Before I went away on holiday and enjoyed a wide array of wines I had organised a few lunches as catch ups with customers. It ended up being quite a run of wines, and food for that matter. Zucca features large as usual but the main reason is you can adapt a meal there for any pair of wines, to last any amount of time and it is great value. So things “kicked off” with a Tuesday dinner at Zucca and a pair of Grand Crus! 

Not my average Tuesday!

Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru 2011, Bonneau du Martray is a wine I know well, it is superb now although balanced so will age well. There is a tiny kiss of oak that just frames things but is very understated. In general I feel there are quite a few over oaked Corton-Charlemagnes out there, often because a producer has very little and therefore limited control of the % of new oak. With conversation, and a certain amount of gossip flowing it was then time for red!
Musigny Grand Cru 1995, de Vogue not a vintage of this wine I have had before and an interest vintage in general for Burgundy. It gets very little mention as it is not quite in the “mature” category of say ’91 and ’93…nor is it in the “continue to wait” category like ’96, ’99, ’02. This wine was stunning on the nose, youthful and pure but also serious with a close knit intensity…in honestly the plate is still a shade muted and restrained, good and balanced but just not that expressive. It is not too early to drink this wine but it is not yet at it’s peak I would say and this was certainly a good bottle…a very generous opportunity to taste.

the starter will be… 

The following day I went with a buying team colleague to try the food for a Prum dinner we are doing for customers with Katharina Prum at Quilon restaurant in late September. I had never eaten there before and lots of work had gone into the menu. It was, frankly speaking, a revelation, great dishes (a few photos of which are below) that just deliver oodles of flavour in a clean way with a total lack of pretension, I had decided I’ll go back even before I left. There a was another thing that made this interesting and that was a chance to have most of the wines we will have at the dinner at the preview, ordinarily we’d take a couple of bottles to a run through and see how we get on. I must say before the notes that I probably drink more Prum Kabinett in a year than any other wine so the levels of bias will be large, even for me!

Estate Kabinett 2011 – Ready, generous yet elegant, frankly speaking this would taste good through a straw. 

Wehlener Sonnenuhr Spätlese 2004 – Slight development but not yet petrol-like, very fine, very clean, a lean elegance, approaching middle age but in an effortless fashion, just my sort of thing.
Wehlener Sonnenuhr Auslese 2004 – youthful, some richness of texture but beyond that quite closed, will give this air before the dinner, serious.
Bernkasteler Badstube Auslese 2003 – In the zone, refinement is there but ultimately it is hedonistic, an extrovert, waxy, very clean nose, more to come but why wait.
Venison and coconut

Bernkasteler Badstube Auslese 2007 – Some spritz, if it were a sportsperson it’d still be in an age category but have people signing it up for the longterm, there is masses to come but it is poised, proper job! 

Graacher Himmelreich Auslese 1997 – A little flashy and flirty as you’d expect of 1997, some orange rind from development, a wine that tightened up and focussed in glass, too easy to start, getting better by the minute.   
Graacher Himmelreich Auslese Goldkapsel 2003 – The first thought was “old school Prum” a dash of reduction and some sulphur, some spritz also, there is no reason you would EVER think this is from 2003, pure, class and quality…

Then…Thursday came and back to Zucca with a couple of beauties…

Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru 2004, Bonneau du Martray – This is a wine that does have some bad bottles mixed in (see summer Holidays post) but this was the opposite, linear, balanced and pretty dam special. A food white Burgundy with a saline edge and a very proper acidity. Monfortino 1996 was the main reason this luncheon happened and it was wonderful, this is a serious wine with plenty of structure but not hard structure, you need to know where you are with this wine. It loves air and it loves to be thought about and drunk slowly, in many ways it is the traditional persona of Monfortino, uncompromising, quality and long lived. A cracking lunch, Zucca’s food did it serious justice.

Then friday, back at Zucca, a long overdue catch up with a mate in the trade who writes a great Blog that varies from mine in style but I can safely say we are from the same “a good bottle is one that seems to disappear quickly” school of thought. The starting point for this luncheon was a post he wrote about 2005 Bordeaux. Knowing that Roc de Cambes 2009 was a real favourite of his I said well let’s both take a 2005 to Zucca! 
Roc de Cambes 2005 – this was my bottle which I bought the second it was released in the campaign, I tasted it from barrel and loved it immediately. On this showing I was not wrong, bright, fresh and with a focus that is quite un like most Bordeaux. I tasted very much “mono-varietal”, I’ll try to keep my hands off it for a few more years but basically it is delicious.
Pavillon Rouge du Chateau Margaux 2005 – May be not the very best bottle of this, it drank well but under close inspection/thought it seemed a little “blunt” or lacking in wow factor, a true decision deferred.
That was a week done but then just as I was about to write this post I had another luncheon in the diary with a customer who insisted on bringing the wines and with this individual that is always a good thing.
Chevalier-Montrachet Grand Cru 1996, Domaine Leflaive – Was class, the colour suggested good things as soon as it was poured…there was that trademark gunflint reduction and lots of fruit, the real class though was, as ever, in the finish and the way it showed such refinement as it warmed up, it was still evolving and sweetening up 2 hours later.
Barbaresco Riserva Santo Stefano 1990, Giacosa – was glorious, an open and expressive nose from the beginning, a lovely easy opulence but with a feminine focus. This was as much “1990” as the Monfortino above was “1996”. The palate was fairly delicate and fine-boned with lovely red fruit and a dash of savouriness that never became too much…a really wonderful pairing.
It really is one of the great things about the wine trade that customers become friends and want to drink these great bottles…long may it continue that way, it is what wine is about.