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james laube's wine flights

A Class Act

Photo by: Greg Gorman

Posted: Oct 22, 2006 6:39pm ET

I found myself moved and inspired by many of the speakers at the California Wine Experience.

This is a great time for wine, and there are many dedicated vintners who have devoted their lives to wine, grapegrowing, their businesses and, for many of us, wine education.

As I watched, listened and tasted along with Robert Drouhin during his Burgundy seminar, I couldn’t help but admire this classy, gracious vintner. He’s been making wine for decades yet he gladly poured some amazing treasures—a flight of Clos des Mouches capped by the 1976 vintage—and a flight of Montrachets from the esteemed Marquis de Laguiche vineyard.

But what struck me was that after all these years, he is still able to address the most basic and fundamental questions (whether to decant and why—to remove sediment from an older wine or to let a young wine breathe or develop) and he can laugh at himself, as he did, when he confused one vintage with another during the Clos de Mouches tasting.

Decanting debates will likely be with us forever. And it’s easy to be fooled, or misled by a wine, even those most intricately acquainted with a wine, as Mr. Drouhin is with his. It happens to even the finest tasters in the world, bar none.

Robert Caruana Jr
East Islip, NY —  October 23, 2006 3:40pm ET
James - After reading James Suckling's blog on the '02 Shafer Hillside Select and the '96 Ridge Monte Bello from the California Wine Experience, I'm interested to hear your thoughts (and non-blind ratings) on those two wines in particular. Also, what wines were the highlight of the weekend for you and why?

In addition, will you be doing a 1996 California Cab retrospective soon? If so, in what issue will it appear?
James Buckley
ny —  October 23, 2006 3:56pm ET
just wanted to comment on drouhin's 2002 beaune clos de mouches.i know i drank this early, but it is very approachable already...it is excellent..it will be much better in several years.
James Laube
Napa, CA —  October 23, 2006 5:08pm ET
Robert, I loved the Shafer HSS 2002, didn't taste the Monte Bello and did do verticals from 1976, 1986 and 1996, coming soon to the web, then the magazine.

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