A Night of Decadence

29 March 2011
Author: Jeannie Cho Lee

Myunga 0278


There was no special occasion, just a group of friends over at my home to enjoy a relaxed evening of wines from my own cellar. We enjoyed Korean barbecue beef with kimchi of course and opened bottle after bottle of wine with the crisp open air providing a thirsty audience. The evening ended at 2am and among 12 of us, we enjoyed 20 bottles of wine. We had amongst us, several Masters of Wine, top wine commentators and senior professionals of the wine trade from around the world. What we all share in common is the love for this beverage that beguiles us, disappoints us, frustrates us and ultimately seduces us at the end.


1. NV Krug (2 bottles), Champagne, France
This non vintage champagne was ‘aged’ in my cellar for about two years. Gorgeous biscuity, rich, generous, flavours. Classically beautiful. (94)


2. 2008 Schafer Frohlich Felsenberg Grosses Gewächs Riesling, Nahe, Germany
Pure, focused wine with layers of delicate minerality & white blossoms mingling with lime. Lovely dry style from Nahe. (93)


3. 2008 Grace winery Koshu single vineyard, Yamanashi, Japan
Typically restrained but if one concentrates, there are delicate layers of wakame/seaweed flavours. Light wine perfect for sushi/sashimi. (88)


4. 2001 Château Musar Blanc, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon
Deep golden/amber colour with a richness and full mid palate that is more like a red than white. Savoury dried herbs, firm acidity and fairly long finish. A very special unctuous wine. (92)


5. 1997 Kistler Pinot Noir, Sonoma County, United States
Surprisingly young with bright ruby colour. A ripe Pinot style, very typically American, filled with sweet strawberry/cherry flavours. Good length & depth. (91)


6. 1999 Louis Jadot Chambertin Clos de Beze Grand Cru, Burgundy, France
I have been opening this wine every year for the past five years and it is still very closed, filled with spices and dark berry fruit, but still dense, tightly knit and not very expressive.(90)


7. 1998 Domaine du Pegaü Chateauneuf du Pape (magnum), Rhone Valley, France
Classic Chateauneuf du Pape with roasted herbs and meaty flavours. This wine has finally come around, previous magnums were closed and ungiving. Still young and powerful but exhibiting hints of development – leather/mushroom notes. Nice length. (94)


8. 1978 Château Gruaud Larose (magnum), Bordeaux, France
Initially dusty, closed then opened up to become an aged tobacco leaf reeking English gentleman. Classic St Julien. (88)


9. 1970 Château Leoville Las Cases, Bordeaux, France
Remarkably well-kept, one of the top wines of the night. All the sternness of young Las Cases has given way to a finely etched classic top Bordeaux. At 40 years old, still offering a lot of pleasure. Fabulous wine! (94)


10. 1966 Château Fonbadet Pauillac, Bordeaux, France
Gentle aged Pauillac with delicate dried floral flavours with hint of cedar. Glides down the tongue with silky tannins. Light bodied, very enjoyable 44 year old Bordeaux from a modest chateau. (91)


11. 2005 Robert Mondavi To Kalon Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, United States
This wine manages to be full, concentrated and powerful without heaviness. A fantastic Napa Cabernet, one of the best of its type with incredible depth and length.(95)


12. 2005 Providence Private Reserve Cabernet Franc/Merlot blend, Matakana, New Zealand (tasted blind)
This wine confuses many people because of its savoury, dense character with leafy notes reminiscent of Bordeaux rather than its New World origin. Beautifully crafted and filled with layers of flavours, this is a wine to keep in the cellar for at least 8-10 more years before enjoying. A classy wine. (94)


13. 1978 Château Leoville Poyferre, Bordeaux, France
A light bodied Bordeaux that is just past its peak; but like many interesting old people, it has plenty to say. (90)


14. 1999 Château Haut-Brion, Bordeaux, France
Youthful, dense with classic Haut Brion cigar box notes. Needs at least 1-2 hours of decanting but it was poured this time straight from bottle. Lots of potential, not a wine to enjoy just yet. (93) 


15. 1979 Château Margaux, Bordeaux, France
A delicate Margaux with incredible aromatics of pot pourri and spices. This is a light, very elegant style for those who appreciate finesse over power. (93)


16. 1988 Château Lafleur, Bordeaux, France
Filled with blackberry, plum notes with signs of bottle age just creeping in (tobacco, leather). Tightly woven tannins and fruit with those sumptuous Lafleur tannins I love. A dream wine. (96)


17. 1975 Château Cos d’Estournel, Bordeaux, France
One of the last bottles to be opened sometime past midnight so recollection is fading but I do remember enjoying it very much as a classic spicy aged Cos. (92?)


18. 1998 Château Rieussec, Bordeaux, France
Beautiful golden colour with honeyed/botrytis notes that really give it body and length. Gorgeous Sauternes that many did not appreciate – opened as the last wine of the evening. (93)