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What a difference one month can make. In early February, Acker was celebrating its 200th anniversary in full frontal fashion. Dinners, auction, gala. It was a great week, and now a reminder of good times rolling, good times that will be back again soon. There were three extraordinary dinners that week, and the Rare Legends dinner at Daniel was most certainly one of them.

The first flight highlighted the majesty of Coche-Dury’s premier cru holding of Meursault Perrieres, beginning with the 2008 vintage. One found it ’spongy,’ while I thought it was a touch tropical and definitely ripe. This felt a bit advanced and gamy, though it remained rich and sweet, almost sugary. It was less complex than I remembered but it got much better with food (94).

The 2007 had a great nose and an even better palate with far better balance. It was long, zippy and icy with nice yellow flavors. This had solid length and nice grit, in a much more stylish, lean manner, with a precise finish. This was the best of the three bottles I have had of this wine in 2020 (96).

The 2005 was a big, rich and broad-shouldered Coche. It was sweeter than the ’07 and richer, too. Hamburger noted its ‘opulence,’ while Paul and Vinivici found it ‘unctuous and powerful.’ Pitts was also in the ’05 camp, and another noted the ‘best balance of fruit and acid.’ This wine’s tremendous richness made it win the flight by a group landslide (97).

The second flight of the evening showcased the majesty of Montrachet, four wines from the 2011 vintage by a few of the best producers in the Côte de Beaune. It began with the 2011 Drouhin Montrachet Marquis de Laguiche from a perfect magnum. It was sweet, rich, decadent and very honeyed. There was great length here, too, to this delicious Chardonnay. It’s tough to beat Drouhin’s Montrachet for price/quality ratio when it comes to Montrachet (95M).

The 2011 Comtes Lafon Montrachet showed some banana on the nose and palate, with a tropical sweetness and a touch of glue. It was initially a bit awkward on the finish, but Alberto noticed it got better and drier with food, becoming his favorite. I agreed that it got better, and so Pitts, channeling his inner Tony the Tiger and proclaiming, ‘it’s great!’ (95).

The 2011 Comtes Lafon Montrachet showed some banana on the nose and palate, with a tropical sweetness and a touch of glue. It was initially a bit awkward on the finish, but Alberto noticed it got better and drier with food, becoming his favorite. I agreed that it got better, and so Pitts, channeling his inner Tony the Tiger and proclaiming, ‘it’s great!’ (95).

The 2011 Ramonet Montrachet was a rock star white, with loads of minerals, zip and amazing length. There was great minerality and white ice in this long, long, long, zippy, zippy glass of majestic white. It was clearly the best of the flight (97+).

We finished the flight with the 2011 DRC Montrachet, which was a bit tropical as well, almost ‘like the ’08 Coche,’ someone said. The palate was big and brawny but not very showy. It was a bit shy, rich but shy. I wondered if there were better bottles; I felt like it under-showed and was most certainly a surprising fourth place in this quintessential quartet (94).

We moved onto reds with a spectacular flight of 1993 red Burgundies. The 1993 Dujac Clos de la Roche was full of dank olives, with a sexy and gamy nose. This was a musky wine with rich, creamy notes and some nice jam on it. Decadent and brothy, the Clos de la Roche had a lot of fruit for a ’93. It was the most open of the flight with dark and foresty tones, and another killer wine from the Dujac assassins (96).

The 1993 Rousseau Chambertin was deep, dark, vitaminy, irony and rich. This wine was deep, deep inside. It was long and strong with a great flash of black and purple fruits. There was a fair amount of game as in ’got game,’ and everything was in the right spot. Its sweet core tickled my fancy, and it was so long in a beautifully brooding way, what a wine (98).

The 1993 Domaine Leroy Richebourg was strong and powerful. It was deeper, darker and blacker than the previous two wines. Someone admired its ‘viscosity kiss,’ and I was wrapped up in its strength and length. Its dry finish was admirable, even though there was no mistaking its bigness. Pitts wrapped up this flight quite eloquently when he said, “There was no least favorite for me, it was like choosing between Beethoven, Mozart and Bach.” Well said (97).

