That picture above should tell you two things:
1-I am the luckiest SOB in the world that I even get the opportunity to appreciate such things AND have an appreciation of them.
2-If you needed any further proof that cellaring wine is worth the effort and exercise in self discipline, this is it!
Both these bottles were consumed with great pleasure at a recent dinner party, and for near 10-year-olds, they were stellar. Absolute sensual delights with headspinning aromas and flavors that domestic winemakers can only dream about. The Domaine du Banneret Chateauneuf du Pape was the more youthful of the two, not really opening up fully for about an hour or so. The fact that the bottle lasted that long is astonishing in itself. Perhaps the two other bottles open at the same time had something to do with it. In any event, there is nothing like Chateauneuf. Imagine if you will taking a handful of blueberries, mashing them up with a bunch of rocks and throwing in a handful of dirt and a pinch of wild herbs and a touch of bacon fat. I know, it DOES sound delicious. That is kind of what was happening here, and more. Right about my last sip when this was throwing all kinds of flavor around my mouth, I could just sit and let the winemaking love flow. Pure blueberry, smoke, more earth and spice. More of freaking everything. One of those wines you get almost as much pleasure from smelling as from drinking. Crazy, crazy juice. This could easily age for another 5-10 years, but I can't imagine it being any more satisfying.
I live in the heart of American pinot noir production here in Oregon, and have a healthy appreciation for what the local guys and girls are trying to produce. But when I take one sip of something so elegant, so complex, so freakishly interesting as this 1999 Pommard, then it shows you there still is nothing like French pinot noir. NOTHING comes close. Coste-Caumartin is a relatively tiny, family run domaine in the Beaune area. This is a premier cru (the second highest designation in Burgundy, just below the Grand Cru level wines) from the Clos des Boucherottes vineyard. "Monopole" on the label simply means that Coste-Caumartin owns the whole vineyard, and are the only ones who make wine from it. Pommard is a small appellation in the heart of Burgundy's Cotes du Beaune. The wines are known for their dark, earthy, yet feminine character. This was all that and tons more. It has come together seamlessly, the fresh strawberry fruit mingling with a spice, plum, and smoke notes, and again here comes those earthy flavors on the finish that no one in America has quite captured. Mildly tannic, perfect acid balance, a long, velvety finish. This was an awesome bottle, subtle, sneaking out more and more sensations as it sat open, slowly revealing itself. Insanely aromatic. Did I say there is nothing like Burgundy? This was a fabulous treat that is drinking beautifully right now. It will last a few more years, but now it still has a good bit of that youthful vigor that gets all up in your face and I would hate to miss out on that.
These were two tremendously satisfying bottles on opposite ends of the flavor spectrum, and if you asked me which I preferred I would just have to answer "Yes!"