Mark's Duck House, Falls Church, VA

At our decadent, lavish lunch of fabulous dim sum, the red Burgundies performed up to their exalted reputations. It was led by a perfect bottle of Ponsot's 1980 Clos de la Roche Vieilles Vignes. I had a bottle of this with dinner a week earlier, and thought that it was as profound a red Burgundy as I had ever tasted, so I wanted to share another bottle with friends. Again, it was magnificent. It's the type of wine that makes tasters go ga-ga. We had two other older red Burgundies, including an elegant, well-made, still youthful 1985 Leroy Volnay Taille Pied, and a controversial 1959 Grands Echézeaux from Gros Frères et Soeurs. This wine was sumptuous to drink, but tasted like framboise had been added. There was something unnatural about the wine, but its sweetness and richness were stunning, and it appeared far younger than the 1959 vintage date suggested. Who knows? Another fully mature, magnificent bottle was the 1980 DRC Richebourg. I raved about this vintage of DRC when young, and bought as many as I could afford (they were priced far lower than they are today). I have drunk at least 3-4 cases of DRC's 1980s, and I was surprised to see this particular wine still holding on. It remains incredibly complex and fabulously scented, with sweet flavors. What a great vintage 1980 turned out to be for DRC!

As far as young wines, anyone who owns Serafin's 1999 Charmes Chambertin or Hubert Lignier's 1999 Clos de la Roche has a future treasure. Sadly, I don't own a bottle of either, but these are great young red Burgundies that should age well for 10-15 more years. Another great young wine is the 1996 Sandrone Barolo Boschis, a perfect expression of Nebbiolo in an amazingly concentrated style. Another super Italian wine was the Lamborghini 1997 proprietary red, a magnificent example that could hold its own with top Bordeaux. The 1990 G. Conterno Barolo (not the Monfortino bottling) was also terrific. It revealed more openness and complexity than the Monfortino, which is closed at present.

The two Côtes du Rhônes from Domaine Gramenon, the 1998 Cuvée Pascal and 1995 Cepes Centenaire (this bottle was fully mature), were both beautiful wines, but were knocked-out of the competition by the greatness of the red Burgundies and several of the Barolos.

Lastly, Boxler's 2000 Riesling Brand was a beauty. Mineral, spice, and candied fruit characteristics dashed across the palate with intensity as well as precision.

All in all another great lunch at Mark's Duck House with sumptuous dim sum and great wines. Kudos to the red Burgundies for proving that when purchased carefully, the finest are magnificent.

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