It couldn’t be a Rare Legends dinner without a La Tache flight, and most appropriately we began with a 1990 DRC La Tache. This was another rock star wine with great depth and freshness. This was fresh like the Versailles garden. It was rich, leathery and black with a touch of partridge with the buckshot still in it. It was so long and stylish, continuing to unfurl until there was regrettably nothing left in my glass (98).

The 1985 DRC La Tache was terribly shot, so we moved on (DQ).

The 1985 Dujac Clos de la Roche had a melange of the full spectrum of fruits — black, red purple and blue. There was great forest floor and tree bark complexities, and fresh floral notes, a true cornucopia of outdoor goodness. This was deliciously stylish and good, flirting with a higher score (97+).

The 1978 DRC La Tache was as good as it gets. It resided in menthol city with any and every fruit readily apparent in an amazing, smorgasbord fashion. It was a kaleidoscope of colors: red, purple, blue and even more. There was great earth and leather, too, accompanying the spectacular mint notes. It was in the perfect spot at age 42 (99).

Bordeaux came next with a flight of the historic 1959 vintage. 1959 and 1961 have often been compared over the years, but as time goes on, I find myself more and more in the ’59 camp overall. Not every wine, not every bottle, but just in general, at least for the Left Bank. This flight didn’t disappoint. First up was 1959 Chateau Haut Brion, which had a spectacular nose of chocolate and tobacco. There was plenty of zip left in it with some band-aid, charcoal and gravel aromas to add complexity. I could sense how long the palate was before I tasted it, and it was terrific and sensual, full of chocolatey, creamy and tasty greatness. There was lots of gravel on the finish, and Hamburger found a ‘particular freshness to it’ (98).

The 1959 Chateau Lafite Rothschild was shy and a bit dark, cloudy and murky. It was not a great bottle, showing mostly peanuts and a little earth. It was the most mature of the flight, and while not an ‘off’ bottle of this wine, it wasn’t an ‘on’ one either. This wine often wins 1959 challenges but not on this night (95).

The 1959 Chateau Latour was deep, dark and brooding as Latour often is. It had hints of chocolate and smoke with lots of grit. There was a touch of twang and charcoal with tremendous length. It was a little chunky and still felt too young, give it 20 more years, at least this bottle needed it (97+)!

The next flight brought out more legends, this time honoring the Northern Rhone and Piedmont. We began with the headline act also known as the 1990 J.L. Chave Hermitage. I’d recently tasted two magnums of this in January that remained at the forefront of my brain, but that didn’t take away from the thrill of this bottle. There was great minerality, and it was consistent with my most recent, previous tastings. The Chave was like a full meal with its vegetable, animal and mineral components — WOW. It was long, fine and meaty, with flavors of iron, bacon and violet. This wine pretty much had it all (98).

The 1990 E. Guigal Cote Rotie La Mouline was darker, deeper, chunkier and blacker. Vinivici found its ‘acidity ringing,’ and it was definitely rich, decadent and heavier than the previous glass, but not as stylish (96).

We finished this flight with a 1990 G. Conterno Barolo Monfortino Riserva, which was not the best bottle ever of the wine, but it was still outstanding. It was a bit shut down and shy, but still with loads of length and leathery zip. There was a touch of tar, open road and tobacco on its finish. I generally like this vintage of Monfortino a bit more, or maybe the Chave just stole the show (96).

I was running out of steam, but we had one flight to go, a series of 2001 California Cabernets. The 2001 Colgin Cariad was noticeably heavier in style (93), while the 2001 Harlan Estate was a bit richer and still quite heavy as well (94). The 2001 Opus One had the most Bordeaux-style elegance (95), and we finished with the 2001 Heitz Cellar Cabernet Sauvignon Martha’s Vineyard (93).

Start curating now! And in the meantime, stay safe. By staying apart as much as possible, we’ll get through this together. All the best to everyone, I hope these notes can provide a bit of respite for each and every one of you.

In Vino Veritas,

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