There are quite a few restaurants that have become wine trade haunts over the years. I’d like to think it is a good sign when the wine trade like a restaurant, it tends to mean that the food is good, the service unstuffy and the attitude to wine and corkage a positive one. About a year ago a group of us decide to have impromptu dinners at three of the most popular restaurants that fitted this bill. Namely Zucca, Trinity and Medlar. Thursday just gone was the final leg at Medlar. I had been once before but that was just after it opened. As the team arrived it was time for a glass of Manzanilla, such a good way to start on a warm and slightly muggy evening.
The real action started with two contrasting white Burgundies Puligny Montrachet Les Combettes 2008 from Sauzet and Puligny Montrachet Folatieres 1999 from Leflaive. Both were showing well. The Sauzet showing a good dollop of that Combettes richness, I often think Combettes has the weight to be a Grand Cru. This was a lovely expression, not too big but starting to drink really well, refined. The Leflaive I was excited about as I have had a lot of joy with Leflaive 99’s. There was the “struck match” reduction and quite a generously serious nose, this was a little more evolved than Pucelles 99 is at the same stage, dense and complex but not too heavy, delicious.
From white Burgundies we were onto a pair – Trotanoy 1997 and Dominus 1987 – that made a lot of sense together as they are made by – under the control off – the same man, Christian Moueix. Now it is often said that Dominus is a Bordeaux-like Napa wine but actually that is something Mr Moueix has a bit (he is a very gentle yet firm man) of an issue with, he has always said Dominus tastes how Napa valley wines should. The Trotanoy had a bruised fruit character, good balance of fruit and savoury, poised. Just enough sweetness to make it very complete, perfect now, it is a good 1997, a tricky vintage for a Chateau like Trotanoy where masculine power is more the terroir’s style. The Dominus was a gentle wine of real savoury complexity; iodine, inky spiced bovril and a little bacon, not frazzles yet, it was a soft wine on the palate and very graceful if possibly starting to fade a little, a fun pairing.
Over to italy now, Barbaresco Asili Riserva 1996 from Giacosa was arguably the wine of the night. Just such a gentle yet firm and proper nose, the right amount of clean fruit and bruised loveliness, alluring, thrilling and almost so good to smell you didn’t need to drink it. The palate though had grip and a more 1996 shape about it. The question, as with almost all serious wines in northern Europe made in 1996, is will the structure ever soften enough to allow the fruit “over the top”? Who knows but this was stunning. Brunello di Montalcino 2001 from Sesti was good, intense, rich with black fruits this wine has a way to go, an exctiting future. It was good to have it along side the Giacosa as it was so different that it did not suffer by comparison.
With some cheese and then pudding we had a couple of sweeter wines. The Hocheimer Domdechaney Rielsing Spatlese 1997 from Kunstler was evolved soft and seriously enjoyable, I drink a lot of Mosel and need to remember to get some Rhinegau. It was spot on now. The Raymond Lafon 1989 was rounded and slightly rancio in style, a dense and not overly subtle sauternes it did the job nicely. We didn’t really get too geeky with the food but the three courses, we opted for the two starter tactic, I had were very good:
– Sea bream carpaccio with sauce vierge, cucumber, seaweed purée and a tempura prawn.
– Crab raviolo with samphire, brown shrimps, fondue of leeks and bisque sauce.
– Under blade fillet with café de paris snails, salad, triple cooked chips and béarnaise.
With Dinner done it was round to the Sporting Page for one last drink and a cigar. Three smokes were fired up: Partagas Serie D No4, Partagas Short and a Bolivar Royal Corona. The Later was the one I smoked, rich if a little under filled, after so much good food and wine it was nice to have a smoke with some decent body and not too much complexity….until next time!