This was a splendid Thursday evening a couple of weeks ago. Mr Magnum had organised a dinner for two of his merchants to meet. I always like meeting others in the trade, it’s one of the things that sets the wine trade apart. I guess we all compete but really, and especially in this scenario, we agree more than anything. This chap (I am still trying to think up his potential “blog name” – may be that is for next time) has some lovely wines in his quiver none of which directly clash with those I work with anyway…

The venue was Medlar Restaurant which I have always enjoyed, if you’ve not been you should go, it features quite large on this blog, most recently with this 1996 dinner. It was apt therefore that Mr Magnum kicked us off with Bollinger RD 1996. This bottle being disgorged (Chris Delalonde the sommelier misses very little!) in 2006. It is a wine that is already on the developed spectrum in terms of the mellow, savoury, yeasty and serious aromas but this does not mean it won’t age, it will. If a wine can be both young and tight and savoury and evolved at the same time this is it. Could I drink it every day? No, but then I don’t have to stress about that. As a change of pace, serious, Champagne it is delicious. 

From there, and as the food arrived, we set about a (predictably) delicious Meursault 1er Cru Charmes 2007 from Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey (PYCM to those in the know). Our fellow diner brings the wines in (so that’s his cover blown). I was delighted (and lucky) to visit there once, anonymously as a guest of a customer, during 
a very special trip to Burgundy. Pierre, it is no secret, is doing some brilliant things and I am delighted to have started buying a few of his more humble bottlings. This Meursault was tight, refined, younger than 9 years but totally true to what 2007 should be, a focussed driven wine. There was a little reduction (which you’ll know I love) and an almost total balance. On this showing there is more to come but then I’d drink it again tomorrow if I had some. Spot on.

We stayed in Burgundy for Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Les Cherbaudes 2005 from Fourrier. The 2005’s in Bordeaux are generally opening out, albeit slowly, there seems to be much less consensus in Red Burgundy. Some remain as muted as ever and others are showing their class. This is more the later than the former. The palate is still a shade meaner than it will be but in all other regards it was delicious. A nice fragant and inviting red fruited nose with the darker fruits in the backbone behind. The finish was a little saline (love it!) and had a severely moreish quality. Delicious wine, may be 2-4 years from peak but then it depends how you like it.

Soldera 2008 was the first of my bottles. I love this estate, I am biased as I get to visit a fair bit (we work with the wines in Asia but not here). It is a magical place and the wines I think sit slightly outside anything else. They certainly, to me, sit apart from Brunello as a whole. There is a persistent elegance that, to my mind doesn’t exist in Sangiovese anywhere else. The 2008 is the last but one release and people often assume that young Sangiovese is unapproachable but that is not the case here. Red fruit elegance with a saline and wet meat mineral quality, it is a wine in balance that you can drink now or in 20 years (same could be said of all the above).

The last red was Barolo Brunate-Le Coste 2008 from Guiseppe (Beppe) Rinaldi. This estate is one of those who’s wines I simply can’t resist (whatever my financial state). It is grippy and savoury but with a terrific intensity of pure yet slightly degraded darker fruits and a good acidity. It was the one wine you “should” rather than “could” definitely be more patient with but what the hell. For those non Barolo-obsessed you won’t, from 2010, find this label as the “powers that be” have decided that you can’t have two Crus (“Brunate” and “Le Coste” in this instance) on the same label, why? Who knows. So the estate now make a Barolo Brunate (at least 85% Brunate with the rest Le Coste – so a similar wine!) and the other Barolo being called Barolo Tre Tini which has the previous other Barolo wine, Barolo Cannubi S.Lorenzo-Ravera (two crus again), with the remainder of the Le Coste holdings, so again not vastly different. I have had the 2011s and they are predictably stunning.

What a splendid evening, good food, good service, cracking company and deliciously vibrant, lively wines…