A meeting of “The Lads“ – Ronaldinho, Chewy, Irish Peat, Halifax, Wattsy, Teardrop and Step-toe – was called to celebrate the birthdays of the first two mentioned. The venue was selected as No 1 Lombard Street and the brief was that the line-up, beautifully orchestrated by Halifax (aka Nobby), had to be top draw. Not a problem with this bunch.
As we gathered we started, post Peroni for some, with a magnum of Salon 1997, this was drinking superbly, nice focus but easy to enjoy, a dash of saline and citrus, no weighty biscuitiness which was not needed at this early stage. A cracking start.
The menu that lay ahead of us is below, with some pictures at the bottom of this blog.
Sauté hand dived scallop and prawn,chilli jam and coconut salsa
From Ramonet to Mugnier for the first brace of reds…which were served blind, leading to the usual abusive “you know nothing” exchanges that have become the particular forte of this wonderfully direct group – sensitive sorts need not apply!
As a pair these were beautiful wines, such lightness of touch and confidence required to turn out wines like this that will gain weight with age but are stunning now:
Musigny 2001 – this was one of those rare occasions where Nobby got things spot on by saying this was “ding-dong”. Primary, red fruit, so pretty, roses, wild strawberries, really focussed but fruited too, delightful. Definitely want to have this again…
Musigny 2000 – A little darker a little more texture, still elegant but a shade drier, superb. A rich weightlessness.
The quality of those wines took me straight back to the Bonnes Mares 2008, Mugnier that I had 15 months ago in Chambolle-Musigny – a quality producer without doubt. On the topic of quality producers the second red Burgundy pair was from two rather special names – Rousseau & DRC.
La Tache 2000 from DRC was next, as we had this and the Rousseau side by side I think we all felt the Tache was the older wine. The texture was the odd thing, a little murky and bruised. There was acidity there and I liked the fruit character, which admittedly had nothing like the purity of the Rousseau. It was a odd showing for La Tache, lacking focus, I looked at my notes from the fairly recent La Tache “decades and decades” dinner tasting and there is some similarity. Anyhow, this group would never let a disappointing bottle change the mood. The next pair, of magnums, quickly had smiles all round.
We then hit a double “corked bottle” speed bump. Both Trotanoy 1982 and a magnum of
The next wine, which was served blind, will be amongst the most memorable of the year without any doubt. It was effortlessly complex on the palate. The nose was far less remarkable, a little neutral to me but apparently it smelt like a “rotting hedgerow” to one of our number. Either way (the polite version of “whatever”) the palate somehow managed to combine; bovril, marmite, butter, pastry, Tarte Tatin, nuts and more. It was not bone dry by any stretch, I loved it. It was revealed as Rayas Blanc Doux Liquereux 1950 – Ronaldinho’s birth year – special. Vouray Mouelleux Reserve 1976, Foreau was possibly more conventionally brilliant, smokey, briney, real richness, lovely, lovely wine. A very dry and hot year of course. I have reading (and hopefully drinking) to do on this producer. The wines quality was as marked as my ignorance of it.
A Russell and McIver bottling of Cockburn 1955 followed and is a reminder, if we needed it, that mature Port is a category nobody should be forgetting about, this was long, precise and clean, not heavy, but full of gentle Christmas spices. A real highlighted even in this sort of company.
With the room, that we had sensibly been tucked away in, needed for dinner we were politely moved to the bar area where a couple of “glamourous super-subs” were opened:
The Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru 2009, Tollot-Beaut reminded Nobby of “Egg Custard” or may be he was just pining for his train back ooop norf. It was broad and good, nicely savoury to balance the ripeness of 2009. It did slightly struggle for attention with a magnum of Chambertin Grand Cru 2000 from that chap Rousseau. The Chambertin, unsurprisingly, was superb, rich, balancing sweet fruit, saline and savoury seriousness perfectly…
And with that the box marked “Mission accomplished” could be firmly ticked…great bottles, great people, great abuse…who’s birthday next?
|The Birthday boys…a happy couple…|
|Pan fried olive crusted stone bass risoni,wild mushrooms and mushroom velouté|
|Truffled ballottine of chicken petit pois a la franchise|