Tuesday was UGC (Union de Grand Cru) day when the trade and press gathers to taste the recently bottle vintage in this case 2007.

I felt the wines were better than I expected. My picks of the reds were Domaine de Chevalier, Gazin, La Lagune and Leoville Poyferre.

The sweet whites were stunning as was expected. The level of sweetness really varying though from intense (de Fargues) to balanced and more elegant (La Tour Blanche). My overall impression was of genuine wines that are, sadly, over priced compared to the cheaper and generally better 2006’s & 2008’s.

I looked on UGC as a warm up for a big fine wine evening the following night chez Hargrove…..format was very relaxed – Darts and Backgammon to go with the wine (all served blind).

To get things going – Delamotte NV in magnum with 3 years or more bottle age – delicious, not over serious just great drinking

Chablis 1er Cru Butteaux 2003, Raveneau – corked…gutted especially as I love Chablis and this would only have been my second Raveneau.

Then followed 4 different 2002 Germans with the scallops and Chorizo:

Urzinger Wurzgarten Spatlese, Christoffel
– elegant and delicious now and the guys were all quite close with guesses most getting Spatlese and vintages between 01 & 03.

Brauneberger Juffer Kabinett, Fritz Haag – deliciously Mosel in character and my favorite but interestingly not as good as the 2001 I had recently, good producer one I’ll watch, guesses good again.

Keseler Nieschien Spatlese, Karlsmuhle – A little lacking in character and not that exiting but a the price £10ish a bargain all the same.

Hocheimer Riechstel Kabinett, Kunstler – A curve ball of a wine. Everyone baring one person though it was Auslese, alcohol was only 7.5%, colour dark and most guesses were in the 90’s (‘93-‘00). Weird!

With Leg of Lamb and then cheese we assaulted the reds:

Barolo Brunate 1970, Marcarini – Wine of the night by common consensus – seriously complex and tasting younger than 39 years of age, I got it from a mate in the trade who had tasted it recently and enjoyed it. Makes me more sure that Nebbiolo I a grape I need to buy more of. A real highlight!

Five left bank 1996’s – JM realised early it was a 1996 Horizontal so just looked smug!

Branaire Ducru – Fine but just not exciting, proper claret good fruit and structure but no more
Calon Segur – Slightly tighter and with away to go, nice
Pontet Canet –
Leoville Poyferre – Showy and in all honesty a bit of a one glass wonder…a little over fruited
Cos d’Estournel – Very classy and TB spotted in immediately, a lovely wine that is great now but has a long, long future

Overall I think we were a bit too critical of these wines. 13 year old clarets from a good vintage, they were structured and if there was a fault it was that they lacked charm (a little like).

With a couple of tarts (Apple and Plum!!):

Rieussec 1975 – 2bts – My birth year and the first 1975 Sauternes I have had. Both bottles were good and very similar (not always the case) lovely texture and superb with the tarts and remnants of cheese. Very honeyed and complex but with acidity. I hadn’t planned to have two bottles but it was worth it!

By the time the glasses were cleaned it was 3am!! A great night.