Couple nights ago, my buddy Thomas and his Korean friends hosted a dinner at the restaurant below my house for a dozen or so Italian wine producers, from Tuscany and Piedmont. It’s become an annual event with people attending like Lamberto Frescobaldi, Giacomo Neri of Casanova di Neri, Leonardo Raspini of Ornellaia, Enrico and Enrica Scavino, Luigi Scavino of Azelia, Carlo Revello…you get the idea.
Anyway, he organized this dinner with a number of mega-bottles, including imperials of 1998 Latour and 1998 La Couspaude as well as a jeroboam of 1974 Gaja Barbaresco. The Bordeaux reds were excellent, particularly the St.-Emilion at the moment. It was luscious, with layers of ripe tannins and a decadent blackberry, plum and meaty character on the nose and palate. I gave it 92 points.
The Latour was as tough as nails still. This was infanticide. But it wasn’t my bottle so I wasn't about to complain! I thought it was better than the 89 points I gave it in a blind tasting a few years back. Maybe one or two points, but big bottles make a difference.
The Gaja was just about dead. It was cheesy and slightly acidic. This is what I have found so many times with old bottles of Gaja from the 1960s and 1970s – especially big bottles. The problem is that many of these special bottles were originally used as ornaments in restaurants or wine shops. And they took the full brunt of heat, cold and everything else in the ever-changing climate of a normal room. Basically, they were stored abysmally.
In fact, some of the few good bottles of such old wines I have tasted were from Angelo Gaja’s winery. These were served during the 2003 Wine Experience, which was a great occasion.
I brought out a double magnum of 1989 Paolo Scavino Bric dël Fiasc as backup to the Gaja. It stole the show. It was full, soft and gorgeous with ultra-ripe fruit and raspberry, rose and cherry character that lasted for minutes on the finish. I gave it 95 points, the same as the magazine gave it back in 1993.
Raymond Archacki Jr — Wethersfield, CT — July 27, 2006 9:08pm ET
Steven Balavender — Tampa, Fl — July 28, 2006 7:59am ET
Michael Culley — July 28, 2006 11:25am ET
Robert Renner — Silver Spring, MD — July 28, 2006 2:05pm ET
Rob Mackay — Santa Cruz — July 28, 2006 3:22pm ET
Tom J Wilson — Canada — July 29, 2006 9:55am ET
Michael Culley — July 29, 2006 12:23pm ET
David Arserio — boca raton — July 30, 2006 6:49pm ET
Dana Nigro — New York, NY — July 31, 2006 4:30pm ET
Italo T Lombardi — New York — September 11, 2009 9:07pm ET
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