Wine & Travel

Snooth User: JonDerry

Staging Question - Burgundy Dinner @ Envy Steakhouse, Las Vegas

Posted by JonDerry, Nov 14, 2015.

I have a big burgundy tasting on Sunday in Las Vegas, and have had to think about how to best stage and prepare some bottles for the tasting.

First, the wines were both pulled from my storage about 6 days in advance and brought to my place. There, I have a few different options of where to put them.

1. In my wine cooler, where its kept at a constant 55 degrees, but the bottles have to lay horizontal. This is not ideal for my red, which is a 2000 Clos de la Roche. However, in looking back I should have left my whites there.

2. In the fridge, where I can stand up the wine vertically.

3. Room temp. Of course not much an option as it gets pretty warm.

But then there's a 4th option I like to use when the weather finally turns colder in So Cal. That is to leave the wines outside, standing up on my balcony. So I put all the wines I planned to take to Vegas this way, standing up in a wine case/carton with no top. My balcony is shaded, so I don't think it ever got close to the highs of the day/s (low 70's), while overnight lows were low 50's. So anyhow, the wines rested like this for several days until we left yesterday, where I put them in our car, making sure to keep them upright in a place they wouldn't shift.

Now that we're in the hotel room they are sitting at room temp, about 70-71, and am thinking to transfer to the mini bar on Sunday ahead of the tasting to get the serving temp down a bit.


Reply by GregT, Nov 14, 2015.

You drove to LV? Then it really didn't matter if they were standing up or on their sides prior. They got shaken up. Even if you locked the bottles into an upright position, you didn't lock the liquid. And after that you're going to take them to the restaurant or venue by car? Again, it won't matter all that much.

I'd put them in the fridge or at least the minibar. Alternatively, deliver them to the venue a day early and ask them to keep the wines cool. I hate wines at room temp.

Good news is you have three whites which shouldn't have a lot of sediment anyway. And the Clos de la Roche isn't all that old to have thrown a ton of sediment. I'd try to get it to the place a bit ahead of time and have it stand for a while. But I wouldn't sweat too much if I couldn't do that. I think it's going to be a good wine either way. Enjoy!

Reply by dmcker, Nov 14, 2015.

Always best to rest the wines before tastings. As Greg said you did the Mollydooker on those poor bottles by driving them.

Take them to the venue *more* than a day ahead of time if possible. Otherwise just as Greg says. Ditto on his comment about the 2000 CdlRoche.

Looks like a nice tasting. The Canon St. Emilion is an old friend, though I can't read the vintage--is it a '65 or an '85? Can't see the whole label on the riesling. Is it dry, or...? Looks like it might be a spatlese, which means it's the curveball or even knuckler amongst the straight heat of the Burg whites. Definitely a nice night for whites, though ordering and food are questions.


If you're having the wine with food I'd start with the riesling alone before sitting down, do some bread or an amuse bouche or a granite or something to cleanse the palate, then go reverse vintage years both for white and red with the food...

Reply by JonDerry, Nov 15, 2015.

We opened the Saptlese (2011) yesterday, and it was nice and easy, some acidic tension (but not a whole lot) with apples galore, minerals, and a little honey. 2011 isn't known as a very complex vintage and this was a good example.

Later opened the 1985 Canon which showed well, a good well kept bottle. Cork came out in one piece with my trusty Ah-so. Smelled of slightly funky sweet soil, with its earth notes taking over, very classic for mature Bordeaux, with a sort of softness to it. On the palate, it's clear the fruit is drying up, but what is there is interesting, starting with pomegranate extract, then dark cherries. The wines acidity gives it medium freshness, while the Oak and natural tannin are pretty well resolved but also good backbone, as this is best on its palate staining finish, which shows good persistence and drive. Would definitely recommend to drink this wine now, while it still has some fruit left.

This did not throw much sediment, surprisingly, though the last 10-15% of the bottle wasn't poured. We did drive to Vegas though I had the box of wine very snug in the corner of the trunk. How would you guys transported the wine? I suppose sending it out weeks ago may have been best but I don't have much for contacts here.

Tonight, it'll be a bunch of Burgundy. 10 whites and reds, mainly Grand Cru stuff.

Reply by dmcker, Nov 15, 2015.

Definitely send it ahead and let it rest for a week if the tasting is important, otherwise at least two or three days--preferably at the place of final consumption. Since you seem to go to Vegas from time to time it might be good to get to know a restaurateur or two there for this and other reasons.

Do you know how the Canon was stored? If it was from the '60s or '70s being this tired at that age would make sense, but from the '80s (the winery improved after a low point) the wine should be stronger. Not that '85 is the best vintage, aside from very early hype, but it's also not the worst. Easy drinking from the start, it's never shown the power and legs of the best vintages, but of course the French marketeers went to work on it from the gitgo and tried to persuade us all (that is those of us in their market) that it was better than it actually was. Slacking fruit has been mentioned by many in recent years, but Canon shouldn't be so knee-jerk in that regard.

