Wine Talk

Snooth User: gregt

Drinking Greg's wine

Posted by gregt, Sep 15, 2011.

The other Greg, not me.

Last night Greg generously offered to open some older wines and for some reason asked if I'd be interested. Turns out to have been the perfect night because my entire plan for the evening was to go home, have some leftovers, and go to sleep. So sure I'd go taste some wine. His quid pro quo was that I write something, and so here we are actually starting a thread.

Arriving at the Snooth offices I realized that I was at the old location.  They had moved.  I could have taken a train that would have left me a few blocks from them but no! At the last minute I remembered I wanted to be on the east side so I took another train.  The wrong one.

Cursing and irritated, I started the trek across town. Well, it turns out life sometimes offers you a consolation prize because on the way over I ran into a gorgeous naked girl standing next to a falafel truck. That's not something you encounter as often as you want to.  Besides, I do like falafel so although I was running late at this point I did the logical thing and stopped for a minute anyway. I lingered for a moment, took a couple pics, and my spirits thus revived, continued on my way.

Greg was pouring 3 wines at the time - Chateau Meyney 1988, 89 and 90. I have a few younger versions so I was pretty curious to see what they were like. Once again the tasting pointed out the inadequacy of vintage generalizations. By repute, the 1988 was the weakest of the vintages but surprisingly, I liked it the most. It had some forest-floor mushroomy notes that may have included a bit of corkiness, but even so, the wine retained a core of sweet and ripe fruit. That alone made me wonder whether the wine was actually corked or was just old-school. In any event, it's mature now, with some of the leathery notes you'd expect in an older Bordeaux. All in all, it was a perfectly enjoyable bottle.

The 1989 was far less so for me, thinner on the palate and with a gasoline quality on the nose, and what I thought was aggressive acidity. The 1990 was quite nice in the midpalate but fell off pretty quickly. I went back and forth thru the night over whether I really preferred the 1988 all that much, but in the end I didn't change my mind. Not sure how long I'd keep any of them at this point, but over the next few years I figure I'd be drinking and enjoying all three.

Since we were having a 1989, Greg then opened a 1989 Cos d'Estournel. Nice of him to do so since it's another from St. Estephe.

Completely different style of wine from a chateau not that far away from Meyney. Much bigger in style, lots of sweet fruit, even some coffee, pretty good initially but also a little obvious. Had a slightly bitter finish like Cos usually does. Greg suggested that might be partly due to the oak and I'm inclined to agree because there seemed to be a big oak component, with the coffee and spice notes and if that's so, I'm not sure that will ever resolve itself fully.

Then he had 2 1986s, one was a Cos and one a Lynch Bages. The Cos was initially a lot tougher than the 1989, also with a slightly bitter finish and a hit of tannin, seemed a lot tougher but ultimately I liked it more. The only defect I really found was a slightly acetone quality to the nose that I didn't like at all. Otherwise, it was a really good wine. As was the Lynch Bages, which was somehow more textured on the palate, also with some dusty tannins. Matter of fact, for wines that are 25 years old, they both had classic profiles of older Bordeaux with the mushroomy and leathery notes but both also had a lot of kick left. Both were wines that I'd be happy to have lots of.

Philosophically, it's perhaps worth thinking about vintage generalizations somewhat. There can be any number of things that cause a vintage to fail - things like early frost, unexpected heat spikes, hailstorms during the final ripening period, too much or too little rain during the growing season, etc. But hail for example, can be selectively damaging, reducing the overall profile of the vintage but sparing some vineyards completely. The others cast wider nets, but even so if your vineyards are well-drained, you may be better off than someone who has lots of clay for example, or vice versa if there's insufficient water.

The point is, there are many times a vintage is dismissed as second-rate and it's correctly dismissed. OTOH, there are times when the earlier decision needs to be re-thought. I've had some really good wines from regions in which the particular vintage was considered sub par or worse. No surprise that the 1986 Cos and Lynch were good - that was a really good vintage generally in Bordeaux and those are some top wines. The Meyney was probably outclassed by them but even so the 1988 Meyney was my third favorite wine - a lesser wine from a lesser vintage. We didn't taste them blind, which might have been fun, but nonetheless, it was a fun and educational time and I'd be curious to try some more 1988s to see how they're doing.

And of course, I'm happy to drink Greg's wine any time.

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Replies

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Reply by JonDerry, Sep 16, 2011.

Great write up Greg, sounds like a fun tasting put on by GDP. 

Forest floor is such a great quality in a wine, maybe my favorite...i've only really tasted it once, but i'm looking forward to the next. 

Definitely feel like dismissed vintages in Bordeaux are especially just that, dismissed and forgotten, sometimes irrelevant unless the producer has cred. Perhaps wrongly, i'd assumed that poor vintages in Bordeaux are usually caused by a lack of sunshine.

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Reply by dmcker, Sep 16, 2011.

Can get forest floor from a number of locations, but I also tend to like it quite a bit, unless there's too much mold under the leaves.

