July 10, 2006 - Jack

Jack Falstaff Welcomes
Offline with François Audouze

A Tasting & Dinner of Pre-1980 California Wines

May 1, 2006 at Jack Falstaff restaurant in San Francisco

Francois Audouze
A not-so great photo of François Audouze

WinesI do not know the exact details on how this offline came to be, but I believe it was something along the lines of this: François Audouze, who lives in/near Paris, mentioned that he was coming to San Francisco and asked if anyone would like to get together and share some old wines? Incidentally, François has drunk more old wines than just about anyone, and his stories about these wines are wonderful and quite popular with some of the members of the forum (like me!). (Look for them on the Mark Squires BB.)

Many Old California winesChristine Huang organized the event and did a tremendous job of it, including working with the chef on what was a great menu. This was one of the largest ever "offlines" - an offline is a get together of forum members.

The focus of this dinner was on old California wines. The challenge was to see how old California wines were standing the test of time. The oldest wines poured were a 1953 Martin Ray Cabernet Sauvignon (thanks to Paul Homchik) and a 1953 Chateau Y'Quem (which François brought).

BV Mount Eden Ridge and William HillThere are three threads on the Mark Squires BB about this dinner and the wines: Here (with Jamie Kutch's photos) and here. François's comments are here. Also at CellarTracker here.

The wines were all opened in advance using the "Audouze method" of slow oxygenation. Each person got to taste all of the wines at their table, and what remained then got passed to other tables. Each person seemed to have brought about two bottles.

What was great: The chance to taste so many old California wines and to get a good feel of what 30-year-old California wines are like today. The condition of these wines were surprisingly great, btw. I also now have an idea of which ones to buy, should I come across some. (Definitely not the old BVs.) And it was also wonderful meeting François and other forum members who I had not met before.
Wines Uncorked
What was not great: Way, way too many wines were poured. You had to dump, dump, and dump again rather being able to follow the progress of each wine in your glass. And it also became difficult to keep track of what was in each glass.

Lobster ThermidorWhat was interesting: As near as I could tell, everyone had different favorite wines.

The surprise of the night: Was how well the old white wines showed - they were still very alive.

Baked Alaska
The Menu:
 •  Amuse: Watermelon Gazpacho
 •  Maine Lobster Consomme with Lobster Ravioli
 •  Smoked Quail Stuffed with Foie Gras on Roasted Pear and Wild Arugula Salad
 •  Early Spring Salad – Shaved Asparagus, Jicama, Apples, Mint, Blood Orange Yogurt-Tahini Dressing
 •  Maine Lobster Thermidor -  Catalan style spinach, Lobster Jus
 •  Niman Ranch Shortrib Beef Wellington – Broccoli di Cicco, Roasted White Corn
 •  Black Truffle Stuffed Chicken Breast – Velvety Macaroni and Cheese, Collard Greens
 •  Baked Alaska – Chocolate Ice Cream, Fruit Compote

The Wines: (Scores in right column are the number of bottles I would like in my cellar. A score of under 3 are wines I'm not likely to purchase. Ones with a score of 4-6 or more, I do seek out.)
1965 BV Cabernet Sauvignon George Latour PR
Started well, but seriously fading after 30 minutes from pouring.
1976 BV Cabernet Sauvignon George Latour PR
Very good.
1978 BV Cabernet Sauvignon George Latour PR
Initially ho-hum, but came around with opening time.
1979 BV Cabernet Sauvignon George Latour PR
1976 Carneros Creek Pinot Noir
Robust, needs more opening time.
1977 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon
Nice, but acids are still a bit too dominating.
1953 Chateau Y’Quem Sauternes
Great nose!
1978 Clos du Val Cabernet Sauvignon
1975 Diamond Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Volcanic Hill
1974 Freemark Abbey Cabernet Sauvignon Bosche
1974 Freemark Abbey Petit Sirah York Creek
Very slight TCA.
1968 Heitz Pinot Noir
Corked, but a nice wine.
1972 Heitz Cabernet Sauvignon Martha’s Vineyard
1970 Inglenook Cabernet Sauvignon
1988 J Sparkling Chardonnay
1953 Martin Ray Cabernet Sauvignon
Maderized. Wished it was younger. Still, it was interesting.
1987 Mount Eden Chardonnay Santa Cruz Mtns
What a great wine!
1973 Mount Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon
Very pleasant.
1970 Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon
Showed poorly. Made from Montebello fruit.
1974 Ridge Petit Sirah York Creek
1978 Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon York Creek
1973 Stags Leap SLV
Great taste. Medium finish. Not that complex.
1977 Stony Hill Chardonnay
Grapefruit. Stellar.
1991 Stony Hill Chardonnay
Too young to drink. Come back in 10 years!
1979 Villa Mt. Eden Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve
1979 Villa Mt. Eden Cabernet Sauvignon
A bit strange. It may not have peaked yet, too.
1978 William Hill Cabernet Sauvignon Mt Veeder
Beautiful. (My pour was after the bottle had been open for a long time, I think.)

Wines Ridge

You can click on most of the photos to see a larger, much more detailed version of the photo.

Wines Chateau Y'Quem 1953

   Bookmark and Share