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The Freewheel line with a couple of English friends.

It takes a lot of beer to keep the wine business running smoothly. Here in Redwood City, we are very fortunate to have a great English style ale producer right in our backyard: Freewheel Brewing Company. The staff of K&L are fictures at our local pub, and it is a rare moment when one of us isn't there having a pint and a bite of their excellent food. We are also lucky enough to be the first place to offer their bottled beer for sale. If you have never had it, the Freewheel Brewing "FSB" Freewheel Special Bitter, California (500ml) is the benchmark in fresh, balanced, smashable ale. We will do our best to keep some in stock for you, the customer too!

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Burgundy: A 1996 Retrospective

At Mount Eden Vineyards, August 25, 2013.  A group of Burgundy enthusiasts brought wine from our cellars to have a look at 1996, both white and red.  Members also brought older wines for comparison, and some younger wines for fun.

What a beautiful vista of the Silicon Valley.  Thanks to Jeffrey and Ellie Patterson for hosting and cooking!

All wines were tasted blind, in flights, except for the Champagne. Notes were written before the revelation of which wine was which, of course. My incorrect guesses are included, as that is how my actual notes read.

Champagne – 2002 Joseph Perrier

 Rich and concentrated on the palate, with a fine bead. Nice length

Whites – Flight One

2011 Domaine Albert Grivault Meursault Perrieres 1er Cru Clos de la Perrieres

Lovely and rich, with a concentrated nose with notes of citrus and white flowers. Terrific weight and length. Surprisingly open for such a young wine. It is easy to see why this is considered a first among equals among the Meursault Premier Crus.

2007 Domaine Paul Pernot Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Clos de la Garenne

This was lovely, with minerality, focus and a slightly darker color and hints of oxidation on the nose and back palate at first. My first impression was lovely, but time to drink this up! Then after an hour, the color was lighter, the nose fresher and all trace of oxidation was gone. This was a classic example of reduction masking as oxidation. I wonder how many of the so-called premox bottles are actually reduced, and are thrown away before they have a chance to open up? This one fooled not only me, but a winemaker, a sommelier, two importers and a Burgundy Collector with 40 years of experience, at least for a time.  Lesson reinforced: If you think a white Burgundy oxidized, you have NOTHING to lose by being patient, except perhaps an additional glass or two to wash. 

(This is from the Clos de la Garenne, which consists of two small parcels contained, confusingly, between Champs Canet and Folatieres, not within Garenne.  It is extremely well-situated.  The Duc de Magenta (Jadot) , Paul Pernot, and Faiveley are the three land-holders I know of who farm this small vineyard, although Drouhin also bottles it, from grapes purchased from Pernot, who also sells grapes to Jadot, who I believe sells the largest amount of wine from this vineyard.)

2006 Domaine Duplessis Chablis 1er Cru Montée Tonnerre

Honeyed and light on the palate. Good focus and nice minerality, but a bit slighter than I would hope for from this vineyard, which is my favorite 1er Cru. It was also warmer than the rest of the flight, which was to its detriment, as it showed less of that Chablis drive at the higher temperature. Still, solid and focused and nice wine. From a fifth generation grower, farming organically.

2007 Domaine Roulot Bourgogne Blanc

Lovely and pretty, with nice concentration. Ready to drink, but no oxidation. Nice concentration and Meursault lemony notes for its appellation. As Clive Coates would say, "very good for what it is."  No trace of premature oxidation here.


Whites – Flight Two (with Mushroom Timbale)

1996 Domaine René & Vincent Dauvissat Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos

Very pretty, very lovely. Has had time to relax and open up, losing that stern reticence this site shows in its youth. Lovely nose, good focus. Not big but very tendu (tense and linear) on the finish.

1996 Domaine Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Folatieres

Honeyed, with more pronounced secondary notes on the nose. Quite rich mid-palate. A lovely wine, but not quite as fresh on the palate initially as is promised as the nose. Actually better after 20 minutes in the glass, so no premox here. A lovely wine that really showed its breeding over time.

1996 Mount Eden Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay

Prominent orange peel notes on the palate as well as the nose. Bright fresh color, no signs of oxidation. Lovely and rich on the palate. Less complex than the other two, but stands in good company with them.  Bravo.


Reds – Flight One (with braised lamb shanks, fennel and artichoke hearts)

1996 Mount Eden Estate Pinot Noir

Bright, spicy, fresh, good fresh red fruit notes. Quite lovely and elegant.

1996 Clos Frantin Vosne-Romanée Malconsorts

Primary, with prominent acid in the middle. A great old Pinot, but I find myself wanting more weight, flesh and glycerine. Just a bit too linear, although very nice.

1996 Dehlinger Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

Lovely black fruit. A very different profile. Concentrated, long. Alcohol seems a bit too high. Nice wine, but seems a bit one-noted here.

1999 Cronin "Peter Martin Ray Vineyard" Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir 

Substantial Brett mars the nose. Seems very acidic on the palate, due to an excess of volatility. Lots of life on the palate. If this were not flawed, it would have showed great material. A disappointment, particularly after how lovely this wine was on release, when I purchased it.

Reds – Flight Two (with cheese plate)

1996 J-F Mugnier Bonnes Mares Grand Cru

Pronounced minerality is evident. The focused spine here makes me wonder if this is a Corton? Shows some notes of iron, very nice wine, with lots of spine and a great focus.

1996 Georges Roumier Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Les Cras

Rich and spicy character. More red-fruited. Good minerality, very nice. Showing a prominent oak and mint note.

1996 Tollot-Beaut Corton Grand Cru

Lovely, rich, concentrated. Good mid-palate weight, although a linear wine, with a pronounced chalky note. Very nice! Corton?

1996 Meo-Camuzet Corton Grand Cru Rognets

Big, concentrated, substantially blacker fruit notes. Very lovely mid-palate, nice balance. A hint of oak evident, but a rich and lovely wine.  This could definitely use a bit more time in the cellar. The red of the evening for me.

-Keith Wollenberg

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