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Society of Bacchus Wine Notes

Dennis Foley • 3/11/09        Print This Post Print This PostComment Bookmark and Share




Note that the wines from all three of Dick Chang’s events and the wines from the Society’s 50th Anniversary event are mixed together in order by type of wine.There is a code after each wine indicating at which of the events the wine was served:

AC = Acquerello
FM = Flood Mansion
RC = Ritz Carlton
FL = French Laundry


1996 Krug Brut Champagne (AC)
Pale color.Sharply fruity nose that is quite closed at this point.Typical Krug with firm acidity and layers of deep fruit flavors.Magnificent but needs up to 10 years further aging to be at its best.

1990 Moët & Chandon Cuvée Dom Pérignon Champagne Magnums (FM)
Pale yellow-green color.Fine nose with notes of lemon and lime zest.Easy to drink and completely satisfying on the palate.Perfect for drinking now but will hold at this peak for some years.

1988 Krug Brut Champagne Magnums (RC)
There is a reason why the ’89 Krug was released before the ’88–there has probably never been another Champagne as tightly constructed as the ’88 Krug.While the pale color hints at a youthful wine, nothing can prepare you for the sheer majesty of this wine!While its great acidity and deep fruit are evident, there is seemingly no evolution yet.The ’88 Krug is still locked down.Will it take ten more years–or even twenty–for its true character to blossom?Only time will tell.

1981 Krug Brut Collection Champagne Magnums (FL)
Still a pale yellow color.Delicate nose with a lemony note.Perfect to drink now.Superbly evolved fruit with terrific acid balance.

1976 Krug Brut Champagne (FL)
Pale color for ita age.Lovely mature nose.Superb balance and fruit but not as deep as the ’71 Krug below.

1971 Krug Brut Collection Champagne (FL)
Light yellow color with a hint of gold.Huge pure fruit nose.To me, this is a perfect Krug Champagne with deep acidity and fruit now melded together with flavor of age.Great mousse.

sa Bollinger “SC” Brut R.D. Champagne Double Magnum (FL)
Note:This Champagne was specially produced by Bollinger to commemorate the birth year of Ben and Mayon Ichinose’s daughter, Lori, who was born in the unfortunate vintage of 1965.Only 30 double magnums were made from a blend of the best wines of the ’65 vintage with a generous addition of reserve wines.As a result, the wine has “SC” (for Special Collection) in the space where the vintage would normally go on the regular Bollinger RD label.I remember visiting Bollinger in 1975 with Mayon Ichinose, where we had tea (and Champagne) with the famous Madame Lily Bollinger.On our tour, we were shown an area in the private cellar with a gently sloping wall–there were Lori’s 30 double magnums leaning against the wall sur pointe (upside down on their corks) two high, i.e., there was a second double magnum leaning against the wall upside down with its cork in the punt of the bottle below it.The sediment had already been riddled into the necks of the double magnums and thus they slumbered until they were disgorged on 1 April 1983.

Nice yellow-gold color.Mature nose.Lightly sparkling with a rather sharply acid character.Remarkable for its age and composition.

1964Moët & Chandon Brut Imperial Rosé Champagne Magnum (FL)
Lovely orange-amber color.Light nose with a hint of dried roses.Only slightly sparkling.Fine, delicate raspberry fruit in the mouth.Really quite a nice drink.


1955 Château Laville Haut-Brion, Graves (FL)
Medium-light amber color.Oxidized nose.Rather flat in the mouth.A bit past its prime.


2002 Domaine Jean-Francois Coche-Dury Meursault Rougeot (RC)
Pale color.Lively fruit nose with mineral overtones.The firm acidity is immediately apparent in the mouth with the subdued fruit more of an after thought at this point.Like all Coche-Dury wines, this Meursault will improve dramatically with further aging.

2002 Domaine Jean-Francois Coche-Dury Corton-Charlemagne (RC)
Light greenish yellow color.Huge nose of pure Chardonnay with an earthy mineral quality.Great acidity and minerality upon entry that are balanced by deep fruit flavors that become apparent in the middle palate.Huge aftertaste.While the wine is enjoyable now, the fruit flavors are not evolved at all–this wine cries out for extended aging!

1999 Domaine Leflaive Bâtard-Montrachet (FM)
Pale yellow-green color.Some sharp fruit notes but the nose is rather closed.Excellent Chardonnay fruit on entry but falls off rapidly.It is still a very fine wine, but the ’99 Chevalier takes the cake.

1999 Domaine Leflaive Chevalier-Montrachet (FM)
Medium yellow color.Big, complex nose.An absolutely perfect wine that is at its best now.Powerful and elegant fruit in the mouth.Huge long-lasting aftertaste.Superb!

1996 Domaine Leflaive Bâtard-Montrachet (AC)
Pale yellow color.Restrained fruit nose with lemony note.Perfect balance with the pure, deep chardonnay flavors one associates with Leflaive.Here the acidity is not out of balance, as it is with some ’96 white Burgundies.Will improve further.With the ‘96s, I award the palm to the Bâtard.

