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Tree 2  (1 of 1)It’s funny to think that after spending my entire life in New York City, I’ve never attended a Rockefeller Center tree lighting. Tourists come from all around the world to witness events like this. In fact, there were some waiting on line the night before, and just so they could get up close for the best views of the event. This part of town can be almost impossible to traverse from the beginning of December through January 1st, literally to the point that when you work in the area, you avoid leaving the office at all costs. Yet in the end, we do ourselves a disservice by not taking in the Holiday festivities which are taking place right at our doorstep. I’ve been guilty of it my entire life—up until this year.

CEO Jeremy Noye Welcoming guests with a 6L Veuve, 1972 bicentenial bottling
CEO Jeremy Noye Welcoming guests with a 6L Veuve, 1972 bicentenial bottling

Morrell Wine Company’s private tree lighting party was the event which kept me at the epicenter of Holiday activities in NYC this December 3rd. Just one look at the wine list was reassurance enough that I’d made the right choice to attend. The wines consisted of top-aged Bordeaux, Burgundy, and Champagne, along with a who’s who of younger wines from the Southern Rhone to the New World with Italy in-between (the full list can be found below). The food was provided by our own Morrell Wine Bar, who outdid themselves; I’m still dreaming of the brined roast turkey with shaved Brussels sprouts and bacon. All of this from one of the best seats in the house, the storefront of Morrell Wine, which looks out across Rockefeller Center.

Tree Lighting Party 4 (food)The experience was well worth it for those brave souls who trekked through the maze of metal dividers, police and the repeated ID checks. Once we were safely inside the Morrell Wine store, the celebration began, and all worries were left at the door. There was no counting down to the lighting ceremony or even thoughts of what was going on outside. I had heard that Mariah Carey, Idina Menzel and Lady Gaga were there, but I don’t think anyone inside paid it any mind. On this night, it was about reconnecting with old friends, clients, and family over some of the best wine being poured in New York City.

Tree Lighting Party 2 (guests)As the tree was about to be lit, with thousands of people piled up to catch a glimpse of the tree, our party moved outside. Yet it quickly returned to full swing once pictures and videos were taken. Many new relationships were formed, and I’m sure no one will soon forget. It was an evening to remember.

Tree Lighting Party (environs)With the celebration going strong until 11pm, it was hard to taste everything, and getting a complete tasting note was difficult. However, below are some of the notes I was able to take, originally written on a series of paper napkins throughout the evening. Enjoy!

Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey Meursault 1er Cru Genevrieres 20082008 Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey Meursault 1er Cru Genevrieres – Rich yet wonderfully fresh. The nose showed amazing mineral and saline notes with smoky flint, peach skins and crushed seashells. Simply gorgeous and almost meaty in its texture, showing inner floral tones, lemon zest, roasted nut, and minerals. Its brisk acidity quickly refreshed the palate, leaving hints of mineral-tinged citrus notes in its wake. (94 points)

2001 Domaine Perrot-Minot Nuits St. Georges La Richemone Vieilles Vignes – The nose was exuberant and rich, almost pulling you in with dark fruits. Savory herbs, a hint of roasted meat and minerals. Still youthful on the palate with dark red fruit, which was round yet fresh, followed by soil and mineral tones. The finish showed tremendous depth with dried berry, dusty spice, soil and herbs. It just seemed to go on and on with a youthful tug at the senses. (93 points)

Michael Shef of Morrell Wine
Michael Shef of Morrell Wine

2003 Roberto Voerzio Barbera d’Alba Riserva Pozzo dell’Annunziata – Unapologetically modern and ripe yet incredibly enjoyable all the same, the Voerzio Riserva Pozzo dell’Annunziata seemed to leap from the glass with intense floral perfumes, dusty spice, ripe cherry and strawberry, dark chocolate and a grounding note of undergrowth. On the palate, it showed rich textures made lively by zesty acidity with flavors of spiced cherry and savory herbs. The finish was fresh, as Barbera should be, with black cherry lingering long. (93 points)

