Wine Talk

Snooth User: Rob Clack

2001 Corton Charlemagne, Rollin Pere et fils

Posted by Rob Clack, Jan 8, 2011.

I was planning to open a bottle of this wonderful wine when I spotted the notes I made when I bought it, suggesting it won't be ready until 2015.  Does anyone know how likely this is to be true or what the real drinking window is for this wine?

Thanks

Replies

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Reply by Rob Clack, Jan 9, 2011.

Well, I can report that it was utterly delicious!  Rich, soft and buttery, with a suble acidity and a long, lingering finish. Sadly, I don't have any more.

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Jan 9, 2011.

That's why my wife is now urging me to buy at least a couple of everything that we taste at a winery or shop and like, if there's any hope it will improve with age.  Of course, some things are just too expensive.  And holding out is hard, too.  It's really good now, why wait and risk it won't get better?

Don't give up on searching for another.  There's always auctions.  I really wanted a '90 Mondavi Reserve Cab (or similar) for a long time, and found one at an auction after about 13 years.  I knew enough about the collector to know it was held properly and won it at $105.  Best money I ever spent. Drank it against a very good Spottswoode and it wasn't even close. In my top 5 of cabs, and probably overall.

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Reply by Rob Clack, Jan 9, 2011.

I think what I'll do is research good recent vintages and buy some (in bond, if possible) to keep until it's ready. I'm very fortunate that my house was built as a pub (I'm in the UK) so has a two-room cellar in which keeping decent wine for years is a sensible option.

Not familiar with the Mondavi Reserve cab sauv.  I'll look out for it.

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Reply by dmcker, Jan 9, 2011.

Foxall's wife is definitely smart. Any wine you're sure is decent but  not sure whether it's in its optimum window yet is worth buying two or three of, at least.

I was at a dinner last month where three bottles of the 2000 Rollin C-C Grand Cru was served with the fish course. Steely, good acid and freshnessness and minerality, including a bit of chalk, but still young. The person who brought the bottles had a couple magnums at home, and I recommended he lay them away for a few more years.

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Reply by Stephen Harvey, Jan 9, 2011.

Foxall and dmker are quite right in that a great wine should be good in its youth.

The key is to know if a wine does need a "settling down" period to ensure that the structural components of the wine begin to come into balance.  eg most classified Bordeaux wine is often too tannic to drink early and often need at least 5 years, but more probably 10 years.

Having said that some drinkers like to try the wines young and follow their progress over the years and dmckers point of getting a number of bottles and trying over a number of years makes perfect sense and in my view adds to the experience with that wine.

Taking Foxalls point if you have only one bottle, I think it is best to try it earlier rather than later for two reasons:

  1. If it has an obvious fault you can return it and hopefully get it replaced with the same vintage [This will be a greater challenge if not impossible as the years pass as most wineries will replace with current vintage]
  2. Generally you will be able to form an opinion whether it is a style you really like and want to drink and if you do like it you can start planning to get some more - just be careful if it is a wine that does take a while to settle down.

So as you found you loved it - find some more at auction!

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Jan 9, 2011.

Don't worry about the Mondavi--different owners and winemaker now.  They still make good wine, but the idea was more that you can find the wine later if you keep trying, so following SH's advice to err on the young side isn't always the end of it.  Admittedly, 13 years is a long journey.  But you won't drink that same bottle of '90 RM because it would now be a totally different beast, even just a few years later. 

My wife is extremely smart, but I caught her at a vulnerable moment and she married me anyway. ;-) And I still can't bring myself to buy cases and cases of things.  There's just too much to try (cot from the Loire, per another dmcker post in a different thread, as soon as I get done learning about wines from Cahors) to drink the same wines over and over.  But that's just me. Three to six bottles of my absolute trusted favorites is a big purchase. I'm loyal to my wife, but promiscuous when it comes to wine.

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Reply by Stephen Harvey, Jan 9, 2011.

Foxall

Your buying sounds very similar to mine, although I do get permission for larger quanties of NV Sparkling White and NV Champagne [and occasionally riesling].

I think it has something to do with my wife's drinking preferences!!!

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Reply by dmcker, Jan 9, 2011.

Definitely depends on the wine. Something I know is good, have had before, and am looking forward to a particular vintage of over the years (and decades)--then I feel like a wuss only buying a case. Something that's new to me but I'm confident is good and want to learn about, maybe 3-6 bottles, depending on availability, price, mood, etc.

RC, the Mondavi Reserve cab is one of the bluechips of Napa over the past several decades. You should make an effort to try it. Not my personal favorite, but certainly would make my top dozen, not least for reliability.

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Reply by dmcker, Jan 9, 2011.

Oh yeah, and RC most of the comments above seem to be about red wines more than whites. White burgundies, however, can also age extremely well, particularly above a certain level of cru. There are a number of whites out there (also in Bordeaux, the Loire, Champagne, Germany and even Napa and other parts of California--try both a Mayacamas cab but also a Mayacamas chardonnay) that only really come into there own after 10 years of bottle age....

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Jan 9, 2011.

A friend gave me a bottle of Muscadet sur lies that has a drinking window that's about 20 years, I am told, so there are definitely quite ageworthy whites from the Loire.  I just bought about 3 bottles of same varietal just to see how they would last. Of course, the difficulty in these experiments is that the age-able wines of any type are likely to be more expensive rather than less (GregT will have a few counterexamples, and I have had a few as well), so you have to invest a bit, and then the results don't come for a long time.  There's a lot at risk.  Which is a good segue to a wine that is usually age-worthy, our friend the RM Reserve. 

The RM is worth a try.  Reliability, availability and reasonable value make it worth checking out, to be sure. I would definitely consider vintages with Napa Cabs and California wines in general, as well as watching carefully the past efforts of winemakers if you are thinking about cellaring.  Enologix notwithstanding, grapes still respond to weather, and California weather, as I have said elsewhere, is very vintage specific.  Big trends will make one year great for a varietal and not so good for others; what you plant where is based on the microclimate, but the vintage patterns--warmer days or cooler, earlier budbreak or not--hold across vast areas of the state because all our weather comes from the ocean and the effects of enormous currents.  (Until fall, when we get dry hot winds from the east and stuff catches fire.) 

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Reply by dmcker, Jan 10, 2011.

Oh yeah, and for the Mondavi Reserve I meant top dozen for Napa cabs, not top dozen overall.

Am curious about your Muscadet experience, Foxall. A few are ageable, but the greater proportion not as much, especially for decades....

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Jan 14, 2011.

My experience with muscadet sur lies is just beginning.  That's why it's an experiment for me, but the bottle Wine Buddy #1 gave me is allegedly quite age worthy.  I don't think I will let it go past next summer, however.  The bottles that are awaiting delivery will be an experiment--one this year, one in a couple years, one a few after that... unless I decide that they are so good they can never get better. I like SH's advice to drink on the early side if you are unsure, while you can still find replacements.

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Reply by MontagueH, Apr 2, 2012.

I would advise going to see Simon, who is the "fils" of Rollin at his place at Pernand Vergelesses and buying his CC Grand Cru direct from him.  Excellent price (although still expensive) and he will tell you that the wines have a minimum of 15 years and up to 25-30 years to achieve their very best.  Also, tasting the new wines is a wonderful experience.


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