Haven't had any Meyney in the last few years but used to drink it as weekday-type dinner table wine through the '80s and '90s. I remember drinking a lot of '86s and '82s, but not too clearly the vintages in the vertical you describe, Greg. And yeah, I like '86s a lot, too, including Cos and Lynch Bages. Perhaps the fact that it's one of my daughters' birth years has made me buy so many bottles from the vintage, but it wasn't a bad vintage to 'have to' buy (the other daughter's is '82)!

I second Jon's praise of your notes, GregT, and of GregDP's kind generosity and creative stimulation of the publishing process....

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Reply by Eric Guido, Sep 16, 2011.

Great stuff Greg.  It's also funny how everyone's taste in bottles can differ.  The two '86s were beautiful but my impressions of the Meyneys were slightly different.  We had the same impressions but somehow landed on different favorites.  But hey, they were all enjoyable, all the same.

Too bad you can't post your pics from your journey to snooth!

Great to see you the other night.  I'm looking forward to future events.

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Reply by millb96, Sep 16, 2011.

I love falafel too, please post pics

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Reply by JonDerry, Sep 16, 2011.

Yes, please post and/or pm the pics if you have to...that was the big payoff after all the wrong turns afterall ; )

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Reply by zufrieden, Sep 16, 2011.

Excellent narrative of a trip through NYC and, as usual, an erudite but approachable description of a cultured Bacchanalia.  God, I wish I was in New York!

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Reply by gregt, Sep 17, 2011.

You guys need to visit.  The falafel is great!  I hope we can get Greg to pour something else!

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Sep 19, 2011.

Okay, GregT and GdP, you are so on... I am coming to NYC Oct. 17-21.  (I think there's also some WS event around then ;-)...) I'm actually around a little longer, but we have weekend obligations.  So Wife and I are up for drinking anyone's wine. Just name a date... still working on JonDerry, who drove an hour and a half out of his way to share a meal and a bottle of negrette/syrah with me in LA on Friday.  After sitting in traffic in LA, what's a flight to NYC after all? 

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Reply by JonDerry, Sep 19, 2011.

It's only about a half hour out of my way to get downtown, but both ways that's an hour total. 

Would it work if I flew out on Thursday the 20th and we all got together on Friday, the 21st?

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Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Sep 19, 2011.

I get back from Italy on the 18th, and am booked for two bacchanalian events Friday and Saturday nights, so how about the 20th? 

What would you want to drink. Going out to the cellar this weekend, so be careful what you wish for.

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Sep 19, 2011.

JD, you gotta push it up a day!  Did you see that offer? Heck, it'd be worth a flight from Oz or Tokyo for a shot at the GdP cellar. (dmcker, SH, are you listening.)

GdP, I am totally down for the 20th.

I have a friend in the movies, I asked him for restaurant recos in LA when I went down last weekend and he said, Mako Sushi, Little Tokyo, put yourself in the hands of the sushi chef.  Didn't make it, but the point is, you're the pro, so I trust your judgment.  When it comes to wine, I'm a true democrat, to paraphrase Rick Blaine in"Casablanca."  Hardly anything I don't like.  If you want to save the old Barolos for GDD, great.  (How is she, anyway?  That child-raising thing is a crater to fall into, as I recall.) Consider the other likely attendees--GregT, MNeff, would hhotdog come down from CT?  Like Mae West, I like two kinds of wine: foreign and domestic, so I'm easy to please. So, anything from the large format California Cabs, to the Bords, Piedmontese, Brunellos, and of course all the great Spaniards that GregT has in HIS cellar... Main consideration is that wine is social, so I just want to be sure that the community can make it. I know you will make it interesting in any case.

 

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Reply by gregt, Sep 20, 2011.

I actually have a wine event on one of those days - not sure which but whichever, I'll find out and make time on the other day.  And we'll not worry what to drink - I'm sure we'll come up with something!

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Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Sep 20, 2011.

OK, I can manage figuring out what wines to serve. I'll put together several flights of 3 wines. Depending on how many of us there are either 3 or 4 sounds like a reasonable number.

Since no theme has been specified it's about to get very interesting.

 

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Reply by JonDerry, Sep 20, 2011.

I'll have a good shot if I can just fly out for the day. Will have to get to work on it, but I don't see it as a problem as long as I make it a business trip first.

All flights sound good to me, though it'd be a great to try at least one wine from your favorite areas i.e. Piedmont and Spain for GDP and GT.

 

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Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Sep 20, 2011.

Done and doner. I even have some Spansh wines I can supply, though GT is welcome to bring his bucketload!

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Reply by JonDerry, Sep 20, 2011.

Awesome, hopefully i'll be able to confirm soon.  Any reasonable hotel rec's in the nearby area or even walking distance?

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Sep 20, 2011.

Woo hoo, the 20th is it then!

Concur with JD that your specialties/favorites would be a good call.

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Reply by gregt, Sep 20, 2011.

OK we have Jon and Fox but we're still down a few.

Napagirl??????

Dmucker???????

Others??????? Zuf?

GDD? You're on the east coast anyway!  Outthere?

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Reply by dmcker, Sep 20, 2011.

Would love to be there, but don't see it this time around. In the midst of a financing round over here....

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Sep 21, 2011.

hhotdog is in CT, yes?

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