Two weeks ago “Newcastle” hosted another (some of the others are here) epic Luncheon. This time at Alyn Williams at The Westbury. This blog will deal primarily with the wines but the food was exceptional as the menu below and picture at the end of the blog suggest:

Lobster, new season broad beans, ricotta gnocchi,  jack by the hedge
Foie gras, rhubarb, walnut foam and crumbs

Wood pigeon, three cornered leek, charred & blanched, morel discs, blood orange

Beef barbeque cheeks, truffled pommes daupin, vichy carrots, croutons

Candied carrot cake & liquorice ice cream 

So onto the wines, as is often the case Salon opened proceedings and in this case Salon 1988 in magnum. I have tasted and drunk the 1988 a fair few times down the years and it tends to be a bigger bolder style that some years and a richer more biscuity wine. This magnum was very pure and whether it was an especially good magnum or just that this wine is great in magnum I can’t be sure. It has some white fruits, a mellow completeness but also focus, very easy to enjoy, very refined, a cracking start.

The Lobster that came first was perfect for white Burgundy and so it proved. The pair of wines; Le Montrachet 1990, Ramonet and Musigny Blanc 1991, de Vogue where both good in different ways. The Ramonet stole the show with it’s taut opening and then layer upon layer of depth and flavour, from mild reduction to stem ginger, but never losing it’s linear nature, a wine that there is no rush to drink, stunning. The Musigny was a little more muted, a little heavier of texture. The 1993 was the last vintage before they started a widespread re-planting exercise. A lovely pair and that Ramonet will be with me for a while.

Next with the Foie Gras was a trio of Germans. Firstly, Wehlener Sonnenuhr Auslese 1970, JJ Prum (Loeb bottling), almost a nutty nose, mellow, a wine of texture, not over sweet, almost a smokey mint element to the end. Really fascinating. Next was a more textbook Wehlener Sonnenuhr, the Auslese 1995 (JJ Prum of course). It had a classical nose of sweet unhoneyed fruit and citrus freshness but with a fair weight of texture as well. If the 1970 was in stage three of it’s life this was starting stage two, vibrant and expressive. The final “musketeer” was Maximin Grünhäuser Abtsberg Auslese 1996 (Barrel 55) which got everyone talking especially when compared with the 1995, more heady, more weight, a little Lap sang tea, more bold, more viscous. I am biased but the 1995 did it for me on purity, the 1996 was a wine to wallow in.

So two wonderful courses in and five whites done it was time for the Pigeon to see some red Burgundy and boy did it see some. A quadruple of Chambertin Clos de Beze from Rousseau is right up there! This was a fascinating run of vintages:
1981 – a vintage of no real repute, arguably one you would say should have been drunk. This has a lovely nose of cheesecloth and deep fruit with some spice, a little iodine, light red fruit to follow, not a wine with much density. The wine in glass became a little more savoury but was a delight, so impressive for the vintage.
1989 – a vintage I have struggle with in Burgundy for some reason but a good one. Again gentle clean red fruit and some spice. More weight, a little more muscle, delicious now whilst the texture and fruit are in great balance.
1993 – the insider’s vintage. A little more chunky, more primary, not forceful but potent, a masculine wine with time to come. Serious, very complete. If you own it, be very happy!  
1996 – a controversial vintage, classical yes but will the fruit out way the tannin and acidity is often the question. This was a little more muted, christmas spices but not heavily so. Good acidity and a little dryness from the tannins but there is balance.
As often happens, debate turned to which you want most and some sort of consensus was to drink now, 1989 and to own, 1993 but as always it’s a near pointless decision.

As Pigeon needs Burgundy, Beef needs Claret and as Claret’s go this was a blue-blooded pair. I had never had them side by side and certainly not both from magnum. Lafite 1990 Latour 1990 – they both played to their character. The Lafite was more mellow,  little easier, balanced, quite sexy and aromatic, the fruit was “Cabernet black” but not heavily so, poised. The Latour was very big shouldered, darker with more iron and more depth, more powerful and certainly masculine (compared with the latin Lafite this was Anglo-saxon meat eater). Pencil shavings and good tannin made an appearance. I love the pair, “exactly as they should be” is my rather lazy conclusion.

Cheese means port and the Warre 1963 was lovely, got better and better, there was red fruit to the fore but some grey pepper and some marzipan there, I really liked it.

A very fine Carrot cake pudding was accompanied by the compulsory Sauternes match-up and this time the two teams were – Climens 1986 & Yquem 1986. The former had a dash of burnt caramel, a little smoke but then in glass just mellowed and settled into stride, classy. The Yquem has a more hazelnut-like richness and a heaviness, a chewier texture, it was a bigger wine for sure possibly with more botrytis but on this occasion I just about favoured the fruited freshness of the Climens.

A very refined and greatly enjoyable lunch, well refined if you take out Ronaldinho’s jokes. Mr G you did us proud! AGAIN!
Foie Gras
Carrot Cake