Birthday Celebration for My Best Friend

My wife and I prepared a great meal. When summer tomatoes come in, my wife makes a fabulous tomato/cheese pie (essentially ground up aged Swiss cheese layered with a bed of very ripe tomatoes and a boatload of the finest virgin olive oil money can buy). Add fresh parsley, garlic, and basil, and the result is a delectable dish that makes a fabulous summer apéritif. While the 1990 Dom Perignon Rosé worked well, it remains tight, with a surprisingly evolved color. That was followed by a simple lobster with the great 1997 Marcassin Chardonnay Lorenzo Vineyard. It's a shame they are no longer pulling fruit from this vineyard because I love its cool climate character that deftly balances elegance with extraordinary power. It also offers a honeyed, lime/lemon fruitiness along with earthy mineral notes.

One of the exceptional buys in the auction market is the 1989 Montrose, which is creeping up on the 1990. The outrageously decadent, super rich 1990 is the greatest Montrose I have ever tasted. One of the finest wines of the vintage, the 1989 is similar in quality, and has put on weight since I first reviewed it. For the difference in price between newer vintages, it is a must purchase. Compared with the earthy, leathery, blockbuster richness of the two Montrose vintages, the creamy-textured, supremely complex, impeccably balanced 1989 Haut-Brion is another animal altogether. This is a great terroir as well as a great winemaker who was able to achieve phenomenal flavor intensity and amazing nuances, packed into a wine that is essentially light. This is the stuff of dreams. It is unquestionably the greatest Haut-Brion since 1959 and 1961. I'm not sure the 1983 Margaux is ever going to live up to my early accolades. It remains extremely young (at least from my cellar), exhibiting a dense purple color just beginning to lighten at the edges. There are notes of licorice, asphalt, and earth, outstanding concentration, and plenty of body, but where's the finesse and complexity expected from this first-growth? Perhaps this wine just needs another 8-10 years. Certainly it will last 40+ years.

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