|Joel Butler, MW (left) and Charles Curtis, MW (right)|
The afternoon tasting was exhausting and exhilarating as usual. Approximately ninety bottles in all categories were tasted, giving me a good outlook at what to buy for the next year.
Here are Iron Chevsky's top picks:
Terrific showing by Veuve Clicquot, culminated by the 1990 "Cave Privee" Brut with no signs of oxidation - fresh, rich, complex and everything one imagines champagne to be. The 2004 "Grande Dame" which I lauded last year continued to show well. Despite being a mass produced and therefore "uncool" brand at their basic NV level, they manage to achieve fantastic quality, particularly in vintage bottlings.
A wine that continues to impress the second year in a row is the 1998 Henriot "Enchanteleurs". I think I like it even better than the 1996. Rich and complex, an ultimate champagne, that (for me) stands out in the company of other great houses.
The 2004 Rosés appealed to my increasing love affair with Pinot Noir, and easily stood out for their stronger red berry flavor and high quality. These three were all terrific and stylistically quite different. The Perrier Jouet 2004 Rosé was all pretty strawberries, while Pol Roger 2004 Rosé seemed to have more structure, and Veuve Clicquot 2004 Rosé showed more raspberry tones, continuing the excellent overall showing by this house.
A couple of other memorable wines: Piper-Heidsieck Rare 2002 Brut and Ruinart Brut Rosé NV.
In the past, this event took place in both New York and San Francisco, but this year we are luckly to have it solely in the city by the bay. With gorgeous wines and views, and an unprecedented attendance by more masters of wine than I had seen in the past, this continued to be the top champagne event of the year in the Bay Area.