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A GRAND WINE & FOOD DINNER IN VANCOUVER

John Tilson • 10/8/15        Print This Post Print This PostComment Bookmark and Share

 AA045205

 

FEATURING GREAT OLD CHAMPAGNE, BORDEAUX, AND DESSERT WINES

 Albert Givton

The Event

This article is an account of a wonderful wine and food dinner I attended in December of last year. It was hosted and arranged by Albert Givton and featured superb wines from his cellar. The location was in Vancouver at the La Terraza Restaurant. Albert said that this dinner and another that he planned in February featuring Burgundy would be the last 2 dinners he would be hosting and arranging. Over the years Albert has hosted and arranged over 400 such dinners and these 2 dinners are to be his swan song. Unfortunately I was not able to attend the February dinner, but Albert’s long time friend and wine companion and my old friend, Sid Cross, attended and submitted an article on the event which was published earlier (to read that article click here). Both Sid and Albert are Contributing Editors to the Underground. Their experience with old wines goes back over 40 years and is matched by few people in the world. Albert submitted an article on old Domaine de la Romanée Conti wines in December 2010 shortly after the new Underground was launched (to read that article click here). Here is my introduction to that article:

Albert Givton is a long time friend and a Contributing Editor. He has been drinking and writing about wine for many years. He published the Wine Consumer newsletter from 1985 to 1992 and has authored two books including Carte Blanche in 1999. Carte Blanche is a chronicle of a quarter century of his wine tasting adventures from 1974 to 1999. It is extremely interesting, informative and very well written. I highly recommend it.  To order the book, please call (604) 737-1312 or email orly_givton@yahoo.ca.

This article is an excellent representation of Albert’s abilities. He is a very good taster and a very good writer – a rare combination. His style of writing is honest, very clear, and understandable. This is increasingly refreshing in a wine writing world filled with ludicrous hype.

His evaluations of these wines are very close to my own experiences allowing for some bottle variation from time to time. It should also be noted that the wines tasted had received impeccable care and storage. This is absolutely essential to experience authentic old wines at their best.

 

La Terrazza

The Food

Albert had arranged this dinner by first doing a test dinner to match the food with the wines. It was a great success. Chef Gennaro Iorio did a remarkable job with the food and the wine service was outstanding.

 

La Terraza menu

 La Terraza menu2

The Wines

All of the wines came from Albert’s cellar where they had been stored since release. What a line up!

1982 Krug Collection
1989 Bollinger “Vieilles Vignes Francaises”

1982 Chateau La Mission Haut Brion
1982 Chateau Cheval Blanc
1982 Leoville Las Cases (This wine was served blind as a vin mysterieux)

1982 Chateau Latour
1982 Chateau Lafite-Rothschild
1982 Chateau Mouton-Rothschild

1989 Chateau Haut Brion
1989 Chateau Petrus

1961 Chateau Latour

1967 Chateau D’Yquem

1955 Taylor’s Vintage Port

 

Wine Tasting Notes

1982 Krug Collection
There were 2 bottles of the 1982 Krug Collection. They came from the same box. One was golden in color with a deep perfume of brown butter with some vanilla and hints of Crème brulee . It was very rich and creamy, but showing a bit of fatigue. Still – Outstanding.  The other bottle was lighter in color with a wonderful citrus and Crème brulee perfume. It too was very rich and creamy still with a nice underlying crispness and a long, lingering finish – Extraordinary.

1989 Bollinger “Vieilles Vignes Francaises”
What a Champagne! Unquestionably one of the greatest Champagnes I have ever experienced. This is as good as it gets! Light golden yellow in color with a stunning perfume showing tinges of spice, citrus, baked bread, and faint tinges of Crème brulee, this was a great introduction of what was to come. On the palate, the wine had great intensity and focus. With layers of flavor offering hints of vanilla, baked bread, citrus and a great creaminess, the balance was impeccable and the finish went on and on – Perfection.

1982 Chateau La Mission Haut Brion
In my younger wine drinking days La Mission Haut Brion was a consistent over achiever making wine better than its first growth neighbor vintage after vintage – including 1945, 1947, 1949, 1955, 1959, 1961, and 1975. Acquired by Haut Brion in 1983 the quality has remained at a very high level while Haut Brion has improved. The 1982 La Mission Haut Brion has always been one of my favorite 1982s and it is showing beautifully. Very flavorful and beautifully balanced the wine is fully mature, but as is typical with La Mission it should stay on a plateau for a very long time – Outstanding Plus.

