & deft balance of this 1990.  The once apparent sweetness has since changed (at least 2/3’s) to a more tactile viscosity, which also allowed the wine’s minerality & pedigree once again to show so brilliantly.  The wine’s now seemingly racy acidity was scintillating & very refreshing.  It is rieslings like this which keeps me going back for more & more.  Outstanding!  Thank you to Vern & Gail for sharing.

BB8 99 donhoff1999 Dönnhoff Auslese “Niederhäuser Hermannshöhle”–yet another of the iconic, top echelon producers & vineyards from Germany.  Hermannshöhle is a relatively steep hillside on the northside of the Nahe River & generally considered by many to be the best site in the whole region.  The soils are a blackish slate with igneous rock, porphyry & limestone.  In its youth, these wines can be quite hard, closed & is essentially what I would refer to as liquid rock.  Helmut Dönnhoff is without a doubt, one of the world’s true master winemakers & his showpiece wines combine power, breed, grandeur & balance.  At 17 years of age, I was sad to see this wine was completely shut down.   Those cellaring this wine should really hold off for a while before popping one open.  BB6 Lafite 89

1989 Chateau Lafite Rothschild–someone just handed me this glass of wine as I was walking by one night in VINO.  With one whiff, I knew it was Lafite, as it had such a magnificent, majestic quality to its aromas.  The 1989 also displayed the gravel, graphite, cedar nuances of older Bordeaux, but with ripe, generous fruit which I had really noticed in the Chateau’s wines, from the 1978 vintage on.  Global warming?  I don’t know what to say about that, but will say, the Lafites of old had an ethereal-ness to them & were therefore surprisingly lighter on their feet with an intoxicating, seductive perfume.  Still, this wine was undoubtedly grand & majestic, just done in a riper style.  Thank you Mike for sharing.



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