Saturday, January 15, 2022

Pour Boys Wine Dinner features Dual Pauillacs

Pour Boys Wine Dinner features Dual Pauillacs and favored St Emilion and Napa Merlot

Fellow 'Pour Boy' Dr Dan and Linda came over for beef tenderloin dinner and we opened a pair of a special Pauillac label from Château Duhart-Milon.

We reminisce about this label; it anchored a mixed case of wine we gave Dan for a wedding present in a stocked wine rack forty years ago. Being newbies to fine wine at that time, I left the price tags on all the bottles so he could discern every-day wines from once-a-week or once-a-month wines. 

Château Duhart Milon Rothschild (Lafite) was the or one of the most expensive labels in that flight. Dan attributes that gift selection as part of his introduction and indoctrination to fine wine.

Tonight, I pulled from the cellar a 2003 and 2004 vintage release of Duhart-Milon for our dinner, a 'mini' vertical - multiple vintages of the same label. 

Dan brought from his cellar a opposing, Right Bank Bordeaux from Château Figeac, one of our favorite and collected St Emilions. 

Prior to dinner we had a selection of artisan cheeses and ceasar salad. With the grilled tenderloin beef au jus Linda prepared roasted au-gratin potatoes, haricot verts and carrots. 

Following dinner we enjoyed Linda's incredibly delicious decadent Salted Caramel Chocolate Mug-cake dessert.

Part of the evening was spent discussing and planning this year's upcoming OTBN - Open that bottle night, our annual wine extravaganza. 

Château Duhart-Milon Pauillac Bordeaux 2004

We drove by the Duhart-Milon winery in the village of Pauillac during our Bordeaux Wine Experience in 2019.  

This release was awarded 91 points by Robert Parker's Wine Advocate and Wine Enthusiast and 90 points by Wine & Spirits. 

This is a blend of 72% Cabernet Sauvignon and 28% Merlot.

At seventeen years, the fill level, foil, label, and most importantly, the cork were all in ideal condition for their age. 

Dark garnet color with purple hues, medium to full-bodied, very aromatic, the fruits erupted from the bottle as soon as the cork, in perfect condition, was extracted. Expressive but only slightly austere blackberry and black currant fruits with classic Pauillac tones tobacco, creme de cassis, earth, spice and hints of cedar turning to moderate tannins and a bright fresh tangy acidity.

RM 91 points.

Château Duhart-Milon Pauillac Bordeaux 2003

This blend is 73% Cabernet Sauvignon and 27% Merlot.

Similar profile to the '04 release above being the same wine but this release was rated higher, 94 and 93 points by Robert Parker, Wine Advocate who compared to the much heralded 1982, and said "may be the finest Duhart-Milon made ... ever' and 'this is the greatest Duhart-Milon I have ever tasted.... a breakthrough effort and clearly a sleeper of the vintage".

James Suckling gave it 92-93 points and said "One of the best I have tasted from this estate." 

Those reviews were when it was about five years of age and now at seventeen, I found the '04 much better than the '03, perhaps aging differently or bottle variation, but my reviews were upside down from the pundits when comparing the two vintages. 

Parker wrote further, "Anticipated maturity: 2007-2020. Duhart is a chateau to watch as the Rothschilds (of Lafite) are making serious investments and pushing full-throttle to upgrade the quality and image of this estate." So, perhaps it is at the end of its primacy and starting to wane as it moves beyond its prime drinking window.

Jancis Robinson gave it 17/20 and write last year, "Really rather charming! At peak? But with some Lafite restraint about it. Attractive peppery edge to the sweet fruit."

I found similar profile to the '04 release above, more ruby than garnet colored, not as structured and less full fruits with slightly more acidicity on the finish. 

RM 89 points.

Château Figeac St Emilion Bordeaux 2010

This is one of our favorite St Emilions, a collectable that is a 'signature' label that we collected for our son Ryan's birthyear, and for a vertical collection from thereon. 

We served this wine from a double magnum at son Ryan's wedding from the 1982 vintage. We hold a vertical collection of this label as well as it being part of a horizontal selection of Bordeaux from his birth year vintage. 

We served an aged 1982 Birthyear vintage of this Figeac label for a father-son dinner with son Ryan just last month. That was testimony to the long lived ageworthiness of this label in good vintage years.

Tonight's 2010 vintage release was a blockbuster for Figeac, getting 98 points from James Suckling, 97 points from Robert Parker's Wine Advocate and Vinous, and 96 points from Wine Enthusiast and Wine Spectator. In 2013 Wine Enthusiast gave it a "*Cellar Selection* Give this wine at least 10 years."

Dan served this wine at a dinner together at his place back in 2016 when I posted about this wine.  

I sense this wine was consumed too young back in 2016 and is just now coming of age to reveal its true character and potential. In 2013 Steve Tanzer of International Wine Cellar gave it 91 points and said, "its youthfully forbidding tannins call for at least eight years of patience. It will merit an even higher score if it blossoms in the bottle."

In 2016 I posted this below. 

Château Figeac St Emilion Bordeaux 2010

Tonight was similar to our earlier experience with this label. True to the style of the Merlot based blend, this was an appropriate opening wine, a bit softer and more approachable easier drinking than the Cabernet predominant blends.

The blend of this right bank Bordeaux is 35% Cabernet Franc, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Merlot.

Deep ruby colored, medium-full bodied, black berry fruits accented by cedar, tobacco leaf and smoke with hints of green olive, cassis and oak turning to smooth gripping tannins on the finish.

RM 91 points.

Tonight, this was dark inky blackish purple colored, full bodied and dense but velvety, polished and elegant, nicely integrated black fruits with tobacco, graphite, cassis, hints of spice and cigar box on a smooth soft tannin finish. 

RM 93 points.

Darioush Napa Valley Merlot 2000

To round out of flight and to complement the Merlot based Right Bank Figeac, I opened this aged vintage Napa Merlot from Darioush.

We tasted and acquired this wine when Linda and I visited the Darioush estate and did a barrel tasting with winemaker Steve Devitt at the estate while the new facility and hospitality center were being built back in 2003. 

Dan accompanied us when we attended an elegant dinner hosted by Darioush at the Everest Room in Chicago back in 2004

And, we all visited the magnificent, opulent Darioush winery in Napa during our Napa Wine Experience in 2017

I have to say this wine was the surprise of the evening, exceeding my expectations. I was concerned how it would show at twenty plus years, being from a somewhat modest vintage. 

As shown the fill level, label, foil and cork were in pristine condition; another testament to the provenance of our cellar, having held this since release. This is sourced from the Darioush Estate vineyards adjacent to the winery.

This was rated 91 points by Wine Enthusiast and Wine Spectator. 

Dark blackish purple colored, medium-full bodied, rich, supple concentrated black fruits, yet elegant and polished with notes of dark mocha chocolate, herbs, hints of smoke, toasty oak and vanilla, with silky tannins on a long smooth finish. 

RM 91 points.