A delicious line-up…

I am going back to November last year for a write-up of a cracking dinner at C&B HQ. We had both Edouard and Kelley Moueix with us for an “At Home” in the dining room. With ETS J.P.Moueix having many brilliant properties on the right bank of Bordeaux and with Ulysses joining Dominus in California it is always difficult, a nice problem to have, to know where to focus. The aim is always to introduce newer fans to the wines at the same time as letting those who have been insiders for a while look at how wines/vintages they may own are “coming along”.

In 2016 we did a Latour-a-Pomerol and Trotanoy – Masterclass & Dinner – 2016 with Edouard so we wanted to add something here and broaden the number of estates a little. The line up below was terrific with lots of variants on a theme, the pairings pitting a good younger vintage with an equally good but more mature one – always a good way to look at an estate and “examine” the personality of a wine.

As so often we kicked off with the Champagne Delamotte Blanc de Blancs Brut NV, Grand cru Le Mesnil-sur-Oger which never disappoints. We moved downstairs where our food guru – Clive Greenhalgh – had prepared the below menu. All wines had been double decanted shortly before the dinner.

Grouse served with bread sauce & watercress

Beef Wellington served with glazed carrots and bone marrow

Chicory, endive, pear and walnut salad

The following post has some interesting background – Latour-a-Pomerol Vertical (in which the younger vintages shone) – as we were to look at the 2000 and the 2009 vintages. Edouard is never one to go into grape variety details, he sees this as more of a distraction, with the reality of a blend being much more about “age of vines, sites and soils than varieties“.

Latour-à-Pomerol 2000, Pomerol – Iron rich, savoury initially with sweetness coming through on the palate. Very good for drinking now though clearly with a long future ahead. As Edouard later put it “perfect for drinking without having to think about it“. There is good freshness to this, no over-ripeness. Super.

Latour-à-Pomerol 2009, Pomerol – More sweetness, vibrancy, an extrovert of a wine. Fruit on top of a balanced density underneath, richly decadent fruit. The palate is super fine with total balance of sweetness and an understated structure that is there. Adam, I think quoting Christian Moueix, described the 2009 vintage as “a mythical combination of 1982, 1989 & 1990” – which, let’s face it, is quite a billing. I often prefer (wrong word) the 2010s to the 2009s but I think some of that is a classical leaning on my part. When 2009s are this good it is very hard not to want to just drink them. A fine first pair.

We now moved to St-Émilion and to Magdelaine / Belair-Monange. For a little more on the later have a look at this BLOG. That piece follows the 2012-2016 vintages as the last Magdelaine was 2011. Essentially the Magdelaine vineyard was integrated into Belair for the estate to become Belair-Monange. There is more detail than that but that is for another time or place.

Belair-Monange 2010, St-Émilion, 1er Grand Cru Classé – The name translates, fairly directly, to “fair wind, my angel“. The thing I love about this is the understated nature of the refinement – there is none of the St.Emilion gloss, muscle and excessive saturation/extraction that you can see. This is lifted, moreish and medium weighted, I imagine it may gain weight but for now it has a red and fine fruit. In my opinion, if you own this you should have a bottle or two before the age of 10 as there is an invitingly elegant side to it.

Magdelaine 2005, St.Emilion, 1er Grand Cru Classé – I have always liked Magdelaine and in fact magnums of the 1985 and 2001 in recent years have been brilliant. There is always a good dose of patience needed with Magdelaine, a more dense texture but dense in the savoury sense. This 2005 is starting to drink now but demands a little more time or more air than any of the three reds before it. The style is more masculine, not that the name suggests it. Decant now or wait 3-5 yrs.

Trotanoy now, I loved the quote Edouard used, being a very visual “learner” I know exactly what he means. “Trotanoy is a ball, it never breaks, but it changes shape and stretches”. It is a property I know well and have a fair bit of experience with.

Trotanoy 1998, Pomerol – Superb, real poise and class, in a great place at (nearly) it’s 20th birthday. Hard to describe in many ways, as wines of real balance often are. The fruit structure and acidity all sit perfectly together, the fruit has good depth but it is a vibrancy that makes this so moreish.

Trotanoy 2008, Pomerol – In contrast to the 1998 which was just where you’d expect it to “be” at nearly 20yrs old the 2008 seems youthful at nearly 10yrs old. There is a richness here and a depth, the fruit is bold and whilst not heavy it is the densest of the evening. All this might suggest I am saying “wait” but I don’t think you “need” to. Certainly not to the same extent as the Magdelaine 2005, this is a vigorous Trotanoy but in no way out of character. Bold and good. One I will really to follow.

Over the Atlantic now and to Dominus and a change of varieties with Merlot not getting a look in. Dominus 2009, Yountville, Napa Valley – Edouard described this as a European vintage and I know what he means, this is not a fully fruited extrovert but it is what you should expect from California. The Cabernet is nicely mature and the wine is good from now on but I feel it will age well too. With Dominus being over the 30 vintages mark now it is no upstart. I like to think I do “ok” in blind tastings but Dominus almost always catches me out, it is what it is – don’t make the mistake of thinking it is Bordeaux in California…

A really special evening of great wines, good food and a celebration of a long relationship between the Moueix and C&B.

I’ll be out in Bordeaux in April and fascinated to taste the 2017s.