I have used or been to Otto’s quite a few times since it opened a few years back. Very traditional french food and a good attitude to wine. Last Thursday I was back there with “Irish” and “Halifax” for a “meeting” and for us to revisit the first time we all met at this lunch.

ottos-2Halifax did the co-ordination and kindly provided the bulk of the wines with Irish and I bringing the last two reds. This time we started with Salon 1995, a wine I know really well having gone to Biarritz many moons ago for the launch and I have followed it since. There is a nice bit of brine to this, it is softening and is certainly at stage 2 or 3 of development, a little bit of coffee bean showing. This we had just before and with a “light” starting course, well that is what had been ordered – it turned out to be steak tartare with a lobe of foie gras on top!! Now, one of finest areas in the Halifax cellar is White Bordeaux and we had a pair of them here; Laville Haut-Brion Blanc 2001 and Malartic-Lagraviere Blanc 2006. We had them in that order as well. We guessed well and got very close on the Laville which was lovely, some salt, a little green spice, good mellow yellow fruits and a lovely waxy texture, young for a 16 year old wine but just the class you’d expect. When we then tried the Malartic both Irish and I thought it was probably also Laville but a fair bit older. When I say older that is not necessarily a negative it is just a more mature wine. Lemon, cream and a little ginger, some oak shows but not too much, “ready to go” right now.ottos-1

So having had our starters (second starters)! it was time to get onto the reds. Cheval Blanc 1989 was up first and got better and better. It was a shade muted at first and tight but with air it took on a lovely almost red fruited quality whilst remaining very proper and very Bordelais, savoury and cedary. In bottle format it is drinking well with air-time, I imagine magnums are worth waiting with a little. We were all on rich meat dishes so the relative youth and vigour of the next two wines worked well. Rayas 2007 is a wine the three of us had shared earlier in the year with some of the “lads” on this day. I am pleased to see, looking back, that my observations are consistent. There is a definite raspberry and white pepper element here, lovely. Barolo Paiagallo 2010 from Giovanni Canonica was our last bottle of the evening. I was very keen for the guys to try this. It is a single-vineyard wine from just above the town of Barolo and is made in a very traditional fashion, it is just starting to drink well though I will be keeping the other bottles and magnums I have until the wine is 10 at least. The sweetness from the quality of the vintage balances the lovely structure, Canonica always seems to get a degraded ripeness, a little like Mitjavile.

And with that it was time to head home…a cracking evening of wine, food and chat! Onwards!ottos-3