I live in NYC.  Okay, well Brooklyn actually, but you know what I mean.  And I have been lucky enough to meet a lot of great people who are involved with wine, be it in the industry or as a consumer, or somewhere in between.  So it comes with the territory in a place like NYC, that you would come across a lot of great people with a lot of great wine.  Now this is a bit loaded as people who are “into” wine come in all shapes and sizes, and you can take that any way you like.  But I was lucky enough to connect with a small group of wine folks for a very special dinner recently.

The plan was for everyone to bring a special bottle that they had been saving for a special occasion.  I can bet that most of us winos have more than one of those, I know I do!  But we met and we tried blind a handful of wines, and it was a fantastic experience.

First off, we are lucky.  In a world where a lot of folks wonder where the next meal is coming from, we were picking and choosing our next bottle of wine.  Maybe that sort of thing is just part of being who we are, where we are.  For me it is just something that I need to recognize and live with and I am okay with it.  We all have to do what we do to make the world go around.  But I digress.  In a nutshell, all the folks that participated in this dinner (which took place in the perfect setting, a private home, not a restaurant) brought things that they were passionate about.  Some even brought more than one!  So we had a lot of great wine to try, and so much of it was truly great.  Not a corked or premox bottle in the bunch.  I’d call that a blessing.  I would also call the fact that we could share wine amongst friends new and old a blessing.  And that we could break bread together, French bread on this occasion!

So what’s the point, what’s the takeaway.  More than anything that I gleaned on this evening was that it is about connection.  Human connection.  Over food, over wine, over conversation, over shared experience, and what we have to learn from one another and the wine we drink.  And beyond that, all I got is tasting notes….

Raveneau Chablis 1990 Grand Cru “Blanchot”

Mature White Burgundy reads my first note.  Rich caramel, buttered popcorn, hazelnut, and striking acidity.  First Raveneau, and I want more.  Many folks thought this the finest white.  Tough call.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Champagne André Clouet 2002 Brut

The only Champers.  Cream, Ginger Candy, Nuttiness.  Gorgeous stuff, gorgeous bottle.  The label was quite a hit too.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Domaine Roulot 1998 Mersault Charmes

Mushroom, wood scents, lemon zest, caramel coated lemon all come into play.   Nose is a touch tight and the acidity is zippy, with a long finish.  RECOMMENDED

Leflavie Puligny Montrachet 2006 Les Pucelles

Light citrus, wild flowers, low oak, light richness, excellent length and sublime balance.  The wine seems to have perfect symmetry.  A wine of infinite potential with a long life ahead.  Thank you.  VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Jean Bourdy 1952 Cotes du Jura

My selection.  The oldest wine of the night.  In a space of it’s own was one comment overheard.  Mushroom, tea, leather, cedar box, citrus hints, pretty red lite fruits, acidity and acetone emerge.  Despite the fact that I brought the 1952 Jura, I really liked it.  A rarity.  HIGHLY RECOMMENED

Chateau Musar 1988 Lebanon

Very hard to pin down.  One would say it had to be Musar, but no one did.  I guessed Rioja or Bordeaux, and with the reveal it was obvious why it was Musar.  Mature raisin, cedar, acidity, and the WTF element all come into play.  Confirms Musar’s special place in the world.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Charles Krug 1974 California Cabernet Sauvignon

Cedar, Spearmint, Vick’s Vapor Rub, Pepper.  Cabernet rang forth, and most thought it a Bordeaux of certain maturity, myself included.  And of course, it turned out to be old school Cali Cab.  How far we have come since then in California!  Affirming stuff.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Drouhin 2000 Musigny

As much as I love to hate Burgundy, this was a subtle gem.  Notes of peppery red fruit, green notes, acidity, and there is depth, and length, and more.  A magical wine of the night.  Musigny… yup.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Georges Mugneret 1988 Ruchottes Chambertin

Raspberry cola, yerbas, tart, tart, red fruits with youth and acidity to burn.  This was so much younger than anyone thought.  The acidity will carry this one forth for ages… HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Mouton Rothschild 1970 Bordeaux

Frankincense and myrrh, incense, cedar, and dark bark berried fruit.  This is a mature package that is very fine indeed.  As good as older Bordeaux gets?  I have been very surprised by Mouton on several occasions.  The acidity was a surprise too.  I mark this as the last great wine of the night though we had a few more!  Sublime Chagall label.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Ducru Beaucaillou 2003 Bordeaux

Young.  Cedar, and emerging dark fruits.  Nothing wrong here, just needs time and a little luck.  RECOMMENDED

Massolino 2002 Barolo

Young and a touch of B.O.  The acidity is decent and it spoke to me as an Italian wine, even if it was not shouting it.  This was tight, especially for 2002, but should be ready in 25 years!  RECOMMENDED

Joseph Phelps 2005 Le Mistral

Raspberry coulis, pepper, snake oil.  Ripe, yet wild and weird.  Weird Berry.  I was really unsure about this one as it was so out of left field on the night.   RECOMMENDED

Chateau Coutet e Barsac 1961 Sauternes

Cherry cordial, orchard, home baked pie.   Red Sauternes?  That’s what it hints at visually and taste wise.  Interesting but maybe not typical?  RECOMMENDED