1996 Domaine Leflaive Chevalier-Montrachet (AC)
Medium yellow color with a greenish tinge.Strong fruit flavors that are somewhat hidden by sharp acidity.Will improve with aging but it is unclear whether the acidity can fully integrate.

1990 Domaine Ramonet Le Montrachet (FL)
Light greenish yellow color.Huge youthful nose.Wonderfully youthful fruit in the mouth with melon and tropical fruit notes.

1989 Domaine Ramonet Le Montrachet (FL)
Very light greenish yellow color.Very deep nose with clear roasted pineapple flavors in the background.So powerful!Great long-lasting finish.Superb!

1986 Domaine Ramonet Le Montrachet (FL)
Medium-light yellow color with an amber tone.Clear Chardonnay nose with mineral overtones.Much more evolved than either the ’89 or ’90 above.Superbly integrated fruit, acid and flavor of age.Perfect for present drinking.


2001 Le Macchiole Messorio Toscano Rosso (AC)
This wine is largely Merlot.2001 was a great vintage in Tuscany.Deep black-red color.Wonderful nose of figs and stewed prunes.Deliciously fruity in the mouth.A multi-dimensional wine with great finesse.Will improve for some years to come.

2001 Tenuta Dell’ Ornellaia Massetto Toscano Rosso (AC)
This wine is largely Merlot.The 2001 Massetto was Wine Spectator “Wine of the Year”.Opaque black-red color.Strong, earthy aromas with a strawberry jam note.A very fat wine on the palate but rather simple and falls off rapidly.This wine is just way too young and needs time to integrate.Try the 2001 Massetto in 5 to 10 years!

1997 Angelo Gaja Barbaresco Magnums (AC)
Dark black-red color.Complex nebiolo nose.Very deep fruit flavors and more youthful than the Sori Tilden below.Let this one age–Gaja’s Barolo and Barbaresco take a long time to reveal their complexity!

1997 Angelo Gaja Nebiolo Sori Tilden Langhe Magnums (AC)
Medium-dark red color.Deep nose with wood overtones.Delicious and easy to drink but it will clearly improve.Definitely lighter than the Barbaresco above.

1985 Bruno Giacosa Barbaresco Santo Stefano (AC)
Medium-dark red color with a tinge of brick red on the rim.Superbly evolved nose of leather and earth.Deep, complex fruit flavors that can only be described by saying they are the characteristic flavors offully mature Nebiolo.Huge long-lasting aftertaste.

1985 Tenuta San Guido Sassicaia Magnums (AC)
These magnums were purchased directly from the estate by Dick Chang.Sassicaia is 90% Cabernet Sauvignon.Exceedingly dark black-red color.Very strong fruit flavors, as one would expect with a Cabernet-based wine.Although this wine is over twenty years old, it will gain in complexity in magnum for another 5 to 10 years.

1959 Solaria Jonica Dessert Wine (AC)
This wine is made from dried grapes.Opaque black-red-brown color.Highly evolved nose of raisins with dried figs and cherries.Quite fresh and sweet in the mouth with dried fruit flavors hinting at Amorone.Tremendously long aftertaste.A very pleasant surprise.


1989 Château Pichon-Longueville, Comtesse de Lalande, Pauillac (FM)
Medium dark black-red color.Strong Cabernet nose.Smooth yet with the deep tannic character one expects from cabernet.Will continue to improve for 5 to 10 years.

1989 Château La Conseillante, Pomerol (FM)
Medium red color.More forward nose.On the palate the wine is smooth and easy to drink, with flavors of Merlot predominating.Good but rather light.

1983 Château Margaux, Margaux, Imperial (FM)
The 1983 vintage in Bordeaux is much under rated in my estimation.The ’83 Margaux is a fabulous example.Deep red color.Fine, firm fruit aroma.Absolutely complete and mature yet youthful flavors in the mouth.This is a smooth, suave, silky devil that is representative of the best Margaux has to offer (and, yes, you can take that either way – Margaux the commune or Margaux the château).I’m sure the rare large format bottle helped the wine to retain its youthfulness.

1983 Château Pichon-Longueville, Comtesse de Lalande, Pauillac (FM)
Medium-dark red color.Forward, spicy nose.Obviously, this wine is more easy to drink than the ’89 Pichon-Lalande above.A delicious, big Pauillac-style wine that seems a bit angular next to the ’83 Margaux.

1982 Château Haut-Brion, Pessac-Léognan (FM)
Very dark color.Typical Graves nose of leather and earth but rather subdued.Smooth with good fruit but a bit light in body for such a fancy ’82.Could it be slightly too old now?

1982 Château La Mission Haut-Brion, Pessac-Léognan, Imperial (FM)
I could smell this wine when it was being poured.The ’82 La Mission gets my award for “The Explosive Nose of the Century!”Could this wine also have been helped by being in Imperial?Probably so.In any case, the wine was a dark black-red color.But what a nose!Huge plum/fig aromas that carry through to the palate.Marvelous dense consistency.A fabulous example of this wine!

