Vintage Tastings

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A record of some of the world's best and most historic wine events ever held, as captured by the one and only John Kapon.



What Are Vintage Tastings?

John Kapons Vintage Tastings are a collection of memories and experiences taken to paper, the result of a commitment to recording the ephermeral art and privilege of tasting fine wine.

Although ratings are based on a 100 point scale, JK believes there is no such thing as a 100 point wine. Point scores assigned to each wine are his own intensely personal attempts to quantify the quality of each experience.

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Wine Tasting Notes
1 1962 La Tache DRC (magnum) (99) It doesn't get much better than the 1962 DRC La Tache out of magnum, especially when it comes from the cellar of Wolfgang Grunewald. What a nose! Some similar themes appeared: meat, sauce, rich, deepÉthis was heavy metal, including the iron ore deposits. It had a rich, heavy palate; I was actually surprised how rich it was, given my recent experiences with a handful of 1962s. I found the vintage to be maturing, becoming elegant, but this magnum was no ballerina. 'Hoisin' and 'pepper' came from Jef and Joe, not necessarily in that order. This was long and sexy juice. I think it was Christian who said that he had 'a dream about DRC, and this is it.' Amen (99M).
2 1945 dYquem - (99) The last wine of the afternoon was the 1945 dYquem. I have long been a proponent of this being the best vintage of all time, and the Yquem didn't disappoint. There was more honey and sweetness here, along with noticeable t 'n a and slate greatness. The minerality and rock solidness of the wine surpassed its rich and creamy fruit in the end, and the wine's texture was absolutely ridiculous. Wow, wow and then some (99).
3 1975 dYquem - (99) The legend delivered on cue, as the 1975 dYquem was extraordinary, as always. It was deep, showing more youth than maturity, but wisdom in regard to the latter. The aroma roll call was honey, caramel, nut, brulee, toast and more nut. Its palate was rich and lush with great acidity. This was still a baby, one with adult teeth that could bite into its long finish. I had a flash of 1988, but it really should have been the other way around (99).
4 1989 Chateau Petrus - (99) Yes, the 1989 Petrus. As good as the Lafleur was, the Petrus smoked it, it was so good and so wow with loads of plum, coffee and chocolate along with earth and the goodness of what milk bones might be if I were a dog. It had enough tna for an entire chorus line; the 1989 Petrus will always be one singular sensation (99).
5 1949 Musigny Vieilles Vignes Comte de Vogue - (99) The 1949 Vogue Musigny Vieilles Vignes quickly brought time to a standstill. Its nose was perfect, with divine aromas of rose, sauce, oil, garden, chocolate and complex BBQ. The Forbidden Cellar found it 'out of this world,' and this salt-grilled, Wagyu edge rounded out its evolving nose. The Wagyu came later, by the way. It was in a perfect spot, so mature yet still so fresh. The palate was rich and sensuous, with its acid still there in a big way. It had exceptional strength for a 1949; most '49 Burgs are fully mature and completely integrated, hanging on to yesteryear as opposed to today. This was a rich, lush and fabulous wine that lingered in that special, 'waiting for you even though you just met' kind of way. Perfect appeared in my notes again (99).
6 1985 Romanee Conti DRC (magnum) - (98+) There weren't many places to go in a flight of this caliber, but Big Mike found a way with a magnum of 1985 DRC Romanee Conti. The Cardinale and The Artist quickly hailed the '85 as their favorite in the flight, and even though I usually prefer the '71s to the '85s when it comes to my DRCs, this was an exception, and an exceptional magnum. Its nose was wild and even more open than the '71, and Mr. Cashflow noted its 'cherry.' Menthol and animal joined the party in this sweaty red, which had sweet and nutty fruit. Its palate was thick, tender and long, a monumental wine that was rich and zippy. This was the 'sharpest of the three' according to one, and its vigor pulled it ahead of the '71s by a nose, so to speak (98+M).
7 1989 Lafleur - (98+) ...but it was no match for the winegasmic 1989 Lafleur. This has long been one of my favorite Lafleurs, best since 1975 and better than '82 or '90, apologies to those that think otherwise. The '89 had a spectacular nose that kept getting better. This is a wine that keeps getting better every time I have it as well. It was still shy, but its thickness, length and breed were undeniable. 'So great' appeared in my notes, and someone else's as well. Its power was complemented by flavors of chocolate and minerals. Chunks of complexity spilled out of the glass. This was a beauty and a beast (98+).
8 1971 La Tache DRC (magnum) - (98M) We could thank Mr. Big for his magnum of 1971 DRC La Tache, and we could also thank Bipin Desai since he was the original owner. The Acker stickers were coming hot and heavy on this night, and it made me even more warm and fuzzy all over. The '71 la Tache has long been one of my all-time favorite wines, and this magnum didn't disappoint. There were great aromas, open and sexy ones like rose oil, mint, autumn and all types of fresh fruit, like a salad of greatness. This was an endless love of aromatics, 'so good, so great, so fab,' was how I originally put it. Fidel jumped on my 'so' wagon with 'so LT and so what it should be.' Great Brittain found 'roasted pumpkin, when the candles just get placed inside.' I liked (98M).
9 1971 Romanee Conti DRC (magnum) - (98M) The next logical place to go was 1971 DRC Romanee Conti, and we could thank Big Boy for exactly that happening. He let us know a few more times, just to be on the safe side. Big Boy found the 'same aromatic pattern' as the LT, but the RC had a deeper, richer and heavier nose, although it did have the same autumnal edge. Someone noted 'that '71 rot.' Heavy, rich and long, the RC was almost too young still, but it was legal (98M).
10 1961 Haut Brion - (98) The next wine blew the roof off the mother, and rightfully so, since it was a 1961 Haut Brion. It is always great when theory and practice come together, which is what happened in this glorious bottle of HB. All these old wines came from our featured collection in the Jan HK auction; those that bought from it will be very happy. The nose was so deep, possessing 'an emotional dimension' per Jeremy Seysses, Mr. Dujac himself. There was an enormous amount of purple and black fruit in this young and expanding wine. The fruit had a return address from chocolate city, and while fresh, it showed sex appeal with its mature, forward and fleshy qualities. The palate was rich, sumptuous and flat-out spectacular. Chunky and long, the HB also had delectable caramel and salt flavors on its finish. The 1961 Haut Brion showed the difference between good and great (98).