1982 Chateau Cheval Blanc
The 1982 Cheval was supple and lush from the very beginning. It has given great pleasure for many years. As time has gone on there seems to be a bit of bottle variation. At its best, complete and lush with great perfume and beautiful balance. Other times a bit more restrained. This bottle showed very well – Outstanding Plus.

1982 Leoville Las Cases
This wine was listed as “Vin mysterieux” on the menu. It was instantly recognizable as a Bordeaux and from 1982. A number of people thought it was 1982 Leoville Las Cases which, of course, it was. Leoville Las Cases is a “super second” that often crafts wines that equal a first growth which was the case tonight. Always a favorite wine of Albert and many others, the 1982 Leoville started out with a noticeable level of tannin. That is now completely resolved and the wine exhibits impressive texture, depth and flavor and still is evolving. This is a wine that is still on the upside of life – Outstanding Plus.

1982 Chateau Latour
The 1982 Latour is a wine with depth and richness. It shows cedary nuances and has maintained its fruit. Seemingly fully mature, but with no signs of decline the wine should drink beautifully for many years – Outstanding Plus.

1982 Chateau Lafite-Rothschild
At the beginning I thought that Lafite might prove to be the best of the 1982 first growth Pauillacs. It is a lovely wine with lots of flavor and charm, but it lacks the depth of Latour and Mouton. The 1959 still rates as my favorite mature Lafite of all the Lafites made since. Nonetheless the 1982 is delicious and fully mature – Outstanding Plus.

1982 Chateau Mouton-Rothschild
It would appear that those who bet on Mouton as the best 1982 first growth Pauillac may have been right. This evening the wine was stellar. Great color, perfume, fruit and flavor wrapped in a seamless package with cassis, cedar, and mint nuances. Fully mature, but with every indication that there are still many years of life ahead, this is really gorgeous – Extraordinary.

1989 Chateau Haut Brion
This wine was great from the very beginning and it has evolved beautifully over time. It is, for sure, one of the great modern day Bordeaux’s. The color is very dark and the wine has a stunning perfume. Rich, full, rounded and supple with great flavor and depth, the wine has amazing balance and staying power on the palate. Seemingly at a peak, this is absolutely delicious – Extraordinary Plus.

1989 Chateau Petrus
Always lush and rounded, the 1989 Petrus is simply gorgeous with great flavor and balance. Showing a lot of depth and charm the wine is fully mature, but like all vintages of Petrus, it will stay at a peak for a very long time into the future – Extraordinary.

1961 Chateau Latour
Albert had purchased this bottle at the Chateau some 20 years ago. The condition appeared perfect. Sadly, when the bottle was opened the wine was corked. What a shame. This is one of the greatest all time Latours.

1967 Chateau d’Yquem
I remember the 1967 Chateau d’Yquem well. Coming from a mediocre Bordeaux vintage, but a very good year for Sauternes, I liked the wine from the very beginning. However, I never thought it was in the league of some of the other great years such as 1928, 1929, 1937, 1945, and 1959. But, because the prices of Sauternes were very depressed then I bought some of the wine. Later, the Count Lur Saluces, the then owner of d’Yquem, proclaimed it one of the greatest ever vintages of d’Yquem and the price soared. He also raised the price of young d’Yquem which created a price umbrella which allowed other Sauternes producers to survive. You see, in the early 1970s d’Yquem maintained its relatively high price, but the price of other great Sauternes, such as Rieussec, sank to as low as $4 a bottle. At these prices, the Chateaux were losing a lot of money.

So this 1967 d’Yquem has a lot of sentimental value to me. It is also a rich, honied wine with coconut tinges and a nice underlying acidity. And, like all d’Yquems, it will keep for a very long time into the future – Outstanding Plus.

1955 Taylor’s Vintage Port
This is one of my very favorite really old vintage ports (along with others such as the 1945 Taylor, 1948 Graham, and the 1931 Quinta do Noval – regular and nacional). This bottle was gorgeous with a fading color and incredible cedary perfume. Silky and lush, the cedary tinged delicately sweet fruit flavors go on and on. This is typical of the wine and it is really gorgeous – Extraordinary.

 Albert Givton book

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