2009 Domaine Marquis d'Angerville Volnay 1er Cru Champans2009 Domaine Marquis d’Angerville Volnay 1er Cru Champans – At first closed and reluctant on the nose, yet quickly opened up in the glass to reveal fresh red berry fruit and herbs, beautiful floral tones and dusty sweet spice. It seemed the longer this sat in the glass, the richer and darker it turned. On the palate, it showed mineral stone, crushed red berry and spice tones, in a finessed yet silky expression, which was almost haunting in its appeal. The finish was dark with hints of structure tugging at the senses with lingering dried raspberry fruit. Truly stunning. (94 points)

Tree Lighting Party 2 (decanter)2008 Lodovico Antinori Tenuta di Biserno ‘Lodovico’ Toscan – The Lodovico was stunning and a true classic in the making. The nose was dark yet elegant, with wild herbs and minerals up front, yet quickly opened in the glass to reveal red berries, dried flowers, charred meat, and the slightest hint of oak. On the palate, it was rich yet youthfully firm, with one of the most enjoyable velvety textures, which enveloped the experience from start to finish. Dark red fruits, hints of sage and dark chocolate saturated the senses yet were balanced by lively acidity. The finish seemed to clench the palate with noble tannin, slightly drying the fruit yet providing much pleasure. This was a drop-dead gorgeous wine. (96 points)

Tree Lighting Party handoff2009 Kutch McDougall Ranch Pinot Noir Russian River Valley – The McDougall Ranch presented a finessed and fruity nose with enticing exotic notes, showing ripe red berry, spearmint, tangerine and spice. On the palate, it was silky and rich, yet balanced perfectly with spine-tingling acidity which kept the fruit lively and refreshing. Staying true to form, the finish turned slightly darker with a sweet spice note which lingered long. This a beautiful new world Pinot and really shows the potential of the Sonoma coast. Also a great price. (94 points)

Tree Lighting Party (younger reds)2012 Clos des Papes Chateauneuf-du-Pape – The nose was surprisingly open and even fruity with ripe wild berry, plum, mountain herbs, and a hint of new cedar. On the palate, it was fresh and focused with raspberry, blackberry fruit, and the slightest hint of citrus. It turned richer and deeper with time in the glass and finished with dark fruits, licorice and herbs. This is so enjoyable to drink now that it will be hard to keep your hands off. (92 points)

2012 Caymus Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Napa – Large-scaled and rich on the nose with toasty brioche, blackberry, currant and milk chocolate. On the palate, velvety textures ushered in dark fruits, spice, coco, licorice and cherry liquor. The finish was long with saturating black fruits and a linger hint of hard candy. (90 points)

2005 Domaine Perrot-Minot Chambertin Grand Cru Clos De Beze Vieilles VignesThe Wine List:

CHAMPAGNES
Deutz Amour De Deutz Blanc De Blancs Champagne 3L 1999
Veuve Clicquot Bicentenaire Brut Champagne 1772/1972 NV 6L NV

WHITES
Bonneau du Martray Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru 1.5L 2011
Bouchard Corton Charlemagne Grand Cru 1.5L 2011
Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey Meursault 1er Cru Genevrieres 3L 2008

Red Burgundy
Domaine Marquis d’Angerville Volnay 1er Cru Champans 2009
A Lignier Morey St Denis 1er Cru Cuvee Romain Lignier 1.5L 2007
Pousse D’Or Corton 1er Cru Clos du Roi 1.5L 2006
Domaine Perrot-Minot Chambertin Grand Cru Clos De Beze Vieilles Vignes 1.5L 2005
Domaine Perrot-Minot Nuits St. Georges La Richemone Vieilles Vignes 1.5L 2001

Tree Lighting Party (older reds)Bordeaux
Chateau La Fleur-Pétrus 1998
Chateau Latour à Pomerol 1998
Chateau La Mission Haut Brion 1994
La Mission Haut Brion Pessac Leognan 1.5L 2006

Rhone
Clos des Papes Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2012

Italy
Lodovico Antinori Tenuta di Biserno ‘Lodovico’ Toscana 1.5L 2008
Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino Cerretalto 1.5L 2007
Bodegas Emilio Moro Ribera del Duero Malleolus de Valderramiro 2004
Roberto Voerzio Barbera d’Alba Riserva Pozzo dell’Annunziata 1.5L 2003

Caymus (1 of 3)California
Caymus Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Napa 3L 2012
Kutch McDougall Ranch Pinot Noir Russian River Valley 1.5L 2009
Rusty Staub Le Grand Orange 1.5L 1992

Article and Tasting Notes by: Eric Guido

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