1961 Château Latour, Pauillac (FL)
Dark red color with an orange tone on the rim.Mature Cabernet nose with figgy overtones.Perfect strong fruit flavors, smooth and integrated, with a minty aftertaste.Now a senior wine but still great.

1961 Château Mouton-Rothschild, Pauillac (FL)
Dark red color with brick red rim.Blunt Cabernet nose.Excellent entry into the mouth but a bit thin and tannic in the middle.After all that, it is still smooth and delicious.

1961 Château Haut-Brion, Pessac-Léognan (FL)
Very dark black-brown-red color.Huge nose with aromas of tobacco and tar that carry through into the mouth.Delicious but a trifle dry.

1959 Château Latour, Pauillac (FL)
Very dark black-red color.Superb minty nose.Perfection in the mouth with loads of deep, sweet, complete fruit.A great wine!

1959 Château Mouton-Rothschild, Pauillac (FL)
Dark red color with some development on the rim.Deep Cabernet nose.Much smoother and less angular than the ’61 Mouton.Excellent but drink it up.

1959 Château Haut-Brion, Pessac-Léognan (FL)
Very dark black-red color.Superb nose of the sort of cedar and tobacco you would get in a cigar box.Integrated fruit flavors and an elegant smoothness characterize this wine in the mouth.A great wine and more proof that at this stage the’59 clarets are almost uniformly superior to the ‘61s.


1993 Bouchard Père et Fils, La Romanée (RC)
Dark red color.Sharply fruity nose with a hint of dried cherries.Quite austere in the mouth with the fruit buried under tannins at this point.Obviously needs lots of time.George Sape best described the wines ofLa Romanée when he observed that they are “glacial in their evolution”.

1993 Domaine Armand Rousseau, Gevrey Chambertin Clos St. Jacques (RC)
Medium-dark red color.Strong Pinot Noir aroma.While it is lighter and more forward than the La Romanée above, it has lots of generous fruit and good structure.Nearly fully mature.

1990 Domaine des Chezeaux, Griotte-Chambertin (RC)
Medium-dark red color.Spicy, very forward nose.Deliciously evolved fruit flavors typical of the ’90 Burgundies.Seemingly fully mature.

1990 Domaine Ponsot, Clos de la Roche, Cuvée Vieilles Vignes Magnums (RC)
Dark red color.Strong nose with overtones of cinnamon.Much bigger, deeper and less evolved than the ’90 Griotte above.Needs a few years to be at its peak, at least in magnum.

1990 Domaine Georges Lignier, Bonnes-Mares Magnums (FL)
Medium-light red color.Highly floral nose that is fully open.Very showy in the mouth with a smooth flavor of “real” Pinot Noir.

1990 Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé, Musigny (FL)
Dark red color.Strong, tarry nose.Big and very youthful.Delicious now but will improve for five years plus.

1990 Domaine Leroy, Romanée-St.-Vivant (FL)
Very dark red-black color.Sharp fruit nose but undeveloped.Deep fruit on entry to the mouth with dried cherry overtones, then a bit hollow in the middle but it pops right back to a long aftertaste.I believe the hollowness is entirely due to the fact that this wine is so youthful.Needs 7 to 10 years in my book.

1985 Mommessin, Clos de Tart Monopole (RC)
Medium red color.Ethereal mature fruit nose.Generous and full in the mouth but still a fairly delicate wine that is nearing the end of its prime drinking period.

1985 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Richebourg (RC)
Medium to medium-dark red color.Somewhat restrained nose typical of DRC wines.Huge, full old-fashioned Pinot Noir flavors with terrific concentration.Nice evolution but will continue to improve for ten years or more.


1986 Château d’Yquem, Sauternes (FM)
Medium yellow-gold color.Wonderful honeyed nose.Medium sweet and lovely balance.Fully mature.

1959 Château d’Yquem, Sauternes (FL)
Note that some bottles were darker than others.

– One darker bottle was a deep amber-brown color.Sharp aroma of burnt caramel. Dry with bitter treacle flavors.Not in good condition.

-A lighter color bottle was a medium gold color with an amber tinge, the proper color for well-stored bottles of ’59 d’Yquem.Fine nose of caramel and dried flowers.Now only lightly sweet, it is still perfection with loads of fruit.


2001 Robert Weil Kiedricher Gräfenberg Riesling Trockenbeerenauslese (RC)
Medium yellow color.Tremendously floral nose.Medium sweet with deep fresh fruit flavors.Still a baby.


1955 Ferreria Vintage Port, Army & Navy Stores label (FL)
Light pink-orange color.Tawny Port nose.Slightly sweet with a pleasant tawny character.

1924 Warre Vintage Port, slip label only (FL)
Inscription on slip label states, “2-20-1980 Bernard Rhodes”.This bottle was given to Dennis Foley by Barney & Belle at Dennis’s birthday dinner in 1980.Light but firm red color.Super minty nose.Delicate in the mouth but still sweet and it has lively fruit flavors.A great Port from the excellent ’24 vintage!

1912 Cockburn Vintage Port, reprinted label (FL)
Very pale tawny color.Thin fruit nose.Interesting in the mouth with a hint of sweetness.Now far too old.

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