Robert M. Parker Jr. is a leading U.S. wine critic with a huge international influence (probably the biggest in the world). His wine ratings on a 100-point scale and his newsletter (The Wine Advocate) with his particular stylistic preferences and note taking vocabulary, have become very influential (and criticized…) both worldwide but in particular in U.S. wine buying and is therefore a major factor in setting the prices for newly released wines. Despite controversy surrounding his reviews and scores, he continues to be the most widely known wine critic in the world today.
The theme of this wine tasting was to taste top rated “Parker” wines, i.e. wines that have received 98 to 100 points according to Robert Parker´s 100-point scale (where 100 points naturally is the highest/best score).
The wines tasted were:
Tenuta dell´Ornellaia, Masseto 2006
[99 points , The Wine Advocate/Robert Parker]: “I can still remember nearly falling out of my chair the first time I tasted the 2006 Masseto (100% Merlot) from barrel. The wine is now in bottle, and it is every bit as monumental as I had hoped. The wine possesses staggering richness in a style that perfectly captures the essence of this great Tuscan vintage. Black cherries, flowers, licorice and sweet toasted oak are just some of the nuances that emerge from the 2006 Masseto. A wine of breathtaking depth, it also reveals superb clarity, freshness and vibrancy in a sumptuous, beautifully-balanced style. Simply put, the 2006 Masseto is a masterpiece from Tenuta dell’ Ornellaia. According to Agronomist/General Manager Leonardo Raspini the dryness of the vintage slowed down the maturation of the sugars, leaving the wine with an unusually high level of acidity, and therefore freshness, considering its overall ripeness. Anticipated maturity: 2016-2031.”
Bodegas Aalto, Aalto PS 2004
[98 points, The Wine Advocate]: “The 2004 Aalto PS is expressive aromatically on the palate this voluptuous wine reveals elegance combined with power. Large in scale but light on its feet it has beautiful balance density and concentration. It can be enjoyed now but should evolve for 12-15 years and drink well through 2050.”
Pingus, Flor de Pingus 2004
[98 points, Robert Parker]: “The sublime 2004 Flor de Pingus lacks the pure size and power of the 2005 but more than makes up for it with a regal elegance. The aromatics are already revealing considerable complexity while on the palate it is succulent, impeccably balanced, and mouth-coating. Give it another 5-6 years of bottle age and drink it from 2015 to 2034.”
Torbreck, Run Rig 2004
[99+ points, Wine Adovate]: “The flagship 2004 Runrig is 96.5% Shiraz and 3.5% Viognier with the Shiraz component aged for 30 months in a mixture of new and used French oak. Yields were a minuscule 14 hl/ha (about 1 ton per acre). Saturated opaque purple/black, it has a remarkably kinky, exotic perfume of fresh asphalt, pencil lead, smoke, pepper, game, blueberry and black raspberry. Full-bodied and voluptuous in the mouth, the wine is dense and packed, with amazing purity, sweet tannins, and a complex collection of sensory stimuli. The wine demands 10 years of cellaring and will provide hedonistic delights through 2035+. “
Penfolds, Grange 1998
[98 points, Robert Parker]: “The 1998 Grange will be legendary. A blend of 97% Shiraz and 3% Cabernet Sauvignon, it tips the scales at a whopping 14.5% alcohol. The inky/purple color is followed by an extraordinarily intense nose of creme de cassis intermixed with blueberry and floral notes. As the wine sits in the glass, aromas of meat, plums, and cola also emerge. It is a seamless effort with sweet tannin, well-integrated acidity, sensational extract, and layer upon layer of blackberry and cassis fruit that stain the palate and fill the mouth. Its harmony, freshness, and remarkable length (the finish lasts nearly a minute) suggest an all-time classic. Anticipated maturity: 2006-2030.”
Vega Sicilia, Unico Reserva 1994
[98+ points, Parker]: “This bodega has produced many profound wines, but the 1994 Unico Reserva may be the greatest vintage released since their legendary 1970 and 1968. A truly prodigious effort, it boasts an opaque ruby/purple color as well as a gorgeously sweet, expansive bouquet of sweet cherries interwoven with black currant, truffle, licorice, and scorched earth aromas. Full-bodied, potent, powerful, and well-delineated with crisp acidity, sweet but noticeable tannin, a multidimensional, expansive, layered palate feel, and a pure yet refreshing finish, it should be a wine for the history books. Anticipated maturity: now-2035″
Chateau Mouton Rothschild 1982
[100 points, Robert Parker]: “Opaque purple-colored showing absolutely no signs of lightening, Mouton’s 1982 is a backward wine. Still tasting like a 4-5 year old Bordeaux, it will evolve for another half century. At the Philadelphia tasting, it was impossibly impenetrable and closed, although phenomenally dense and muscular. However, on two other recent occasions, I decanted the wine in the morning and consumed it that evening and again the following evening. It is immune to oxidation! Moreover, it has a level of concentration that represents the essence of the Mouton terroir as well as the high percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon it contains. Cassis, cedar, spice box, minerals, and vanillin are all present, but this opaque black/purple Pauillac has yet to reveal secondary nuances given its youthfulness. It exhibits huge tannin, unreal levels of glycerin and concentration, and spectacular sweetness and opulence. Nevertheless, it demands another decade of cellaring, and should age effortlessly for another seven or eight decades. I have always felt the 1982 Mouton was perfect, yet this immortal effort might be capable of lasting for 100 years! Readers who want to drink it are advised to decant it for at least 12-24 hours prior to consumption. I suggest double decanting, i.e., pouring it into a clean decanter, washing out the bottle, and then repouring it back into the bottle, inserting the cork, leaving the air space to serve as breathing space until the wine is consumed 12-24 hours later. The improvement is striking. The fact that it resists oxidation is a testament to just how youthful it remains, and how long it will last. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2075.”
Chateau d´Yquem 2001
[100 points, Robert Parker]: “There are 10,000 cases of this perfect sweet white Bordeaux. The 2001 Yquem reveals a hint of green in its light gold color. While somewhat reticent aromatically, with airing, it offers up honeyed tropical fruit, orange marmalade, pineapple, sweet creme brulee, and buttered nut-like scents. In the mouth, it is full-bodied with gorgeously refreshing acidity as well as massive concentration and unctuosity. Everything is uplifted and given laser-like focus by refreshing acidity. This large-scaled, youthful Yquem appears set to take its place among the most legendary vintages of the past, and will age effortlessly for 75+ years. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2100+. “
Bonus wine not included in the “original” tasting: Viña Errázuriz, Don Maximiano 2006
My personal favorites from the tasting were the Masseto and d´Yquem.