I'm guessing tonight's event is pot luck?

Reply by JonDerry, Nov 15, 2015.

We're at Envy Steakhouse tonight at the Renaissance. I was able to get the wine in their cellar this morning which was nice. Most definitely better than arriving for dinner with room temperature bottles! Sneak peak at the menu here...Lobster tail and potatoes would work for me, with Heirloom tomato salad to start.

Thought the '85 Canon was real nice. Opened with some friends who were amazed that a 30 yr. old bottle was in such good shape. Was sourced from Flatiron Wine in NY about a year ago. Very reputable shop with ties to Chamber Street Wines.

Reply by dmcker, Nov 15, 2015.

Well, guess they have a bit to learn!  ;-)

Hey, I'm hungry. With all that good white, and then red, I'd have the jumbo shrimp cocktail and the bone-in New York steak with lobster tail add-on. Wouldn't eat the steak until the lobster was done, and might even ask for them to bring in 3 courses.

Nice to live vicariously!  Enjoy, JD... 

Reply by JonDerry, Nov 16, 2015.

Incredible dinner, one of the, if not best wine dinners I've attended. I did take your advice Dave, with the New York + Lobster Tail, and it paid off. I was the last one with food, well into the night.

This was one of those tastings where everyone declared wines in advance. There was a '78 mentioned, though I paid little attention. After all, many wines from the 80's are tired, so I should be less excited about something from the 70's, and truth be told, I know very little about the 70's from any region, let alone Burgundy. So this 1978 Charles Noellat Romanee St. Vivant was quite an education for me on its own, and I don't think I've smelled or tasted anything better.

Incredible aromatics, sou bois, strawberry compote, spice, leather, gamey, earthy forest floor to the Nth. Autumn in a glass says Tony. The freshness, potpourri of fruit and earth are expressed in the most beautiful way here. Almost defies description. A truly religious experience.

Setting the stage...The Leroy was a really nice wine! I wouldn't pay half the price, but it was a real treat to get a taste of it. So primary, it will go another 20 years in hand. The '93 Ponsot showed pretty well to my tasted, and I now can confirm that I really love Clos de la Roche fruit...a couple tasters thought this bottle was just slightly off, a little muted, maybe a hint of TCA which I did not detect, but I can only imagine how a pristine bottle must taste. 

The 2000 Dujac was excellent! One of my favorites of the tasting, it was at or near its peak...

A standout in a good sized tasting of aged Grand Cru's, this Dujac was memorable for its depth, freshness of fruit, and fine, but firm tannin. The slightly tart dark plum fruit was very direct but accented by the spice and earth notes. While the stems were not overbearing, the signature was clear. Just an excellent, bold but balanced wine for drinking now or over the next several years.

The Meo on the other hand was a bit too extracted and sappy, not quite my style, which is great to eliminate another expensive producer from consideration.

Going back to Leroy, one of my dining companions knocked my glass of '89 Leroy onto my plate...she was really upset and embarassed about it, but I said you made history! How many people can say they've had New York steak drizzled with Leroy Richebourg??



Some new friends...



Skipped out on my flight, and stayed right there at the Renaissance. What a night!

Reply by dmcker, Nov 16, 2015.


Reply by outthere, Nov 16, 2015.

Awesome report JD. Had my mouth watering.

Reply by dvogler, Nov 16, 2015.

^ What he said ^

and I'm not even a Pinot fan.  I might even go find something like this to try out :)

Reply by dvogler, Nov 17, 2015.


When I start making $100k/year

Just checked out the prices  :O

Reply by GregT, Nov 17, 2015.

Well, guess they have a bit to learn!  ;-)

D - those Flatiron guys are friends of mine. In my old tasting group actually. And they're opening an outpost in SF in a few months.

Nice tasting JD!

Reply by JonDerry, Nov 17, 2015.

DV, I'm not sure how much you want to spend...this tasting was a bit over the top. A total blowout planned months in advance. Some of the whites were bought in the $80-$200 range and showed really well, but the Bienvenue Batard Montrachet's showed best of the whites and are probably $400+ bottles. The lowest priced reds were probably the Clos de Beze

Anyhow, no need to rush in to pricey bottles...excellent Burgundy can still be had in the $50 - $100 range.

1993, 2000, and 2002 vintages are drinking great right now. 2013 is new and more widely available. I'd really like to try either the Mugneret Gibourg Vosne Romanee or Fourrier Gevrey Chambertin, but maybe you'll beat me to it? Another red burg I've loved for the money is the 2010 Chevillon Nuits St. George Village VV.

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