From the second it was announced that Zucca is to close on the 23rd December there were several last meals planned. As I write this I only have two dinners left. Zucca has featured large here with endless blogs that I have written over the last 5 and a half years. To say I will miss the place is a savage understatement but I am sure Sam has something up his sleeve. It is the deliciousness of the food, the simplicity of the produce, the easy service and the emphasis on wine without subservience to it that has kept me going back.
This was a really fitting meal as it was with many of the people whom I have shared the most meals at Zucca, all folk who for me “get” what this rather wonderful world of food and wine is all about. That Eric, who introduced me to Sam as well as being ever helpful in my Piedmont obsessions, organised it was all the better. The only shame was that Sam himself was ill and missed out (Sam – I advise you stop reading here – it was rather good!).
The brief was to bring special bottles. So what better way to start than two of the best and most contrasting of Champagnes; Salon 2002 and Pol Roger Cuvee Sir Winston Churchill 1999. Both performed just as you would hope. The Salon was fresh, zingy, citrus and minerals, stones even, tight, elegant. Contrastingly the “Winnie” was toasty and rich but not heavy, yeasty, serious, coiled tight. There was no contest here they are both superb and both will be fascinating in 10, 20, 30 years time. A fun and good start.
As you can imagine the food was already flowing thick and fast from Megan in the kitchen. Many of the classics – Seabass Carpaccio, Zucca friti, Vitello Tonnato – going down as well as ever. The next flight was white Burgundy:
Meursault Tessons Clos de Mon Plaisir 2009 from Roulot, this was almost Chablis like in refined texture, quite an achievement for 2009. There was then a slight unctuous waxy texture, delicious. Spot on right now.
Batard-Montrachet Grand Cru 2006 from Domaine Leflaive, a little lactic and lacking drive, village Meursault in style rather than Grand Cru, generous and opulent, almost to a fault. The 2006’s from almost anyone in Burgundy need drinking. A generous bottle but underwhelming on this occasion.
Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Pucelles 1999 from Domaine Leflaive, this followed the Batard in order but flew straight past it for quality and reminded me of having it once before at the end of a White Burgundy 2008’s dinner. There is something brilliant about the Leflaive 1999’s, a whiff or reduction and a moreish refinement. Either way it was delicious.
A brace of Barolo magnums from Rinaldi is something you dream of as a Barolo drinker. It might well be the only time it ever happens to me. First up it was Barolo Brunate Riserva 1986, this was a marvel, lifted, lovely freshness, brine and saline, herbal. There was such floral freshness. I am not a mad fan of people saying Barolo is like Burgundy (despite the obvious similarities of attitude, size and layout) in terms of taste but this magnum was exactly that. It went from being Brunate through and through to the elegance of Chambolle, simply put it was delicious and “right up there”. The Barolo 1999 was a contrast – tight intense, almost hard, there was a fear it was corked but it seemed not to be to me just introverted. Briney, dark and deep with some grainy tannins. I like it but it was very different to the 1986. I have a bottle of each of the Rinaldi 1999’s in 75cl and will keep them longer before sharing with the provider of this mag.
We moved to another 1999 – Barolo Monprivato 1999 from G.Mascarello, this was a little maderised in character with a slightly mocha and dark chocolate thing going on. It was decent but unexciting, a little too savoury despite the comments above. The last bottle
Vosne-Romanee 1er Cru Cuvee Duvault-Blochet 2006 from DRC, showed a primary voluptuousness, overflowing with expressive fruit notes but without any lack of focus. I am totally biased for all sorts of reasons but it really was a lovely bottle on which to finish.
We were all at bursting point by now with so much good food and lovely wine. A cracking evening with lovely people in a setting we will all miss so very much!
|So simple, so delicious…
|There’s some pasta under there!!